This Is What 50 Years Of True Love Looks Like

It's almost impossible to imagine our grandparents when they were our age — let alone what they were like when they first fell in love. When photographer Lauren Fleishman found a box of love letters her grandfather wrote to her grandmother during World War II, they revealed more than just the fact that he was incredibly romantic.

"They were able to show me a side of my grandfather that I hadn't known: him as a young man, filled with the joy of being a newlywed," she explained to Refinery29 over email. "In one of the love letters, my grandfather wrote to my grandmother, 'I love you with all my heart, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.' As a young woman, it was the type of sentiment I could understand and relate to."

But the letters weren't just a meaningful piece of personal history. They also inspired Fleishman to launch a massive, six-year photo series devoted to documenting the love stories of long-married couples from all over the globe. A beautiful book version of the project came out earlier this year.

As for whether anything she learned from these couples can apply to you? "Many of the couples were first loves — and they didn't have the experience of being heartbroken or picking up those pieces and trying again which can be really tough," Fleishman says. Still, there was one piece of repeated advice that stuck with her: "Relationships evolve over decades. Many of the couples said you can fall in love with the same person over and over again."

Ahead, meet just a selection of couples from her incredible journey — you might just learn something about love in the process.
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Sol & Gloria Holtzman
Married on January 16, 1954

"I was the kind of girl that fell in love right away. So the next day, I would tell my friend, 'Terrific, I mean, I'm in love already.' But after the first date with Sol, I did not feel that way. I told my friend, 'No, he was very nice. We had a good time, but that was it.' She was the one that came back with the statement, 'I bet this is the guy you're gonna end up marrying!'" — Gloria
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Moses & Tessie Rubenstein
Married on June 21, 1942

"Now I’m going on 88; my wife is 85, and I’m only wishing for another five or six years of life. This is all we want. We’d like to see our grandchildren get married and be happy like we were. As a matter of fact, I always say to my wife, 'I wish I could reach 94.' That’s the aim of my existence. And I'd hate to leave my little wife here. And she'd hate to leave me." — Moses
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Yevgeniy & Lyubov Kissin
Married on June 29, 1941

"We met at a dancing party. It was in January 1938. My friend invited me to the party, he said there would be a lot of beautiful young girls. Another cadet with high boots had approached her, but she didn’t like high boots and so she said no to him. I was the second one to approach her. I had a different uniform, but I’m still not sure if it was my uniform or my face that attracted her to me." — Yevgeniy
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Jake & Mary Jacobs
Married on April 27, 1948

"Jake said to me, 'Would it ever be possible for me to marry you?' And I said, 'possible but not probable!' And that’s how it was; it wasn’t likely that I would ever marry him, and he knew that. So when he went home to Trinidad, my mother and father breathed a sigh of relief. But he used to write, and he said,'I’m thinking I might come back to England.'” — Mary
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Joseph & Dorothy Bolotin
Married on June 16, 1938

"I never think of it in terms of years. I think of it in terms of good years. In love, hot romance doesn’t last forever. So I would say that, yes, I think love changes. I would say we’re still in love. We still love each other. It’s focusing, doing little things. He’s an amazing man." — Dorothy
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Gino & Angie Terranova
Married on September 27, 1947

"You really don’t think about getting older. First of all, you’re aging together, and when you see a person constantly, you don’t notice big changes. Like you don’t notice, oh you’re getting a little wrinkle here, and tomorrow you say it’s a little deeper. No, those are things that just happen. You don’t pay attention to those things. I mean, I’m not thinking every day, 'Oh my husband’s 83 years old, he’s gonna be 84, oh my goodness, I’m married to an old man!' And I hope he feels that way, too." — Angie
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Yaakov & Mariya Shapirshteyn
Married on July 6, 1949

"What is the secret to love? A secret is a secret, and I don’t reveal my secrets." — Yaakov
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Jin Lin & Lai Mei Chen
Married on February 4, 1961

"We had so many things in common it was like our hearts were the same. I love that we get along and that we can talk all the time." — Jin Lin
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Aldo de’Spagnolis & Maria Filiozzi
Married on October 23, 1949

"We’ve almost become like young lovers again. We’re just one. Even if we don’t show it openly, as time goes by, we are more than ever one. The affection is always there. All I want is to always be close to my wife." — Aldo
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fleishman.
Itig & Golda Pollac
Married on August 13, 1946

"I would say love came little by little. Not right away. We were young. And he was older, but I liked him. He spoke to me in a very nice way." — Golda