America's Oldest Newlyweds Reveal the Secret of Finding Love at Any Age

Doris Kriks and Carl Kruse, both 96 years old, just got married last month.

Many of us think of finding love as a younger person's game—particularly if we've already spent many years happily married. But whether you're widowed, divorced, or have always flown solo, it's never too late to get hitched, if that's what you want. Just ask one couple who didn't meet until much later in life, and recently tied the knot at 96. Read on to learn more about America's oldest newlyweds, and to find out their secret for finding love at any age.

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A couple from Kansas just became America's oldest newlyweds.

Americas' oldest newlyweds marriage interview with CBS News
CBS News

Doris Kriks and Carl Kruse live in Olathe, Kansas' Cedar Lake Village senior living community, and at age 96, they just became America's oldest newlyweds, CBS News reports. The pair were married on Oct. 15 in front of more than 50 friends and family members at Cedar Lake Village's worship center, according to The Washington Post.

"We're both very traditional," Kruse told WaPo, explaining that they didn't want to move into a new apartment at the center together until after the wedding. "We didn't want to create any rumors. In a place like this, that would be a pretty good thing for people to gossip about."

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The pair's relationship started a few years ago.

Americas' oldest newlyweds marriage interview with CBS News
CBS News

Kruse had already been living in the Cedar Lake Village community for a few years before Kriks moved in about two and a half years ago, WaPo reported. But his interest was piqued when Kriks made her way into the center's pool hall.

"She was a really good pool player," Kruse told the newspaper.

The pair began to get to know each other while playing, discovering that they were both the same age and also shared an appreciation for music and scripture study.

"We found out we had similar backgrounds—she was once a pastor's wife, and my father was a Nazarene minister," Kruse said. "And we each played instruments—the violin for me, the piano for her."

They eventually started spending time as a duo outside of their billiard games, and decided to start playing music together. This led to them performing in the lobby for others every Friday afternoon, as well as joining the community's chimes and vocal choirs together.

"We both like to stay as involved in life as we can," Kruse added.

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Kriks turned down Kruse's first proposal.

Americas' oldest newlyweds marriage interview with CBS News
CBS News

When he first saw the pair playing music together, Rob Million, Cedar Lake Village's senior living administrator, said he was surprised to find out they weren't already couple.

"I was shocked when I was told they weren't together. They just seemed so natural," Million told WaPo.

Kriks said she and Kruse fell in love gradually after forming a connection, but neither of them were looking for new romance in their mid-90s. Kruse's wife died from pancreatic cancer in 2010, and Kriks, having been married twice before moving to Cedar Lake Village, had also lost a spouse to cancer.

So when Kruse first proposed to Kriks a year into their relationship, she actually turned him down. "I wasn't looking for a man," she told CBS News.

Still, Kruse decided to propose a second time just a couple months later.

"Even though she said 'no' once, I gave it another try last month. I don't give up that easily," Kruse told WaPo.

Their secret comes down to compromise—without having to change yourself.

Americas' oldest newlyweds marriage interview with CBS News
CBS News

At the time of his first proposal, Kriks admitted that she thought they were both too set in their ways to merge their lives with marriage.

"When he asked the first time, we were both 95," she told WaPo. "You don't change a lot when you're 95. I'd have to say he's been very patient."

But during his second proposal, Kruse took a different, more practical approach by showing her the larger apartment he thought they could live in once they got married, according to CBS News.

"So up we go to the second floor, and went to this room, and I was like, 'Oh, this is pretty nice.' And then he showed me the walk-in closet," Kriks said, adding that that sealed the deal and she told him "yes" right on the spot.

Of course, Kriks' decision goes deeper than a walk-in closet. Despite being an "independent woman," she said it was only after giving his second proposal some thought and running it by her family that she agreed to marry him.

"I realized that he wasn't going to try to change me, and I wasn't going to try to change him," Kriks told WaPo. "There's no reason to sit in a room alone and be isolated. It's a couple's world out there, and it's nice to have somebody who's special just to you.

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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