What is the Purpose of Marriage?
Mazal tov Miriam and Jason! My sister, Miriam just got married to Jason Bernstein this past Monday! The wedding was beautiful and Natanya and I wish you a beautiful life together!
This week's email is dedicated in honor of the bride and groom, and the topic will be “the purpose of marriage.”
So what is the purpose of marriage?
Some people might say it’s to suffer. Some people might say to enjoy life together. Some people might say it’s “to not be lonely”. Some people might say to have children. Or maybe to be partners in life, have financial stability or emotional support.
There may be some truth in some of those answers but I don’t think any of them capture the essence of marriage.
The purpose of marriage is for husband and wife to become one.
Let’s have a look at the beginning of the Torah. On the sixth day of creation, after speaking all the land animals into existence, G-d took some earth, formed it into a body, and then blew a soul into it. G-d called him Adam because he was taken from the earth (the Hebrew word adamah means earth). Adam was first created androgynous (male and female).
Adam was giving names to all the animals and saw that they each had a partner (male and female) but he did not have a partner. G-d then put Adam to sleep, removed his rib and formed her into a female.
Adam woke up and said, “This one is part of me”. The Torah continues, “Therefore, man leaves his father and mother, cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Male and female were first created as one body. G-d separated them for the purpose of allowing them to spend the rest of their lives becoming one again. This is marriage!
Their bodies become one in intimacy. Their minds and hearts become one through conversation and a shared journey (yes, you are supposed to be able to read her mind, and vice versa).
The story is told of the husband and wife who walked into the doctor and said, “Our foot is hurting”.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It is a lifetime of work, which is also the key to marriage not becoming boring.
Of course, marriage hopefully creates children, financial and emotional stability and hopefully spares people from loneliness, bringing them happiness, but the essence of marriage is for the husband and wife to become one.
Where do you start? At the beginning of course.
One of the 613 commandments is for a couple in their first year of marriage to be exempt from the army draft. The reason for this is that this first year is critical for the couple to get to know each other, and set the foundation for the rest of their life together.
When a husband and wife find themselves in a moment of disagreement and friction, this is reason for celebration, because it’s an opportunity to become one. Before differences surface, you might naively think you’ve already reached the goal of being a happy couple without the rough patches. These challenging moments force us to actively figure out how to “become one”.
There is a way that I can be 100% me and you can be 100% you, and we can become 100% us. With patience, respect and determination, it’s possible to achieve this deeply fulfilling and never ending journey of marriage.
Miriam and Jason, have a journey of marriage together!