Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Anniversary Weekend

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This weekend, Sophia and I went to an upscale Newport Beach hotel for our anniversary.  As you know, we are separated.  So, why are we celebrating our anniversary?  Hey, so we’re separated.  We might end up divorced.  We might end up staying married, and finding true happiness.  Whatever the case, we still love each other.   We loved each other enough a few years back to have participated in that expensive mega-ceremony on October 13th which made our love legal.   So, why not celebrate that love… and that special day? And since we have an offbeat marriage, why not make our anniversary weekend unique in its own way,  a microcosm of our years together as a couple?

Our marriage is about companionship.    During our anniversary, we tried to recapture those elements that have kept us together for so long.  We attended a concert and a provocative piece of theater in Laguna Beach.  We played cards.  We stayed in bed and watched TV.  We ate Italian food in a tiny, romantic restaurant in Laguna Beach, sitting at a special table by the window.

Our marriage is about overcoming the hurdles of two strong individuals learning to compromise.   During our anniversary,  we kept things “real” by making sure we had at least one really nasty fight.  Our fight on Saturday night was a pretty good one, a disagreement about — something too ridiculous to talk about — in which “f**K you!” was said at least fifteen times, where I crushed an empty coffee cup and threw it onto the floor of the car, and where Sophia threatened to drive back to Redondo Beach, leaving me stranded at a Mobil gas station.

Our marriage is about humor.   Without a sense a humor, a couple might as well give up any chance of surviving.   During our anniversary, we had a lot of laughs.   After our big fight, we resolved to have a good time for the rest of the weekend, and we did.  We always find something to laugh about, such as this “Sopranos”-inspired artwork we noticed at some art gallery.

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Our marriage is about acceptance.   During our anniversary, we went shopping.  Although part of me wondered why in the world Sophia NEEDED to buy another hat at this overpriced hat store, I’m glad I got this ribbon hat for her, because Sophia looks pretty cute in it.

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Our marriage is about passion.   The hotel’s grounds had both ping pong tables and shuffleboard courts.   During our anniversary, we went head to head.  Sophia surprisingly beat me in the ancient sport of ping pong, slamming the ball past me for the final point.  I retaliated in shuffleboard, my years of experience from my youth at Jewish resorts in the Catskills helping me show her who’s on top.   After the games, we both took cold showers.

Our marriage is about emotion.  How can a couple not be sentimental about the good times together?  During our anniversary, we stumbled upon a couple getting married near the beach.  This made us reminisce about our own special day.

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Like our marriage, our anniversary weekend was bumpy, chaotic, creative, neurotic, irritating, inspirational, sentimental, sexy, nasty, loving, and fun. 

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53 Comments

  1. Ah Neil, thanks for keeping it REAL and being smart enough to see that your not-so-idyllic weekend was perfect in its own way.

    E and I have been married 25 years and sometimes it feels like we won’t make it. We have none of the loud fights or big dramas that you and Sophia experience. We’re more like continental drift, quietly separating inch by inch over time. Occasionally we look down and see the chasm between us and go, “OMG, where did that come from?” and we reach for each other while leaning over the abyss. It’s scary. We might not be able to bridge that slow-growing crevasse. We hang in there. I keep looking up, focusing on the sun that shines on us both where we are.

  2. Wow. What an amazing post. Such honesty! I’m glad there are so many people out there in the blogosphere being honest about the realities of long-term relationships and marriage. I’m impressed you made the weekend work for you.

    Happy anniversary!

  3. Neil, what a beautiful tribute to your marriage. It is hard work, isn’t it? But it seems like if you two acknowledge that you love each other, it’s worth the work and figuring out how it all works together. It’s not the “bumpy, chaotic, creative, neurotic, irritating, inspirational, sentimental, sexy, nasty, loving, and fun” that will kill it. It’s apathy.

  4. And Happy Anniversary to you both. Sounds to me like you kids have got it far more sorted than most couples out there. I salute you.

  5. This is a beautiful post. 🙂 I don’t know, both of you are so happy together I sometimes need to read the ‘separated’ word in your posts to make sure I didn’t get it wrong.

    Separation is just a word… I see both of you are always together. I guess relationship can be complicating to other parties. 🙂

  6. When I read what you write and describe about your marriage the only word that comes to mind is “passion”. You both seem passionate in all aspects of life, love, even separation.

    Happy wedding birthday.

  7. Sweet. Real. Congrats!

  8. Wow! If only every relationship, with all its ups and downs, could be looked at like that. We’d all be a bit healthier emotionally.

  9. I used to think that if you married the right person, everything would be only wonderful. But, when two people get together there’s going to be conflict and fights, I’m trying to make peace with that. Sounds like you had a very authentic anniversary, you celebrated but you were still yourselves.

  10. A lovely post Neil…enough to de-lurk me even. Thank you.

  11. I spent the weekend at a B&B on the eastern coast. There was an older couple also staying there, celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Over breakfast, the husband joked, “Well, they say half of all marriages end in divorce. The other half fight it out until the bitter end.” I’m glad you’re still fighting. 🙂

  12. Wow, my marriage is so less, um noisy than yours. Very few fights. A few smoldering arguments but far and few between. Hmmmm (lost in thought.)

    Oh yeah, congratulations Neil and Sophia!

