The first step in changing one’s status from single to married is to realize the importance of getting married, and to believe in oneself that one has the capability of getting married. These are the basic ingredients that are needed for one to succeed.
Some people claim that they have no need for marriage since they are happy the way they are. They have a good income, many friends, a fine social life, and interesting hobbies. Why should they ruin a good thing and change their status? Perhaps lonely people have a need for marriage, but these people claim that they are not lonely at all.
People who have never been married, or have gone through an unfortunate marriage, talk this way. They cannot imagine that there is such a thing as being happy except in the way they recognize. A good idea for such people would be to have good contact with a happily married couple, so that they can learn to see marriage in a positive light.
Even the most sociable types of people cannot compare what they have now to being married. The difference is in the sharing of your life with another person who is not merely an acquaintance that you have to call to meet, but rather someone with whom you live constantly, and to whom you are obligated. That is what marriage is. It is sharing your life and doing so by being obligated to do so.
According to this definition, the idea of being lonely receives a new interpretation. You may have many friends and associates, but unless you are married, you don’t have anything to compare to the depth of friendship that marriage gives. This is more than friendship. It is a bond. It gives the companionship a depth that friends can never experience.
So a person cannot claim that he or she is not lonely, because unless they were married, they have never experienced true companionship. This is exactly what the verse (Genesis 2:18) says when the woman was created: “It is not good for a person to be alone,” which teaches us that without a spouse, a person is considered alone.
By getting married, we gain exactly what the Torah says in the above verse; we are not alone anymore. This does not mean that our spouses escort us everywhere we go. There is a deeper meaning. It is a companionship of the soul. This companionship gives us a happiness that is unique and special. We feel complete since we have our other half. Even if we find ourselves on the other side of the world we are not alone…
I Don’t Want to be Restricted
A concern that some single people have is that if they marry they will be restricted. Someone who is single has complete freedom, and can come and go wherever and whenever he wishes. But once you are married, you need the consent of your spouse. They imagine that this confines them, while they wish to be free.
This is more imagination than reality. Your spouse loves you more than anyone else in the world. Why should your spouse want to cause you trouble? A spouse is help, as the Torah says, “I will make him a helper corresponding to him” (Genesis 2:18). Thus even if our spouses ask us where are we going, it is only for our good. This shows that someone cares for us, and is always worried about us. This is not a restriction; it is loving care and concern.
Freedom seems like a nice thing. But an even better thing is when we have the love and caring of a spouse. This love is so great that we are constantly on our spouse’s mind. What value is there in freedom compared to such a great bond in life? Freedom is imaginary happiness, while the love of a spouse is something very real…
Some people are hesitant about marriage because of their character. They feel that they are the independent type, and cannot tolerate someone telling them what to do. They claim that when you are married you have someone ruling over you. Since they cannot tolerate that, it seems to them that the best thing for them to do is to remain single.
Although independence has its advantages, it still cannot compare to the happiness that marriage brings. We may not want people telling us what to do, but when someone whom we love dearly tells us what to do, it is an entirely different picture. A child who hears a wish from a loving parent runs to do the parent’s wish. Similarly, when you love someone in marriage, you are thrilled to be able to do what they want. When there is love, any wish or chore is a pleasure, since it is done for someone we love.
What Will Marriage Give Me?
Instead of asking what marriage will give to me, we should be asking what I should be able to give in marriage. The purpose of marriage is to be complete in kindness. When we share our life with another person, kindness is something that can constantly be done. We can smile to our spouses, we can call to say hello, we can bring them presents. We can refrain from complaints even when we have a good reason to complain. We can lend a helping hand when the going is rough for our spouses.
In marriage we have many ways to emulate God. Our Sages say, “Just as He is gracious and compassionate, you also should be gracious and compassionate” (Talmud – Shabbos 133b). Thus when we are married we have the opportunity to be constantly gracious and compassionate. A single person does not have as many opportunities since he is not sharing his life with another person.
Thus marriage can give us the opportunity to emulate God by doing acts of kindness. This is what marriage can give us. It is a tremendous gift, since by doing so we are becoming more complete human beings, and that is really the purpose of being alive.
How Can I Find Someone Just Like Me?
There is a common opinion that your mate is supposed to be exactly like you. Both are supposed to have the same tastes in food, in recreation, and in most other areas. But why? Can’t each person enjoy his own food or recreation and yet still love each other dearly? Once we internalize the concept that we wish to do kindness in marriage, it does not make much difference if we have the same tastes as our spouse. We may need the same general outlook on life so that there will not be disputes all the time. But what a person likes or doesn’t like will not disturb the bond between the couple.
It is natural to look for someone similar to ourselves, since a person likes himself more than anyone in the world. It is vital that we feel comfortable with the person that we wish to marry, but we cannot expect to really love that person until we actually get married. As long as each person understands the other, and one is not repelled by the other, there should be compatibility between the couple, leading to a successful marriage.
“Before I get married I need enough money.” We hear these words all the time. But how much money do we need? I heard in the name of the Chazon Ish that all that is needed is a bed, a table, and a light. The idea here is that they can expand later on in their marriage, but in order to get married, only the very basic essentials are needed.
Since we are marrying in order to do God’s will, God will certainly help us support our family. The verse (Psalms 37:25) says, “I have never seen a tzaddik forsaken and his children wanting bread.” Together the new family will strive to have more income, but there is no need to have it all from the very beginning. It is enough that they have each other to start.