Dear Dr. Yael:
I found your June 28 column, The Challenge Of Remarrying, to be very true. I too lost my husband and was encouraged by my married children to remarry. I was reluctant to do so, but since the man I was considering seeing was a friend who knew my husband and I had known his deceased wife, I felt there was a real potential. Thanks in great measure to my children’s pressure, we are very happy together.
Kudos for your answer. I agree that since we had both had good marriages, we knew what it takes to create a healthy marriage. In fact, along with our happy marriage, all of our married children get along well.
I understand the fear of remarrying, and what someone in that situation thinks he or she will have to sacrifice when doing so. I now realize that a person’s heart simply expands when experiencing love, and does not diminish the love one feels for anyone else. Being married helps take away the loneliness, as time indeed heals. I still love my late husband, but I do not let it interfere with my marriage. My love is for someone no longer here, and my job is to live life and continue to accumulate mitzvos. Being alone and unhappy is not conducive to both a life of helping others and one of happiness.
Since I have remarried, I feel as if I have a new lease on life. I can help my children and grandchildren and give to others because I am not self-needy. I still feel sad at times when I remember what I lost, but that sadness is more like a sweet sadness that is filled with memories.
Thank you for your column. I hope that people will listen to the ideas that you offer. Trust me, remarrying the right person is a good solution to what you are lacking.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is difficult to take the leap and attempt to forge a new relationship – but the rewards can be great. I applaud your bravery for having taken a chance once again at gaining happiness.
Although it is challenging, if one is zocheh to find the right person to share a life, it is prudent to try to remarry and find rejuvenation in your life.
Hatzlachah in your marriage and in all of your future endeavors!
Dear Dr. Yael:
As a regular reader of your column, I realize that you are very pro-marriage. But I was hurt inside while reading your column, The Challenge Of Remarrying.
I had a wonderful first marriage. My husband passed away at a relatively young age, and after marrying off my children I remarried.
My married children also encouraged me to remarry – but it was a disaster. Although I knew how to be married, my second husband did not. He was awful, and despite also being widowed, I wonder if he killed his wife emotionally.
Since I want to live a long, happy and healthy life, I decided to divorce him. This was not easy to do, since I was financially better off than him and thus did not require much monetary assistance from him. He also had the advantage of living in my mortgage-free home and enjoying the comforts of my Florida apartment during the winter months.
After trying to obtain money from me, he finally gave me a get. My experience propels me to offer one piece of advice to those marrying for the second time: make sure you get both a financial prenuptial agreement and a prenuptial agreement for a get. This will ensure that you do not make the same disastrous mistake that I did. Baruch Hashem, my son, an attorney, helped save me money for legal fees. By the end of the divorce process I did not lose too much money, but the aggravation surrounding this second marriage is hard for anyone to fathom. While I believe that people should give second marriages a chance, they should be careful about it by protecting themselves legally and halachically.
Thank you for sharing your difficult situation and wonderful advice. Having a halachically-accepted prenuptial agreement is very important, as it can save everyone a lot of heartache (even in a first marriage). If the couple strongly believes that they will have a great marriage, then it is harmless to have this prenuptial agreement, as it will almost surely never be needed for implementation.
There are different rabbinic views on a prenuptial agreement based on halacha, but this is the only viable solution to date to prevent women from becoming agunot. It prevents the monetary blackmail that occurs in many divorce situations, such as yours. Bottom line: there is no reason why a failed marriage should result in poverty in addition to all of the emotional pain that one suffers from. Monetary blackmail is a terrible circumstance to be involved in. Once someone becomes intertwined in a bad marriage, they often cannot extricate themselves – at least not without significant monetary loss.
This is an embarrassment to our klal, as we do not condone blackmail of any kind. However, no one has found a way to fully protect the victim from these kinds of abuses. A halachically-sanctioned prenuptial agreement will help protect all involved parties.
Hatzlachah in your quest for happiness.Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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