I felt sorry for him – not only for the years wasted, but also for his mixed-up priorities. The poor guy was unaware of the crassness of his words. He didn’t realize he was consigning himself to a life of loneliness. With his attitude, even if by some stroke of luck he finally did marry, he would always carry an albatross of past relationships around his neck – “maybe I should have married her, or her or her.”
Second guessing is always easy to indulge in during times of stress or conflict. Marriage, like life, is not a smooth ride. There are many bumps along the way and if you come upon a particularly rough stretch it becomes tempting to blame the vehicle and fantasize that had you only chosen a different model or make, you would have been OK.
Such rationalization is anathema to marriage – it deludes you into believing the problem is not with you but with your mate, and if you could only exchange him or her, all would be well.
More than ever I have come to realize the wisdom of the blessing we pronounce under the marriage canopy – that bride and groom find the joy and happiness Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve knew with certainty they were meant for each other – there was no one else to choose from! Similarly, we wish for every bride and groom to enjoy the same clarity and be free of the burdens that many singles of our generation carry – always comparing, always second-guessing themselves and never being able to make a lasting commitment.
While we must do our part in pursuing a match, if in the process we encounter disappointments, we try not to despair. We put it down to something not having been basherte (Yiddish for predestined).
I once met an attractive woman in her thirties who told me she’d been on more dates than she cared to count. She was tired, she said, and had one question: “If everyone has a basherte, why is it taking me so long to find mine?”
(To Be Continued)