#14: Newlywed Wishes

Welcome all! It is our honor to host this party for the newlyweds. I’m going to go out on a limb here and offer some free advice to the newlywed couple, knowing full well that most people are equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling than to ever take a word of free advice. But, as it says in the book of משלי (Proverbs 9:8), אַל־תּוֹכַח לֵץ פֶּן־יִשְׂנָאֶךָּ הוֹכַח לְחָכָם וְיֶאֱהָבֶךָּ. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; but offer advice to the wise and they will love you. So please indulge me some insights from almost forty-four years of a loving marriage, through richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, still working at it every day.

Everyone knows that marriage usually starts out with great passion and high hopes, but passion can wax and wane with the years. Someone, I think Shenandoah, said it’s more important to like your spouse than to love them. Loving marriages are nurtured over time; unloving ones devolve into apathy.

So here are my three steps to a respectful marriage-not specific to you-but for anyone.

What You See is What You Get.

We all want to train or “help” our partner to overcome some irritating habit, but we all have our crazinesses. In principle, according to Maimonides, human change is achievable, however tortuous. That’s what Rosh HaShanah is about. But, in practice, the rabbis said that it’s easier to learn the entire Talmud than to drop one bad habit. It is possible, but if you expect your spouse to change their basic personality ten years from now… then… don’t.

Speak Up / Hold Your Tongue.

Some might notice contrast between the extremes of Israeli over-directness and American over-hold-it-in-ness. The right way, I think, is to say something, but with kindness. Frankly, It is as difficult to criticize with delicacy and tact as it is to hear criticism. God gave us lips and teeth: two obstacles to our loose unfiltered So think before reacting, before saying something mean or stupid. We humans are sensitive creatures; we sure can dish it out but we cannot take it. In fact, we will remember a mean word for a lifetime.

In the book of Zechariah, there’s a wonderful verse (8:19), הָאֱמֶת וְהַשָלוֹם אֱהָבוּ, which translates simply as “love honesty and peace”. Sounds simple. But the rabbis read more into it. In the gemara of Sanhedrin, it says, “Wherever there is total honesty, there is no peace. Where there is complete peace, there is lacking justice.” The difficult answer is a balance, a never-ending compromise between honesty & peace. Stop having the last word.

Put your spouse first.

So there you have it: three not-so-easy rules for a happy marriage:

  • WYSIWYG: What You See is What You Get
  • Speak up AND hold your tongue. Never harshness, all kindness.
  • Your partner comes first. Period.

So there you have it. We all wish you the blessings of health and naches that life has to offer, with warmth and love. Mazal tov!



American-Israeli serial entrepreneur; Curiyo; Answers; Accent; MIT; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Rosenschein

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