Alabama Couple Celebrates 80th Wedding Anniversary and Shares Secret to Their Lasting Marriage

George and Louise Dennis of Dothan tied the knot on Feb. 4, 1944, shortly after meeting as teenagers

<p>wtvy</p> George and Louise Dennis


George and Louise Dennis

An Alabama couple is celebrating a truly rare milestone — 80 years of marriage!

George and Louise Dennis of Dothan tied the knot on Feb. 4, 1944, shortly after meeting as teenagers, according to local news outlet WTVY.

George said he first laid eyes on his future bride when he was delivering a newspaper to her house on his route when he was 16.

"There she was standing on that porch. That was one pretty sight, I’ll tell you. Gorgeous,” he recalled to the outlet.

They began dating, and before long decided to sneak off to Bonifay, Florida, to elope without their parents' permission. Then they came home and broke the surprising news.

“I said, 'Well, we went off and got married.' Oh, you could have heard her [Louise’s mother] scream clean from Dothan,” George jokingly remembered.

Related: Couple Celebrates 81st Wedding Anniversary Decades After Pals Warned Their Relationship 'Wouldn't Last'

While he can laugh about it now, both of their families attempted an intervention at the time. Ultimately, though, they secured the blessing of Louise's father and settled into their married life together.

Eight decades later, George affirmed that eloping with Louise was one of the smartest decisions he's ever made.

“It was the best thing that happened to me when I met you,” George told Louise, per WTVY.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Just months after their marriage, the couple faced another major test on their relationship: George was drafted to serve in World War II.

Before he left, they vowed that they would never be separated again once the war was over.

Related: Woman Finds Tier of Cake from Her 1968 Wedding in the Bottom of Her Freezer — and Plans to Eat It

In December 1944, Dennis was seriously injured when he tripped over a land mine. He eventually lost part of his leg, and returned home to continue his treatment.

“For 16 months, it was a time filled with surgery and healing. Sometimes, a month and a half, six weeks, eight weeks, three months apart and he would come home to recover during that time,” Louise told WTVY.

They faced another difficult time together when their daughter Crystal, whom they adopted in 1952, died in an accident involving a horse. “You never, never get over the loss of a child," Louis said.

When asked about the secret to their long marriage, the couple, who owned a rug business together for more than 40 years, credited their faith — and one very important principle.

“Tell the husband to say, 'Yes, dear,' " George joked.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.