Sunday, January 20, 2008

I - Do or Don't? - Wanna Grow Up

I have a wedding to go to this week. I say "have" because I don't really want to go. The bride is 19 and somehow that bothers me, though I can't decide why.

It's either because I'm slightly afraid for her that she's too young and has no idea what she's getting herself into or because I'm subconsciously jealous that she met her soul mate so young. I'm admitting to the latter because I'm trying to be honest here, but I don't really think it's true because...

I'm so happy that I didn't get married at 19. While there are pressures in the Orthodox Jewish community to get married young and most of my high school classmates are married, many with children, by now, I can't help but feel a sense of relief that I'm not one of them. Call me selfish and self-centered, but I'm glad for the time that I've had to myself without the responsibilities of a husband, children and home.

Maybe some people don't need that time to grow up and mature as much as I have. Maybe some people don't feel the need to perfect themselves before they start perfecting a family. Personally, I'd prefer to grow up before I start having kids; to learn how to take care of myself before I have to take care of others.

There are those in the frum community who argue that you should marry young and grow together with your spouse; well, that sounds all sweet and romantic but I think that there's something to be said for personal growth. How about growing into your own skin, finding out what makes you who you are - and what makes you happy - before going out and looking for a guy who'll make you happy?


  1. tradition takes on modernity in the battle of the millennium....get it now on pay-per-view.

    read chaim potoks books....start with davitas harp, i have a feeling ull like him.


  2. I actually got one of Potok's books from the library a few weeks ago but didn't get around to reading it. I've been told that they're very good.

  3. You are so right!

    Here is the problem with "growing together." Once a woman is married, she (usually)has to pay bills, look after kids, and answer to a husband. These things prevent her from doing things like traveling, pursuing higher education, making career changes that require her to forgo immediate profit. You need a certain amount of independence and self-knowledge to make an informed decision about whom you marry. If I had married at 19, I would have married a total nerd because that's all that's around and I would have been too young to know better. A good marriage is based on giving. Someone who is not complete as an individual often has little to give to another person. People who marry too young risk outgrowing their spouses. Do you have any idea how many friends I have outgrown because we both changed with age and the things that initially drew us together are no longer there?

    On the OTHER had,singlehood is not a natural state for any adult, however that may be defined. The entirety of a frum woman's purpose in this world is performed within the structure of marriage-challah, nidda, taharas hamishpacha, encouraging her husband to learn, etc. Any growth she can achieve as a single pales in comparison to this.

  4. I don't think that it's impossible for a couple to grow together, but it will take a lot of very hard work and can make a marriage very stressful, something which I would like to forgo if at all possible.

    You're right about outgrowing friends; I know exactly what you mean. But a spouse and a friend is not the same thing; while you can outgrow a friend, you have a responsibility to your spouse to ensure that you DON'T outgrow them. You have to do everything in your power to make sure that the two of you stick together, "through thick and thin." That's where the, "really difficult marriage" part comes in...

    Concerning your second point: this is something that I've been planning to blog about but haven't had a chance. Is it possible for a frum woman to have more than one purpose? If a woman is not married, obvious her purpose is something other than marriage. Obviously Hashem intends something else for her.

    It needs some thought. I have a "rough draft" for that post and I have to get cracking on it.

    Thanks for posting! I really enjoyed your blog!