By: Andrea Barbalich
All You Need Is...
While we were putting this issue together, Editor-in-Chief Esther Davidowitz and her husband, Mitchell Stephens, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Who better, then, to give advice on enjoying a long and happy marriage? When I asked for her secret, she deflected attention from herself and instead began talking about her parents.
They are both Holocaust survivors, Esther told me, who hail from the same small town in Czechoslovakia. They lost nearly all their relatives in the war and wed soon after. “My mother says that when my father proposed—if you call ‘You’re a good woman and I want to settle down’ a proposal—she, then only nineteen, didn’t know whether to accept,” Esther said.
This may not sound like the most romantic beginning, but her parents are still together 61 years later. Her mother sets out her father’s coffee cup and cereal bowl every night before she goes to bed. Her dad prefers her mom’s chicken soup and stuffed cabbage to anyone else’s.
This past Valentine’s Day, Esther’s father, to the tremendous surprise of their family and friends, gave her mother a bouquet of apricot-colored roses. When a neighbor asked, “What happened? What made you buy your wife flowers?” his answer was straightforward: “I love her.”
“Sweet and simple—like a long and happy marriage,” their daughter says. And when I asked Miriam Arond, Scarsdale resident and co-author of the book The First Year of Marriage with her husband, Samuel Pauker, MD—themselves married 26 years—for her comment, she said the Davidowitzes have the right idea. “Each spouse needs to feel cherished,” Arond says. I echo her sentiment—and wish you decades of love and happiness ahead.