Two people, one heart
The torah concept of marriage is based on Abraham buying the field of Ephron in Hebron in order to bury his deceased wife, Sara. His marital obligations were over. But he was also arranging for his own burial. It is a strange and morbid prototype for marriage but in a deep way, very touching. The burial cave is called the Machpela, the doubling or coupled. There are, according to tradition, four couples buried there. Why bury married couples together? When a Jew is buried, it is forbidden for any part of him to be left behind. After an accident, God forbid, the area is searched with magnifying glasses and forceps to collect any small pieces or fragments so that they may be buried also. A man and wife must be buried together because they are one body. There are two stories of the creation of woman. In the first, they are created together, and in the second God puts man to sleep and performs surgery, removing a part of his body in order to make woman. According to the gemmarra, these are two events that happened in a series. In the first, God created an androgen; one body, two heads, four arms and legs. The second story is the separation of that being into two separate entities. This would explain the phenomenon known to every married couple. From the first day, marriage felt strangely natural and my wife seemed so familiar. On the other hand, after ten years of marriage, there are moments I look at my wife and feel like she is a total stranger. Marriage is a constant tension between oneness and individuality. We want to return to our natural state of joint unity, but at the same time we are physically separate and must relate to that. Sex, despite what Western culture would have us believe, is integrally linked to creating children. Sex is two individuals becoming one and creating an other, who is the embodiment of them in one. Marriage is the ultimate team sport. It means acquiring a new identity, a joint identity. In today’s world of individuality, marriage is an anachronism. When you get married, you become a joint individual. That has so many connotations. Anyone who has lost a spouse or has been under the threat of losing a spouse knows how deeply that goes. A man must protect his wife’s honor more than he does his own. But in a more mundane sense, the oneness means that in marriage you absolutely cannot have a winner and loser. If one person loses, you both lose, and if one person wins, you both win. The same is true in parenting. What good is winning? The other person is conquered, defeated, less. It is like having a fist fight between both of your hands. So you’ve proven which one is stronger. Who really suffers? In a marital relationship, it is rarely helpful to establish who is right and who is wrong. The real solution usually lies elsewhere, allowing the couple to embody oneness in a healthier, stronger way. Please, at all costs, avoid interactions that are focused on showing who is wrong. Don’t work towards ‘wrong’. Work towards ‘together’.
Posted by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz at 1:12 AM
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