Dear Mrs. Bluth,
First off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak to me over Pesach. I had never spoken to anyone about my fears and you made it comfortable for me to open up to you. As a token of my appreciation for helping me overcome my greatest fear, I would like to share my problem with your readership and impart to them the good advice you gave me.
For as long as I can remember, I have been afraid. When I was little, I was terrified of bugs, spiders, snakes and flying insects. Dogs and cats also terrified me, and there was no way you could get me into an elevator or onto an escalator. As I got older, my fears morphed into a more scholastic venue. Fear of tests, teachers and of failing almost paralyzed me throughout my 12 years of schooling, and I developed an ulcer just before graduation. Somehow, I managed to get a job and keep my fears at bay – for the most part. I even tried to help my sister who was in an abusive marriage. She and her son came to live with us as she battled her way through Beis Din.
Recently, my parents realized that they had been “neglecting my needs to find a life partner” while being embroiled in my sister’s get process. Suddenly all eyes turned to me, now twenty-one and, needless to say, terrified at the prospect of marriage. After seeing what my sister has suffered, I don’t ever want to get married.
My parents, in their desperate endeavor to get me to the chuppah, took us to a hotel for Pesach in the hopes that I would find my bashert with the help of some shaddchanim there. And that is where you found me weeping in a corner behind a potted palm.
Thank goodness you did.
It was wonderful to finally purge all the pent up fear and toxic, debilitating thoughts that paralyzed me in my adult life. Your presentation and logic knocked down all my oppositions and left my arguments and fears with no credibility. You met with me almost every day of Yom Tov and with each subsequent conversation, I felt more relaxed and encouraged. By the second days, I actually agreed to have the shaddchanim set me up; I am even looking forward to it.
I know I am not the only one who is terrified to enter the “parsha” because of the horrendous experiences suffered by a close family member or friend. Please print my letter and impart some of the good advice that helped me overcome my own fears.
Many thanks for all that you have done for me and for so many others who read this column.
I am so very happy to have been of help to you and I thank you for sharing your thoughts with our readers. You are correct in assuming that others suffer from the same fear – and for the same reasons.
Yet, as I explained to you, just because one family member or friend has suffered in his or her marriage does not mean that experience has to be revisited on you. Every person is different, every couple is unique and for every bad marriage, there are many more that are filled with love, respect and selflessness.
Like life itself, marriage is a work in progress; it evolves as the partners in it evolve and it needs to be nurtured, cared for and lovingly protected from outside influences.
To that end, if you are willing to work with your life partner, if you are willing to always listen and never blame, if you are willing to care enough for the other to let nothing come between you, you should have nothing to worry about. In fact, you are almost guaranteed to have a life filled to overflowing with wonderful adventures, shared loving experiences and wonderful memories.
I hope that when you do, indeed, meet your zivug, you will drop us a line so that we can wish you mazel tov.