By Shea Hecht
If I was asked to describe the perfect vacation, it would be one spent with
family. All the other attractions a vacation can offer pale in comparison to
uninterrupted time with my family.
Some friends of ours believe the perfect vacation is one spent pampered in a
luxurious hotel with breathtaking scenery and a heated pool.
When you envision the ‘perfect vacation’ what does your imagination
conjure? A luxurious hotel? Delicious food? Entertaining people? Interesting sites?
The right weather? Beautiful scenery? The right entertainment? Some of the
above? All of the above? An eclectic mixture of all the things mentioned?
Marriage is much like that vacation people dream they will take one day, and
just like people seek different components to create that perfect vacation,
people look for different things in their marriage.
Why do people marry? What does marriage have to offer? How many of the
things that marriage has to offer do we recognize and appreciate - especially if
they are not part of our dream?
Communication, intimacy and companionship are three of the big draws to a
permanent relationship. The warmth of knowing that someone cares and will be
there to listen is a common pull to settle down and marry.
Many marry because they find that their relationship challenges them to
better themselves. Living alone or in a relationship without commitment doesn’t
offer the same challenge to better yourself. An unmarried person has to worry
only about themselves. Marriage and children help a person jump over that
hump and care about others.
It’s difficult to be selfish when you live with others who demand that you
give of yourself; living with a pet demands responsibility, but it certainly
doesn’t encourage anyone to be a “mensch.”
Fido (or whatever your loving pet is called) may mean the world to you, but
an animal places no challenges on its owner to improve. Animals accept their
owner with unconditional love. Though each person dreams to be accepted and
loved unconditionally, the truth is that we all need to improve our character
and marriage challenges us to do just that.
Marriage is the holy and legitimate way to bring children into this world.
Children are our guarantee that our generations will continue, and they give us
grandchildren which are a great source of nachas.
Then there are the financial and practical benefits of marriage: a home,
food, and even a better-looking tax return.
Ultimately, though maybe not consciously, we marry because of the spiritual
G-d told us to. Each person is only ½ of a whole. Without the other half, a
person never feels whole. Our spouse not only challenges us to be a better
human being, but also complements us. A man and a woman create a positive
Marriage leads to fulfillment in all areas of our lives: the physical and
the spiritual, the financial and the practical, the esoteric and the
down-to-earth day to day needs.
A good marriage is the possibility of getting that dream vacation with all
its components. Just as it takes a concerted effort to put the dream vacation
together, it takes work to bring our marriages to their full potential.
Marriage creates obligations on a multitude of levels. However, we can reap the
benefits on a multitude of levels.
If we understood the benefits of marriage, what it can accomplish for us and
how it can help us become a better and more wholesome human being the
question of ‘why marry’ wouldn’t exist.
from the January 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine