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Posted: November 5, 2013 9:00 p.m.

Open mind, heart allows marriage at 60

In years gone by, a woman in America who wasn’t married between ages 18 and 25 was known as an "old maid."

Well, my "I do’s" didn’t take place until I was age 60.

My mother used to tell me, "You can marry in a nursing home." My mother was married young, to a handsome veteran of World War II. I think that Army uniform had a lot to do with her judgment. She never had a chance.

Mother never encouraged me to marry early; my getting a good education was very important to her.

Thus, I followed her advice, got an education, had great jobs and learned about me and what I wanted out of life. Of course, what I learned while dating never prepared me for 24/7 marriage.

What is marriage? Some say pain and suffering; some say a good way to lose one’s self. Some say they just have no definition for this union. But as I understand it from a dictionary definition, marriage is a legal union between a man and a woman. (In some places in America, that definition is changing.)

Getting married at the age of 60 was different. This was my first marriage. I was a newlywed, and that came with all the "first-time bride’’ issues. I was unaccustomed to someone always wanting something from me. The balancing act was difficult for the first couple of years.

I wasn’t a woman who ironed; I didn’t own an iron nor an ironing board. I was given both, and I haven’t used them more than 10 times in nearly five years.

If you marry late in life, you will have to make a lot of adjustments, and so should the person you marry. But it can be done and, might I add, successfully.

After age 50, most of your friends are married, which means they may or may not be a good source of help with dating issues. And you may well have health issues once you are past age 50; hopefully, you are able to date even if you have medical problems. However, at this age, you must realize you aren’t young, only young at heart.

There are very important questions that must be asked of yourself and the person you may meet:

First, you must be honest with yourself about yourself. What I am saying is tell yourself the "truth." Do not try to act in a way that is misleading to the person you may meet. If the person you are dating has children, be honest if you don’t want to raise children. Blended families can be difficult.

When I met my spouse, I was alone. My mother had died, my dog was sick, and my birds had died in a fire.

I was living with my brother. I was no longer a young woman. Age was catching up to me; it was unavoidable.

I was descending into middle age, frankly old age.

When I met my future husband and realized I was committed to caring for this man, I needed to be flexible. Staying set in your ways will keep you alone at home with no mate to share your life with.

They say age is only a number, but this is only partly true.

Here’s what really matters:

1. You must know that the person you are dating is a good person.

2. Tell that person what you expect of him/her and what you expect of you, too.

3. You must be able to share your thoughts and feelings.

4. Tell the truth about sex and what you are willing and not willing to take part in.

5. Keep a separate and a joint bank account if you marry.

6. Decide on why you want to marry this person if it comes to that.

There are many signs your relationship will lead to the "I do’s." Do not rush to get that gold band on your finger; give yourself time to learn about your future mate. You might even consider getting a background check. It’s all up to you.

Lastly, Covington, Ga., is a very diverse community. You do not need to date only people of your own race or background.

Keep an open mind. I did, and I am happy.

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Dorothy Frazier Piedrahita welcomes reader comments. She can be reached at ufrazier2001@yahoo.com.

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