Brides is committed to guiding ALL couples through not only their wedding planning journey, but through relationship milestones and ups and downs. Every love story is beautiful, has its own distinct history, and its own trials—there's no relationship that looks the same. To celebrate that uniqueness, we're asking couples to open up about their love story, for our latest column, "Love Looks Like This." Below, Gloria Lushing and Dr. Arnold (Arny) Gilberg tell their love story.
A Special First Date
Gloria: Arny’s been involved with a lot of the charities I’ve been involved with myself for many years. I’ve known him from the L.A. community. When I found myself to be alone, he decided to pick up the phone 15 months after my loss in 2009 and ask me out. I was nervous. I hadn’t been out with another man for so many years. That said, we had a wonderful first date. I wasn’t looking for a future with another man, unless it was something that was really right for me. I never even thought about connecting with someone else. But, I went into it with an open heart. We got to know one another, and I fell in love with who he was and here we are today.
Arny: The feelings are mutual. I was at a time in my life where I was looking to get into a solid relationship and be permanently committed. I also fell in love and it was something neither one of us expected to happen. On our first date, I wanted it to be very special. There was a restaurant that had just opened in Beverly Hills, and at that time there was about a month wait to get a table. I remember calling the restaurant and asking them to try to help me out and said it was a first date and that I wanted it to be special. The hostess said it was all taken care of, and then when we arrived on the date, there was champagne waiting for us at the table.
Gloria: As we were leaving the restaurant on that date, there was a stairway going down to the ground floor and he asked ‘Can I hold your hand’ and I thought, ‘hmm….’ I was so nervous at the time. I said, ‘It seems to me I’ve known you for 20 years, so yes, you can hold my hand.’
Love After Loss
Gloria: Arny picked me up when I was at the lowest ebb of my life. After getting to know one another, I realized that you can love again and that it’s okay. You have one life to live. I knew how much the man who unfortunately passed away had loved and adored me. He was always so sensitive to my being happy, and I knew he would be happy for me. I had no guilt, I knew that this was not my choice. But since it happened, I knew how lucky it was that I found this man in my life who had so much to give. I found a lot of characteristics that I had experienced with my late husband. And, how lucky I was to find a second chance for happiness, well into our 80s.
Arny: The other part of the story is that I knew her late husband. We had a cordial relationship. I had been single for at least 20 years. Although I had had relationships over the years, I was in a different place. I didn’t come from a place of loss, but I came from a place of knowing that I wanted to get into a very committed relationship.
A Ring and an Engagement
Arny: There were two different engagements in a way. I gave Gloria a ring maybe six or seven years ago. We didn’t call it an engagement ring. We called it a commitment ring. We officially got engaged in the fall of 2021. We started looking for a date when we could get all of our family together, which was hard. We had been in a committed relationship for almost 14 years before we decided to get married.
Gloria: I felt that ‘if not now, when.’ I wanted to get away from being called Arny’s significant other, partner, or girlfriend. That didn’t work for me. I knew I needed something more. I suggested it to Arny and he was very happy. That’s how it all started. What took so long for me to bring up the subject of getting married was that I was very concerned about how my family would take it.
Being the grandmother and mother that I am, I’m always concerned about my children and their take. I know it could have been a very sensitive subject in their lives. The bottom line was that they love Arny and they love me. It’s our lives and they wanted us to make a decision that would make us happy. We just wanted there to be harmony at every angle. I’m so happy we made this decision, and we felt so much love around us.
Arny: I feel that whether you remarry at the age of 35 or 85, if there are children involved, there can be a certain amount of anxiety. This isn’t symptomatic of just our age.
A Los Angeles Wedding With Family
Gloria: We wanted to keep it simple and respectable and healthy because of the environment we’re in. We chose to do something just with family at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles because it’s kind of like a second home to us. We felt it would be safe with just the family, which included 36 people. It was intimate and personal. The people who were there cared about us and us about them and we treated it just like a larger wedding. We had a videographer, photographer, and musician. Everybody was happy and dancing and making toasts.
I wanted the whole morning to be understated and elegant. Our getting married does not take away from any of the love that I had before this commitment. This is what our rabbi shared at the ceremony, too. How fortunate we were to have that decision to make.
Arny: I felt that I was finally at home. The idea of getting married was very exciting for me because of the deep commitment I have for my wife. We wanted it to be important but not formal.
A Surreal Ceremony
Arny: We loved everything about the wedding. Our guests, the wedding, Rabbi Wolpe’s comments, and the party afterward. We asked the band to stay later because everyone was having such a good time. Both of us loved it. The best part for me was the ceremony and seeing our families have this unbelievable time together with a lot of love and spoken words. It was an amazing experience for me.
Gloria: I would say ‘ditto’ to everything Arny said. It was surreal. It felt like a dream. It was hard for me to be really grounded because it was so surreal. And that’s how I remember it: being happy but just thinking ‘is this really happening’. I’m just so lucky it was real.
Arny: Our relationship and our marriage is unusual in a certain way because it’s a remarriage. All of our adult children get along with each other. This has been going on for 14 to 15 years. I have to give the credit to Gloria. She has this ability to know how to keep a family together.
One of the reasons I think why we got married is because we have lived together for all of these years in a conflict-free relationship. From my point of view, the only challenge that we have is that my health has not been so perfect for the last eight or nine months. Everything between us just works.
Gloria: We’re very compatible and it’s very harmonious. Basically, we think alike, eat alike, and sleep alike. We respect one another. It’s easy. We don’t have to work very hard at our relationship. We just keep expressing our feelings for one another and it’s very natural.
Gloria: In a nutshell, anything is possible.
Arny: I would agree. We’re seniors and our journey is an example that we all have the capacity to fall in love again.
Gloria: I did expect our contemporaries to say to us, ‘What do you need to do this for, at your age?’ Nobody has said that to us! Instead, they have expressed their happiness for us and celebrated with us and that it’s a lesson to be learned about finding love at any age. I’m just feeling so grateful.
Gratitude and the Future
Arny: What I’m most grateful for is waking up every day and my wife being next to me. We have this wonderful, loving life together and almost every night before we go to sleep we tell each other that we love each other. It’s amazing and beautiful. People who are more senior can still fall so deeply in love and maybe even find better relationships than younger people. We’ve figured out what’s important to make a relationship so loving. The older you get, the more you appreciate what you have and stop worrying so much about what you don’t have.
Gloria: There isn’t anything much more for me to add to that. I so appreciate and relish the treasure of our connection with one another. I know that he is always there for me and he knows I am there for him. We are lucky.
Arny: We have it all!