Thursday, November 13, 2014

Going for the Gold

As recent Parshas have centered on the first Jewish couple, Abraham and Sarah, it’s fitting that we wish a hearty Mazel Tov to long-time Temple Zion members, Cal and Riva Outstatcher, who just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

The patriarch and matriarch of a large, wonderful family generously shared their thoughts and tips on reaching this Golden Marital Milestone.
“I’ve always looked at others celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries and wondered what it would feel like -- and here it is,” says Riva, who first met Cal in high school.
“Our parents worked four stores away from each other – my father in a food store and his parents in a housewares shop in the Bronx,” she says.
Married at age 22, Riva says the pair had three children and practiced the art of communication early on.
“During the first 7 to 10 years, it can be a trying time.  We’ve seen 50 percent of our high school friends go through divorces.  It takes understanding, respect and communication.  When something bothers you, you have to discuss it.  We were always able to talk,” says Riva. 
Being conscious of what you say and how you say it to your spouse is equally important.
“Often, couples scream at each other and say things that they shouldn’t in the heat of anger.  This causes stress on the relationship.  You can’t take those things back.  We’ve never had that kind of a problem,” says Cal, who says he knew Riva was ‘the one’ as soon as he saw her in his high school Spanish class.
When on occasion tensions rise, “I just dismiss it if Riva gets mad at me.  I let it go in one ear and out the other. I don’t want to get mad at her, so I just shut down, which works for me,” says Cal.
Keeping the fun alive in their relationship has helped to sustain it.
“Vacations are great – you forget your troubles,” says Riva. 
Weekly ‘date nights’ have also strengthened their bond. 
“When we were raising children, we needed a night out away from the kids.  It was important that we had time to ourselves,” says Riva.
Dancing is another pastime the twosome enjoy immensely.
“We love to dance.  Riva taught me everything I know.  She’s always been a great dancer.  I consider myself good, but only with her.   We have rhythm together,” says Cal.   
Socializing their kids often --with extended family including cousins – proved beneficial too.
“We’re so fortunate that our kids' kids like each other – they grew up together.  If you don’t mingle with your family, your children don’t know how to act around one another.  We have a close-knit family because we socialized together constantly,” says Riva.
Negotiating is another skill to sharpen for matrimonial bliss.
“I gave up pushing Riva to go to Florida for the winters.  She has cats and grandkids and doesn’t want to go.  I don’t agree with it, but I understand it.  This year, I got her to agree to 9 weeks of vacation (non-consecutive),” says Cal.
Though courtship stomach butterflies come and ultimately fade to a ‘comfortable’ norm, building a life with someone shouldn’t be taken for granted, says Riva. 
“This is your partner.  A lot of things can happen.  I don’t think about the future. I think about right now. You have to enjoy every day and make every day count, because you don’t get it back,” she says. 
Thank you Cal and Riva! Wishing you more years of happiness, peace and love!

*Copyright 2014 by Erika Prafder



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