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Klavan On The Culture

The Long Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2014 - 11:10 am

I’ve been asked to repost this essay from several years back — still true:

Somewhere in the courts of celestial justice, an error was made in my favor and I got to marry Ellen. She was hitchhiking in Berkeley, California when I saw her first. Slender, movie star beautiful, nearly six feet tall. I was walking back from classes to fetch my car and I remember thinking, Look at that gorgeous Amazon! I started running for the garage, hoping to start my ancient Dodge and get to her before someone else picked her up. I had to drive around the corner to reach her, and I went so fast I clipped the sidewalk. The minute she climbed aboard, I had the odd sensation that all the jigsaw pieces of the world had quietly snapped together. I drove her home and we talked for hours.

That was over thirty years ago. What followed has been a marriage so passionate and adoring that I’m the only old married man I know who is envied by young single guys. We’ve had exactly one serious argument, twenty years past, in a moment of crisis and exhaustion. The experts say it’s wrong not to argue. But Ellen wakes up smiling every morning and I rush home to see her every night so we somehow manage to live with the disapproval of the experts.

We are frequently asked what our secret is. My wife says, laughing, “Never say no to sex.” I say, laughing, “Marry Ellen.” More seriously, we did make a conscious decision to ignore the diktats of feminism. I don’t prescribe this necessarily: to each his own. But Ellen made me the king of our household and the captain of our lives, and it worked for us. A female dinner guest was once so appalled by the way Ellen treats me, she burst out, “You cook and clean for him and serve him. What does he do?” Ellen smiled and simply opened her hands to indicate the roof over our heads and the food on our table and the happy, well-mannered children at our sides, and the guest fell silent.

Which is only to say: she made a man of me, and in gratitude, I made her happiness my northern star. I made sure she could stay home to take care of the kids and keep house when it was time for that and that she could go to grad school and to work when that time came. I tried to live up to her clearly overblown impression of my good qualities. I was faithful to her, which was sometimes hard.

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Top Rated Comments   
"..... any normal person can see this is all a lie."

Doubtful. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought Andrew had been a fly on the wall during my 26-plus-year marriage.

This piece was an absolute joy to read.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Each of you puts the happiness of the other before your own. It's that simple.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
she and you have been blessed.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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While I lived in Berkeley decades ago, a couple in Tokyo sent their daughter to Berkeley to study English. They never got her back. She's an American now and lectures me endlessly on what she has read on Pajamas Media.
Were most Americans like her, there would be no need for PJ Media.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well written, sir! May you have many more years of happiness together.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sweet.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
What a beautiful tribute. Our good fortune in finding each other comes from God more than anything else. Like you, we work hard every day to be the best to each other, but in the end it all comes down to understanding that we've been given a gift, and our job is to do it justice.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks. A beautiful tribute. May you have (at least!) 30 more years.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nice essay. Now tell us the truth, any normal person can see this is all a lie.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"..... any normal person can see this is all a lie."

Doubtful. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought Andrew had been a fly on the wall during my 26-plus-year marriage.

This piece was an absolute joy to read.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>Doubtful. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought Andrew had been a fly on the wall during my 26-plus-year marriage.
And mine. It is a gift freely given. We say in my family, "Life is not fair. Thank God."
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
CombatMissionary is on target:
Love is when another person's happiness is necessary to one's own.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent essay, and very true.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's very sweet. My parents are very much the same as you two.

"Ellen and I came of age in a generation that often denigrated the strength and integrity of manhood, the tenderness and generosity of femininity"

This sounds like 2014. No wonder so many men refuse to marry.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
A long-enduring happy marriage is a combination of good luck and empathy.
I know because I have one, too.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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