PHARR — When it comes to love, people often say “when you know you know,” such was the case for two senior couples here at Brook Ridge Retirement Community who decided to get married earlier this year.

Martha Snyder looks over at her husband Bob as they celebrate their recent wedding at Brook Ridge Retirement Community on Friday, June 25, 2021, in Pharr.. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Jim and Ruth Groves, who have been residents of Brook Ridge since February, shared the story of how they met at a senior citizen center.

“One day after we exited the place I saw her walking across the parking lot and decided it was time to meet her,” Jim, 90, said of the time he met Ruth, 93.

He said it was love at first sight. Eight years later, the two were married on May 2 of this year at a Presbyterian church in Weslaco.

Bob and Martha Snyder met in September 2020 during a walk Bob was taking with his dog, Dottie. Martha, 58, was sitting at a nearby bench and Dottie strayed from him to sit on Martha’s lap.

“People probably know that a dog is the best judge of character that there is, and my dog introduced me to her,” Bob, 87, said.

The two were married on Jan. 8 by the court but never received a wedding reception due to the limitations of the pandemic.

In honor of the two occasions, the staff and Brook Ridge decided to throw a wedding reception for the two couples to celebrate their unions.

“I feel that even though we did go through a very hard time, life is still beautiful and they can still enjoy it and they can still have fun,” Elsa Rios, executive director of Brook Ridge, said. “They are proof of that.”

Rios said her staff was excited to celebrate the weddings, given that the last wedding they had was 12 years ago.

Bob Snyder plays with his dog Dottie as his wife Martha sits near by as they talk about their recent wedding at Brook Ridge Retirement Community on Friday, June 25, 2021, in Pharr.. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Throughout the reception the newlyweds’ bonds were undeniable.

Jim, who uses hearing aids, cannot hear much. Yet, somehow he was always able to make out Ruth’s voice above the noise.

“I’ve never met a kinder, more thoughtful woman than Ruth,” Jim said. “I know there’s a lot of them around but I’m very lucky to find her.”

The two embraced on the dance floor as they celebrated their second shot at love.

Both had been married before but were widowed by their partners.

Jim’s advice for other couples is to follow their hearts.

“If you’re in doubt go ahead and get married, don’t wait so long,” he said. “We did, we should have been married four years ago without a doubt.”

The two don’t intend to waste anymore time and plan on traveling the country as soon as the pandemic permits.

The Snyders celebrated their union with the one who brought them together, Dottie, their pet dog.

Bob Snyder celebrates his recent wedding with a toast at Brook Ridge Retirement Community on Friday, June 25, 2021, in Pharr.. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

After being divorced, Martha said she never expected to find love again.

“It just happened and it’s a blessing because we complement each other,” she said

The Snyders are an enthusiastic couple and have big plans for their future together.

Despite the hardships they have endured individually, Bob and Martha look forward to uniting their families and renewing their vows next May to declare their love for each other in front of their children and grandchildren.

Bob said, “For any man who chooses to get married there are two words he needs to learn very well.”

Before he could finish his sentence Martha replied the two magic words “Yes dear.”

“That’s the secret to a long happy marriage,” Bob said.