A couple from Winnipeg, both 90-years-old this year, are sharing their wisdom for a long, and mostly happy, marriage.

Earl and Grace Smith have lived in Manitoba, mostly in Winnipeg, their entire married life. 

"It doesn't seem that long. We've had some bad days but I call it a journey of love, with many ups and downs. But love never fails," says Earl.

From Humble Beginnings

The Smiths had a small wedding when they were 20-years-old on a Friday afternoon so that Earl didn't have to take too much time off work, with the weekend as their honeymoon.

When they first got married, Earl worked at Coca-Cola in Winnipeg while Grace had previously been working at a factory, Schneiders Meat Plant. 

"When we were going to get married, they wouldn't have married people [working] there, so I lost my job," says Grace. 

She says some staff that she knew lied about being married so they could continue working. 

"It was a good wage at the time, $0.68/hour. But I was proud to get married," she says.

The Smith's wedding was a small affair as shortly before, Grace's brother and Earl's sister got married with a big wedding. 

In fact, the couple got money from their families to pay for the wedding.

"They collected a dollar from 50 people and that's how we got married for $50 and here we are yet," says Grace.

Their first home was when they were living on the third floor in an apartment in Winnipeg, with one communal bathroom on the second floor. They moved to another apartment before buying their first house in Winnipeg, for a total of $4,200.

While both came from a big family, Earl had 14 siblings and Grace had six, the couple have only two children, both daughters. 

"Our oldest is a retired teacher, living in Arborg," says Earl, and their other daughter is still working in Red Deer, Alberta. 

The couple also has nine great-grandchildren.

The Secret to a Long Marriage

"On our fridge, I have an old saying. 'Dear Gracie, love never gives up. Faith, hope, and patience never fail. I'm trying. Love, Earl'."

The couple has been through a lot of changes and a few hardships in their life, including almost losing their four-year-old daughter to a disease that kept her in a bed for months.

"You have to give and take and that's it. We just did things together," says Grace.

Celebrating their Anniversary during COVID

"We're going out to our daughter's who lives in Arborg and she's got a special dinner cooked for us. Then we're staying overnight," says Grace.

The couple at 90-years-old are still fully independent and healthy, despite a worldwide pandemic. 

"We have this virus come along and upset everything for everybody," says Earl. The couple normally loves to watch curling, but after sports were cancelled, the pair has greatly missed watching it. 

"We have to do our part and that's what we're trying to do," Earl says about living during the pandemic.

The Smiths have gone through many big changes in their lifetime. Grace recalls at 48-years-old they bought a farm, a dream of Earl's, and she learned how to drive a tractor and haul bales. 

"We just can't believe that we've come this far," says Grace.