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  • Family and Society
  • Marital Relationships

eternal marriage


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Elul 1, 5775
If Adam & Eve never broke trust in God by obeying the command to not eat from the forbidden tree, then they would not become mortal. What would marriage look like if people lived forever. Most couples today complain of worn out romance and selfishness. But for that first couple what would become of the initial spark, if they lived forever? They would be sinless, so there would be on selfishness etc... that could keep the spark going as well. Yet, wouldn’t they become bored of marriage? Why do present people become bored of marriage? I am not talking about remarriage, because they same boredom would strike in any next marriage. I am talking about being married at all as opposed to single life. How can we keep the initial interest in someone alive nowadays?
ב"ה Shalom Your question is probably one of the most important questions I have a received in a while. The Jewish household is the foundation of the Jewish people and the promise for future generations and we don't invest enough time into building our household the cost may be painful.. Your question touches upon many family values and how those values are viewed in Western culture. And because your question is such a comprehensive one, I cannot imagine to give you a complete answer in this forum. In addition, there are situations in which a G-d fearing professional marriage counselor is needed, and I cannot assume that role. Furthermore, I'm sure a trip to a Jewish bookstore should be able to supply you with entire books on the subject. However, so as not to leave you unanswered, I will raise some points but I will not claim that's all there is to it. Due to our work schedules, on a daily basis the relationship with our spouse is put to test. Therefore, we must find the time to talk to each other (not just texting) and give the proper attention which is needed by our spouse. Each couple has to work out their schedule when they have that important quality time together for themselves. House phones and cellphones at this time are not answered and sometimes in addition we have to schedule when to go out and treat ourselves to something. If on a tight budget, it can be just for an ice cream, but is has to be quality time. We cannot expect only of our spouse to especially nice to us because we had a bad day, because the spouse may have had the same. Never take anything your spouse does for granted. Learn to say thank you and compliment. Take notice of the new dress/shirt/tie/ jewelry/ scarf etc. your spouse is wearing. Say a good word of how the spouse looks just as you did when first married. And yes, you had chicken soup last week too, but it was made new for you. So say thank you and compliment. These are some ideas to keep our initial interest alive, without saying that keeping the initial interest alive is the only important component of a happy marriage. Maimonides, wrote centuries ago that a person must love his wife like himself and respect her more than he does himself. Depending upon his budget he should find ways to shower his wife with good things. He should not assert authority in a fearful way. He should be soft spoken, not sad and not angry. The wife in return should also respect her husband. These are just a few points which I think are important. However, as I have said this is not to replace professional counselling if needed, neither does it take the place of important books on the matter or a chat with a real live Rabbi who may also want to offer a few tips. I have not even touched upon a couple with young children and how to include them in to the equation so there is still much to be studied. All the best.
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