19 Thoughts for 19 Years of Marriage

Today was, כד׳ טבת, and it was our 19th wedding anniversary.

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It is also the nearly the same calendar set up as it was the year we got married. We got married January 2, 2000 (remember Y2K? We made it, thank Gd).

Raizel, I am still thankful you said yes!

As is becoming a tradition…, Here are 19 thoughts on marriage, life and children (they are a work in progress, truths I am working on, but by no means mastered) culled from years as a rabbi and marriage counseling, and 19 years of marriage. Some are new, some are repeats, some are my wisdom, some are stolen… all are good.. In my humble opinion…  Feel free to add some of your own… here we go, in no particular order

  1. “L-I-S-T-E-N” and “S-I-L-E-N-T” are the same letters, think about that.
  2. Chocolate solves many problems.
  3. Children will test your resolve as almost nothing in life will, if you can get through that, you can get through nearly anything together.
  4. Never make a decision when you are tired or angry.
    At the same time, don’t react when your spouse is tired or angry.
  5. The 10 second rule about reacting to something you didn’t like (to see or hear etc.) works better with about 10 minutes in a marriage. Suzy Welch’s idea of 10-10-10 works really well in life, and really well in marriage. Will this matter in 10, minutes, 10 months and 10 years? If not, don’t sweat it now.
  6. Men want solutions, women want to be heard. Don’t give solutions, even if you have really good ones… just hear.
  7. Random acts of kindness to your marriage may be better than birthday/anniversary kindnesses.
  8. (For men only) There is nothing wrong with setting an alert on your calendar to send a sweet comment/text to your spouse 🙂 .
  9. We are all weak at times. Accept that in yourself, and your spouse will accept it in you.
  10. Nothing is more “macho,” “manly,” or attractive than a confident man. Fake it till you make it.
  11. Don’t lie – (you’d think this is obvious, it isn’t) to your spouse, and more importantly to yourself (chew on that for a few minutes, this one is deep).
  12. Technology is ruining lives everywhere and in all circles, try to make sure that you are not holding a device when talking to your spouse. Literally, put it in your pocket when your spouse it talking to you.
  13. Keep the phone out of the bedroom and charge it far away from you.
  14. It is very confident of you to allow/encourage your spouse to go on a short vacation without you. That recharges them in a different way than a vacation with YOU does. BONUS: They will reciprocate.
  15. (My dad once told me) Fights/disagreements in a marriage actually can actually serve to strengthen the marriage. They create pores in the skin of the marriage that allows there to be friction and not have you slide away from one another. Example: Two pieces of smooth glass, even if they they very heavy, will slide right off one another because they are not porous. Two pieces of rubber, even if they light, will not slide off one another. If you can learn a lesson from every disagreement, you will have only gained more closeness.
  16. Shower your wife with praise and compliments when they don’t deserve it. Even more so when they do. They may say that they don’t like it, but they do.
  17. Nisht yeder emes darf men zogen – That was yiddish – In English, not every truth must be said.
  18. R. Samson Rifoel Hirsh (I think) explained a controversial passage in Pirkei Avot thus – You don’t need to share every one of your worries with your spouse. It doesn’t make them respect you more. That’s what friends are for.
  19. If you have a partner that really accepts you as  you are, you are the most blessed person on the planet. Together you can get through anything. You don’t have to be perfect, just perfect for each other!

L’chaim. Happy Anniversary!

Picture taken in our first year of marriage in the Catskills, NY. Photo Credits. Rifka Sarah Chein

Photo – Family Archives

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