They survived persecution and poverty to start a life of their own and today, they have 64 grandchildren.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 1, 2022
To live for 90 years is a feat in itself but to love and be married for 90 is another thing altogether. Zechariah and Shama’a have been married for an astonishing 91 years and their love for one another is strong as ever. Zechariah and Shama’a were Jewish orphans who were born in Yemen. As was common in the first part of the 20th century, orphans were married early in life to avoid them getting married outside their faith and culture. This was the case for Zechariah and Shama’a, who were 12 and 10 respectively when they were wed. The pair lived through some trying times as they weathered extreme poverty and survived persecution. They were some of the first Yemeni Jews to move to Israel, reported BBC News.
"We both grew up as orphans. He was motherless, so was I," she said, before adding that they never lived a life of luxury. "We suffered. There is no worse suffering than we had experienced. There is none," she adds. "We had no house. We cleaned the donkey's barn and lived in it. In 1948, they moved to Israel and started a family. They had eleven children. "One. Two. Three... I can't even remember how many were there," he jokes. "There were many." Their family has since grown and the pair now have 64 grandchildren.
Apart from love, it's dry wit that keeps them going. The pair constantly rib each other. "Remember, this is my first and last woman," says Zechariah, gesturing towards his wife. "And I never threw her out." She mumbles something and he asks, "What? Did I throw you out?" She then responds by shushing him. When asked what's the secret of love, he said, "God sent her to me. I was lucky to win her," he said. "Women flocked to me like a herd of sheep, but I didn't take any of them," he said. She said they rarely fought and it's the happiness of being together that sustains their marriage.
People couldn't get enough of their love story. "What a lovely heart-warming story and such a large family as their legacy. I chuckled at the 'and I never threw her out' quip!" wrote one person. Another added, "To keep a marriage alive both parties have to continuously work towards a common goal. When you’re both busy working on something together it’ll bring you closer and create a bond." The video served as inspiration for many. "Got married today and this video gave me so much hope for my future," wrote another. "Though their early life was arduous, their efforts are rewarded. My wife and I have married for only 26 years, and I think I still have a lot of things to learn from them," commented another. "This is truly beautiful. I am only upset that we see this as different or unique. This should be normal, being married once and for their whole lives(unless of course there is abuse)," another user added. "What a fantastic story ❤ living to 91 is an accomplishment ... let alone being married for 91 years! I wish I knew their secret," wrote another.
While they may have been married for over 90 years they are still not the oldest couple. Guinness World Records recognized Julio Cesar Mora Tapia, 110, and Waldramina Maclovia Quinteros Reyes, 104, who have lived a combined 215 years as the world's oldest married couple, reported USA Today. "The love and maturity that we had as a couple from the beginning of the marriage allowed us to know each other and grow emotionally to define our future," read a statement by Guinness World Records. They revealed "love + maturity + mutual respect" as the secret of their successful marriage.