A Successful Marriage Is Never as Easy as A, B, C

Their wedding, which took place less than a year after they met, was highlighted in a Vows column on July 12, 1992. Now, more than 25 years later, they have not grown more alike, only more tolerant. “I don’t think there’s a day that goes by when we don’t view the world differently,” Ms. London, 56, said.

They live in Flemington, N.J., in a house overflowing with her oil paintings and pastel drawings; Mr. Sirota has numbered and cataloged each piece.

When their two children — Julia Sirota, 22, and Craig Sirota, 20 — were growing up, Ms. London would sometimes turn the kitchen into an art studio and forget about making dinner. Mr. Sirota, who has been a research scientist at Exxon Research and Engineering (now ExxonMobil) in Annandale, N.J., for more than 30 years, would just order takeout for everyone. He is also the one who makes sure the fire extinguishers in the house are working.


“I think marriage is constantly choosing to be a team. It’s a conscious decision — this is a priority,” Ms. London said.

Mark Makela for The New York Times

“He’s technical, and my abilities are much more hands-in-the-dirt kind of thing,” Ms. London said. “I’m the one bringing home the animals, adding more pets, much to his consternation. He’ll say, ‘What? This wasn’t what we planned!’”

She added, “We have things we don’t see eye to eye on but there’s never been a doubt that overall, we are a team. I think marriage is constantly choosing to be a team. It’s a conscious decision — this is a priority. This is home base.”

Over the years, Mr. Sirota has continued working on “Frankenstein,” now the official title of his musical. In fact, as Julia and Craig got older, it became a family project. While some families work on puzzles together, the Sirotas huddled around the piano, revising “Frankenstein.” “I needed to find Cara, get married and have children so they could help me with the lyrics,” Mr. Sirota said. “My daughter did a lot of the editing. She said, ‘You can’t have this verse, it’s heteronormative.’ I said, ‘What?’”

At one point in the musical, an older couple warns a younger one about marriage. “All days won’t be so sunny,” they say, and, “His lips won’t always taste like honey.” Also: “Young bride, the man whose ring you wear will one day start to lose his hair.”

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