CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Valentine's Day is a romantic day for everyone, but for Dianne and Tommy Hicks, February 14 means so much more.

The local couple met on Valentine's Day in 1963 and have been in love ever since.

"It was the day I met my love of a lifetime," Dianne says. "His little brother in his fraternity thought he would score some brownie points and get a date for him (Tommy) and they were very persistent, so we set a date... and that was 53 years ago."

The couple dated for two years and then tied the knot just a week after Valentine's Day.

Tommy proposed to Dianne by handing her a bag of apples. To her surprise, she discovered an engagement ring in the bottom of the bag. Tommy, a Vietnam veteran, says he used the apple bag to surprise her.

The Hicks will be celebrating their 51 wedding anniversary in February 2017.

Dianne and Tommy have raised a family and spent their lives in North Carolina. They currently live at the senior living facility, Brookdale Charlotte East.

Although they've been together for over half a century, they say they're nowhere near the finish line.

"Tommy's parents were married for over 70 years, so that's the goal," Dianne says.

As for what makes for a long and happy marriage? The Hicks say it's all about listening, compromise and working things out together.