One Illinois couple celebrated a major milestone yesterday - 77 years of marriage. And in a few months Vera and John Peterson of Freeport will be blowing out birthday candles for John's 100th birthday.

"I met this tall, handsome guy and you know, it took a while," Vera Peterson, 100, told ABC News. "It has been wonderful. I'm not saying that everything was all roses. There was a few thorns as always, and I think everyone has that. It can't be perfect, but we have to have give and take."

The Petersons, who were married on September 28, 1939, have seven children, 18 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Their eldest child, 76-year-old Randall Peterson, said his father was a farmer most of his life before becoming a carpenter.


Vera was a stay-at-home mum until her children were grown up and she later worked at a nursing home for 20 years.

"It's an amazing feat, especially this day in age," said Peterson.

" They have their own sense of humour, which we enjoy."

One granddaughter, Pam Queckboerner describes the couple as genuine people with a spiritual connection.

"They care for each other from the bottom of their hearts," she said.

"They live and breathe each other, so I think that has kept them going. They are very caring, loving and giving."

For their anniversary, the Petersons had a low key, celebratory dinner with family.

As for their secret to a long marriage, John Peterson credits his favourite saying: "Yes dear!"