'I think if you're going to get married (and) you're both working, you better talk about your finances first for sure.'
Florence and Jim Popp have seen it all. Since meeting at the 1951 Sheboygan County Fair, the couple has built a family, explored the world, seen governments come and go, experienced economic and social changes and borne witness to the history pages fill one after the other. But last weekend, it was the Popps who made history when they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. According to available U.S Census Bureau data from 2009, only 0.1% of marriages reach this milestone. Speaking to Sheboygan Press, the couple shared some words of advice for younger couples.
0.1% of marriages last as long as Florence and Jim Popp’s. The Sheboygan Falls couple marks 70 years this week. https://t.co/4xEWFiHk78— Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter (@htrnews) October 10, 2022
"I think if you're going to get married (and) you're both working, you better talk about your finances first for sure," said the 88-year-old Florence. "Figure out what you're going to do about that. Are you just going to blend it all together? Or are you not?" Both Jim and Florence believe them being fortunate enough not to have money troubles has played a big role in the success of their marriage as this can be a crux of tension for many couples. Jim pointed out that owning a home—or even renting one—today is an expensive venture, unlike their experience of building their own home.
"Oh my gosh, I mean, I probably built this thing for less than $20,000. And I've been living here, it's paid for itself how many times over," explained Jim, who is also 88. "I feel sorry for kids who want to get a start." When asked how they managed to keep their marriage strong for so long, the couple shared that they never planned that far ahead. "You can't tell when you were married 70 years ago what's going to come up through those years," Florence said. "You have to accept the way it comes." Both of them found their own interests—Florence took to genealogy and gardening while Jim spent his free time hunting, fishing and woodworking—and shared them with each other.
They also worked together to provide for and raise their three children, all the while making sure to communicate well and never say goodbye without a kiss. "That's important. That goes way back to the beginning," Florence said. "It's just personal. It makes you feel good. 'I love you,' you know, with a kiss." While they have laughed together and supported one another all these years, they've also had arguments, the Popps revealed. "You have to agree or walk away from each other or whatever, but that's part of it, too," Florence said. "You certainly disagree about some things. There's just no doubt about it."
She added that their arguments and routines have changed a lot over the years. "Like our lunch hours now are very different," Florence shared. "I record stuff, and I like movies. So, I have my lunch and watch my movies or what in here. He likes to watch 'The View,' so he goes in there and he watches 'The View.'" They also help each other a little more than they used to, Jim revealed. "I used to be able to go up and wash the ceilings and stuff, and you can't do that anymore," Florence said. "I'll say, 'Jimmy, can you help me? I'm on the ladder. Stand there by me so I can do this,' or something like that."
When they celebrated their 65th anniversary, they thought, "Well, that's it. Now, here we are five years later," said Florence. "So now we'll be shooting for 75," Jim chimed in. Although they've visited many places like Canada, China, Iceland, Ireland and Jamaica over the years, there are still trips they want to take. "Right now, in the back of my head, I'd like to go on a cruise on the Mississippi and the Missouri," Jim said. "So that might come up sometime yet. Maybe this next summer."