I met Muriel in my Junior year of college at the University of Connecticut.  She was dating my best friend.  That would have been 1965.  A while later, after she’d stopped dating him because he wasn’t Jewish (I’m fairly certain he didn’t know why), I asked her to a party at my fraternity and she accepted.  She thought my last name was Green, which could be Jewish.  It wasn’t … I was raised Catholic.  Our parents were not overjoyed … in varying degrees … with the prospect of an interfaith marriage.  Three years later, after several breakups to please the folks, we were married in a Connecticut synagogue.   It took some effort to find a Rabbi that would marry us.  That was forty-seven years ago today.

Anniversaries make me pensive these days.  I wonder how on earth I chose a woman that I would spend the rest of my life with at the age of 21.  People ask, too, when we say how long we’ve been married, What’s your secret?  In the Jewish tradition, a basheert is a partner chosen for you by God at your birth.  I believe that can happen but I also believe we are very capable of screwing up God’s plan.  If you had asked Muri and I back in 1968 if our marriage was for life, I think we’d both have said, Of course.  I think that’s important … if you don’t go in believing, it’s too easy to give up … but it’s no guarantee either.  Weekly date nights through not just the good times and the middle times but the bad times help, too.

Today, I’m thinking about how Muri and I have balanced each other.    We are different in as many ways as we are alike.  We are alike in our values, our love of home, family and friends.  We are both spiritual and try to lead a good life,balance although we take very different paths.  I am a searcher and sometimes an over thinker and Muri likes to keep it simple.  We both love theater and like movies.  I love music and Muri says, It’s OK.   We both value our time alone.  Muri likes things neat and me?  Not so much.   Muri is organized and disciplined, which is why she’s always handled our finances.  I can be sort of a free-spirit, although I can be very disciplined in my work.  Speaking of which, I’m a techno-geek and Muri is definitely not … my fascination with my smart phone bugs her.  I tend to be more adventuresome and Muri is more of a homebody.  We are both emotional but I tend to wear mine on my sleeve, while she tends to keep it hidden from all but a few.  The list goes on.

In my years as an adult, I’ve seen many marriages.  Some fail because the partners chose poorly.  But among those marriages that last, it seems to me that the partners always balance each other in some way.   I suspect that a marriage to someone just like ourselves would be a disaster.   Perhaps a basheert is intended to accompany us along a path we’d never follow on our own.  I think some marriages end because of expectations, the expectation that marriage should be easy.   Being balanced by someone else … having yourself pushed in a direction you would never go on you own, even if it is better for you … is never easy.  And yet 47 years down the road, there you are, a different … and better … person than you’d have been alone.

47See?  I told you I was an over-thinker.   Not exactly a romantic anniversary post.  But today will be a romantic day for us in the way that only a couple who’ve spent most of their years sharing life’s ups and downs can be romantic.  Happy Anniversary, Muri.

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3 Comments on “Forty-Seven”

  1. Muriel Reed Says:

    Happy Anniversary to you too, Buddy Reed:).

  2. browney237 Says:

    Wonderful post.
    As a long term married (35 years) to my very favourite person in the world I can only but agree.
    I’m not sure what I expected when we celebrated my then new wife’s 21st birthday in our flat but up it seems to have worked so far.
    Happy Anniversary

  3. Cat Says:

    I so agree with your post! My husband and I have been married just shy of 25 years, and he has commented more than once about his weaknesses are my strengths, and are mine his… I love writing, he thinks it’s a drudgery. He would eat the same meal, at the same time, every day. I like to try new things… And sometimes really oddball things. Him? Cereal. Me, hey, would sushi be good for breakfast?

    Yes, balance, and commitment. A fine combination.


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