I love posts about occasions. And I’m excited because I get to combine occasions today!
But this post is about something so much bigger.
Today is my amazing wife’s birthday, so I get to celebrate 200 posts by writing about my absolutely favorite person.
The Institution of Marriage
For the uninitiated, I had a challenging and lackluster first marriage. I walked away from the lengthy experience with four amazing children… and more than a few scars on my psyche and my emotional wellbeing. And I didn’t want to get married again. I avoided dating. I didn’t trust the institution of marriage.
And I was really wary about introducing a lady into the lives of my children. Hadn’t they been through enough? A divorce, moving countries, switching languages, mother remarrying. I wasn’t about to uproot any more of their life without a really, really good reason.
And then, when I least expected, in walked a really, really good reason.
Chance Encounters and Forever Changes
I sat next to a girl at a Shabbat meal without a clue in the world that I would end up spending hundreds of Shabbat meals with her. I chit-chatted with a remarkable woman with an uncanny amount of things in common with me, totally unaware that in the relatively near future, we’d eventually chitchat with each other every night before going to bed.
And I brought another person into the lives of my children. I did so slowly and carefully. And I did so terrified of what might happen. I already had one child angrily rejecting a stepparent. And that child was now living with me. And happy, for the first time in quite a while.
How could I risk uprooting the comfortable routine I had sunk into? And how could I possibly risk upending the life my son and I had created? What if he or any of my kids rejected Devorah? It’s a question that plagues me and keeps me up at night.
Best Decision Ever
But at the same time, it’s not a worry. It’s not even a minor concern.
Why not? Because I did the right thing. For the first time in a very long time, I made a decision that was careful and intelligent. And was 100% right.
I didn’t rely on impulsivity, or exclusively on feelings. Rather, I was able to look across the room at this wonderful, precious person, and with confidence bring her into my life. And my life and the lives of my children are a thousand times better because of our marriage.
And now every day I wake up with a feeling I haven’t felt in ages. I wake up wanting to make another person happy. My every decision contains a spark of wondering whether or not what I’m doing will make my wife’s life better, or will it ultimately lead to our house being filled with more joy.
Dangerous and Scary Feeling
It’s a dangerous and scary feeling, especially after so many years of not succeeding at those tasks. And eventually realizing that in the state I was in, success was simply not a possibility. If things hadn’t changed, I would have resigned myself to a life without happiness. Forever.
And after you think with that mentality long enough, you can’t just shed it quickly, simply because life is different now. The thoughts and feelings I experienced and felt over and over again for what seemed like forever became a part of me. Like ugly tattoos that might fade a little as the years go by, but the ink still remains behind.
And yet here I am, poking my head, slowly but surely, out of the clouds. Recognizing inch by inch, a little more every single day, that I am worlds apart from the life I once lived.
The Strength for Marriage
Marriage is complicated. There are more moving parts than anyone alive could possibly understand. And everything you say and do affects everything else.
It’s a lot of work. Hard work. And if you don’t want to put in the time and effort, it’s not a game you should be in.
And I thought I was out. I thought I didn’t have the strength or energy to try this world again. And even if I did, I didn’t think a woman existed for whom all that work was worth it for me. Who out there could possibly pull me out of my rut? Who in this world could make me think the challenges and tribulations of building a life with another person were entirely worth it?
But I was wrong. I was so very wrong.
Life Threw Me a Lucky Break
And every time I look at my beautiful, amazing, and mega-talented wife, I’m reminded of how wrong I was. Every time I wake up in the morning, and I look to my side, I am reminded that life finally threw me a lucky break. And absolutely nothing will ever be the same again.
It took me a really long time to get here. A lot of people in the world find themselves giving up hope. They’ve waited for so long for whatever to happen in their life, the easiest way to deal with things is to just give up. Throw in the towel. But sometimes the only barrier between us and happiness, between us and getting the results we want and deserve, is just time.
We need to be patient. We need to hold tightly to hope. Because waiting around some mysterious corner is something (or someone) waiting to change your life forever.
Devorah, thank you for waking up this feeling inside of me. Thank you for making me understand that my life’s path was far more complex and interesting than I had given it credit. Thanks for making me realize that happiness was a real possibility. And so was connecting with another person on a level so much stronger than I had come to believe.
I love you so much, my princess.
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