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Why Get Married? Here’s My Perspective . . .

Why Get Married? Here’s My Perspective . . .

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Dear Readers,

Have you heard of the new trend called “self-marriage”? Basically, it means marrying yourself.

Wikipedia defines it as “marriage by a person to oneself. It is known as a commitment that values self-love, and self-compassion. Supporters of the practice argue that it leads to a happier life . . . ”

Self-wedding planners are popping up to instruct how to create self-marriage sacred vows, self-marriage wedding rings and more.

The idea has also caused a flurry of discussions on related topics, like whether one can marry one’s pet. Proponents say: “Self-marriage is a commitment to valuing and prioritizing self-love and self-care within a culture that has neglected it.”

Perhaps this trend has arisen because our society feels that self-love is so essential. Torah agrees about the value of self-love—to some extent.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is a cardinal principle in the Torah. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first.

Similarly, it’s essential to take care of yourself, value yourself—to seek your needs, goals and wants. A healthy self-esteem is what makes us whole and helps us function as human beings.

But perhaps here’s the crux of the difference.

Loving yourself is not an end in and of itself. We love ourselves because we are created with a Divine G‑dly spark, which means that G‑d loves us unconditionally even when we fail. But G‑d also has expectations of us. He knows what we can achieve and believes in us to do so, or at least to keep on trying.

Marriage is all about love, but it is anything but self-love. Marriage means finding enough love to love another. Marriage means relinquishing yourself. Ironically, it also means discovering more about yourself than you ever could alone.

Marriage is not all about sparks flying. Yes, of course, that should be part of it. The right chemistry and compatible personalities are important ingredients in deciding who to marry. But it is not the reason why you marry.

Maybe that’s why marriage has become somewhat unpopular nowadays. We like to feel good. We want quick fixes. We want pleasure. We want self-love. And at times, marriage can be the exact opposite. Nothing about marriage is a quick fix.

Marriage is about climbing a very steep mountain, whose peak is forever beyond your reach. You will fall and stumble too many times to count, only to haul yourself up again. You will scrape your heart until it sometimes feels like it’s gushing.

So why marry? (And I mean another person, not yourself!)

Because marriage is about partnering with another to negate yourself, only to become your greatest self. It is about stretching yourself to see beyond just “you.” It is about building something far greater than you could ever imagine. It is about creating a permanent, everlasting, Divine edifice in this world. It is about merging with another G‑dly being to create holiness in our world.

Marriage isn’t about feeling great. It is about becoming greater.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW


Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Chana Weisberg May 8, 2017

Thank you all for your wonderful and thought-provoking comments! Much to think about. Reply

Shmuel Graybar May 7, 2017

Paul Simon wrote a song about "I knew a woman...who became a wife. Those are the very words she uses to describe her life!" Like she lost herself when she bonded with a man! With an attitude like that no wonder everybody's splitting up! But that's exactly how we should see marriage, and that's a good thing! You start out as a man and a woman, but that's only the caterpillar stage! When the two of you marry you become new beings--a Husband and a Wife, a Father and a Mother! Ya gotta leave behind the little worm on the leaf that just lives to stuff it's face, and become a productive adult that well, keeps everything going! Reply

Anonymous USA May 7, 2017

In Reply To Lilian

Very sorry to hear about your tragedy - it must be very difficult - Loving yourself is the knowledge that you are worthy, which doesn't mean becoming self centered -in fact, it is this very knowledge that allows us to give. Reply

Yankeleh Gilead Thailand May 6, 2017

Marriage has its positive side, agreed.It is also a double edged sword, a coin with 2 sides. A marriage that fails after a few years leaves heartbreak, alimony problems, custody fights, property settlements, visitation rights, and more. It's nice to think positively, but it also pays to consider everything and think realistically as well. Marriage through rose tinted glasses can spell disaster. Reply

Raven May 5, 2017

Such a great piece! Love the bottom portion where you say , "It is about stretching yourself to see beyond just “you.” It is about building something far greater than you could ever imagine. It is about creating a permanent, everlasting, Divine edifice in this world. It is about merging with another G‑dly being to create holiness in our world.

