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.”
#1. A kiss after a long day exploring.
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.
All men fear death. It’s a natural fear that consumes us all. We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all, which ultimately are one and the same. However, when you make love with a truly great woman, one that deserves the utmost respect in this world and one that makes you feel truly powerful, that fear of death completely disappears. Because when you are sharing your body and heart with a great woman the world fades away. You two are the only ones in the entire universe. You conquer what most lesser men have never conquered before, you have conquered a great woman’s heart, the most vulnerable thing she can offer to another. Death no longer lingers in the mind. Fear no longer clouds your heart. Only passion for living, and for loving, become your sole reality. This is no easy task for it takes insurmountable courage. But remember this, for that moment when you are making love with a woman of true greatness you will feel immortal.
– Midnight In Paris
“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.”
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, “What does love mean?” The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca – age 8
When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4
“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4
Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7
“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss” Emily – age 8
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen,” Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)
“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka – age 6
“There are two kinds of love. Our love. God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them.” Jenny – age 8
“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7
“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” Tommy – age 6
“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore,” Cindy – age 8
“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” Clare – age 6
“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine -age 5
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” Chris – age 7
“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Mary Ann – age 4
“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Lauren – age 4
“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Karen – age 7
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.” Mark – age 6
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget,” Jessica – age 8