Dash of LOVE - lots of love

How can we preserve the bond of love and friendship to last throughout our marriage?

Rav Refael and Adina Ribacoff,

Strengthen the bond of marriage (illustration)
Strengthen the bond of marriage (illustration)
istock

Recipe:   

A Dash of Love:  There once was a beautiful couple who had a wonderful and happy marriage.  They understood each other and spent their days together.  They laughed during the good times and shared each other’s pain during the tough times.  They raised a large family and lived to see their children get married and have their own children.  They were the picture perfect example of what true love and happiness in marriage are all about.  When they grew very old the husband took this opportunity to finally ask a question that had been bothering him since the first day they were married:  “What is it that you always put into the food to make it taste so good?  The food is so delicious and filling, and after I eat, this good feeling stays with me all day!”  Since the first day of their marriage, whenever the wife would cook or bake any foods, she always reached into the spice rack above the stove, pulled out a glass jar and sprinkled some of its contents into the food that she was preparing.  Over the years, the husband noticed this, but didn’t pay any attention to it.  She also never let him get near to the spice rack to see what was there.  The wife told him that he should now go to the kitchen and see for himself what was there.  The husband immediately went home, opened the cabinet and took out the glass jar from the spice rack.  He noticed that it was empty and didn’t understand why – until he read the note that was on the jar.  The note read – DON’T FORGET TO ADD THE INGREDIENT OF LOVE – LOTS OF LOVE!  YOU CAN NEVER ADD TOO MUCH LOVE – IT WILL NEVER SPOIL THE DISH! 

One House:  The Gemara (Talmud) in Masechet (Tractate) Pesachim 88a states:  The Beit HaMikdash is not as Avraham said, a mountain, and not as Yitzchak said, a field, but as Yaakov said, a house.  One commentator explains this concept to mean the survival of the Jewish People - neither the “mountain” of Avraham, nor the “field” of Yitzchak but rather the “house” of Yaakov.  It is the sanctity of the Jewish home that is our survival. 

Two People – One Male One female: It’s important to have two halves of a whole.  Remember that these two people are very fragile and have sensitive egos.  Each one is looking out for its own interest – yet learning to adapt to a new lifestyle of giving, communicating and making the other happy.  Their souls are intertwined and have been connected before they entered this world.  They knew each other in the World of Souls and have been reunited again in this world.  The first year together is the hardest – but it just gets better and better!  A deep bond and friendship is forming causing a reuniting to unfold before your very eyes. 

Secret Ingredient: Taharat Hamishpacha - Family Purity.  Taharat Hamishpacha is the necessary ingredient which provides the couple with a Divine plan – showing them how to relate to each other and to express and build their love and devotion.  Once you have this sturdy and solid foundation, then you can easily construct the “skyscraper” of a family and a home.  The study of these laws and ideas, together with their application in our lives, will help each of us to discover new insights within ourselves and our spouse. 

The Laws of Family Purity are designed to preserve and sustain that original bond that began under the Chupa (marriage canopy).  The initial excitement, romance, newness and discovery weaken over time – it’s inevitable.  But when the couple avoids physical contact when the wife is a Niddah – the relationship has a chance to blossom and flourish on a different level altogether.  When a couple keeps the rules of Family Purity, the original love and excitement is relived and renewed every month. 

Human nature is such that we tend to tire of familiar situations.  Indeed, one of the major factors behind the ever increasing divorce rate in our society is boredom.  The couple loses interest in each other and feel they have nothing more to offer one another. 

So how can we preserve that bond of love and friendship to last throughout the marriage?  In Tractate Niddah 31b, Rabbi Meir makes the following observation:  Why did the Torah require a Niddah to be impure for seven days? Because the husband could become bored and tired of her.  Therefore the Torah declared that she should become impure for seven days "So that she should be as dear to her husband as when she entered the Chupa!"

There are medical advantages as well to keeping the laws of Family Purity.  During the time when a woman is Niddah, the possibility of infection rises.  The separation is just enough time for the woman to regain her normal PH balance back.  There are also studies and statistics showing that there are fewer instances of cancer in that area, G-d forbid, for those women who do follow the laws of Family Purity. 

Also, the laws of Family Purity definitely influences in the molding of the spiritual nature and well-being of our children.  As parents, we all want the best for our children (children who are healthy, smart, beautiful, strong, etc...) Keeping these laws properly is a little something that we can do for them – even before their conception! 

To quote a divorced non-Jewish female doctor:  “I paid a high price for my lack of knowledge, so I see it as a holy mission to warn other women so they don’t fail as I did.  I heard about the Jewish laws of family purity.  These are the most advanced laws in the world in this area.  Those who live their lives according to them are sure to be happy.” 

Please remember that the laws of Family Purity are not meant to be observed because of all these benefits.  Hashem created the world and gave us the Torah as the blueprint to live our lives.  Of course Hashem only wants what is best for us and the Mitzvot have definite advantages to them.  We must strive to fulfill this Mitzvah of Family Purity (as well as all Mitzvot) for the sole reason that it is the will of Hashem. 

Although, at first glance, these laws might appear as burdens and impossible or hard to keep – it all depends on how you look at it.  If you truly understand the reasons behind the laws and the benefits gained as well, you will be able to fully appreciate these laws and use them to elevate yourself and your marriage to its highest heights.  Take to heart the following story from the Midrash to understand this concept of soaring heights: 

In the beginning of time, there was a delicate little bird – the dove – that came to complain to Hashem.  The dove asked why she was created so small and fragile.  Her color is white and  quickly spotted; She is easy prey for the other animals.    Her feet are so tiny that she can hardly outrun her pursuers.  Hashem accepted the complaint and attached a pair of wings to the dove’s body. But the dove came again to complain that now it’s even worse!  Before, it wasn’t easy to run away, but she managed the best she could.  Now, with the extra limbs attached to her body – it’s too hard!  Hashem smiled and took the little dove to the side and patiently showed her how to use those wings.  The dove quickly learned and was soon flying and soaring to the clouds above. 

You have within yourself the ability to fly high!  There is no limit!  Take advantage of that special gift and use it wisely!   

The above is a secret recipe for happiness, satisfaction and inner peace in your marriage.  Try it and pass it on to others!  Enjoy! 

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