This article was published in a Shavuos magazine edition one week before my wedding and I blushed as I read it smug and happy.
F rom my view at the sidelines the inner circle looks bright: a pageant of rosy-cheeked girls in poufy dresses diamonds on their wrists and in their eyes. The kallah is a flash of white lace joy.
My friend and I watch titter yawn check our phones for irate messages from the babysitter. Our own poufy dresses are tucked away in some dark closet; either they don’t fit or they serve no purpose. Long-ago nights of heels and jewelry and dance have been replaced by dinner and bedtime routines.
My friend tilts her head in the direction of the glittery circle. “We never had that my husband and I.”
“That euphoric shanah rishonah the flying in the clouds.” She shrugs.
We watch as the kallah is swept onto a table beams at her guests from beneath an adorable lacy umbrella raining shimmery ribbons.
“I used to think there was something wrong with us ” she continues. “Sure our marriage was okay but there was so much struggle and misunderstanding and adjustment. Everyone else seemed to be in the clouds.” She turns to look at me and her face is serene content. “Honesty love everything real and deep and strong in a marriage it doesn’t come from the fluff. You have to sweat for it.”
Standing there hovering at the edges as the kallah and her friends spin around in their magic loop I remember an article I penned shortly after my engagement. I wrote of the glory the newness and wonder of a relationship before it gets tarnished with arguments and resentment weighed down with such things like how are we going to cover the rent?
There’s a sparkle a kallah has and I waxed lyrical about keeping it alive never losing that sheen. From my perch on top of the world I went on to write about my relationship with Hashem wondering how to tap into the sincerity and earnest love that was also ours once.
This article was published in a Shavuos magazine edition one week before my wedding and I blushed as I read it smug and happy. I felt it was all very appropriate and timely.
The tempo quickens the girls reach for partners and skip-twirl through a quirky loop dance. I’m still a dreamer so my heart tugs at the thought of a bride of veils whispering over satin and tulle of innocent love and beginnings and purity.
But real marriages happen slowly real love unfurls within the struggle with arguments and patience and forgiveness. Honest connection is formed stuck together piece by gritty piece over birthday gifts and burned pasta Shabbos meals and shenanigans that need getting used to. A marriage is cemented over the din of screaming toddlers and meddling mothers-in-law and irate landlords.
It’s after a day of running around, working, cooking, shopping, doing a dozen things for each other, when you sit down and breathe, and it dawns on you: It’s real. Being married is not just about receiving nice gifts and dreaming big dreams; it’s about misunderstandings and the courage to delve into them, about learning who you really are, even the ugly parts, so that you can change, really change. It’s more, it’s harder — and it’s better.
Now that Shavuos is here, I don’t want to think about sparkly, new relationships. There’s so much beauty in the early days of Klal Yisrael, following Hashem into a barren desert like a young and trusting bride. But we’re not there now; the early love has long since faded and crumbled in the dust of history, in movements and mindsets, in misguided passions, in bleeding Jewish hearts everywhere.
And still we have Shavuos. We still celebrate the anniversary of our union with Hashem. And I wonder if, on Shavuos, on this day of loyalty and love, we’re meant to celebrate our relationship the way it is right now, with all the blemishes and all the beauty and all the struggle and pain and triumph of clinging to Hashem, through the centuries, and through the daily grind.
We may have not figured out how to cover the rent for our stay in This World. But we’re holding on, while we’re figuring it out.
There’s no glitter in that. But oh, the beauty.
(Originally featured in Family First Issue 544 – Shavuos 2017 Special Edition)
Oops! We could not locate your form.