Wedded at 93 and 89

“Each of us is living a lonely life. Why not get married?” Ebenezer Rose, 93, asked as he proposed to Monica Hayden, 89, reports Michael Laforgia in the Miami Herald. So they did.

Rose had been widowed for four years after 58 years of marriage; Hayden had survived two husbands. They had known each other through their church for 20 years, but only recently started keeping company.

As I start to heal after losing Robert ten months ago, I am struck by this story as a testament to the remarkable ability of the heart to heal after tremendous loss and open itself again to love. The story of Ebenezer Rose and Monica Hayden illustrates the power of love, whatever the age of the lovers, and the basic, human need for affection and intimacy.

Never too late for love: wedding couple aged 80 + 84

I was catching up on a week-old Sunday New York Times on my Kindle. I came upon the wedding announcements, which I usually skip — when I spotted this one:

Anne Wallach, Gerald Maslon
… The bride, 80, is an author in New York… The bridegroom, 84, is a retired lawyer.

The couple met at Harvard in 1947, when they were both dating other people, whom they would later marry. The two couples stayed friends. Wallach was widowed in 2003; Maslon in 2005. Afterwards, they began dating. On May 1, 2009, they married.

Age is certainly no barrier to love. According to The New York Times,

Ms. Wallach said she still sees Mr. Maslon as he was when he was a law student — with dark hair and carrying a green book bag.

She says she wonders if he sees her in the same way and even addresses that thought in a novel she is writing: “Jack and I were young together. He’s always that boy in a tweed jacket swooping toward me on his bike. Am I a girl with a smooth face and long blonde hair to you, Jack?”

“She asks me that all the time,” he laughed. “Yeah, but I like her the way she is now.”

Love After 80

Love isn’t blind after eighty! I enjoyed this story which appeared in Chris Smith’s column in the Santa Rosa (California) Press Democrat. I’ve reprinted it with his permission:

MAKING EYES: It began with small talk between two widowed strangers earlier this spring in the optical department at Kaiser. Dewey Logan, 83, and Sylvia Wyatt, 85, struck up a conversation while sitting side by side and waiting for their new specs. Then Dewey summoned the nerve to ask Sylvia for her phone number. Today they’re back home in Santa Rosa after a honeymoon in Reno.

— Chris Smith
People ask me all the time how to “meet someone.” I always tell them, “Do what you love doing on your own, and you’ll meet people who love the same activities.” I met my wonderful Robert at my own line dancing class!
Increasingly, though, I hear stories like the one above, or like the woman who wrote in about meeting her soulmate while waiting to have her blood pressure taken. You never know where you might encounter that person who will put a spring in your step and a zing in your heart!
Do you have an unusual story about how you met your special someone? Please comment!

Changes after Prostate Surgery: Tina Tessina

Many of you have been reading and asking about prostate cancer, how it affects sexuality, how spouses/lovers can communicate and keep their love strong while living with it. Some of the most widely read posts on this blog have been those dealing with prostate cancer, such as “A man asks about sex after prostate cancer” and “Grace Period: a novel about living with prostate cancer.”

In response to your interest, I’ve asked Tina Tessina, Ph.D. to comment on this subject. Besides being a psychotherapist and author, Tina writes from experience: her husband is living with prostate cancer. Here are her comments:

The changes that come after prostate surgery are, like all changes, not easy. We don’t like to have to deal with changes, especially those that confront us with our mortality. But, I can happily report, with some encouragement and enthusiasm from me, my wonderful husband is quite functional sexually. His surgery was in 2002, he just got another ‘undetectable’ PSA test, so we are blessed.

For us, the blessing is in how heightened our love and appreciation (which was pretty good before) has been by the threat of terminal illness. Richard is lucky — they got it early, it has not spread, the surgery went well. His second surgery to have an artificial sphincter put on his urethra, also went well.

Others, I know, have a more difficult time. But, as Gerald Haslam wrote in Grace Period, “Live for the moment, since that may be all you have.” Richard and I decided to do that in 2002, and we’ve been making the most of our moments ever since. Every day is a gift, another cup of sweetness, and we drain it to the last drop. One of our joke lines is “I’d like another one of them there drinks,” from Scrooge, referring to the Cup of Human Kindness given to him by the Ghost of Christmas Present.

For some couples, the tension of serious illness creates crabbiness and bickering. Richard and I have never wanted to waste time arguing, and we haven’t for a long time. I don’t believe it helps anything that’s going on. In my newest book, Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage out from Adams Media spring 2007, I help couples who are fighting learn new methods of getting along so they can enjoy their time together.

For more, see Tina Tessina’s Dr. Romance Blog. Dr. Tessina is a psychotherapist, author of several books including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction, How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free, and The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. She writes the “Dating Dr.” column on and “Dr. Romance” on Yahoo! Personals.