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Charles and Jan Bradbury: Valentines for 55 years and counting

Even though they both grew up not far from each other in small towns in northeast Kansas, Charles and Jan Bradbury’s paths didn’t cross until after they both had graduated from college and were introduced by a mutual friend.

However, from that point on, things escalated quickly with the two dating for around a year—most of which they spent being engaged—before tying the knot.

“It was a hot August day with no air conditioning,” said Charles. “It was simple, but very nice.”

55 years later, Charles says one of the keys to their longevity is that their relationship has been based on more than love.

“We’ve not only been married but we’ve been best friends for our entire marriage,” said Charles.

Beyond that, Charles says that common values and strong beliefs have also helped keep their relationship strong.

“We both have a strong faith and try—particularly here in the later years—to model our lives a little bit in that faith (love your neighbor, love everyone and forgive) and we try to do that to each other,” said Charles.

A year or so ago, the couple started a new chapter in their lives by making the move to Emporia Presbyterian Manor.

And like everything else, they did it together.

“I think the fact we were able to live in an apartment at EPM and get the assisted living services has really helped us,” said Charles. “By being able to continue living together it’s been a much easier and enjoyable life. You have 24/7 someone to talk to share your ideas and we like being around each other.”

Now, not only has their love for each other continued to grow, so has their love of their surroundings and the people around them.

“We love the staff at the Presbyterian Manor and they’ve been so good to us—so friendly and helpful—and we love the residents,” said Charles.

As for Valentine’s Day, Charles said the couple will keep it pretty simple.

“When we were somewhat younger Valentine’s Day always revolved around family – kids and grandkids. But now that they don’t live close to us, Valentine’s Day is more about doing something special like going out to eat some place we wouldn’t normally eat because it’s too expensive or too nice and just telling each other that Valentine’s Day we have love,” said Charles.

When asked what his secret is to a good marriage, Charles had this to say.

“I try not to go a day without telling my wife that I love her and without kissing her goodnight,” said Charles.

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