Get The Ring: How to Find & Keep the Right One for Life.
Lawrence Kelemen - Part 3
why He created the whole universe, so that there should be someone to care for, someone to give to. That's what they believe. Then He is the model spouse. He just gives and gives and gives, and He really doesn't want anything back. All he wants is our welfare, what's good for us. So for these Orthodox Jews, marriage is not a 50/50 deal. In fact, they don't even have the word "marriage" in their vocabulary. The word they use, the Hebrew word, nissuin, nissuin is the plural of the word "carry". Their word for marriage is the word "carryings". One of the rabbis once explained to me, "Why do we call marriage "carryings"? He said, "Because on the day of the wedding you step underneath the marriage canopy, you pick up your spouse and you say — I won't put her down no matter how heavy she gets." The idea is that I'm getting married because I'm so full of love, that is, I'm so full of ahava, that is I'm so full of the need to give, that I want to take full time responsibility for somebody else for the rest of their life. I want to care for them in every single way. When a person has a desire to care for somebody else, to take care of them, then it's time to start looking for a partner who they can take care of.
How do we know when we're ready to get married? So the first index, the first measure of traditional Jewish maturity would be — how much have I gotten out of myself and am I capable of focusing on others and their needs?
So what you're saying is that readiness for marriage is not marked by some vague feeling of wanting to settle down or by a desire to satisfy my own needs for love and security. The mark of readiness is rather the feeling that I'm prepared to make a deep commitment to somebody outside myself.
I remember, I heard the story of how Christopher Reeve, Superman, so he had this terrible accident and when he woke up from surgery they informed him that he was probably going to be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. No movement from the neck down. And shortly thereafter he had a discussion with his wife. His wife visited him there in the ICU and he said to her — "Sweetie, you know, I understand. I don't mind if you divorce me. It's okay." She looked at him and she said — "What are you talking about? What do you mean if I want to divorce you? I'm not going to divorce you." He explained — "No, no. I'm a paraplegic now, I can't take care of myself, I can't do anything for you. I understand if you divorce me." And she very beautifully responded — "Why would I consider divorcing you?" Because the reason she married him was she just wanted to take care of and love him. Now he couldn't do certain things for her, that was irrelevant. She wanted to take care of him. That would be the model of a Jewish marriage. The more that you give to your spouse, the more that you exercise that loving muscle, so the stronger it becomes, and the easier giving becomes. And eventually someone could reach a point where they could even marry someone who will do nothing for them, and be happy. But that takes years and years of work. But I
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