It seems so easy. Young and innocent, older and wiser, like-minded or otherwise: couples meet. Suddenly the ground beneath them is shaking, the stars are definitely shining more brightly and the precision of the sounds of an orchestra become that much more pure and clear. What is this phenomenon?
Some will not admit to it at first but eventually after a period of time these weird and beautiful sensations will be attributed to the overwhelmingly consuming aura that we call love. There is nothing like it. We get up in the morning longing to see the person that we are so enthralled with. We wait for special intimate telephone calls, which many times includes minutes of whispering to ensure that no one else should hear the most private loving words which we have only for each other, and in most cases, we eagerly anticipate the day that we can become husband and wife in order to share each moment of our lives together.
As time moves on, the same force of love and intimacy deepens with the arrival of children. How often do we watch over them praying quietly that nothing should ever happen to them? Each step of the way, as they begin to eat, watching that they do not choke, that as they begin to walk they do not fall and hurt themselves, that they do not run into the street during the one second that we might turn around. The list goes on and on. They begin school and we might realize that our “brilliant” child is having a difficult time keeping up with the rest of the class. We might notice that our sons are not as “sporty” as some of their friends. We are bothered by the fact that some of their friends live in homes that are obviously grander in stature and size than our small abodes. Will our children be bothered by that? We are not of the financial ability to take trips and go away to “vacation sights” that are glamorous and costly. How can we protect them from feeling that they are not deprived?
We watch them as they grow older and the challenges are even greater. We must be able to say no to requests by them that their friends’ parents are saying yes to. Can we tell them that our decisions are based on our feelings of love for them? Do their friends’ parents not love them? Do we insist that our son/daughter go to daven when their friends do not? Do we say yes to their request to take the car to the mall at night with the full knowledge that getting onto Route 4 is horrendous during the day for an experienced driver? Are we loving them too much? It absolutely never becomes easier. As they grow older, an entire new world erupts in terms of the challenges of parenting. Nothing that we ever imagined could happen in any of our families stands a good chance of happening. None of us are immune to the confrontations that we may be faced with one day. If there is anyone reading this who believes that their children will do and follow whatever they are expected to are living in a dream world. We suggest that you come into the world of reality. How do the challenges of having children affect the “most perfect” marriage? Immediately private time is consumed by the trials and tribulations of the everyday nitty gritty of raising children each day. Do we always agree on the best methods to discipline them? Is one of us terribly disappointed in the way that a child looks or acts and are we ashamed to share this sentiment with our partner? Are we afraid to share with each other our feelings that we have failed at parenting properly? Every marriage goes through these turmoils. Do we trust each other enough to open up and spend time sharing these innermost thoughts? Remember this is the person that made the orchestra sound that much more brilliant.
As time moves on and life sets in there are times when it becomes difficult to love your partner when they do little things that you feel are hurtful. Are there not times in each and every marriage that couples wonder what they ever saw in each other? How often do we take the time in our busy lives to rekindle those special feelings from years ago? It is possible to do so. It takes great effort to realize that there is nothing more important than maintaining the glue that binds us together as a couple. Be it a nightly walk, a one-night-a-week hour without any electronics, a rendezvous away at a hotel for one night, a walk in the rain (one of our favorites) or 15 minutes each night recalling the electricity felt during the days at the beginning of your relationship.
Yes, love is painful. However, it is extraordinarily beautiful if we allow it to be and take the time to shine on each other.
Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick arrived in this community after spending the majority of their married life in Montreal. They frequently participated in Marriage Retreats sponsored by the OU. Rabbi Dr Glick is a clinical psychologist who taught psychology at Champlain Regional College in Montreal. He also had a private practice and was the rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel in Cote St Luc. Nina coordinated Yachad in Montreal for 15 years and was a founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for individuals with special needs.