Sisterhood Blog

From a Single Gal (and Her Parents), Advice to Just-Married Friends

By Hinda Mandell

  • Print
  • Share Share

I’ve been summoned to give wedding advice. Well, I along with 156 other wedding guests. Two of my friends are marrying each other in Upstate New York. And while they’ve known each other since their Hebrew School days they’ve only begun dating as adults. It’s all very sweet and loving and good.

This week they sent out an email to their wedding guests letting us know about a Quaker tradition that will be incorporated into their Jewish wedding: Before the blessing of the rings, guests will be able to offer well-wishes and advice to this couple, based on the religious tradition of “witnessing.”

I want to be a part of this ritual. But as an unmarried person I felt that any advice I could offer would be tempered by my marital status. After all, isn’t the best part of advice that it comes from someone else’s lived experiences?

So I called up my mom, who’s been married for 41 years, four months and three days (but who’s counting?) for a bit of wisdom I could pass along to my friends.

But before I tell you what she said, please consider this: My mother is the Advice Maven. She doles it out whether it’s solicited, unsolicited and anything in between. But when I asked her about what words she might have for my friends, she was uncharacteristically mute.

“I’ll have to think about it,” she said.

That’s all?

I didn’t ask for the reason behind her hesitancy but I’ve encountered that sometimes there’s a “code of silence” when it comes to marriage. Sure it’s easy to gripe about the marital institution but it’s a lot harder dishing out heartfelt, genuine advice. That’s why I’m looking forward to this sharing circle, and even more why I wanted to hear what my mother, with her 41 years, four months and three days worth of marriage experience, had to say.

And then her golden tongue returned: “Accept all of his foibles. You can’t change them and they’re just part of his personality,” my mom said in a rush.

It sounded deceptively simple. It sounded obvious. And it sounded hard.

The next day I spoke to my dad. I wanted to know how he’s lived with my mother’s foibles for more than four decades.

“Accept the whole package,” my father said. When your spouse’s little annoyances become big annoyances, remember that it’s all part of what makes this person who he or she is.

When I reflect on my parents’ advice, it sounds like they’re saying people should ease up on the impulse to control their partner. And that folks should put the kibosh on the nudging and the nagging. I will happily deliver this message to the couple this weekend. It sounds to me like it’s advice worth heeding. But, as my father added, it may take a bit — okay, a lot — of teeth gritting along the way.

Hinda Mandell is a writer living in Syracuse, N.Y.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Advice, Jewish, Marriage, Quaker

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.