Modern Jewish Marriage

For a modern Jewish husband the idea of a woman and a man in a lifelong commitment of partnership – what we call marriage – is as old as the beginnings of humanity as we know it. After God created Adam, and before Eve, God says “Lo Tov heyot he-adam levado” – it’s not good for man to be alone. “I will make for him a fitting helpmeet opponent“.

The Torah means more than not alone, it is an anti-dote to self involvement. Mainstream psychology acknolwedges self-control and interpersonal stability leads to a long life. When Adam marries Eve, there is now someone else to account for, with whom he has to reckon to whom he has to give whose being he must adore, with whom he must share. It’s not good for man to be alone is to presume he is independent, someone who has noone to answer to, but himself. Like Adam, in Adams’ world. Only someone opposite to Adam, his equal and yet different, can make him into a proper human.

There is a paradox as Adam moves from being free to being obligated, yet through this obligation he is made whole. Marriage is moving from a status of being free (not good and not fully human) … to being obligated (good and human). For to be good, is not to do as one pleases, and not to be concerned with ones personal comfort and pleasure. To be human means to give, to be obligated, to be responsible for, and to be accountable to. As is how Adam transformed.

The profound lesson that can be learned from those who find their beshert or not, to be a taker does not guarantee happiness or satisfaction. It is ultimately the reverse, happiness is for the givers, they can reach for joy. Partly because the more one lives in Gods image, He is the ultimate giver. Similarly the more ones gives, the more joy one can experience.

Marriage is an opportunity to be a giver. The essential component for the holiness of a partnership is a fundamental commitment to give to the partnership. The more one takes the more destructive the relationship can become. It is important to always ask oneself; “Am I giving enough? Am I supplying the needs of the other?”.

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