Senior Valentines renew their wedding vows

Senior Valentines renew their wedding vows

Larry and Ruth Shifman of New Hyde Park have been married for 70 years, and Ruth says there is no secret to success.

“Every day is a secret,” Shifman said. “To get up, and be well and do it every year and try to be happy. I don’t know what else I can tell you. It was love at first sight.”

“You have to have a good sense of humor,” Shifman’s husband Larry responded. “When you have good humor and tell a good joke, then things will work out.”

The Shifman’s were one of 80 couples who have been married 50 years or more who renewed their vows at the Harbor Links Golf Course club house Tuesday. The event was sponsored by the Town of North Hempstead and Town Clerk Leslie Gross who created, organized, and presided over the event.

Couples gathered in the party room as each was given a balloon to hold onto for later in the ceremony.

Gross led the couples as they recited from a prepared vow statement, starting with all the grooms and followed by all the brides and ending with everyone reciting together.

Gross said she has married many couples over the years as town clerk and says there are a lot of ‘c’s when it comes to marriage.

“There is chemistry, caring, compromise, cooperation, and the last ‘c’ I would add is comedy,” Gross said. “That laughter will get you through so many tough situations. It’s great to see so many couples here who found the strength to endure all outcomes that come your way. All of you make North Hempstead the great place it is.”

Every couple was instructed to turn to one another, make a wish and release the balloon into the air. Gross told the couples to seal the wish with a kiss.

Making an appearance at the event was Town Councilman Angelo P. Ferrara, Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, Dina M. DeGiorgio and Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink.

The ceremony was followed by a luncheon for couples to socialize and meet their fellow neighbors.

The Valentines Day renewal ceremony started three years ago when Gross noticed the high amount of older long lasting married couples who wanted to renew their vows. Gross herself has married couples on Valentines day and presided over renewal ceremonies. She wanted a way to commemorate those who have been married for more than 50 years.

“I think the people who have stood the test of time deserve celebrating,” Gross said. “Nowadays there are so many throw away marriages. I met all these people through different organizations and I got to know them. I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great to figure out a way to celebrate all these couples together?'”

Gross said she came up with the idea to hold a marriage renewal ceremony on Valentines Day for people married 50 or more years. She said only 16 people showed up to the first ceremony, and then the number rose to 60 last year.

“I am very pleased with how the ceremony went today,” Gross said. “It was very heartfelt and very warm. You can see the smiles on their faces. The were all so happy.”

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