A new record has been set for the oldest newlyweds ever. One week ago, a 98-year old man wed his 95-year old lady love, as the couple became the world’s oldest newlyweds.
Both were widowed, and they have known each other for 18 years.
So why did they wed? Why did they wait so long?
Why do some of us feel too old to make a legal commitment at 50 or 60, yet this extraordinary pair was able to do so in their nineties?
Can you believe in a future when you don’t share a history?
Of course, in this example, Lillian and Allan Marks, who wed on February 29, share 18 years of history. In contrast, they lived three quarters of a century that came before in which their lives never intersected.
The Baggage Issue: Dating After Divorce
When it comes to a terminated marriage, we all have our paths to healing – if healing is even possible. We navigate through repercussions as well as our unique circumstances of endings and beginnings. We may have desired the dissolution of marriage or, we may have wanted to keep our families intact.
Naturally, our grieving and rebuilding will differ if marriage ends due to death versus divorce; other factors come into play of course – legal dramas if applicable, along with children, money, health, home.
Baggage? It’s an unfortunate and overused term for bringing issues into subsequent relationships. But it is nonetheless reflects reality. Some of our accumulated experience leaves us impaired. It’s only logical to assume that a stormy union or nasty divorce may result in less likelihood to remarry. A happy marriage cut short by widowhood is another story, as is a troubled marriage which ends with civility.
Marital Legacy, Time Heals Wounds
How could we not bring our experience and belief systems from one relationship into the next? Not to mention the trail of logistical matters that may dog us for years?
Many say that time heals all wounds; I have wished it to be so, but haven’t found it to be the case. Those of us who have traveled a tumultuous road beyond divorce may be slower to trust, and then again, perhaps it’s purely a matter of individual temperament.
As for the oldest newlyweds on the books, explaining the number of years before marriage, according to the ABC News report:
“We talked about it for years, but our lives were so busy that I just never got around to it,” the bride told ABC News, citing their busy lifestyle…
The fact is, they have that history which I find myself seeking. They built it, together, all the more remarkable as they met in their late 70s.
When I look back, I recognize shared history at various stages in life. This includes more than two decades tied up with the father of my children.
He moved on. And did so quickly.
I am pleased to say that I have lived other stories, but believing in the possibility of futures was easier when I was younger. It still seemed within reach five years ago, though I admit that is much less the feeling now. And I’m not sure how or why that happened.
I acknowledge that at 50-something, I am worn down from the years of raising my children. There are days my energies are depleted; others, when I feel strong. None of this means I’ve given up on dreams, or that I’m incapable of appreciating a wonderful relationship. I’m a woman who says yes, but I’m acutely aware of constraints, and that the years stretching ahead are fewer than those behind me.
When it comes to relationships, what does this mean? Why does it bother me that any future includes so much unshared history, especially when others at midlife or older would say carpe diem?
Why do they do it? How do they do it?
I see marriage as a serious and sacred commitment. I believe it requires years of knowing your partner, though even that is no guarantee.
According to The Desert Sun, the couple has been living together for years, and as Lillian Marks puts it:
“I didn’t want a relationship — I enjoyed my freedom — but he got me.”
I consider this couple as they offer us life lessons in loving. There is something they have experienced that I cannot seem to process, something they’ve lived and learned that I have not.
At least, not yet.
Image of Lillian and Allan Marks, The Desert Sun. Click to access article.
© D. A. Wolf