Shalom Bayit - When Do We get Married?

This post is dedicated in merit that Hershel ben Etya Sarah have a yeshuah.

by Shoshana Rosa
Taken from How to Love Yourself Unconditionally
Why do we get married? Is it for love? Security? Because society has conditioned us to take this next logical step? Before we answer, however, we need to ask, "Why are there so many divorces?" Well, aside from the obvious, that divorce is no longer a taboo, that in fact, it has become an accepted norm, marriage just isn't placed on the same pedestal it used to be. You could add that divorce is over fifty percent because people marry for selfish motives: s/he's cute, s/he's rich, s/he comes with prestige. Yet as soon as the guy gains weight or the girl loses her fortune, one or both find themselves asking for a get (Hebrew for divorce) and filing for divorce. Marrying with skin deep benefits in mind is last week's news, though. People have been looking for marriage partners with one to all of the above for centuries. As Jane Austen put it, oh so sarcastically, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." No, self absorbed motives are not the key issue either. What makes marriages crumble after two or three years of bliss is that they have become, like most things in the 21st century, disposable. Today, people just aren't willing to labor over making a marriage work.
How do we combat the frame of thinking that marriage is disposable? How do we start seeing it as the sacred bond that it is, "It is not good for Man to be alone. I'll make him a helpmate, opposite him" (Genesis 2:18)? When will we realize that if, G-d forbid, two people toss their marriage over their shoulders like a used tissue, it should be viewed as a tragedy? Perhaps marriage can only become sacred, and the task of raising our children sacrosanct, as soon as we see them as opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. 
However, we can only really do that by getting to know and love ourselves first. 
Why is the above so essential? Since low self esteem is the disease that most people suffer from nowadays, a poor self image is usually behind the none-too-bright decisions that are made in some homes. This is because parents with a hole in their hearts are on the prowl for someone who will make them feel good. Unfortunately, this translates into very one sided relationships where the victimized party ends up using his or her spouse and kids as a means to an end. What makes matters worse is that if the good feeling disappears, many of these parents with low self esteem decide to look elsewhere for their fix, essentially causing further damage in an already ruptured home. 

After years of dating and still not finding the one, I remember picking up the phone and asking my mother for a compliment. There was a moment of pensive silence before she answered, "You don't know your own worth." "To try being committed to a life of honesty, love and discipline, we must be willing to commit ourselves to reality" John Bradshaw, Healing the shame that Binds You. That reality is that G-d doesn't make garbage. When G-d put us here, it was with a unique purpose. And it is only when we recognize our inherent self worth that we will be able to give to our spouses and kids on an authentic level. This is the message my mother tried to convey over the phone to me.
By the way, living authentically also raises the chances of one's children living authentic lives as well. After all, “The job of parents is to model. Modeling includes how to be a man or woman; how to relate intimately to another person; how to acknowledge and express emotions; how to fight fairly; how to have physical, emotional and intellectual boundaries; how to communicate; how to cope and survive life’s unending problems; how to be self-disciplined; and how to love oneself and another. Shame-based parents cannot do any of these. They simply don’t know how” John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You. The road starts with you. 
Two weeks ago, I found myself enmeshed in a conversation with two mothers who were swapping stories about the challenges of child rearing. The conversation was pretty dramatic; they were discussing how difficult yet paramount it was not to hit one's child. I was speechless. I thought these women were the cream of righteous society, continually trying to grow in faith as well as benevolence within their individual communities. I was witnessing a strong dose of personal honesty and was blown away. At some point, one of them turned to me and jabbed her finger in my face, "I want to give you a blessing," she said. I folded my hands and waited for, "May you get married in the right time, to the right person," and blah blah blah. Instead, she said, "May you never be faced with such a challenge as wanting to raise a hand against your own child." Her friend nodded. "And do you know when you start working on being a good mother?" she continued, "Now, the process starts right now." Get busy living (and loving). 

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