Here it is! The first post in the Perspectives of Marriage series. Enjoy!
Juliya Sheynman is a marketing professional with most of her experience working with Jewish non-profits. A first time Mama – constantly Googling everything from weight average for infants to croupy coughs and colored poopies – she now shares her Mamale questions, dilemmas and marriage perspectives on LadyMama.
There are many things you learn along the way about marriage. Some are aha! moments, and others take some time to sink in.
During my single days, I spent time in Israel with amazing seminary sisters, in New York with wonderful co-workers and friends, and then in LA, living by a kiruv family who packed a house and Shabbos table with entertaining people and planted me eight blocks away from my dearest girlfriends.
Needless to say, in my frum single days, I had great friends, great fun, great shopping sprees and great freedom to spend my time with whom I wanted, when I wanted. We won’t even talk about my non-frum days.
I looked for my husband for a long time – not super long if you look at the shidduch crisis – but looking at my personal crisis, considering I had planned to wed at 22 and he finally came around at 26, it felt long to me.
So fast forward to the dream wedding in Boro Park (no, we’re not Chassidish – it’s just the closest thing we could do to having a wedding in Israel considering one side schlepped from Seattle and the other from Baltimore! But our Rabbis were there from Israel, so it was well worth it and well planned).
When we got married, I moved to Baltimore where my husband’s family lives, and where we felt we could have the best life and opportunities for ourselves and our child(ren). In any community, it takes time to settle and connect. So here I was in Baltimore, where I knew NO ONE. I had to start looking for friends like it was the first day of class at a new school.
Some communities are warmer than others – kiruv communities take an extra effort to welcome and befriend. Baltimore takes time! So fast forward a little more . . . it’s a year since the wedding – I have my dream man, my dream job, my dream baby on the way . . . and my friends . . . wait, what friends???
You see, I’m not a great phone friend. Thank G-d, my friends in NY, LA and Seattle have come to terms with this and still accept me with open arms when we’re in the same zip code.
It took about a year and a half until I found my first true friend in Baltimore- R. Then I had to tell her I was prego because we were planning a ladies’ night out and I couldn’t drink the wine…I was so scared she’d distance herself after she found out, considering we were going to be in different places in our lives a minute after we bonded. But R was committed because she came from Memphis, and it helped that she got preggers 3 months later! So here we were, with our newborns and our new lives trying to navigate – thank G-d we had our husbands.
Finding friends was really important to me because I needed that familiar connection, that shopping body and confidante. It took me some time to realize that I’ll never really be as close to a girlfriend again…not because R isn’t amazing. She totally is amazing! Not because our schedules are so crazy or our lives so hectic.
It’s because I had my husband – my true BFF. My wonderful partner, frenemy and lover. My shopping buddy and parenting assistant. My muscle and tender caregiver. My friend that came automatically built into marriage.