Hello hello! It’s been a while since we had a round of Orthodox Women Talk, where several women share their own perspective on things that you ask. You can check out some of the previous questions and answers here. This week’s question was:
How does Judaism shape your marriage?
My response got lost in the shuffle this time (which is totally fine, btw! That’s life sometimes), so I’ll just include it here:
Without Judaism, I’m not sure I would have ever even gotten married. So there’s that. When I was dating, my relationship with Judaism and my spiritual goals were at the forefront of my mind. This means that even before we got married, Judaism was shaping our relationship. It affected what we talked about on our dates, since we were both dating for the explicit purpose of determining if we would be a suitable match, and also it meant that we refrained from physical contact during our dating and engagement period.
And that was all prequel. We’ve been married about seven and a half years, and I am so grateful for the structure and wisdom that Judaism has provided. The structure of observing the laws of family purity have given a rhythm and routine, and a monthly opportunity to reflect on the state of our relationship. There are prayers that I sometimes remember to say on the day of immersion in the mikveh which include all sorts of lofty thoughts about marriage, and when I’m paying attention to what I’m saying, it gives me a dose of inspiration to try harder, to keep working.
I also appreciate the many, many classes on shalom bayis (peace in the home) that are available in the community, online, via phone, in books, etc. There are a ton of resources that provide advice culled from Torah sources filtered through wise, experienced people. I’ve been taught that marriage is hard work, and that it involves compromise and growth, and that it’s normal to have disagreements or miscommunications.
I feel that Judaism has provided me with a more mature outlook and expectation for marriage. I was aware that when the butterflies in my stomach start to wane, and we become more comfortable with each other (haha, I love this euphemism for letting our less attractive habits and middos out of the bag), we will have to work on ourselves. But through this work, this bending and growing that we do on our own and together, we can reach a level of intimacy that can become divine. That marriage is more than just a partnership, it’s a vehicle to increase the holiness in the world. And I love that.
Everyone else’s responses are over at Ruchi’s blog, so go see what they have to say!