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Klavan On The Culture

The Long Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2014 - 11:10 am

But in truth, I don’t know why we got the happily-ever-after. It was a gift. Over the years, we’ve seen more than a few good marriages go under. We’ve seen husbands and wives do and say such terrible things to each other, children so scarred and battered by divorce and casual cruelty and simple inattention, that we have sometimes clung fearfully to each other in our bed at night like orphans in a storm.

It took us a long time to understand how blessed we were and from whom such blessings flow. The understanding made us even happier and more grateful, but it also forced humility on us. If we could claim no credit for what made our union good, we could lay no blame on others whose unions went bad. We have been poor and rich together, crazy and sane, mournful and joyous, and I can think of half a hundred times we might have gone down the wrong road or, even worse, failed to turn back and find the right one. If we fared well, it wasn’t because we were wise. It certainly wasn’t because I was wise. It was only, I think, that the power of what we felt for each other schooled us to trust in love. Love over money, love over politics, love over fashion and philosophies of life: our love and, in our love, God’s love, over all.

Ellen and I came of age in a generation that often denigrated the strength and integrity of manhood, the tenderness and generosity of femininity and — I won’t say the sanctity, but the deep worthiness of marriage between the two. We didn’t have many examples to draw from. But I had one.

My father and I disagreed on just about everything and were sometimes at daggers drawn, but his steadfast love for and kindness toward my mother were a great gift to me. Shortly before he died near the age of 80, I told him so. He was a comedian by profession and by nature, and he joked, “I’m still chasing your mother around the room— but very slowly.”

I would be glad to be able to make that joke to my son thirty years from now. Even slowly. I would be very glad.

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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.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Each of you puts the happiness of the other before your own. It's that simple.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
she and you have been blessed.
22 weeks ago
22 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.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well written, sir! May you have many more years of happiness together.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sweet.
22 weeks ago
22 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.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks. A beautiful tribute. May you have (at least!) 30 more years.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nice essay. Now tell us the truth, any normal person can see this is all a lie.
22 weeks ago
22 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.
22 weeks ago
22 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."
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
CombatMissionary is on target:
Love is when another person's happiness is necessary to one's own.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent essay, and very true.
22 weeks ago
22 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.
22 weeks ago
22 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.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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