Being a Woman: Chapter 2:
I knew I wouldn’t write about this once. How could I? It determines so much of my life.
And this time I have something to say that I’m pretty sure people won’t agree with. But it’s my opinion, and therefore, I am entitled to share it. Respectfully.
I am a girl. A Jewish woman. I am turning 19 in a month, and in my community, that means a big step closer towards marriage.
I’ve found that marriage is a sensitive topic these days. In the world and in my community.
In the world at large, not marrying is seen as the strong choice, as the right thing to do. Marriage is starting to be seen as giving in, as giving up. Which self-respecting woman needs a husband?
In my community, marriage is still extremely important and looked at as a huge milestone that if delayed or missed probably means you are to be pitied in some way.
I believe in marriage. I believe in a home, and my husband, and a family that I will raise with him. Marriage for me is not something I see myself thinking about in ten years, it’s something I want sooner than that.
In my conversations with people about it, I have been told to wait a while. To make sure that I am a whole and complete person before I take that leap. To ensure that I can stand on my own completely, that my heart is full of love for myself.
And I am afraid.
I am afraid of that and how it can be misconstrued.
We women, and probably men, I just can’t speak for them, are told to ensure that we are whole before joining in the most important relationship of our life.
But we are not whole.
I am not whole, I am only half a soul.
When I am prepared to get married, my confidence has to be strong. I should be able to stand on my own, and not need others to lean on. My spouse should not be determining my self-worth or my strength.
But if I am whole, if I am a complete person on my own, where will my spouse go?
What if this mantra, this politically correct voice is hurting us instead of strengthening us?
What if it turns out that men and women alike both need a spouse to feel complete? Would that be so bad?
What if being told that I have to be completely complete on my own before I get married ruins my ability to co-exist in a relationship?
What if I fill up my entire heart for myself that I forget how to truly, deeply love another person?
G-d created us with the ability to connect with others, and no matter how many proofs or articles you write trying to convince me that the only reason for marriage in the Torah is for pro-creation, I will not believe you.
G-d knows us better than that.
Fellow men and women out there:
Before stepping into a marriage, you must be sure of yourself. You must know yourself better than anyone. You must be prepared to be able to stand your ground, stand up for what you believe in, express yourself clearly, and not let others easily knock you down.
But how could it be that you must be able to live life without your other half? Would anyone say that half a cookie is enough for dessert? I don’t think so.
Don’t fool yourself. Don’t tell yourself that wanting a spouse is a feeling that should be pushed away for the sake of being a strong woman.
It’s okay to want it.
I am almost 19, and I have spent most of the last year trying to pummel my thoughts about marriage, trying to avoid thinking about it. I felt like it was ruining who I thought I was- a strong woman who had big dreams. How could wanting a husband at such a young age fit into my personality, my future?
As my soul betrayed me, it prayed each day that I get to find my other half sooner than later. My mind didn’t agree. Why couldn’t marriage wait until 24 years old, at least? Why would I have to ruin my self-image by wanting to get married young? Did it make me seem stupid? Naive?
Maybe it does.
But in my eyes, and my overly analytical brain, I think that this voice is dangerous for me to listen to.
Maybe marriage is the next step for me. Maybe it’s the furthest thing from what I need. Either way, it’s not really something I can control. When it happens, it will happen, and G-d willing, it will be at the right time.
But to tell myself that I need to be complete without him? How can that be right? How can that be fair?
Should I work on myself until I see no need for a spouse? I’ve never been married. I don’t know. Maybe that is the right way to go about it.
Either way, it’s all up to G-d, and no matter what stage I think is right, G-d gets the last word.