Monday, October 15, 2012

Terms of Marriage

Terms of Marriage. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Stitched words: I never wanted children; As the son of a Holocaust survivor....and the grandson of Holocaust victims, I desperately wanted children; On having a family; A decision before marrying. Hand stitched.  25” x 35” unframed; 31” x 41” framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

In March, 2009, I ran into Dana Blau Shenker at a charity art event. Dana owns one of my "In Box" series pieces. Her mother owns several works and has honored me with two commissions for the conference room at DP Professionals.  Dana asked about my current project and a discussion about the Decision Portrait Series ensued.

As a talented, figurative painter who understands the need for models, Dana immediately volunteered to pose for a portrait.... but I was looking for models willing to share significant life decisions.

I asked, "Are you willing to share your most important, personal decision?"
Without hesitation, Dana said, "Yes!"
"What is it?", I questioned.
"I had to agree to have children before Hilik would marry me."

I was flabbergasted! Was Dana, a strong, independent woman with a college education and a job outside her home, really serious? The feminist in me flared with internal rage. Yet, Dana was already talking, explaining, and TOTALLY RIGHT!

Dana didn't want children; Hilik did; a decision had to be made if they were to get married! There's no compromise on children.... no trial period, no guarantee, no backing out, no in between area! Hilik wasn't trying to force Dana to do anything. This was a relationship working itself out before establishing a permanent bond of commitment. This was an important decision that had to be made...and wisely done before marrying!

I had to think about the terms of marriage. Hadn't Steve and I talked about this issue and other important matters? Of course we had! There's all sorts of decision couples considering marriage face, from wedding plans to living arrangements, from financial obligations to religious affiliations, from family traditions to social expectations. Successful marriages are made by joint decisions.

In this case, Dana decided to share Hilik's dream of a family. She has no regrets. Instead, Dana thinks her choice was one of the best she's ever made and is considering more kids! I am proud to know Dana and honored to share this story.

(Dana and Hilik welcomed there third child into their lives in 2012.)

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