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Dwight Blythe has the secret to making a marriage last, and he’s willing to share it with anyone who will listen.
“I always have the last word,” he said, “and it’s ‘yes, dear.’”
That sage advice, along with a good helping of patience, solid health and the support of a strong family have also contributed to the 70-year marriage of Dwight and Mary Blythe, who celebrated their anniversary on Valentine’s Day.
Married in 1947 when Mary was 17 and Dwight was 23, the couple lived and farmed side by side in Cisco – with both manning tractors on the 750 acres they farmed – for over 40 years, retiring in 1994 and moving to Monticello.
Daughter Linda Dyson attributes that togetherness as a main ingredient in their long-lasting relationship recipe.
“If you think of one of them, you think of the other one, because they’ve always done everything together,” said Dyson, one of three Blythe children.
For Mary it goes even deeper. Her parents divorced early, which meant she had no father for a majority of her upbringing.
She vowed her children would not share that experience.
“I always said no matter what happens, the kids are not going to grow up without their dad,” she said.
The Blythe marriage almost ended at 43 years when Dwight had triple bypass surgery. But he made it through, along with TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve implantation) heart valve repair just a few years ago.
“I feel great!” exclaimed Mr. Blythe.
They are still very active, volunteering at Piatt County Trail Blazers Sunday breakfasts during the winter and rodeos in the summer.
The Blythes also host their entire clan, which includes 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren for homemade pizza two Sundays a month during the winter. The crowd is usually between 30 and 35 people.
“We have pizza during the winter because we can’t stand not seeing the kids,” said Dwight of the family tradition that goes back over two decades.
As for retirement, it suits the couple well, but Mary still misses the farm.
“We still go by the fields and see the farmers working. Of course we always worked together in the fields, and I think ‘I wish I was out there.’”
How it all started
Just over 70 years ago, Dwight was dating Mary’s best friend. When they all went out one night, he began dating Mary instead.
They still buy each other gifts each Valentine’s Day: Mary gets Dwight a stuffed toy, and he always gets her a red heart box of candy.
And there are relatively few arguments, thanks to this long-lasting practice.
“The way we did it, when one of us was out of sorts, the other one just turned around and walked off. After a while they come back and the argument is over before it started. That’s the way we solved it. We just backed off,” he said.
Any other advice, Dwight?
He just can’t resist …
“Like I said, say ‘yes dear.’”
An open house to celebrate the Blythe’s 70th wedding anniversary will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Trail Blazers clubhouse in Monticello.