The Gift of Marriage

I recently celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with my husband, and our journey together has been an emotional roller-coaster ride. It’s been filled with laughter and tears, triumphs and challenges, good times and some very difficult times, but I would not change any of it, for it has made me the person I am today.

There are so many jokes about marriage. People love to poke fun at it because it is the one relationship that is so powerful it takes a person through every emotion. Marriage can make you feel on top of the world one day, and the next like you want to give up. Marriage does take work. It takes commitment. Things may not always be easy. As one person so eloquently said, “I love being married. It’s great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”

Other people like to compare marriage to a deck of cards. At the start, all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you are looking for a club and a spade. Or the one piece of marriage advice everyone needs to hear before they get married: “Don’t do it!”

All jokes aside, a person’s Neshama yearns for a loving, peaceful marriage. Unity and oneness can only be felt through the connection between husband and wife. The health of a person’s marital relationship affects every aspect of their life. When there is שלום between the couple, Hashem sends an abundance of ברכה into the home.

I learned so many lessons about relationships in the quarter of a century that I have been married. Some of them the hard way. Life doesn’t always go the way we planned. The important thing is to keep trying, growing, and keeping your eyes on the prize. When we know what it is we are striving for, unity, oneness, and connection, it makes the ups and downs of marriage easier to handle.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Keeping score. Marriage is not a competition to see who contributes more. Each one gives to the relationship in their unique way. There will be times when the husband needs to pitch in more and times when the wife does. More focus on what you are doing for the other and less on what you are getting. Remember, you are both playing for the same team.
  • Never take your spouse for granted. It is the small acts of kindness that have the most significant impact. The things that we have come to expect from our spouse or are so much a part of the usual routine that we don’t even notice, say thank you for them. Every day, find something to thank your husband or wife for. When you show them appreciation, it will make them want to do more nice things for you.
  • Honesty in marriage.  Many experts say, “Always be honest with each other. Say what’s on your mind.” Is that really the best way? While honesty is indeed important, it’s essential to remember that tact and kindness are also crucial. Brutal honesty can often lead to unnecessary hurt. Before you say something, think to yourself if it will help the relationship grow stronger and deeper or if it will cause damage.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. In marriage, you need to be like a horse with blinders on. Don’t look to the right or the left. Focus on your goal of unity and connection. There will always be things that are frustrating and annoying. Is it worth fighting over it? Is it worth getting all worked up over it? Usually not. Leave the room if you feel like yelling at your spouse for something. That may help the intense feelings subside.
  • Move on. Some people love to keep an argument going for days. Disagreements and frustrating moments are inevitable in marriage, but once the “discussion” is finished, don’t keep bringing it up repeatedly. Let it go and move on. Every day is a new day.
  • Never stop dating your spouse. While dating, you are curious to learn more about each other. You may feel like you are married forever, so you know everything there is to know about your spouse, but there is always more to learn. Never stop being curious.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Shared activities can strengthen the bond, but it’s important to respect each other’s individual interests and personal space. Take time for self-care and some time with your friends. Your relationship will only benefit.
  • Never go to bed angry. This is a famous marriage cliché. The best thing, actually, is to sleep on it. So often, after a good night’s rest, what we thought was a huge issue won’t seem so significant anymore. If it still bothers you, you can now discuss it more calmly.
  • The marriage comes first. Nothing comes before the relationship between husband and wife. Not the kids. Not parents, siblings, friends. Not work. Not community. Marriage is a priority above all else.
  • Marriage isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. It takes a long-term commitment to keep a marriage healthy and happy. When you are committed to something, you don’t give up! There may be times you want to, but push through. It is worth the effort!

Hashem, in His infinite wisdom, has blessed us with this remarkable gift of marriage—a life of companionship and shared growth. So, cherish and nurture this precious gift with kindness, love, and respect. Remember, a successful marriage is not just about finding the right partner but also about being the right partner. In life’s journey, this gift provides us with a partner, a confidante, and a support system, enabling us to overcome hardships and share successes. It is the gift that keeps giving.

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