Newlyweds In The Golden Years January 24, 2017
When they tied the knot on April 9, 2016, Wendell Rockey and Ruth Fender were not typical newlyweds, as they exchanged their vows at the ages of 92 and 86, respectively. The couple married in the Commons building at Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community (QPRC), where they are residents. As both Wendell and Ruth were married previously, they brought a wealth of marriage wisdom to their new union.
Wendell is a former U.S. Navy man and pastor. He has three children with his first wife, who died in 1962, and one with his second wife, who passed away three years after the couple moved to QPRC in 2008. Ruth, who was formerly employed as an activities director at a skilled nursing facility, moved to QPRC in 2012. She had been previously married for 25 years and has one child. Ruth had been a widow for 40 years before she and Wendell tied the knot.
Several months after their wedding day, The Wedding Planner checked in with the Rockeys, who were happy to share their insights on life, love, and marriage, drawn from decades of living and the first few months of their union together.
"Enjoying life together is beneficial at any age and arguably even more so later in life," Wendell said. His new bride concurred, saying, "When you get to this stage in life, love and marriage prove there is hope for companionship, regardless of your age or circumstance."
Ruth and Wendell first met in the Windows on Park Dining Room at QPRC when Ruth was looking for a place to sit and, always the gentleman, Wendell offered her a seat at his table. During their ensuing courtship, the couple realized they share many interests, and they incorporated a main one - music - into their wedding ceremony. As for planning the wedding, Wendell said, "I pretty much yielded to Ruth but offered some suggestions and she honored them. We planned our wedding ourselves. At a certain level, you probably need the help of a planner. It would save an awful lot of stress!" To that end, Wendell had one more piece of advice for couples embarking on planning a wedding: "Keep it simple. Simple can be beautiful."
The new marriage was not something Ruth entered into lightly. "I spent a long time thinking about getting married to him and thinking, 'Is this the best plan for these years of my life?'" she recalled. While being married again has been an adjustment, Ruth noted that she doesn't regret her decision at all. "Has it been worth it? Indeed! It's definitely better to be married," she said.
"Realize there are differences and you have to respect that and work through them," Wendell said. "Even in our advanced age, we're working through that." He noted that conflicts can sometimes arise over even simple things like what kind of music to listen to or what to watch on TV. "You're not going to change a person's tastes, but you have to make accommodations," he stressed.
No couple can expect to travel through life together without facing conflicts. "You have to talk about it," Wendell advised. "You have to identify what the other person is doing that upsets you and discuss the differences. Sometimes it is helpful to have an outside person give their perspective."
Ruth noted that the importance of compromise is something she's been adjusting to after being single for 40 years. "I was completely unaware that I made all of my decisions; I was just used to doing it," she explained. "Now someone else has input into our lives. Something I was surprised to learn when I married Wendell that I didn't know is that there are two right answers: mine and his," Ruth noted.
When asked what is important for couples - of any age - to know as they contemplate marriage, Wendell remarked, "Hopefully you know one another. To know a person is different than having information on them. You could have two people who are married but don't really know each other." He noted that truly knowing your spouse-to-be involves thoughtful, honest discussions of hopes for the future, as well as fears and anxieties.
Ruth said, "Be daring. Take initiative. Believe that you have something to offer somebody else. It's having a mindset that it's not what's in it for me but that I have something to contribute."
"Some people marry for what they get out of it, but marriage should be about serving each other," Wendell explained. "You should make your mate a better person and they should make you a better person. (Good candidates for marriage are) people who enrich one another and make each other better. You fill a need in each other's life and desire to make another person's life better."
Photos by Dale Brady.
Test Your Knowledge of Celebrity Wedding Trivia October 10, 2013
Name the Celebrities:
1. What power musical couple got matching "IV" tattoos on their ring fingers?
2. What British movie star spotted his future wife in a television commercial?
3. What talk show host got a Supreme Court justice to officiate at his third wedding?
4. What pop duo "married" in the bathroom of their Hollywood apartment by exchanging cheap gold-plated rings?
5. What bride, unable to find a suitable dress, made her own and started a bridal wear company?
6. What wild and crazy couple wed on a Cancun beach after a four-day courtship?
7. What Beatle met his future bride on the set of "A Hard Day's Night"?
8. What high-profile couple, both dressed in black, wed in an abandoned, candle-lit Manhattan building?
9. Which celebrity marriage was shortest?
-A. Kim Kardashian & Kris Humphries
-B. Dennis Rodman & Carmen Electra
-C. Britney Spears & Jason Allen Alexander
-D. Mario Lopez & Ali Landry
10. Which power couple enjoyed two ceremonies, one on February 26, 2009, in Santa Monica and a second in April 2009 at her Costa Rican home?
-A. Gisele Bundchen & Tom Brady
-B. Beyonce & Jay-Z
-C. Miranda Kerr & Orlando Bloom
-D. Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds
11. Which celebrity sweetheart couple was married in front of one lone guest on the beaches of the British West Indies?
-A. Fergie & Josh Duhamel
-B. Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel
-C. Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert
-D. Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck
12. After being linked to high-profile boyfriends including Scott Wolf, Corey Haim, and Justin Timberlake, who walked down the aisle to marry a behind-the-scenes agent named David Bugliari on August 15, 2009?
-A. Alyssa Milano
-B. Julianna Margulies
-C. Ellen Pompeo
-D. Malin Akerman
13. Which couple earned the most money for exclusive rights to their wedding photos?
-A. Eva Longoria & Tony Parker from OK!
-B. Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones from OK!
-C. Kim Kardashian & Kris Humphries from People
-D. Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher from OK!
14. Which couple managed to avoid the prying paparazzi by plotting a Montana mountaintop wedding only to marry in remote Puglia, Italy, in 2012?
-A. Matthew McConaughey & Camila Alves
-B. Natalie Portman & Benjamin Millepied
-C. Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel
-D. Anne Hathaway & Adam Shulman
15. Which wife did Tom Cruise marry on Christmas Eve?
-A. Mimi Rogers
-B. Nicole Kidman
-C. Katie Holmes
1. Beyonce and Jay-Z (April 4, 2008)
2. Michael Caine (January 8, 1973)
3. Rush Limbaugh (May 27, 1994)
4. Sonny & Cher (October 27, 1964)
5. Vera Wang (June 22, 1989)
6. Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee (February 19, 1995)
7. George Harrison (January 21, 1966)
8. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick (May 19, 1997)