True, enduring love does exist. Photographer Lauren Fleishman proves that in her book, “The Lovers,” where she photographs couples who have been together for more than half a century. Many of the couples in the books survived the World War II apart.
Her book project was inspired by a series of love letters written by her grandfather to her grandmother during World War II. She remarks, “The letters spoke of a young love, the type filled with expectations of a new life together.”
The couples she photographed say they don’t see themselves as old people, but as young couples who are still in love after 50 years.
All photos courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Moses and Tessie Rubenstein
“Everyday my wife expresses her love for me. She says, “Did I tell you how much I love you today?” Everyday—everyday she says that.”
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
1. Every morning, my wife of 18 years gets up before me and makes coffee. She doesn’t drink coffee.
2. He looks at me with googly eyes and says, “You’re so prettyyyy,” multiple times a day. We’ve been together for 9 years total, married for 2.
Also, the way we argue. He’s so considerate and thoughtful with his words, even when I know he’s incredibly frustrated. That speaks volumes about the way he respects me and loves me even when he’s angry with me. I’ve learned to argue in the same way (but I’m less awesome at it than he is). He makes me a better person.
3. We’ve been dating for five years and we have always gotten Cherry Coke as a drink if we are sharing. A few months ago we went to the movies and he came back, as per usual, with Cherry Coke. I said I was glad that we both loved that soda the most and he replied “I actually don’t really like Cherry Coke but I get it because it’s your favorite and you like to share.”
I can’t wait to call this man my husband next September.
1. I asked my wife. This is her response. “When you drove me up the wall everyday and I still couldn’t get you out of my head. I don’t know it just felt right. What are other people saying? Oo he was so romantic. What are you doing? Are you just typing everything I’m saying? Omg thats weird stop”. She has now walked away and started doing the dishes.
2. There were no head games. He always called when he said he would, and said what he meant. Everything was so easy and comfortable. That might sound boring, but having been in relationships where I was always trying to figure out what the other person really wanted, this was so refreshing. He always made me feel sure of us, and that was huge.
3. People think I’m stupid but 3 months in. I was 16, he was 17. He told me he loved me and I knew I was going to be with him forever. My mom told me it was puppy love. He went to college the next year 200 miles away and everyone taunted me saying he was going to be cheating on me with college girls. I knew he wasn’t out cheating on me because we were playing World of Warcraft together every night. We stayed long distance for a year until I graduated high school. I packed up everything I had and $2000 cash I’d saved and moved 200 miles away from home to be with him. My parents still said “You’ll be back in a month.” I worked as a fast food shift manager and he went to school and we lived together for three years. We got married when he graduated. I was 21, he was 22. Everyone who ever told me “it will never last” got a wedding invitation. Haha. We just celebrated our third wedding anniversary and eight years of companionship.
1. There is something I do to make my wife’s day brighter: she truly believes that finding a penny heads up is good luck. Intermittently I will place a heads up penny somewhere slightly conspicuous so that she’ll find it. I almost always do this if she’s having a bad day. She’s never caught on.
2. Be calm. If you’re having an argument, disagreement, or any such conflict, force yourself to speak slowly and at normal volume. Don’t interrupt each other. Most often, this will diffuse defuse the conflict and the two of you can speak about it rationally.
3. I know his love language. He needs/wants to be told why I love him. My gut tells me to hug him and move on, but I force myself to say out loud “Thanks for making dinner and vacuuming today, I really appreciate it”.
In an incredibly romantic gesture, an elderly Japanese man planted a sea of flowers for his beloved wife in order to plant a smile on her face.
Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki had been married for 30 years when she was diagnosed with diabetes. Only a week later, Mrs. Kuroki lost her eyesight due to complications of the disease.
No longer able to see, she became depressed and didn’t even want to leave her home. Her devoted husband then decided to make it his mission to see his wife’s beautiful smile again
True love isn’t always about the big romantic gestures. For instance…
Sometimes, love can be found in the simplest things, like spending a blissful morning in the kitchen.
By Ryan O’Connell
Somebody loves you if they pick an eyelash off of your face or wet a napkin and apply it to your dirty skin. You didn’t ask for these things, but this person went ahead and did it anyway. They don’t want to see you looking like a fool with eyelashes and crumbs on your face. They notice these things. They really look at you and are the first to notice if something is amiss with your beautiful visage!
Somebody loves you if they assume the role of caretaker when you’re sick. Unsure if someone really gives a shit about you? Fake a case of food poisoning and text them being like, “oh my god, so sick. need water.” Depending on their response, you’ll know whether or not they REALLY love you. “That’s terrible. Feel better!” earns you a stay in friendship jail; “Do you need anything? I can come over and bring you get well remedies!” gets you a cozy friendship suite. It’s easy to care about someone when they don’t need you. It’s easy to love them when they’re healthy and don’t ask you for anything beyond change for the parking meter. Being sick is different. Being sick means asking someone to hold your hair back when you vomit. Either love me with vomit in my hair or don’t love me at all.
Somebody loves you if they call you out on your bullshit. They’re not passive, they don’t just let you get away with murder. They know you well enough and care about you enough to ask you to chill out, to bust your balls, to tell you to stop. They aren’t passive observers in your life, they are in the trenches. They have an opinion about your decisions and the things you say and do. They want to be a part of it; they want to be a part of you.
Somebody loves you if they don’t mind the quiet. They don’t mind running errands with you or cleaning your apartment while blasting some annoying music. There’s no pressure, no need to fill the silences. You know how with some of your friends there needs to be some sort of activity for you to hang out? You don’t feel comfortable just shooting the shit and watching bad reality TV with them. You need something that will keep the both of you busy to ensure there won’t be a void. That’s not love. That’s “hey babe! i like you okay. do you wanna grab lunch? i think we have enough to talk about to fill two hours!” It’s a damn dream when you find someone you can do nothing with. Whether you’re skydiving together or sitting at home and doing different things, it’s always comfortable. That is fucking love.
Somebody loves you if they want you to be happy, even if that involves something that doesn’t benefit them. They realize the things you need to do in order to be content and come to terms with the fact that it might not include them. Never underestimate the gift of understanding. When there are so many people who are selfish and equate relationships as something that only must make them happy, having someone around who can take their needs out of any given situation if they need to.
Somebody loves you if they can order you food without having to be told what you want. Somebody loves you if they rub your back at any given moment. Somebody loves you if they give you oral sex without expecting anything back. Somebody loves you if they don’t care about your job or how much money you make. It’s a relationship where no one is selling something to the other. No one is the prostitute. Somebody loves you if they’ll watch a movie starring Kate Hudson because you really really want to see it. Somebody loves you if they’re able to create their own separate world with you, away from the internet and your job and family and friends. Just you and them.
Somebody will always love you. If you don’t think this is true, then you’re not paying close enough attention.