5 Tips for a Long & Happy Marriage from Hoffman SummerWood Couples

Hoffman SummerWood in West Hartford plays a vital role in our community – offering safe, comfortable, enriching independent and assisted living for Jewish seniors. This locally owned and operated nonprofit facility is an affiliate service of Hebrew Senior Care, which is supported by your contributions to Federation’s Annual Campaign. For the story below, Hoffman SummerWood Marketing & Sales Coordinator Sophia Cannavo-Ostroski interviewed several resident couples who have been married 50-plus years about their secrets for a long, healthy, loving relationship. 

It’s a classic question Jewish grandchildren ask their grandparents: “Bubbe, how did you and Zayde meet?” And as they embark on their own marital adventures, adult grandchildren often wonder: “How have you made it work for all these years?”

For this article, I went directly to the source: Hoffman SummerWood residents who have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and are still going strong. 

Tip #1: Go with the Flow

Saul and Susan Bloostein will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in September. 

“The best advice I can give to newlywed couples is to be prepared to give in to most things; otherwise, you’ll be fighting,” advises Saul. “You have to be flexible. You can’t always have it your way,” he adds. “It’s not that we don’t fight, but the next day, all is forgiven. In other words, you accept each other as you are. You just go with the flow. When she wants me to apologize, I do. (Well, nine times out of ten at least!)”

“We’re both tough cookies,” chuckles Susan. “It’s a challenging road, but we love each other more than when we first married. You go through 60 years of variance … happiness, sadness, you see it all. The bottom line is, you give a lot, and you take a lot; and you try to be as flexible as you possibly can.”

Tip #2: Hug, Kiss, and Snuggle

Martin and Elaine Cohen celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in May.

“Did you know we met on a blind date?” asks Martin enthusiastically. “I went to pick her up, and there she stood at the top of the stairs. I looked up at her, and well, let’s just say — I’ve been looking up to her ever since.” 

“It’s about loving one another, but it’s also about being committed to each other,” Elaine affectionately says. “He tells me once a day that he loves me.” 

"We hug, kiss, and snuggle. And we treat each other as equals,” adds Martin. The two share many common interests — including a love for their children, music, and Jewish tradition. “We complete each other. She finishes all of my ...”

“…sentences,” retorts Elaine with a smile. 

Tip #3: Find the Humor Together

Stephen and Phyllis Goldrich have been married for 66 years. You’ll often catch them strolling down the hall — cracking each other up with a lighthearted attitude and vibrant sense of humor.

“Marry a friend, not just a lover,” recommends Stephen. “They can be both, but in my estimation, the first is more important.”  

“I’ll agree with that,” Phyllis adds. “It’s the most important thing in our relationship. [Marry] someone you can rely on — someone you feel comfortable sharing anything with.”

Tip #4: Be Active Listeners – and Have Fun

Claudette and Nouri Levy are new to Hoffman SummerWood and will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary in August. Claudette advises couples to “actively listen to one another” and “have fun together – that’s the basic thing. It will allow you both more room to deal with difficult issues. And at the same time, [try to] really hear each other; the act of listening in a marriage can be magical.”

Myrna and Marvin Schaffman, who are approaching their 65th wedding anniversary, remind married couples to celebrate each other. “Are you gonna throw me a party?” Myrna asks Marvin. “You always buy the most beautiful jewelry,” she adds, with a gleam in her eye.

Tip 5: Practice Patience and Compromise

Lester and Estelle Geller have been together for – wait for it – 73 years. “My most important piece of advice is to have patience,” says Lester. “Be compassionate; put yourself in the place of your spouse. Be accepting and recognize that each individual responds differently based on their own life experiences.”

Compromise is also essential.  “You don’t divide the responsibility in half; you give more than half,” notes Joan Weinberg, who will celebrate 65 years of marriage to her husband, Leonard, next April. “When you each give more than half, you have more than enough together,” she adds. 

Do you have a question for Hoffman SummerWood’s long-term lovebirds? They would love to hear from you! Email your questions to me at scannavo@hoffmansummerwood.org and I’ll pass them along. – Sophia Cannavo-Ostroski, Marketing & Sales Coordinator

Photo caption: Martin and Elain Cohen enjoy a beautiful fall day at Hoffman SummerWood. Image courtesy of Hoffman SummerWood.