All good things come to those who wait - just ask Ruan Yonglan.
The pensioner from Hefei, capital city of East China's Anhui Province, has been waiting 83 years to find her Mr Right.
Her quest for love even earned her a place in the record books as the oldest woman in China to seek a partner through a match-making agency. But Ruan is looking no longer, after tying the knot with 77-year-old Gu Jingqing.
Ruan spoke of her happiness, describing Gu as "a good-hearted and educated man, who is very kind to me."
A growing number of widows and widowers in China are challenging the traditional ideas that discourage single senior citizens from looking for partners.
Chinese law prohibits people - particularly the children of senior citizens - from interfering in marriage plans, but old ways die hard.
Gu, from Nanjing, capital city of neighbouring Jiangsu Province, said Ruan was the right woman for him.
He said: "She is much older than me, but is quite fit, humourous. She has given me a lot of happiness."
The marriage is the third for Ruan, who was given away by her parents the day she was born into a poverty-stricken rural family.
She later married at the age of 18 and has four sons and a daughter from the marriage.
She said her first husband died when her five children were still young. Ruan did not consider getting remarried for many years as, according to China's traditional thinking, women of integrity are supposed to defend their chastity and remain loyal to their men, dead or alive, for life.
Besides, the children of senior citizens used to consider it shameful for their parents to remarry or they opposed remarriage fearing the loss of their inheritance.
But it was too difficult for Ruan to raise five kids on her own and she later remarried to a man in Hefei. He died in 1991.
Since then, she has lived peacefully and quietly, but felt something was missing in her life. "I'm getting old and I have been well taken care of by my children, but sometimes I felt a bit lonely.
"The sight of single old people getting remarried on TV programmes prompted me to do something for myself. With the help of my brother's wife, I decided to look for my better half through a local match-making agency, known as 'Bridge of Love,' in February last year."
Song Hui, a psychological consultant with the agency, said he and his colleagues appreciated Yuan's courage at first, but had little hope of successfully finding her match.
Ruan attracted the attention of local media as she was then the oldest woman seeking remarriage publicly.
A reporter with Jianghuan Morning Post who covered Ruan's efforts to get remarried said: "We want to tell our readers that single senior citizens should be encouraged to look for happiness and remarriage is by no means shameful."
The response from readership encouraged Ruan, she said. Soon afterwards, an 80-year-old reader in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and another reader of similar age in Jiangsu Province responded with passionate letters.
Zhong Guifa, an 84-year-old man from the outlying Guizhou Province in Southwest China, came to Hefei to meet Ruan last year, but it was Gu who eventually won the heart of Ruan.
Ruan's courage and success had encouraged dozens of single senior residents, said Song.
(China Daily December 27, 2002)