It’s always hard when a marriage ends in divorce. Suddenly the person you thought was the love of your life is gone, and it can be hard to find that spark again, especially at an older age.
However, one woman’s story is proving that love works in mysterious ways—and it can always come back to you when you least expect it.
In 2015, a woman named Renate Stumpf was working as a Walmart greeter in Fort Smith, Arkansas. But on Valentine’s Day that year, she got an unexpected visitor.
The guest was a man who had driven all the way from Memphis to see her, and he was holding a sign.
Stumpf didn’t notice him at first—but then she turned around and saw the sign he was holding.
“Hey good lookin,’” he said. “Happy Valentine’s Day! Will you marry me?”
The man’s name was Louis Demetriades. It was a stunning proposal—not just because Stumpf never expected it, but because of the unusual circumstances between them:
Demetriades is Stumpf’s ex-husband … who returned 43 years after their divorce.
Demetriades and Stumpf first fell in love when they were just 18, at an Army base in Germany.
“I was working in the kitchen at the army base, and he was a soldier,” Stumpf told ABC News. “The first time I ever saw him, he asked me if I could fix him a hamburger.”
“He liked who he saw, so he asked to go help me out in the kitchen.”
The two began a relationship and were married in 1959, after moving back to the U.S.
The couple had three kids together—but married life proved to be difficult.
“We had little financial support, I didn’t know anything and I could barely speak English,” Stumpf said. “We started arguing about every little thing.”
They divorced after 13 years of marriage.
The former couple didn’t speak in all their time apart. Both partners eventually remarried, but their respective spouses have since passed away.
But after four decades, they started to rekindle their relationship.
Demetriades came back into Stumpf’s life when he reached out to their daughter on Facebook. The exes rekindled their friendship over some phone calls … and soon realized the spark was still there.
“When we saw each other again last December, we knew right then we still loved each other for sure,” Stumpf said. “That love has never passed.”
And two months after finally reuniting, Demetriades was ready to get back together and re-propose … so what was Stumpf’s reply?
“No,” she said. But quickly adjusted her answer:
“Yes, but not today!”
Stumpf may have needed a little more time before jumping back into marriage, but she was willing to give her old flame another shot.
“43 years is a long time and to say ‘yes’ right away,” Stumpf explained to KFSM. “I’m going to have to test him a little bit first! I will marry him though, because he’s a good man.”
While there may not have been immediate wedding bells, the proposal meant a lot to Stumpf.
“The best Valentine I ever had in my life,” she said.
“There’s no rush at my age,” Stumpf added to ABC News. “God put us together again, and it couldn’t be any other way after all these years.”
While we haven’t found updates since this 2015 story came out, hopefully the duo is doing well today!