“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
– Nora Ephron
In the past month, I’ve been invited to three weddings. My Facebook feed is filled with announcements of engagements and wedding photos of beaming couples.
And they’re not all young.
2022 is turning out to be the Year of the Wedding. More couples are expected to getting hitched than since 1984. According to some reports , an estimated 2.5 million U.S. couples will marry in 2022. The pandemic is certainly a big factor behind the stats.
As a writer, I’m drawn to love stories. Fiction and fact. Big and small. I’m fascinated by beginnings and wonder in what ways a couple’s origin story might influence subsequent chapters.
I like to ask long-time married friends how they met their spouse. Do they remember their first kiss.? (Surprisingly, not everyone does!)
My mother still loves to retell the story of her starstruck blind date with my dad, and their first kiss on a carriage around Central Park.
There are the “I knew the moment I saw her” stories.
And the quieter stories of sparks that developed over time.
There are couples who didn’t seem to click at first and then, like defogging a mirror, a clearer vision appeared–a common plot of Hollywood rom-coms.
Then there are the stories of those who met much later in life, each person carrying long histories the other had no part of.
Novels I’ve enjoyed with such themes are Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson and Mr. Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
When you can’t take anymore depressing news headlines, I suggest turning to the weekly Vows section of the New York Times.
There you will find fascinating and diverse true love stories (beginnings only, of course) complete with photos, sure to bring a smile. Profiles of love after great loss, through illness, serendipity, and against all odds–as the saying goes.
Some of my favorites Vows stories are of those who meet late in life-a testament that it’s never too late to find true love.
Two octogenarians marry but decide to live “apart together ”.
Folk singer Arlo Guthrie and Marti Ladd’s 20 year friendship culminated in a 2021 wedding.
Uplifting stories, uplift us. Stories of love and new beginnings inspire hope.
Author Joyce Maynard has published essays about her late-life love. After divorcing in her mid-thirties, she spent the next 24 years successful in her writing career but failing at relationships. About to give up after another dud date , she met Jim who became her husband and “true partner” at age 59. Sadly, Jim died of pancreatic cancer barely 3 years later. The experience inspired Joyce’s 2017 memoir, The Best of Us.
Finding love again after loss, whether from divorce or death, can seem insurmountable. Yet people do. Their broken heart opens, making space for a new beloved while still carrying the memory of the other. I’ve witnessed this beautiful and bittersweet transformation among friends and family members.
Dr. Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist who has done extensive research and writing on the nature of love.
“Romantic love is primordial, adaptable, and eternal. It’s a basic brain system that, like a sleeping cat, can become awakened anytime in your life . Being in love beyond one’s mating years give you energy, well-being, motivation, and focus.”
What we think of as inevitable phases of love (sex drive, romance, deep attachment), Fisher thinks of as brain systems that can occur in any order. More surprisingly, she concludes that they do not have to disappear in longterm partnerships.
Fisher’s brain imaging studies show that some couples continue to experience all three phases well into their later years. Her studies in this area are intriguing.
“You can be in intensely in love at 22 as you can at 92.”Helen Fisher, Ph.D
Interesting to note: Dr. Fisher got married for the first time at 75 (!) and she and her husband live in separate households in the same city. That tidbit definitely sparked my curiosity.
So, don’t give up if love is what you are still seeking.
It’s easy to become discouraged. But no matter how long it takes, it only takes One to begin a new story.