On this sixth day of Elul, my thoughts again turn to weddings and marriage, after I spent Shabbat visiting with couples whose weddings I will be officiating over the next year and attending a wedding reception for friends’ son’s wedding. I’ve been thinking about the sanctity of the moment when couples make their promises to each other in front of their community, and what their community’s responsibility to them is.
The Talmud teaches that to “walk in God’s ways” (from Micah 6:8 about practicing justice, loving mercy and walking in God’s ways) means to be present in transformative moments, to walk in wedding processions. To witness. To be their support system. So what does that mean practically? Not to butt in certainly. But not to stand apart, either, I think. To be willing to be the listening ear, the comforting shoulder, the one who lets people know that marriage can indeed be challenging–and it’s normal to fight over some seemingly ridiculous things. (Has anyone else experienced irritation about the direction of the toilet paper?) But it’s also on each person in the couple to be willing to stretch beyond our comfort zones, to remember the love we felt on our wedding day, and to grow more in kindness, caring and generosity with each passing year.
And happy first anniversary to Samara and Alan!