Ellen M. Lerner
4 min readMar 3, 2024


Things that could potentially hurt a non-violent, otherwise Good Marriage.

Photo by Ellen M. Lerner

I grew up watching a beautiful marriage, and the usual stuff that seems to affect many (non-violent) marriages just never happened in my home.

Money seems to be a common theme. That was never an issue. First, we started out with very little. My Father was a detective and didn’t make much. We lived in a little apartment and though my Dad loved his job, he told my Mom right after I was born that he wanted to ‘give us a better life.’

So he spent two years every day commuting back and forth to New York and became a stock broker.

Once we had some money it was his joy to give us anything we could have ever wanted…except my Mom never asked for anything, and me…well, I haven’t changed all that much. I only wanted two things…

A piano and a dog!

I can’t believe they didn’t lock me in a closet because I must have mentioned that ten times a day!

Finally we were able to move into our home and I indeed got my dog and my piano, except the dog hated me and everyone that dared cross his path… except for my Father. That wasn’t fun, but the piano…once I got it, they literally had to pull me away from it each and every night because I wasn’t getting enough sleep (not much has changed.)

Infidelity. It didn’t happen. I know there are skeptics out there saying… ‘but how do you really know?’ I know! Trust me…I know!

No jealousy whatsoever. My Mom loved to spend time with her friends and would go out for lunch or for dinner, and my Dad not only encouraged that, but was always so happy that that my Mom was having a good time. My Dad played poker most Friday nights. Blackjack as well. There were times he didn’t get home until much later…but I never heard my Mother exclaim… ‘Where have you been?’ It was always…’so…did ya win?’ And since my Dad had an eidedic memory and could count five decks with ease, we usually already knew the answer.

They gave each other their freedom but we always had our family time too. And here's a big one….

Date night!

Date night was a very big deal to my parents and they never missed it. They made each other a priority and though I’m sure there were times there was a fight in Atlantic City that my Dad wanted to go see or my Mom wanted to do something else, they made a deal. Their word was gold.

Now…let’s not go crazy. My Mom was into shows like Dynasty and Dallas (remember those crazy shows?) My Dad was NOT going to sit down and watch them with her, just like my Mom had no desire to watch The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, or all those Mafia movies I loved watching with my Dad.

There was only one issue and it didn’t end when he passed away when I was fourteen. He was a mess! And so am I. And my Mom…well, I’m not going to say OCD, but some might. She wanted everything to be perfect, and my Dad and I didn’t make it very easy for her.

And yes, we had major fights about this craziness, even though we had a housekeeper. And it continued after I bought my very own home and right before she got sick. I think that was our last big blow out! Talk about drama! Yelling. Doors slamming. My friends looking very confused (because everyone was always at my house,) but we were very entertaining. And we managed to laugh about it…sometimes while it was happening because we realized not only was it nuts, but there would never be a resolution. And we always said we were sorry, and so did my parents. And we never went to bed angry. That was the rule.

So other than a very messy person and a very, very neat person living under the same roof and driving each other a bit crazy at times, I can't think of one thing that hurt their marriage and I know in my heart had he not died so young, they would have stayed together forever.

So, yes. I can think of tons of things that could hurt a typical, (non-violent) marriage, and I am sure many of you are thinking that I saw this relationship through rose colored glasses, but it really was that rare and that special. They never took the other for granted and they loved each other as much as two people could love one another.

Let’s just say they had all the right ingredients, or maybe they took a course…(though I doubt my Dad would ever do such a thing, ) they certainly could have taught a course! They knew how to make a marriage work and though everyone referred to them as the original ‘odd couple’ sometimes in life there simply is no rhyme or reason why something just magically falls together.

We should all be so lucky.



Ellen M. Lerner

My name is Ellen. I am a Composer. A Pianist and Vocalist. A Student. A Writer and most of all...I'm a Survivor.