“We laugh a lot, and if we aren’t laughing, we sit down and talk about it. We are also reading a newlyweds book together. It is for people in their 20s, but we still find a few helpful things,” Martha Genshaw explained as her hand rested on her new husband, Marvin’s, arm.
Despite only being married since early October 2021, Marvin and Martha, residents at Brightview Avondell in Bel Air, move and speak as if they’ve been together for much longer. The casual touches on the arm, the laughs, and the loving gaze all speak to the love they’ve found in this chapter of their lives.
Marvin moved into Brightview Avondell in 2015 with his wife, Oleita. After living in Indiana, the couple searched for a senior living community. They searched for a time before considering visiting Oleita’s native Harford County and finding Brightview Avondell. They lived together until Oleita sadly passed in 2019.
Martha lived in Harford County for 47 years, teaching French and music at local schools such as Harford Day School, St. John School, The John Carroll School, and Harford Community College. When house maintenance projects started piling up, Martha felt the time was right to pursue a new living situation.
“I’ve been aware of Brightview since living in Bel Air for ten years, so when the time was right, I came to Avondell,” Martha said. “I also think because of COVID and being by myself, I was very ready to be here and be part of things.”
Martha moved into Brightview Avondell in October 2020, and due to the community’s COVID guidelines, she was seated at Marvin’s dinner table. This dinner group became close and often participated in activities and swimming together. Martha and Marvin also participated in the community’s SPICE in Motion fitness classes three times a week. That’s when Marvin truly started to catch Martha’s eye.
“He sat behind me in exercise class, and he would tease me,” Martha laughed. Soon after, Marvin asked Martha to walk around the community and look at the flowers with him. She called her son to ask if it sounded like a date, and he encouraged her to go for it.
After that initial walk, Marvin and Martha’s relationship continued to grow. “I noticed she wasn’t coming down to breakfast, so I started bringing her a banana every morning,” Marvin said. That small moment touched Martha so much that she purchased Marvin a pair of banana socks when she went to the beach with her daughter!
After months of holding hands during their outdoor walks, Marvin asked Martha to marry him, and she agreed! The two were married at Brightview Avondell on October 2, 2021 – the only day when all four of their children could make the ceremony! A friend from their dinner table, Irma, led the ceremony, and Marvin even wore his special banana socks for the occasion!
The couple is very blessed to have found support from their friends and family as they embark on this new journey together. Marvin and Martha are currently moving into a new apartment in the community and making it their home.
“I don’t know who thought it was a good idea for Marvin to move in first,” Martha joked. “He moved in very comfortably with his 2000 books and other stuff! We’re not exactly settled in, but day by day, it gets better.”
The Genshaws are still in a bit of disbelief that they’ve found each other and become so close. During their walks around the building, the two would talk about deep subjects, like religion and their children. Martha started attending Marvin’s bible study, and they learned deeper and more profound things about each other.
“I haven’t talked to a woman like this for many years,” Marvin explained. Martha added, “He is very quiet, but when he’s ready to speak, he has something to say. I’m the chatterbox, and he was laughing at things I didn’t know were funny.”
While marriage isn’t a new concept to both Marvin and Martha, they are both enjoying the learning and growing phase all newlyweds endure. “Some days are more adventurous than others, some days are bland, but we are grateful,” Martha said.
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village®, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.