Cleovis and Arwilda Whiteside, a remarkable couple from Arkansas, have been recognized by the Family Council as the state’s longest-married duo. With an astonishing 84 years of matrimony, the Whitesides attribute the enduring success of their relationship to their unwavering faith in God.
Their extraordinary journey began on July 24, 1939, in Clarendon, Arkansas, when a 17-year-old Cleovis exchanged vows with a 13-year-old Arwilda. Despite their youth, the couple’s commitment to one another has only grown stronger over the decades.
“We can hardly believe this is happening to us because we feel like we were the least, but God said, ‘No. You’ll glorify my name and love one another,'” shared Arwilda, reflecting on their enduring bond, as reported by KATV.
To commemorate this exceptional milestone, the Family Council organized a private fish fry reception in Pine Bluff, where the Whitesides were surrounded by cherished family and friends. Charisse Dean, project coordinator at the Arkansas Family Council, expressed their joy in honoring the couple, stating, “We’re a nonprofit organization that promotes and protects traditional family values, and we can’t think of any better way to celebrate the Whitesides’ 84 years of God-centered marriage.”
The impact of Cleovis and Arwilda’s enduring love reaches far beyond their home state. There is a possibility that they hold the title as America’s longest-married couple, making their achievement even more remarkable.
Since 2019, the Whitesides have been recognized as Arkansas’ Longest Married Couple, a testament to their unwavering commitment. Their love story began years ago when Cleovis came to the rescue of Arwilda and her friend Caroline, protecting them from a group of boys. Fate brought them together again at a church box supper, where Caroline played matchmaker and urged them to tie the knot.
Today, Cleovis and Arwilda serve as an inspiration to couples and friends alike, showcasing the power of love and dedication. As the couple expressed their gratitude to everyone present at the fish fry event, Cleovis warmly shared, “May God bless you, and I thank you for being here today, every one of you.”