Favorite LOVE Links!
Discovering Keys to Lasting Matrimony
by Sheryl P. Kurland
|In the late 1940s, Ron
Farrar’s and Joan Pachtman’s passion to help those in need charted the
course for personal passion and lifelong matrimony. The West Hills
residents met in college, when Ron was a member of a veteran’s
organization and Joan belonged to a service club.
The two groups shared office space,
and their frequent sittings led to another common interest — each other.
Today, 53 wedding anniversaries later, their love is deeper and richer
than ever before.
In the United States, according to the
National Marriage Project, the odds of a marriage lasting, much less
lasting over 50 years, are dim. Statistics released by the organization
• The U.S. divorce rate is close to 50
• Today’s divorce rate is more than
double that of 1960;
• The number of people getting married
has declined 40 percent from 1970 to 2002;
• The more partners people live with, and
the longer the time they live together, the more likely they will
Even with shelves full of self-help
marriage books available today, the statistics aren’t improving.
Celebrity divorces are splashed across news headlines: Celebrities
terminate marriages as if they’re spilling out a bad cup of coffee.
We rarely hear of success stories of real
marriage experts, like that of the Farrars.
The Farrars are one of 75 couples I
interviewed — husbands and wives separately — across the United States
and Canada who’ve celebrated no less than their golden anniversaries.
Two other couples from the Los Angeles area are also featured in my
book, “Everlasting Matrimony”: Russell and Ruth Blinick of Chatsworth,
married 52 years, and Arthur and Anna Cohen of West Hills, married 54
What makes a marriage loving and lasting
until death do us part? The lessons in “Everlasting Matrimony” are
innumerable. The Farrars, Blinicks and Cohens share theirs:
Accept nothing less than permanence.
“There are many wonderful ups and
difficult downs in the course of a long marriage and certainly moments
of wanting to flee,” Russell Blinick said. “There slowly evolves,
however, a realization that something strong and reassuring is being
Blinick echoed a stalwart philosophy
expressed by others in the book that divorce was never an option.
Today’s naysayers challenging this core
commitment believe that this generation of couples stayed married, no
matter how miserable the relationship became. On the contrary, no matter
how difficult the circumstances, their attitude and determination to
keep the marriage afloat never wavered.
Through compromise and communication, and
patience and understanding, harmony eventually was restored. Ultimately,
the marital bond became more meaningful, sacred and rewarding.
Sprinkle anger with humor.
“It took us many years to learn how to
‘fight,’ but now we are aware that we have periods of stress, can argue,
get it out on the table and negotiate it, and then let go of it,” Ruth
Blinick said. “A sense of humor is always important.”
Disagreements can only be solved with
each spouse giving a little here and there, with one person sometimes
abdicating more than the other. Laughter is often the best anecdote for
So what if she mistakenly threw out the
green bean casserole that he was going to eat for lunch? Is it a major
offense that he erroneously read the friend’s party invitation, and they
showed up on the wrong date? Chastise or chuckle? The choice is yours.
Be willing to make changes. Children,
money, health — different factors, planned and unplanned, impact a
marriage over the years.
“Ideally, both [partners] should be able
to change; to initiate change and anticipate change, and sometimes
switch roles,” Anna Cohen said.
There’s no pat formula for a solid,
loving marriage. Additionally, the formula that works today will require
alterations over and over and over again throughout the years.
Capitalize on each individual’s strengths
and weaknesses. Pooling talents, skills, likes and dislikes creates a
“We found that we worked very well
together as a team,” Joan Farrar said. “When we teamed up, we found that
we could do anything together.”
Feeling good about the relationship
requires first feeling good about yourself.
“A long-lasting marriage demands loving,
liking and respecting. If I love, like and respect me healthily, I will
love, like and respect thee healthily,” Arthur Cohen said.
Being self-content as an individual is
essential to the health of couplehood. Complacency of either partner
produces stress and anxiety in the relationship.
When talking with each couple, it was
easily evident that their hearts still go pitter-patter. Each spouse was
quick to praise the other for the success of the marriage.
Ron Farrar’s closing words well represented the depth of their love: “I love her [my wife] dearly — far more than at the beginning of our marriage.... I find myself grateful to the point of tears that I ended up with the girl I did.”
“Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls of Wisdom From Couples Married 50
Years or More,” by Sheryl P. Kurland
Return to Get Ready For Love! Home Page