NEW HYDE PARK, NY -- Working with several patients married for more than 50 years prompted a Long Island Jewish Medical Center geriatrician to wonder “What do these people know?”
Gisele Wolf-Klein, MD, was curious as to the secret that allowed them to weather life’s ups and downs and stay madly in love. So, she asked them. And the conversations grew into a new book called “I Do,” which looks at the four Cs of an enduring marriage: chemistry, commitment, communication and compromise.
During a Valentine’s event at the hospital, Dr. Wolf-Klein was joined by five extraordinary people who shared their memories and advice about love and marriage. Also on hand was Rev. Jon Overvold, Corporate Director, Chaplaincy Services, North Shore-LIJ, who said that one view of spirituality can be seen in the way couples connect with each other.
“Reflecting on our relationships helps us to discover the meaning of our lives,” he said.
Marion Glasserow, of Manhasset, had been married to Norman for 65 years before he lost his battle with Alzheimers. Mrs. Glasserow, who was introduced to her husband over the phone, told the gathering that she fell in love with his beautiful voice.
She was joined Friday by Harvey and Phyllis Granat, of Manhattan, married for 55 years.
“We give and take strength from each other every single day,” Mr. Granat.
Robert Nissen, of Port Washington, had been married to the beautiful Cinde (his nickname for his wife, short for Cinderella) for 51 years. After a wonderful life together, Robert spoke of holding Cinde in his arms as she passed away. Then, to his amazement, a short time after her passing, he literally bumped into one of her old friends, a woman named Lilliana whom he hadn’t seen in 25 years. The two re-connected for a quick lunch that turned into, as Robert puts it, “the miracle of true love the second time around.”
Robert’s life partner, Lilliana Dzierzawski, who had also lost her husband, spoke fondly of her friend and blessed her for bringing Robert into her life. The couple has been in a committed relationship for the past 13 years.
To illustrate their lengthy love stories, each member of the panel brought photos and letters that depicted their life journey. At the conclusion of the program, Dr. Wolf-Klein noted that despite their personal differences, their opinions on roles within marriages, child-rearing or working outside the home, there was one phenomenon that united everyone on the panel.
“Each of these people figured out how to stay madly in love with their partner for more than 50 years. We are so fortunate that they are willing to share their stories and let the rest of us learn from their wisdom.”
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