Andrews, 68, and Muchler, 66, were wed Nov. 6 in Wilmington, Del., after 42 years together.
Andrews, who is originally from New York, and Muchler, a Pittsburgh native, lived in Philadelphia for 33 years before moving to Collingswood, N.J.
Andrews works as a hair colorist and Muchler as an administrator in radiology for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The two met at the bar in the fall of 1971 and moved in together later that year. Andrews said they’ve considered themselves married for years.
“Marriage has many different meanings,” he said. “With young people it can be about the ceremony and pomp, and that never figured into the way we felt.”
Before they became an item, Muchler would occasionally visit Allegro and began talking to Andrews, who said he was taken back by Muchler’s handsome appearance, beautiful hair, posture and warm personality.
Muchler said he was drawn to Andrews’ good looks, and that his partner has the same infectious smile as he did in 1971.
Both men came out after the Stonewall Riots in the 1960s and said they are in awe of the pace of the marriage-equality movement in the United States.
“I didn’t think any of this would happen as fast as it did,” Andrews said. “During the last few years, I became angry that I didn’t have my civil rights and I am now grateful that it is happening so quickly.”
The pair applied for a civil union in 2002 in New Jersey on the very first day that option became available, but said they had already begun making plans for their wedding in Delaware before marriage equality was legalized in the Garden State.
Andrews said the two decided to marry in part to validate their legal commitment to one another.
“We knew we would get married soon considering we are getting older,” he said. “We come from liberal families who would abide by power of attorney, but we wanted to have laws that are in place where we would be protected.”
The pair had a simple ceremony that Muchler said was both meaningful and emotional.
“When the actual day came, everyone was pleasant and accommodating and we stood and recited the vows to one another. Something came over me — it just meant so much,” he said. “I didn’t know what to feel or anticipate but once we were in the process of doing that, it was affirmation and an opportunity to feel and confirm what we felt with each other. It meant a great deal and we are so glad that people are getting the opportunity to get married. I hope the whole country sees it that way eventually.”
Andrews said the two have similar interests, which has helped them grow into a more committed and understanding couple.
“We both think you have to have things in common and your heart has to be somewhat in the same place,” he said. “We found that much of what we enjoyed was similar and that was the beginning of the journey, and it grew from that.”
The spouses have had their struggles like every other couple, Muchler said, but at the end of the day, their love is what means the most.
“We’ve had our ups and downs as relationships do, but we both understood that we meant a great deal to each other. When you are with somebody for so long, you have a history of bonding and dedication to one another,” he said. “You reach a point where it is comfortable and without saying a word, we are caring and dedicated to one another. I can’t imagine life without him.”