Tying the knot is not the first choice of every couple these days. Joyce Silver and Jesse Koch got hitched in part because of the grandchildren.
A new trend in retirement is for couples to live together outside the marriage bond. In fact, unmarried seniors living together are the fastest growing segment of cohabitants in the United States. People don’t want to put up with loneliness. They want to live together. But they are likely to remain unmarried to avoid tax issues and inheritance questions.
Joyce, however, wanted to get past certain moments she had experienced with her grandchildren. “I was uncomfortable when they’d introduce us – ‘This is my grandma. This is Jesse. They’re not married.”
They started going out when each was separated from a first spouse and five years after they met on a Jerusalem bus. That was bus No. 10 on a United Jewish Appeal Mission in Israel in April of 1990.
Back in New York, they met again when Joyce and her sister went to look for a nursing home for their parents. Jesse reappeared and offered helpful advice. He had been through the experience in finding the right place for his mother.
Joyce has a bit of advice for women of all ages who are looking for a good man. “Hang out at the Hebrew Home for the Aged,” she says. “Good guys go there to visit their mothers.”
In 1994, Joyce’s sister died. Jesse paid a shiva call. “I noticed that he was alone, and I asked my daughter to check his status,” says Joyce. “It turns out that we were both separated and we soon started to go out.”
Joyce lived in Manhattan and loved it. She loved going to the movies and the theater. He didn’t. Jesse lived in Westchester. He had retired from the shoe business. Joyce was – and is –working as a court stenographer.
“I love her vibrancy,” says Jesse. “She is both carefree and loving.
Joyce says: “I love his joie de vivre and he makes me laugh. I believe that’s key to a successful relationship.”
Joyce also appreciates Jesse’s sense of compassion for others, noting that he volunteers regularly at a center for rehabilitation. “Jesse thinks young,” she says.
Jesse took the plunge and moved in with Joyce in her Manhattan apartment. “She opened my eyes to the wonders of the big city,” he says. He took the initiative again when they were visiting grandchildren in California and proposed in February 2011. She said yes. Joyce was 70, and Jesse was 80. Their grown-up children – now middle-aged themselves – had no problem with this.
“I believe in the institution of marriage,” says Jesse. “In fact, twice I’ve been a successful matchmaker. And I love Joyce. I’m so proud to have her my wife today.”
The couple chose to marry in Israel – where they had first met. And they did what any trendy, young at heart couple does nowadays. They had the wedding ceremony on the beach at sunset. Jesse and Joyce were married in Herzliya on May 12, 2011. Mazal tov!