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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Marrying your mother

Daf Yomi Nedarim 13

Cherry was distraught.  She and Ben had barely been married two months and she was certain the marriage was over.  Ben couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about.  Sure, they’d had a couple of arguments, but doesn’t everyone have some disagreement here and there, in their married lives?  But poor Cherry – she’d never seen her parents argue ever; why wasn’t her marriage to Ben as perfect as her parents’ union?

The following declarations do not bind one with the force of an oath: If one says to his friend, ‘May this food be like ordinary food or like pork, or like idolatry, or like paganism, or like non-kosher and treif, or like insects and vermin, or like priestly bread and tithes,’ in all these cases, they are still permitted to dine together.
If one said to his wife, ‘You are like my mother to me,’ we seek to annul the declaration, lest he become lightheaded in such utterances.

Everybody enters into marriage with certain expectations of their spouse and the marriage.  Many of our preconceived notions of how our spouse should be are founded in our parents’ relationships.   Whether or not we realize it, we’re sizing up our relationship compared to what we’ve experienced in the past.

Does he work as hard as my father?  Does she bake as well as my mother?  Is he as good a father as my dad?  Is she as calm as my mother?

Even when it comes to disagreements, which is indeed normal in any relationship, we expect to deal with conflict in marriage the way we saw our parents deal with it.  If one of the couple comes from an argumentative home while the other comes from a more peaceful home, that can be very confusing.  What might be normal conflict resolution for one, may feel like World War Three for the other.

Your marriage is a completely new relationship!  Your spouse has qualities that your mother/father doesn’t have.  And your spouse is exactly the right person for you!  You have inherited certain character traits from your parents, and s/he from theirs, but together you will accomplish great things!


Your spouse is the other half of your soul.  S/he is an exact fit; the other piece of the jigsaw puzzle.  She’s not your mother; he’s not your father – s/he’s the right other half for you.  May you merit constantly appreciating the miracle of your combined soul!