Marriage isn’t about feeling great. It is about becoming greater."

Marriage is truly a ministry. It takes a lot of work and is not a fairytale to be sought after. Therefore, we must be "COMPLETE" going in, not looking for IT to make us complete. I've been "entertaining" the idea of marriage a lot more, but am not ready to take step towards this "ministry" as of yet. Hashem, blessed be He, has perfect timing for these things. So as I learn, I learn "at rest" and with patience. Thank you, Chana!! Reply

Lilian México May 4, 2017

In my case, my husband just died 9 months ago, I'm left with three boys , two on the Austims Spectrum, I guess I should start loving my self, I have put my life on hold for so long that I don't know where to begin. I have neglected me to attend my family. So how do I start? Reply

Y. Sverdlik 5 towns May 4, 2017

I feel we need to embrace ourselves. We were made to get married. it is beutifal and not animalistic.
Not because I say so, but the creator says so. Reply

Sharlon Salisbury, NC May 2, 2017

Splendidly put into words. One clarification maybe ; one man and one woman. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY May 4, 2017
in response to Sharlon:

IMHO, the issue of whether a Jewish man who has sufficient love to share with more than one wife, and has other resources that make responding for 2nd women 'properly,' or adequately (providing the basics of living, food, clothing, time with her) might be revisited. There are many of us older women who are still able to love and who would appreciate having a husband -and perhaps a part-time one is actually better than a full time one for us. Wouldn't a 'sister' Jew be concerned about us? Concerned we are so alone in the world? Or does Jew loving Jew only go up to the point of husbands and family? G-d cursed Eve by making wives long for their husbands who will lord it over them.That is a horrible curse, but women have figured out a way (i really want to say finagled) around sharing a husband with a sister wife, by somehow convincing Jewish men that they must be monogamous. Just sayin' -.And I am not talking about a man sharing a wife with another man. That's different for many reasons. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY May 2, 2017

Chana, this is marvelous! Yes! As others who posted say, I am also from the "old school." I only live alone because I have not found that person who truly loves G-d and who has a strong enough personality and sense of ethics to lead and teach me (and agree also in some senses to learn from me in areas where I may know better). A Jew who loves nothing better than to discuss Torah with me - to talk Torah as we go to sleep. Someone who is trustworthy. Someone upon whose word I can rely. Someone who is truthful and loyal. I expect those things because I am prepared to give those things. He should have a good appetite and love creativity and artistic things. The best I have been able to organize for myself is to drift off to sleep listening to Torah classes given by a great scholar. (But something is definitely missing!) ^.^ Reply

Raven USA May 5, 2017
in response to M. Diane:

Amen to that! It's like I have a twin soul in Flushing. Haha!
Good Shabbos to you & yours! Reply

JDV May 1, 2017

The new narcissism, that's what I call it! But I am not surprised! I think like Chana but we are becoming dinosaurs. However, all children LOVE dinosaurs so maybe that isn't bad! Reply

jim dallas May 1, 2017

marriage is all you say it is....no doubt....problem is trying to master those objectives in the midst of witchcrafts, ldolatry, adultery, drug and drunkenness, and more....some marriages are impossibile to begin with....and some people don't learn, so counselors are out....maybe exile is the answer? sorry i am! Reply

zak San Diego May 1, 2017

Understanding is made of two words. When you know these two words are one, you will know who your standing under. Reply

Chani UK May 1, 2017

Oh Chana, so very much THIS. I heard an elderly gentleman on a documentary about social change describe it as going from the We generation to the Me generation. Love is for sharing. I was widowed at 41 with two young children. I'm now 54 but I still hope for someone to share whatever Hashem grants me with someone else.

Kol hakavod! Reply

Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
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