Seventy-eight years ago, Douglas Acosta, 97, and his wife, Genevieve, 96, of Raceland, said their vows, making them today the third-longest wedded couple in Louisiana.

Seventy-eight years ago, Douglas Acosta, 97, and his wife, Genevieve, 96, of Raceland, said their vows, making them today the third-longest wedded couple in Louisiana.

And with age comes a little more understanding of what those vows actually stand for.

“When you say those vows when you get married — ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,’ you don’t even realize what you’re saying,” Douglas Acosta said. “But when you get older, you realize it.”

The couple met in the early 1930s at Raceland High School and lived just a few blocks from each other. Back then, there weren’t nearly as many businesses around and houses were about a quarter mile apart, said Douglas Acosta.

When they first met, the two started walking 4 miles to school together every day. It became such a norm, that it almost became a problem when Genevieve Acosta received a new form of transportation.

“After a while, she got a bike,” Douglas Acosta laughed. “And I told her, I said, ‘Your daddy should’ve bought a bicycle for two.’”

Genevieve Acosta graduated from Raceland High School in 1937, and within about a year, the two were married and started building a house.

At the time, the house cost them just over $3,000 for everything, including labor, plumbing and electricity. And for them, it was a little pricy.

Douglas Acosta was working 12-hour days and bringing in about $1.50 a day, which eventually turned into $2 a day. He was giving most of that to his mother, he said.

Genevieve Acosta helped out at first by working at the post office for a year and four months. But before their first daughter was born, she stopped working so she could take care of the house and her kids.

Douglas Acosta moved between jobs working at a sugar refinery, in the oilfield and serving in the Army during World War II.

During the war, he left his three children to serve his country for 15 months. As a staff sergeant, he was in charge of 11 riflemen, all under the age of 17.

“They used to call me ‘old man,’ because they were all 17 and under, and I was 24,” Douglas Acosta said.

These days the family has celebrations every five years for their anniversary, which started at 50, said their daughter, Patricia Walker.

The couple was recently placed in the Louisiana Family Forum Marriage Hall of Fame as one of Louisiana’s Longest Married Couples.

“We’ve had our up-and-downs,” Douglas Acosta said. “But we’ve been married for 78 years, so I guess we’ve made it.”