In this last post about marriage I’d like to pay tribute to my husband, my love and my life long friend, Gerry, by posting the poem I wrote in Hebrew and in English, for our 39th wedding anniversary.

Before I get to the poem itself, I would like to tell you how I went about presenting it to him; for he happened to in Europe and I in Australia on this particular day.
So let’s go back in time:

Here I am buying a card with 3 red roses painted on a white background. I print the poem out in both languages; and mail it all to Europe.
Having done that, I phone Gerry,
I sent you a letter, I say, don’t open it till I asked you to, and leave it next to the phone.
I know very well that he will do as I asked, and he does.

On the day, which happens to be a Sunday, and ready with a beautiful love song on a tape recorder, I phone. I hear Gerry lift the receiver, and with not a word I start the music.
Gerry listens for a minute, and hangs up.
I phone again,
He answers again, and the receiver goes down again.
This is getting too difficult. He will never stay on the phone for long enough to find out what it’s all about!
I phone again.
He lifts the receiver again.
I say – listen and don’t lower the receiver; now, open the envelope, take the two pages out and follow my reading.
The music is playing and I intersperse it with the poem in the appropriate point of reference, in the two languages, as rehearsed.
He follows my reading.
I have finished reading – there is silence on the other end; a long protracted and meaningful silence. Then I hear him say,
I could never give you a wonderful present like this one…
I am happy and relieved. All went well.

Gerry and I two weeks before our wedding


I looked into your eyes
Your heart leaped with love.
I looked unto your smiling face
Its radiance bewitched me.

My hand in yours, with joy,
My heart trembling,
Our first steps together, like infants,
So many moons ago.

Into the ocean of life,
With arrogance of youth, naiveté,
We spread our wings,
We reached to the sky.

Like waves verse calm,
High mountains and deep valleys,
We’ve known the heights of love and passion,
The lows of despair.

Like thunder and lightning verse,
The rising sun on a spring morning,
We drew strength from each other,
We enriched our lives.

Mature and some-what wiser,
We lost the arrogance,
We unmasked naiveté
and Now my love;

There is so much in my heart
I know not how to express
For I am lost for words
Not knowing...

In my hands;
A horse- shoe, driftwood,
Flowers and green twigs,
A nesting bird.

I present them to you, for that,
Which I fail to put into words.
I present them to you,
My love.

 Renate Dec. 1993
Gerry and I last year – after 54 years of marriage



It took me a long time to gather and organise my thoughts on this particular subject, for it is the most important element in a successful marriage; and the most difficult to writing about. It is the one that underlines everything within it; and is the glue that keeps it together.

Unfortunately the word ‘Love’ has been over-used and abused and does no longer express that which I think it should. It has become a substitute for words like sex; lust and desire, and is used as a form of greeting etc.

Love it self, takes many forms: There is the love of a parent for example, which is very different to the love between a couple; and a couple’s love does change with time and circumstances. So what do I see as love in marriage?

First and foremost, I see marriage, in our western society, as the natural progress of a love relationship that started with a strong attraction two people had, and still have, to one another. A step up if you will. A step of what the Chinese call – ‘becoming whole with the other’; or a step where ‘one has found one’s soul-mate’,

If I dissect and look at love from a detached angle – I can see it as being a very selfish act. You love one, because he/she makes you feel good, makes you feel wanted, makes you feel worthy and so on. You love one to satisfy your need to lavish another with all the goodness of your heart; emotionally, physically and materially, which in turn makes you feel well about yourself.

It is true that some loves aren’t being reciprocated. This is very sad indeed, and has no place in marriage.

You get married because you think your other half will give you all of the above and more. This, however, applys to that other half as well, and here, some of the compromise and adjustments I spoke of before, come in.


Being possessed by love, full of admiration adoration, and passion, you get married, and love turns a corner. Now you want to build a nest where love can flourish. This corner is the first of many, where everyone that follows brings new and exciting experiences, regardless if good or bad; for you grow together with each. Here the operative word is – together. If you do not do it together, you grow apart.

Before we got married, Gerry wanted to wait till he will be well established; to look after me in a manner I was not accustomed to. For me, this was an odd notion. I felt strongly that I do not want someone to ‘look after me’. I wanted the right to achieve and enjoy the process. Thus, we did not wait, did everything together, and it turned out to be the right decision.

As we go through the various stages of life and mature, love adjusts and matures as well. It becomes, to a very great extent, a deep friendship of mutual understanding, admiration, reliance and trust.

This process, however, depends on the individuals involved; because one can fall in love and one can fall out of love according to the way he/she synchronizes its thought processes. You can see the good and the best in your beloved, or you can look, and for sure find, that which you don’t like or which irritates you, and what you eventually hate.

Through out our 54 years of marriage we never thought of not loving each other. We never looked outside the square of our marriage. We always worked together for our mutual progress within that marriage.

We always trusted each other implicitly, and I do mean implicitly;

Marriage is a contract. If you don’t want to keep it, don’t get into it.

With us, the door was and is always open; neither of us needs to stay. We got into this contract because we wanted to. Because we loved each other and still do. And as I said before – without love – there is no marriage.

During all the years, we constantly found and still find things we want to do and achieve. We rarely, if ever, sit idle waiting for life to pass us by. We talk a lot on different subjects we encounter, share, learn and experience new things and new developments; and stay alert to that which is around us.

We dance with passion and socialize, and at the same time give room to each other according to each needs and wants. AND most importantly – we do laugh at ourselves. We can see the funny side of us and of each of us; and often, it is very healing.

We hug, kiss and laugh and always touch or stroke each other when we pass by, bar for when we are mad at each other, which does come up here and there in any relationship; and are not shy of asking very personal question and sharing very personal thoughts. This does not mean that we do not criticise each other as well – we do.

Yes another thing I just remember, from time to time, spontaneously and out of the blue, we tell each other in various forms that we love them.

All of the above comes naturally to us and it reaffirms that which we got married for in the first place.

We live in a disposable world, but love is not a disposable commodity. It is too emotional, precious and dainty to be discarded or done away with, without deep and long lasting hurtful consequences to all involved.


Artist, poet & the Author of

 From the Promised Land to the Lucky Country  


Bicurim feast in the kibbutz highschool
Hi Walter and Annette, Thanks for the feedback. Pleased you enjoyed reading it. What happened to the boat, comes in a period after the book ends and maybe a part of the next book...