As love month is coming to a close, I want to take the opportunity to share this story with you. It is my intention to keep the love flowing in our lives next month and beyond. Although this story is about women from a different religion, I believe we can learn something about strengthening marriages.
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As you read the story, press play and listen to music 🎶 by Seymour Heron the Musical Storyteller
R. Rothman got engaged at 27-years old. Her wedding was finally around the corner, despite trends showing marriage rates at an all-time low for 20-somethings in America. For this educator, getting married in her late twenties is an anomaly, since young women in her Hasidic community in Crown Heights, New York would typically get married at 19 years old.
Although she’s off to a “late start,” she places great significance on marriage. It lies at the core of her identity as a Jewish woman. She believes, it is the beginning of her journey towards fulfilling her life’s purpose.
“We are taught that the woman is the pillar of the home,” said Rothman. “The general health of the family—emotional, spiritual and physical health is dependent upon the tone that the woman sets in the home.” (Tweet NOW)
It’s not an uncommon philosophy in our society— for years women have indeed been the cornerstone of family life. Yet, before the wedding, Rothman took active steps towards preparing herself for this major responsibility. Instead of focusing on preparations like fitting the dress, decorating the hall and the myriad of other last minute tasks, she went to get training from a wife coach.
The appointment was with Mrs. Sarah Karmely for a one-on-one session geared towards clarifying Rothman’s upcoming role as wife and mother. Karmely’s expertise is lecturing on traditional Jewish marriage and family ideals. Since Rothman’s engagement they have had regular meetings.
“A Jewish woman does everything. She works, runs the home, and she is called the crown of her husband’s head,” said the bridal coach. “Meaning she’s held in high regard because she is raising the next generation.” (Tweet this)
“I think the job description is more daunting than anything I have ever taken on,” replied Rothman the eager student.
A big job— most new wives must try to figure out all by themselves. But not Rothman, she has Karmely’s expert guidance. Married for nearly five decades, at this meeting she is giving Rothman the roadmap for how to strategically use her feminine strength and influence to positively impact her marriage.
“Every woman needs a mentor. I’ve been coaching women for 37 years,” said Karmely. “I prepare them for their role as a woman in the marriage and give them the How-To for dealing with their husband. Where else would women get this information?” (Tweet this)
They can read books, attend a conference or research the internet but nothing downloads the information faster than mentorship. For Karmely, training a bride-to-be is her passion. It’s a job she takes very seriously.
“Not everyone can mentor brides,” she warned. “If someone has had a bad relationship and they’re angry with their husband or angry with men in general, people like that can give the wrong message.”
This session took place in an office setting but this coach will go wherever she is summoned. In fact, she goes all over the country and world, speaking to families and coaching Kallahs (Hebrew for bride). Instead of sitting behind the desk, Karmely moved her chair to sit directly across from her student. Rothman pulled out her notepad to capture her mentor’s every word.
“In marriage, it is not 50-50,” she stated. “We cannot think in terms of business like if I do this, are you doing that? Women usually give two hundred percent, our hundred and our husband’s hundred.” (Tweet this)
No sugar coating reality here. This coach is giving it to her straight. Bridal coaches or Kallah Coaches are seasoned wives and in Judaism, they have been teaching engaged women and new wives for hundreds of years. These leading ladies, pass on traditions, the laws, and practical advice.
“Peace is the number one thing in the home,” instructed the coach. “If your partner is throwing bullets at you, meaning saying things that really hurt, because it can. Throw flowers meaning, not passive aggressive! Try saying, I don’t want to get into fights with you. In my many years of marriage,” she continues. “The husband and wife cannot be angry together. One side might be more upset. The other one has to buy their time until that person calms down. We have to learn to say I won’t speak now, I’ll wait until I can control what I say.”
This is an important lesson that Rothman is committed to applying practically.
“There is absolutely no place for speaking out of anger in a relationship,” she says passionately. “What are the chances that speaking in anger will inspire anyone to change? That is why I’m hoping and praying that based on what I have learned that even if I do get angry about an issue, instead of processing it through emotions like women do, I will take a minimum of 12 hours to process. Instead of flying off the handle in heat of the moment, I will wait to logically explain to my husband what made me angry.”
After the class, she feels prepared to handle the task ahead.
“The class gives me the tools and understanding of what it takes to be the pillar of my home,” she explains.
The woman is the pillar. They are in training, so what about the men you may ask?
“Women are not second class citizens,” said Karmely. “Our grooms go through training as well. When a husband gets married he has to sign a document saying he’s obligated to provide his wife with food, clothing, and intimacy. All her needs must be met.”
Men who become husbands are held to a high standard. One of his important roles is reading or singing to his wife.
“Every Friday night the husband reads her a poem or sings to her, Eishes Chayil/A Woman of Might.” stated Karmely.
The words are written by King Solomon and in the bible it is Proverbs 31. Some men sing it at their weddings, check out youtube for lots of really moving moments, where all the men are helping the groom to sing to his bride.
“Basically, he is praising his wife and thanking her for being who she is and what she does,” stated Karmely. “She is the foundation of the home and without her, there is no home.”
Older wives teaching younger wives is actually a biblical instruction in the new testament. As in business, studies show that most people who succeed has a mentor and for marriage, it is no different.
“Marriage is the most significant role one will ever take up. It’s the beginning of starting your family life and being responsible for another human being on this earth and treating them right,” admonished Karmely. “How can anybody do that effectively and consistently without training?
Here is a video of Eishes Chayil:
Do you remember how receiving flowers or receiving a kind gesture made you feel? Special, elated, surprised, appreciated, all of the above? Good, love does that to us.
Love in marriage is sacred, if you are a struggling wife get an expert wife to help you through the rough patch. If you are a struggling husband, an older man who you admire with a good marriage can help you too. Don’t go it alone.
Guys, can you imagine what reading a poem once per week, praising your woman could do for your wife? I believe it has the same effect as receiving roses, gifts or doing an act of kindness. We’ve heard the statement, “Happy wife, happy life.” You sir, are fully loaded to water your wife with refreshing words to energize her. Imagine her becoming a graceful pillar in a palace. Your words can do that! Remember that she is your crown King, make her shine! If you are a wordsmith, you already have the tools, now use it. If you are not, get started by printing the English translation of Eishes Chayil and read it to her once per week.
Ladies you are not short of words but instead of the critical ones how about finding more affirming ones? Life and death are in the power of the tongue per the scriptures. Seeds of power that can kill your relationship or build it up. Lord help us daily to intentionally speak words to build and not kill. Understand that killing your husband is killing yourself. But building him up, oh girl, you have the power to bring him messages of joy instead of doom, change his languid spirit to a praising heart, you can turn his perspective from a negative to positive, you can mend a broken heart to a healed one. Your words can raise him up out of the wreckage. I am getting excited thinking about the transformational power in our mouths.
We can turn the tide. Let’s make next month criticism and judgment free zone. Instead once per week, make intentional deposits praising and thanking your beloved.
Let’s start now by making this daily affirmation, “Every day in every way, my spouse is getting better!”
Can’t find the words? To plant seeds of love in your family, buy this Daily Inspirational to guide you.
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