July 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

What’s So (Potentially) Special About Marriage?

Why am I so stuck on marriage? Yeah, in some cases it’s great, but in many others it’s just so-so, and in not such a few, just AWFUL! In a moment I will talk about why we must reclaim the centrality of marriage, despite the fact that many people are rejecting it outright. Lots of people in the world at large just live with one after another, often on or off, for many years or however long that lasts. Some get married after a few years–often after they have a number of children together. I guess they decided that maybe they can be married, at least for now.

I don’t know why or how things turn out the way they do. But I do know that, somehow, they will turn out the way they do (while at the same time, we need to do our very best to strive toward our dreams!) And on our road through life, we need to kvell in our moments of wonder and greatness, and keep going through tears and suffering when things are too awful to even imagine. No one knows how things will end up (or even when they end.) And that’s as true for the timid and hesitant as it is for the cocksure superstar who has (he/she believes, at the moment) the world in his/her hands.

When people get married, they are very excited and looking forward to a wonderful life together where they can depend on their soul mate pretty much, forever. People don’t, and generally shouldn’t, think about the horrible things that could happen the day after their wedding. That’s true of life in general. We can’t live in a world of “what ifs?” We must live in today. And that means in every day, no matter how glorious or torturously awful it is. We need to keep going, constantly dedicated to making it better or as close as possible to the way it “should” be.

When my wife and I married (49 years ago) just a few years after beginning college at the ripe old age of 21, some people might have called me “a pisher.” While I was an adult (at least in years) when we married, it was a number of years after we decided we wanted to get married. Of course, both sets of parents went crazy and did what they could to delay it for many years. When I was 19, I went to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe (the only time I went for a Yechidus) who told me we should get married–I don’t remember what he said about our parents. We then started pushing more forcefully and finally did get married. It was the start of a continuing, unbelievable life together, a life filled with more than our share of all the best and worst that life doles out to people. A life filled with love and occasional hate, with overwhelming work and pettiness, with wonder and awe, with terrible challenges, but always with a commitment to each other forever.

We weren’t your typical bride and groom. In fact, we never agreed when or whether I even proposed! My wife swears I did. I guess maybe that wasn’t such a big assumption after I said to her something like “wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could spend our lives together?” When we started preparing for the wedding, we were SOOO excited. We even bought a laundry hamper that we kept stored someplace many months before we even started planning the wedding. We announced our engagement (finally!) at YU, even though I never bought my wife an engagement ring!! I did get her one six or seven years ago, which was VERY romantic, though she said she never needed one as she had hers by her side throughout her life!

Our life has been filled with wondrous miracles and awful experiences, all woven together into a beautiful tapestry of love. Who said that amazing experiences only happen in fairytales? We are living a fairytale that gets more amazing every day. And you can have your own fairytale! Only you can’t get it by expecting, demanding, fearfully waiting, or angrily giving up on it every day. You can only get it by making it in the here and, sometimes terrible, now. All the horrors and awful things that are sometimes a part of your marriage are the part of everyone’s life. You can cry, complain, scream, and ultimately give up and get divorced or commit suicide, or bask in the unbelievable, if only occasional, reality of marriage and life. Choose life!

Next week, I will try to outline how to get through the sometimes terrible aspects of marriage, while never giving up on the awe and wonder of it all.

(To the person who approached me about financial issues in marriage and life, please call me.)

Please feel free to contact me regarding this (or any) topic. You can do so anonymously by writing [email protected]. Dr. Glick was a clinical psychologist in private practice for 35 years as well as the rabbi of Congregation Ahavat Yisrael in Montreal. If you would like to submit a question, or contact him for an appointment, he can be reached [email protected] or by calling him at 201-983-1532.

By Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Glick

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles