What No One Warned Me About| April 22, 2020
I have no idea if I’ll have to push off my wedding. I have no plans of where I’ll live, or what my life will look like come May
n my last weeks of seminary, during one of the ubiquitous shidduchim workshops, after the speeches on dating and shalom bayis, one of the teachers spoke about the stresses of the engagement stage. She warned us about how hard it is to navigate emotions and responsibilities and relationships, how tricky it is to balance life and engagement.
And for the first few weeks of my engagement, I kept thinking back to that speech. It was hard to manage it all: I was working full-time, taking a full semester at college, managing all my appointments and fittings, spending time with my chassan, and trying not to become that engaged girl who drops all her friends.
And then, suddenly, everything changed in a way no seminary workshop or panel ever prepared me for. Life took a turn for the crazy and unknown, as coronavirus put the whole world on pause, my wedding plans along with it. When the whirlwind first started, I thought I had nothing to worry about regarding my Lag B’omer wedding, confident that come May, everything would return to normal.
I watched the videos going around of the impromptu backyard weddings with a mixture of awe and pity for the couples who had to give out party favors of hand sanitizers and gloves. But all too soon, I realized that this would probably be a long-term situation, and that I would be lucky to have enough people at my wedding to have to dispense hand sanitizer. (And also, that hand sanitizer was way out of the wedding budget.)
When that reality struck, first, I cried. But after my little pity party, I had a lot of questions. I resigned myself to the backyard wedding, but how would I get my wigs without going in for more appointments? My chassan had just started the apartment hunt, but how do you set up an apartment when you can’t leave your house? Would we move into my parents’ house after sheva brachos? Come to think of it, would we even have sheva brachos?
The entire world coming to a halt has a way of making everything seem trivial. The flowers, the food, the makeup, even the hall, I could do without. But was it so trivial to want all my siblings and closest friends to be able to celebrate my wedding with me? And even after I Zoomed into a few friends’ weddings, watched the videos circulating of kallahs celebrating on their lawns with simchah and grace, and saw how beautiful these small weddings really could be, the thought of celebrating my wedding without my closest friends and family was still really hard to come to terms with.
As crazy as all of this is, it’s brought about a shift in perspective, and the realization that we have to ride this thing out calmly. There are a lot of unknowns. I have no idea when I’ll be able to see my chassan next. I have no idea if I’ll have to push off my wedding. I have no plans of where I’ll live, or what my life will look like come May. I better quickly get used to the way I look in tichels.
In the greater scheme of things, I feel so incredibly lucky — and even selfish — that these are my concerns. I couldn’t feel happier to be happy, healthy, and, baruch Hashem, engaged.
So, yes, you could definitely say the engagement stage has come along with some stressors. I have no seminary notes about what to do in the event of a global pandemic. But we’ll figure it out, one day at a time.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 689)
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