  13. What a lovely post. Did you all eat at Salernos?

  14. You can call me, 'Sir'

    October 16, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Great post, Neil. I would bet that you and Sophia have a much better relationship than most simply because you’re so honest and open with each other.

  15. I liked that. Especially the shuffleboard part.

  16. awwww. Gosh I am really cheering for you guys to make it! BTW: Sophia looks fabulous in that hat. I envy a woman who can wear a hat.

  17. Whoorl — Yes, we ate at Salerno’s — right after our big fight! So, we didn’t speak to each other for half the meal, but eventually we had to admit to each other than the pasta was pretty good.

  18. Congratulations, you two. Fight on, love on.

  19. That hat IS cute! Happy anniversary to you both.

  20. Separations aside…you two make a very cute couple.

  21. Awesome pics. Thanks for virtually taking us along with you on this romantic adventure.

  22. Did you have the meat lasagna? Please tell me you did. It was one of the dishes that brought my husband from 13 years of vegetarianism to the dirty meat-eating side.

  23. Beautiful post … hmmm, you must be a gifted and talented writer to capture the reality and deliciousness of your relationship. Impressed I am.

    And thank you, kind sir, for the ‘crush’. It made me smile.

  24. It sounds like marriage to me. Maybe you two will be together forever.

  25. As it should be darlin’.

    Great pictures too — I especially like the first one.

  26. Wow… I had the same sentiments as Paul and some others on here, that it seems like you guys have it going on. I don’t think there is such thing as the perfect marraige and you guys seem to know what you have and make the best of it, even during the worst. If you have nothing else, at least you have passion. Cute pictures!!!

  27. Glad you’re living and relishing your path.

  28. This post is really really lovely and romantic in a way that most people forget to be.

    Happy Anniversary!

  29. Nice post. Sounds like you two had a marvelous time. After being married for 15 years…good times and bad times…my advice is to stick it out. You’ll never find anyone that understands you like the person you’re already married to!

  30. Sounds like true love to me. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  31. Mazel tov to you crazy kids! Whatever your marriage is or isn’t, the love you have for each other comes through loud and clear.

  32. Awww. Happy anniversary!!

  33. Wow… that was really touching. 🙂 Marriage is tricky, but I like seeing how people make in work in their own different ways. Also, that picture of you two together is really cute. 😉

  34. Wonderful post! You sum up the complexity of a loving friendship purrfectly. Happy Anniversary to you both. What a hat!

  35. Neil & Sophia:

    A unique marriage.
    A unique separation.
    A unique anniversary.

    A UNIQUE COUPLE.

    Happy Anniversary to you. I’m raising my virtual glass of sparkling white wine in a toast to you: “To two best friends, to two best enemies, L’CHAIM!”

  36. Gorgeous. The best word I’ve heard to describe both your relationship and this post was “authentic”.

    The very best to you both.

  37. Happy Anniversary. The thing is no couple knows if they are going to make it. You work it out as you go along and when it’s working well- there is nothing better.

  38. Aw, looks like a good weekend:)

  39. I once met an elderly man who seemed to be really happy. I asked him why he seemed so joyful he replied “I have the best marriage ever” I asked him what he did to make it work he replied “For our 25th anniversary I took my wife to Florida” I asked him what he was planning for his 50th anniversary he replied “I think I’ll go and pick my wife up from Florida”

  40. Key 2 Success — that is the oldest joke in the book. Talk about Jewish resorts in the Catskills! Myron Cohen, is that you?

    Eh, it is still funny.

  41. BTW, Neil, how many years have you been married to Sophia?
    And if you’re ever in need of a shuffleboard partner, you can count on me. I learned to play as a kid at a Jewish resort here in Southern Ontario, and as a young teen also in the Catskills, at Brown’s.

  42. And that’s why it’s YOUR marriage. All the wonderful, challenging, fun, eccentric parts. They belong to the two of you. Many blessings, JP/deb

  43. Pearl, it has been 11 exciting, crazy-making years.

  44. Happy anniversary, Neil and Sophia. This was a delightful post. Separated or not, your are more “together” than most couples will ever be.

  45. Despite being separated, you seem very together. And quite happy. I am well and truly baffled, but Happy [belated] Anniversary to you both!

  46. I love this post. It is the direct inspiration I needed for todays post.
    Thanks!

  47. Well, I’m glad you started with the explanation of separation, because I haven’t been reading long enough to know that.

    And now, I do.

    And that is important because? Um… yea. Moving on.

    The weekend sounds fabulous. Definitely something I’d want to do with the love of my life. Except for the hat. I admit it is adorable on Sophia, but my head is much like a caricature and I’d come off looking like an animated illo than a pretty woman. 🙂

  48. Happy belated anniversary to you both.

    (And a lovely post, too.)

  49. Thank you for this beautiful post and your blatant ‘tell it like it is’ honesty. I have been with my partner for three years and there have been times where we both have wanted to break more than a coffee cup… like the other person’s nose.

    May you find clarity and wisdom as your relationship continues. Peace to you and Sophia.

  50. Happy Anniversary to the both of you!

  51. Your love for her shows in your eyes. Literally. They sparkle differently in pictures with her…They are more open. To bring out the best…you also have to bring out the rest..True?

  52. love everything about this. you are my kind.

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