As a newlywed bride, I was still caught in the flush of new love, a pale pink rose that seemed to me, a child of the divorce generation, unusually delicate and fragile. A few weeks after the wedding, when I was able to finally meet my husband's grandparents who could not travel to the wedding, my entire outlook on the fragileness of love was challenged forever.

Opa was gallantly insisting on buckling Oma into her seatbeltWe invited his grandparents, Oma and Opa, out for the day. When we picked them up, it took a long time for Oma and Opa to seat themselves comfortably in the backseat. Surprised by the delay, I watched them through the rearview mirror. Opa was gallantly insisting on buckling Oma into her seatbelt, despite the difficultly the task proved for his stiff, arthritic fingers. As the day progressed, Oma and Opa's behavior toward one another, through a series of small gestures not intended to attract anyone's notice, continuously demonstrated the enduring presence of their affection.

We drove to Hollingworth Lake, which had a lakeside promenade that we thought they would enjoy. When the time came to break for lunch, my husband and I spotted a bench that was separated from the path by a low wall. We would climb the wall, and make our picnic on the bench. Once again there was a delay. Although Opa needed both hands to support himself as he climbed over the wall, he preferred instead to offer Oma a helping hand. Oma for her part, preferred to go without help rather than see Opa strain himself by assisting her. They each valued the others comfort and best interests more than their own physical comfort.

Watching them, I understood that it was not us, the newlyweds, who understood what love is, but rather they who understood the secrets of keeping love fresh and alive, that theirs was a love that had withstood the test of time and the constant gnawing erosion of familiarity and daily living.

Could such a durable and lasting love also be possible for us? On that first, and on subsequent meetings, I watched them scrupulously, desperately hungry for instructions on how to protect the delicate new commitment I had undertaken with such trepidation.

Another occasion stands out in my mind. We dropped in unexpectedly, and Oma invited us in for a drink of orange juice in disposable plastic cups, since we kept kosher and could not drink out of her regular cups. Then she turned to Opa and asked what he would be having. He declined, as he was not interested in a drink. "Oh, come on," Oma insisted, "just to be sociable." Opa accepted a cup of tea, and soon one single cup of tea in a china cup appeared, beautifully laid on a serving platter, which she presented to Opa. Surprised, we inquired, "Where's your cup, Oma?" "Oh, I'm not having anything," Oma replied. Opa just smiled.

Opa understood this hidden dialogue, despite the fact that it went unsaidEven after all those years together, Oma still took the trouble to prepare Opa's tea for him, and not only to prepare it, but to serve it as one would serve a guest. Despite the amount of work involved in preparing that single cup of tea, Oma insisted in preparing it for him, knowing that she would not be having one herself. Her simple statement "Just to be sociable" was laden with so much meaning, with all her concern for Opa's welfare and comfort. In a sense it said, "I want to make sure you are included. It's important to me that you be comfortable as well." And Opa understood this hidden dialogue, despite the fact that it went unsaid. Only Opa wasn't surprised that Oma didn't prepare a cup of tea for herself as well as for him.

After that, "Just to be sociable" became a form of code between my husband and myself, meaning "Let's spend some time together. Let's connect." Yet all we actually said was, "Come have a cup of tea. Just to be sociable."

Through meeting Oma and Opa I truly understood how and why my husband did not share my fear of divorce, did not view divorce as a malevolent force that lay waiting to ambush those who let their guard down. I had always understood love to be a feeling, as every popular love song maintained, and a fleeting one at that. My own parents had separated when I was five years old, and while growing up, many of my friends came from similar backgrounds. I can't tell you whether I gravitated towards those who shared my life experiences, or whether during the eighties generation when I came of age, divorce had just become so prevalent that it was merely a reflection of a sociological reality. What I can say is that the available options seemed to be either divorce, or a laid-back acceptance of each other.

Yet my husband had grown up secure in the knowledge of his parents commitment to one another, and had his experience reinforced by the enchanted contentment that his grandparents radiated. He entered marriage confident that his own relationship would reflect those models, and provide him with an equal level of stability and harmony. Unlike myself, he had a rock solid conviction that lasting, marital attachment was both possible and achievable.

To me, it seemed so surprising that people like his grandparents, those who had so little, who had been forced to build their lives on the smoldering ashes of the Holocaust, could have built so much together, but perhaps it is not all that surprising. Perhaps sometimes, having too much can get in the way of what's truly important.

Oma and Opa both escaped from Germany to England as German anti-Semitism began to grow. And once the war was over, there was nothing to go home to. They were refugees adrift in a suspicious and unwelcoming new homeland. To the English, they would always be Germans, rather than Jews. They met through mutual friends, and discovered they were both from the same town. They married soon after, and began to rebuild their lives on the ashes of all they had loved and lost.

They struggled to survive without grandparents or other extended familyLuxuries such as a dinner date, or a vacation were out of the question. Together they struggled to survive without grandparents or other extended family to spoil their children. They struggled to learn the new language that they had been forced to accept, since moving back to Germany after the war was not an option.

My mother-in-law shared with me how despite his proficiency in languages, Opa never laughed at Oma's frequent mistakes or heavy accent in her new language. Laughing at each other's weaknesses was simply not part of their marital code.

For me, the discovery that such a respectful way of relating to each other was still possible after half a century together was nothing short of earth-shattering. But I soon learned that love can last a lifetime… and even beyond.

Jewish Kabbalistic sources teach us that a husband and wife will be reunited after the revival of the dead (Zohar). Those who have succeeded in establishing a true bond unite their souls, not only in this world, but also in the next. One who truly loves within the context of a committed marriage is capable of establishing a relationship that transcends time itself, and even our own mortality.

It is now 2007, and Opa passed away five years ago. This September 2nd marks their sixty-second anniversary. Many of those in the family wonder why Oma continues to add an additional year onto the tally of their years together on this day, the last five of which have been added after Opa's death. Yet I believe that she continues to count in order to demonstrate that although Opa has passed over into another world, even death has not changed the depth of their attachment.

Happy Anniversary Oma. May we all merit to build a love as permanent and enduring as the love you have shared with Opa.