I was told that there was a possibility that Sophia Romero, a published novelist who writes the blog, The Shiksa from Manila, and her husband Dan Schwartz, a technology expert at a bank, were going to be featured in the New York Times column by Samantha Storey, Making it Last. But I was sworn to secrecy.
I kept the secret.
But now I can kvell. The two, who live in Park Slope and celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on the Saturday before Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City, are a fascinating couple.
On paper, the marriage doesn’t make sense. She’s a devout Catholic from the Philippines who is passionate about pork and he’s a nice Jewish boy from Queens, who doesn’t eat meat. But clearly they share that intangible, je ne sais quois that makes a good relationship tick.
When Dan told Sophia that he wanted to raise their children Jewishly just days before the wedding, Sophia didn’t have a problem.
Dan: On the way to the wedding, which is on the way to the airport in Tokyo, I told Sophia I’d like to bring up our kids Jewish. Sofia is a devout Catholic. She goes to church every Sunday. And she says, As long as they are raised with God in their life, it’s O.K. That part has been amazing. In fact there have been religious-oriented events when she was more familiar with what was going on than many Jews in the room.
In the Times article/interview, we learn in their own words how they made it last. Part of the reason, clearly, is that they’re both enthusiastic and bright people who are up for the roller coaster ride of life if the tracks are greased with love. And by every indication, there’s a great deal of love between them.
It also helps that they’re very good at dealing with conflict. And there’s been plenty:
Sophia: My husband is calm and measured, and we try never to be angry at the same time. He is much better at saying to me, I can’t talk to you when you are like this. When you are finished, I am happy to talk to you and until then this is not a good time. And I think we have learned from that. We use that method a lot. We use it on our children and they use it on us. And it’s a good way of calming everyone down, and then once you’ve reached a level of peace, you can begin to address and unpack whatever issues there were to begin with.
At the anniversary party at the Audubon Center in Prospect Park, there was a chupah, a ceremony presided over by Rabbi Andy Bachman and a priest from St. Saviour (who read beautifully from the Song of Songs). There was also an exchange of vows that was tear inducingly moving—and hilarious.
They made it last and we are very, very glad that they did. The adorable couple are pictured above in photographs by Julie Markes that accompany the New York Times story. Sophia is wearing a feathery, sparkly dress designed by the Philippine designer who also created her wedding dress. Dan is wearing a traditional Phllippine wedding shirt.