Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Fairest of Them All

They are there in every married person's house; the ubiquitous wedding portraits. The bride and groom looking farpitzed and positioned just so. The photographer has killed himself to capture "the look" in all the proofs. And finally one is chosen to be "the" mirror of what the bride and groom looked like.

Initially the picture may hang in the living room or dining room in pride of place. And then it gets moved, perhaps to a hallway, perhaps to a den, perhaps to a bedroom. And no one is looking at that portrait anymore, because the people in that portrait don't exist any longer. Whoever they might have been is long over.

Young children, when shown their parents' wedding portrait, are often hard put to recognize their parents. They look at the present in-the-flesh parents and shake their heads. Who were those strangers?

People dating today seem to have this idea that once they have found their intended partner in life everything is going to remain just the same for the rest of their lives together. Not going to happen, and thanks go to Hashem for making it so.

My husband and I are so not those people in the wedding portrait, and we are so happy that we aren't. We have grown, changed, changed again and learned the fine art of compromise. We have coming up 36 years of shared work and experiences. Sure, some of the things that were important to us then are still important--and some are not important at all.

Go ahead, stare at your parents' wedding pictures and maybe at your own. Look at the portraits of the rest of the family. Those were other people in a different lifetime. But those people allowed today's people to come into being.

What kind of a husband or wife will a new kallah or choson be? Only way to know is to get married and live. That wedding portrait is neither a promise nor a guarantee. I remember the girl in my wedding portrait; thankfully she isn't around any longer. Oh sure, that girl was skinnier and had long, shiny hair. And that guy had loads of curly blond hair. I'm going to take a new portrait for this anniversary. And if we are zocheh to see our 50th anniversary, I would imagine that we aren't really going to know who those people are in the one from the 36th.

Marriage is a free-form adventure, not a set game with inflexible rules. So yes, I wish you that wedding portrait, and then I wish you the other portraits that will be far more realistic of who you are as a couple.


Anonymous said...

Nobody but nobody recognizes my parents in their wedding pictures. I think it's the only time in her life my mother wore all the makeup. But that's ok since we all like our parents the way they are now.

Bas~Melech said...

36 years... that makes you about the same age as my parents, I'd guess. And here we are shmoozing on blogs. I mean, I always kind of knew that, but it just struck me how incredible that is.

ProfK said...

Lol Bas-Melech, but I do know what you mean. It's one of the plusses of the blog world--you're not influenced by the visual so you have only the words to go by.

No stranger I suppose then the fact that one of my offspring regularly reads my blog.