Disclaimer: Sheesh, how did this happen that I wrote a piece about marriage? I always feel like I don’t have the right considering the fact that I’m not married but I’ll be brave here and post it, since I do believe that what I wrote makes sense. Please feel free to give your two cents (or as mTp says, 7 cents with inflation). Thanks
My friend just told me that at Friday night dinner, someone asked the rabbi how you know if you’re married to the right person. He said that you need to always realize that you don’t only marry Rachel but you also marry Leah. The idea being that you marry the whole package. The good the bad the ugly the beautiful the part you connect to the part that you don’t the part you love the part you try to put up with the part you respect the part you wish would change the part you are crazy about the part you can’t stand…
I must say it seems a bit simplistic. I do think it’s very true. If you don’t realize that there are things about your spouse that will be difficult for you, you’re setting yourself up for failure. To go into it knowing you’re marrying a human being, flaws, beauty and all, is a great start. But it’s not the only thing needed for a great start and marriage.
We also need to be extremely honest with ourselves. See the person standing before you. Truly see them. Is this the person that’s good for me? Are there possibly things that bother me on the most important level that I’m ignoring, pretending I don’t actually care about or assuming, consciously or subconsciously, that it’ll change and then it’ll be OK?
STOP IT!!! We must must MUST be as honest with ourselves as possible about what we’re getting ourselves into.
Also, sometimes things happen before we’ve fully committed that make us feel like now we have to commit – get engaged and married. But it’s important to realize that there is almost nothing that can make a person get married to someone else. Even if, to you, sleeping with the person means you have to marry them, it’s absolutely not true. It is better to back out of a not good relationship at any point rather than go forwards just because you feel you have to. I cannot think of any scenario where you really have to.
I have heard the idea that most people whose marriages don’t work out, if afterwards you ask them if they had a bad feeling to begin with, they did. Yikes. Be honest with yourself.
So we don’t want to marry the wrong person. But we also don’t want to not marry the right person! One thing my mom just said to me recently that her friend said to her was that we need to make sure that we aren’t full of ourselves. Someone might find that they don’t want to be with someone who is otherwise really great for them, because they are… and I HATE this word… picky.
I hate the word because it’s so absolutely, positively, unbelievably important to be picky when choosing – or picking, shall we say – the person with whom we’ll spend the rest of our lives. But it still is possible to be too picky. And as my mother explained it to me, if you think you’re God’s ultimate gift to the world – more than other human beings – you might turn down someone less than perfect because they just aren’t perfect enough for you. But you need to remind yourself that you ain’t no perfect ride either. You can be annoying or not nice sometimes, just like everyone else. It is a wonderful thing that someone sees past your flaws and wants to be with you in the ultimate way. You need to find someone who is great for you with their imperfections.
A friend told me that when she met her beshert (soulmate) she saw that she was compromising on things that she thought she needed in her husband but she was getting so much more than she’d imagined.
As for what the rabbi said, I think it is important in both directions. You are marrying a full person, for good (symbolized by Rachel) and for bad (symbolized by Leah). Sadly and thankfully, divorce is part of Jewish law for a reason. Sometimes it isn’t good enough and if it is bad enough, it’s important to get divorced. So you need to carefully look at what you’ve got and if it’s really not good for you, you need to move on. (I am obviously NO expert. This is just my feeling and of course you MUST talk to a professional, and hopefully your spouse, to figure these things out.) If there’s too much Leah and not enough Rachel, it’s time to take a good look at what’s going on. Are you guys not working hard enough at the relationship or is there something that is beyond work?
Finally, as I started mentioning above, don’t you dare think that things will stay good if you don’t constantly keep working on them. Both partners must be committed to putting constant effort into the relationship and into the other person in order to make sure that the relationship stays strong and loving for ever and ever.
What work? That’s for another post.