For a North Woodmere couple that has been married for more than 67 years, the two keys to making their marriage endure is open communication and giving each other space when needed, they said.
With Valentine’s Day on Friday, Ted and Ruth Shuster both 90, reflected on how and why their marriage, which began in September 1952, has stood the test time of time.
Ted was born and raised in Chicago while Ruth grew up in Liberty, an upstate town in the Catskill Mountains area. They met at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “I met Ted during my senior year at Michigan,” Ruth said. “He was actually fixed up with my roommate at the time but that eventually changed. He knew my routine of when I had classes and we would always stop and talk to each other.”
After graduating from Michigan in 1951, their relationship continued when they moved to New York. Ruth went to graduate school at the Manhattan School of Music and earned a master’s degree in music and Ted finished his undergraduate degree at New York University. “After we got married, we lived a block away from Ebbets Field,” he said, referring to the old home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. “We eventually realized that Brooklyn wouldn’t be the best place to raise a family, so that’s what led us to North Woodmere.”
Ruth worked as an accompanist for 27 years. She still shows off her musical talents as she heads a musical group at the Center of Adult Life Enrichment in Hewlett named the Stardust Singers. Ted worked in the printing and advertising business for roughly 50 years before retiring 18 years ago.
The family they raised included three children: two sons and one daughter. It has since been extended to five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Dave Shuster is the couple’s youngest son and works as an attorney in Manhattan. He lovingly explained noted why he thinks his parents’ marriage has stood the test of time by comparing their union to George Costanza’s parents from the television show “Seinfeld.”
“I think they’re also a little bit of Jerry’s parents as well,” Dave said jokingly while referencing main character Jerry Seinfeld. “They communicate openly and they don’t bottle anything up. It’s entertaining to watch at times, but I think it’s important for couples to do this.”
The couple shared essentials as to why they’ve been married for almost 70 years. “I think that we both recognize the fact that we’re individual people with our own interests,” Ted said. “I think it’s very important for couples to have an understanding of that.
Ruth said that life and marriage is easier to deal with when you’re compatible with your spouse. “As we get older, we have some health issues that we deal with, but we manage to get by,” she said. “It’s also important to find the right person to live with and I think I was fortunately able to do that.”