Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations Kallah

So, it's official now. The engagement was publicly announced yesterday and tenoim were written in front of millions of witnesses. All the "family" was present in record numbers. Of course, as with any other engagement, there were and still are a lot of the family who think that the other boy the kallah was seeing would have been a better choice. However, the choice has been made and it's time to say mazal tov.

Before the celebrations reach fever pitch it might be a good idea to remember that the kallah's divorce from her present husband is not yet complete and won't be until January. Maybe the kallah's present husband will behave himself in the time left to him, knowing that his replacement is already there, and maybe he won't. Still lots of damage this present husband can do before he packs his things and leaves.

As to the present engagement, well new kallahs and chasonim always walk around so starry-eyed. They believe that happily ever after is a sure thing. They are sure, on a short acquaintance, that they know absolutely everything they need to know about their future spouse. Problems? Nothing that can't be worked out in record time.

And then comes the marriage. Lots of grand ideas that sound so plausible during the fairy tale engagement that aren't quite so simple once the couple is living together. Lots of surprises that no one thinks about before taking the leap into marriage. And yes, lots of muchatonim and family members who aren't happy with the shidduch and are taking a "prove you are really good enough to marry into our family" attitude. Nothing like squabbling family to put the damper on the "I'm the new choson" euphoria.

What kind of marriage will it be? Only time will tell. It could turn out to be just fine; it could turn out to be ho hum; it could turn out to be a stormy passage. But hey, if it turns out less "perfect" then the choson promised, in four years there will be another divorce. Strange but the kallah is awfully popular, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if there are other candidates for husband already planning their strategy for how to win the kallah, even before the official wedding has taken place. Unlike those wedding vows that say "till death do us part," this choson needs to remember that "death" can come in four years.

So yes, the family is going to give the choson a chance, even if a grudging chance, and maybe this shidduch will unite an already squabbling family. And if it doesn't happen that way? Four years may seem like forever but in the grander scheme of life it's just not all that long. And my advice to the choson? The same advice I have given to lots of other chosonim: when you get married you marry the whole family. Ignore that to your peril.

Welcome to the family, new choson, and we hope you will remember that we are a family, and all of us are worthy of consideration.


Lion of Zion said...

it's one thing if a kalah wants to throw her life away by marrying a choson who has promised to do things you think will harm her. it's her life and her right to throw it away. you support her and make sure you're there for here when the divorce happens.

it's another thing when the choson has promised to do certain things you feel will harm not just the kalah herself, but the entire extended family.

frumhouse said...

Great post! Will there be separate seating at the wedding?

Lion of Zion said...


"Will there be separate seating at the wedding?"

assuming that that the "insignifigant" half will be invited?

and who cares about separate seating. my impression is that he wants to build an even bigger kollel and that he'll be a drain on the hard-working father-in-law

ProfK said...

Wouldn't be the first time that a kallah picks someone who isn't good to her and isn't good to her family either. I didn't say the marriage would be an easy one, nor that the divorce would be a "friendly" one either.

The choson's side was aiming to have completely separate seating; they probably would have preferred if no one came to the wedding but them. It didn't work out that way as you can see from the "response cards" that were returned yesterday. I'm sure there will be a lot of separate seating tables, and plenty of mixed seating as well. Should be interesting when the "dancing" starts.

Yeah, this father in law is sorely being put upon. Hopefully he will get fed up enough and yell "No!" loudly.

My mom used to tell us, when the kids were young and we sometimes wondered if they would ever grow up and become mature, that we shouldn't worry. No choson or kallah every goes to the chupah still wearing diapers or sucking on a bottle. Hate to say it but mom was wrong. In the frum community and in the "political" world there are still plenty of those chosonim and kallahs who are still being bottle fed by their parents, and their "messes" are still being cleaned up by someone else.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't think that anybody can really know what kind of a marriage was made yesterday. Sure, the family on both sides have some concerns and the talk has not been reassuring leading up to the wedding. But lots of grooms say a lot of things before they get married. I'm not looking at what this particular groom said before--I want to see what he will do now that the marriage has been made. And now is not the time for the family to fade into the background. It's important that the groom knows that the kallah has a family that will protect her.

And I think this was a great metaphor/analogy to the election process.

Anonymous said...

This couple hasn't even stood under the chupah yet and we're all preparing for the divorce already? Maybe we should wait just a little bit and then maybe urge marital counseling before we head for the divorce courts? This wouldn't be the first couple that got married that had lots of problems before the marriage but somehow made the marriage work afterwards.

Juggling Frogs said...

Now that the glass has been broken, all civilized guests wish the couple "mazal tov" and truly wish the best for them.

May they (we) build a bait ne'eman, and may they (we) bring out the best in one another.

May their (our) home be a place of peace/shalom bayit, and of growing and enduring respect for all the individuals in the household.

Many marriages start out with disapproval and apprehension from the couple's family members. At the chuppah, the couple is said to have experienced a mini-Yom Kippur, and their slate is wiped clean.

Over time, the groom reveals his true character, with his words, actions, and demeanor. The anxious family members must recognize that the new family member the bride's beloved, her chosen partner, her lawfully wedded spouse.

Over time, a gracious, self-aware and honorable groom will come to acknowledge that the family members' anxiety was born of their great love for the bride and concern for her well-being.

May we, over time, come to love the best in each other, that the bride's joy is justified. May the couple and the extended family only know health, happiness, peace and prosperity.

Anonymous said...

I'm proud to be an adopted member of the family that was broadminded enough to let a ger (convert) marry in. The groom is a full fledged member of the tribe now, unless proven otherwise. Any family that is tolerant and welcoming (or at least guardedly optimistic) of such a person, are the kind of people I can live with, and be grateful for.