Belmont Village Senior Living La Jolla unveiled its new permanent photography installation, the ‘Lasting Love Gallery,’ on Thursday, Nov. 30. The gallery showcased photos of nine couples who reside in the community.
As the unveiling began, residents gathered to enjoy the photos. The once-empty lounge turned into a lively banquet hall in an instant. San Diego Community Newspaper Group (SDCNG) talked with two couples featured on the wall.
Marilyn and Edward Rauser have been together for almost 50 years, and Selma Lee and Amnon Ben-Yehuda for over 70 years. SDCNG asked them to share their love story and how they have managed their relationship healthily for this long.
“It was love at first sight,” said Edward Rauser.
Marilyn and Edward Rauser vividly remember their first meeting. They first met at a ‘Parents Without Partners’ meeting. Edward Rauser was one of the co-hosts of the meeting, and when he answered the door for Marilyn Rauser, he thought, “Oh my god, she’s here. I’ve been going to all these different meetings, and I finally met the one that I wanted.”
Since she was a new member, she didn’t talk much other than to Edward Rauser, and that was the beginning of their connection.
However, they couldn’t see each other for another two months after the first meeting because there were other men after Marilyn Rauser. Edward Rauser didn’t give up and kept trying to call to arrange another date with her. “He was persistent about it, and I’m glad he was,” said Marilyn Rauser. Finally, they could make their relationship exclusive without interference from other men.
They dated for a couple of years and got married in California. Marilyn Rauser had a daughter, and Edward Rauser had a son. Their son was a pre-teen at that time, so they were worried about whether he would find it difficult to accept a new mother. “About the third day, he came home and said, ‘Mom, I’m going running,’ and I gave him a big hug, and from then on, I’ve been mom,” said Marilyn Rauser with a big smile on her face.
Selma Lee and Amnon Ben-Yehuda met at the Hillel club while they were in college.
“Selma used to lead an Israeli folk dancing group, and I was creating the music. She had an assignment to go from Berkeley to Sacramento on a certain weekend to lead the group over there, and she needed the music. She called me, and I said, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ That was our first week together,” Ben-Yehuda recalled the memory of their first date.
They got married just after the end of junior year. “In those days, you didn’t just move in like you do today. We were in deep love, and we knew we wanted to live together and build our lives together. We said ‘Let’s get married,’” noted Ben-Yehuda.
He got into the car and drove straight to Los Angeles after his last exam, and that was the springboard of their 72-year marriage.
Maintaining a happy relationship, unlike the fairy tales with perpetually blissful princes and princesses, is no easy feat for two people who may be vastly different. SDCNG sought insights from two couples on the key to the longevity of their connections.
“Commitment. It is such an important aspect because as we travel through life, there are challenges, and we are two different individuals, and we don’t always necessarily are in total sync,” said Ben-Yehuda. “And never keep a secret because that is going to eat you up for the rest of your life. It will cause stress and it could shorten your life.”
“Try to work out your compromises with equally taking care of things. You don’t want to have arguments over stuff you won’t even remember what you were arguing about,” noted Edward Rauser.
In Belmont Village, loves that blossomed decades ago still bloom in full, refusing to wither away.
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