The First Couple’s Secret to a Great Marriage

The Irony of the First Advice

I want to talk about the secret sauce that Adam and Chava, the very first married couple, had for creating such a great marriage, as it holds a timeless lesson for us all. After they were created, it says in the Torah:

“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife.”

Hold on a second. Adam and Chava didn’t even have parents! Think about the irony. The first couple, fresh off the creation line, receives advice about leaving their non-existent parents. It’s like telling a fish to remember to bring an umbrella—completely unnecessary and slightly ridiculous.

The Art of Giving

Adam and Chava had the ideal setup. They were made for each other. No baggage, no trust issues, no squabbles about who took out the trash last. They were the ultimate couple, living their best lives in a garden that made the fanciest resorts look like cheap motels. And here’s a fun thought—they didn’t even have mothers-in-law to deal with!

Hashem’s wisdom is profound. This advice was for all future couples. He instructs us to ‘leave and cleave’ in our marriages, a concept that holds the key to a successful relationship. Why? Because even in paradise, relationships require effort and intention.

Adam and Chava were the original givers. They had no choice—there was no one to take from. Their relationship was a constant dance of mutual giving and selflessness. They didn’t need to leave their parents because they had already mastered the art of prioritizing each other.

The Shift from Takers to Givers

Fast forward a few generations (and one unfortunate incident with a talking snake and eating forbidden fruit), and we find ourselves in a very different world. A world where babies are born as adorable little takers, where children believe the universe revolves around them, and where many adults… well, let’s say some never outgrow that phase.

This is where Hashem’s wisdom really shines. By instructing future generations to “leave their parents and cleave to their spouse,” Hashem is essentially saying, “Hey, remember that giving spirit Adam and Chava had? Yeah, you’re gonna need that.” More specifically, He emphasizes the need to leave behind the “taker” mentality of childhood. This shift should begin in dating, where both individuals practice the art of giving, setting the foundation for a healthy, balanced relationship.

The Parent-Child Relationship

Babies and children are born as takers out of necessity. It’s not their fault—they’re just trying to survive in a confusing world. Parents give to them unconditionally, meeting their every need. It’s a beautiful thing, this parental love.

But here’s the kicker: marriage isn’t supposed to work that way. Marriage, ideally, is a union of givers. It’s about leaving the “me, me, me” mindset of childhood and embracing the “you” philosophy of mature love.

Imagine if marriages operated like a parent-child relationship. You’d have two grown adults throwing tantrums when they don’t get their way, demanding their spouse cater to their every whim, and sulking when things don’t go as planned. Actually, come to think of it, that might explain some marriages I’ve seen…

The Blueprint for a Successful Marriage

But that’s not the blueprint Hashem had in mind. When He talks about leaving father and mother, He is not just referring to physical separation. He’s talking about a mental and emotional shift. It’s about growing up, stepping into adulthood, and realizing that love isn’t about what you can get but what you can give.

It’s a tall order, especially in a world that bombards us with messages of self-indulgence and instant gratification. We’re told to “treat ourselves,” to “put ourselves first,” to “live our best lives.” And while self-care is important, there’s a fine line between self-care and selfishness.

The Challenge of Marriage

Marriage calls us to something higher. It challenges us to find joy in giving, to discover fulfillment in putting our spouse’s needs alongside (or sometimes before) our own. It’s about creating a partnership where both spouses constantly seek to uplift, support, and cherish each other.

Does this mean you should be a doormat? Absolutely not! Healthy giving in marriage is reciprocal. It’s not about one person constantly sacrificing while the other takes advantage. When both spouses strive to outdo each other in love and kindness, it’s a beautiful competition where everyone wins.

How to Become a Giver

So, how do we make this shift from takers to givers? How do we channel our inner Adam and Chava?

To become a giver in a relationship, start by practicing small acts of kindness daily. This could be as simple as offering a compliment, helping with a household task, or actively listening to your spouse. Cultivate gratitude by acknowledging and appreciating your spouse’s efforts, no matter how small. Give without expectation of immediately receiving in return, focusing on the joy of giving itself. By consistently choosing to give – whether it’s time, attention, or support – you create a positive cycle that strengthens your bond and encourages mutual giving in your relationship.

The Journey of Giving

It’s not always easy. There will be days when you feel more like a taker than a giver. Days when you want to stomp your foot and demand your own way. That’s okay—we’re all works in progress. The key is to keep striving, keep growing, and keep giving

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