Nonie Dubes, 90, and Vivian Boyack, 91, have spent most of their lives madly in love with each other… and they never told a single soul about it. They kept their relationship under wraps for more than half a century for fear that they would be judged. But after all that time, they’re finally legally married and out to the world.

“It’s just one of those things. You know, those people who talk about falling in love with their wife or husband, or whatever, on first notice or first viewing. So, it happened with me I guess,” Nonie told The Des Moines Register. “I can tell you exactly what she had on,” she said of Vivian, “a gray dress with black velvet trim and big pearl buttons.” 


Nonie, left, and Vivian.

A friend of theirs, Jerry Yeast, visited them with his wife and found only one bed in their room at the retirement home. He, like many others, assumed they were just close friends who lived together. Gay marriage was legalized in Iowa in 2009 and the pair had thought about it. Once Jerry found out about their love, he insisted they finally make it official.

After some deliberation, Nonie and Vivian decided they would tie the knot. “I always wanted a wedding,” Vivian said.

The rings.

“This is a celebration of something that should have happened a very long time ago,” said Reverend Linda Hunsaker, who officiated the wedding. After 72 years together, married life couldn’t be that much different for the two. Jerry, however, noticed a difference: "I began to hear them addressing each other as 'sweetie' or 'dear' which they had never done before in public. They had learned to live with their heads down so long. And now they don't have to live with their heads down."


Images via The Des Moines Register


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Katie is a writer from and based in NYC. She enjoys discovering new bands to listen to, reading, and Googling "baby animals in party hats."