Relationship secrets from couple married 54 years

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This is what 54 years of marriage looks like. (KTRK)

Finding love this Valentine's Day is one thing, holding on to that new-found love is a different story.

"Both parties need to have at least a desire to see the marriage succeed," said Rosemary P'Pool.

For Ron and Rosemary P'Pool, life together hasn't been easy since day one. More than 60 years ago, the two met in grade school. The odds were against them.

"When the teacher called the roll every morning, he would call his name and would say, 'Ronald Lee P'Pool.' And I remember sitting there saying that's the worst name I ever heard in my life," said Rosemary P'Pool. "I feel so sorry for the woman who marries him."

Rosemary said although she couldn't stomach Ron's last name, she found out her heart could.

At 18 years old, the two got married. Life together was off to an early start.

Through the years, their marriage faced many challenges. The couple has two kids together, several careers and in 54 years of marriage, they've fought over just about anything you can think of.

"We've never considered the word divorce. It's never been a part of our language, however, the 'M word,' murder, has come up more than once. We say it as a joke," said Ron P'Pool.

Ron and Rosemary use that very same humor, and their own marital mistakes to help new couples find their way.

"I think they have saved marriages before they have even started a lot of times," said James Morgan. "They do a great job teaching the foundations of what makes a marriage."

The P'Pools say what keeps marriages strong is to practice the three "d's": Dialogue daily, date weekly and depart as often as you can. In the hard times, accept that conflict is a part of every relationship.

"Every single day of our lives it's been worth it," said Ron.

The P'Pools head up a ministry at Houston's First Baptist Church called Marriage Connections. They are not licensed therapists.

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