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So what’s marriage really like…

I’m fairly certain that most folks have this eye opening moment a short time after they get married where they wonder what the hell they got themselves into. I definitely didn’t have one of those moments, but this may be purely because I married a convert. If I had married an FFB, she would have most likely considered pornography cheating, not have become good friends with my former girlfriends and definitely not have allowed me to take solo backpacking/mountain biking trips within our first month of marriage. Maybe she lucked out because many converts are resigned to marrying BT’s and converts or FFB’s without any yichus and she has joined a family with impeccable yichus and business connections.

I always knew marriage would be tough. You take two people (who according to many frummies aren’t allowed to socialize until it’s time for marriage and even then you aren’t really supposed to converse frivolously) who have known each other for a very short period of time, tell them to do things that they’ve been told are wrong for their entire lives (just 6 years for my wife) and expect them to somehow get along. In many cases, you haven’t seen your future partner at their worst. I’m sure that fights break out during the sheva brachos and this prompts the “WTF did I do?” scenario.

Learning how to communicate is definitely the hardest part, you can only use the ADD excuse so often and then they realize that you aren’t listening to them. You actually have to care about their lives and most of the time it’s boring shit and you just want to zone out, but you can’t. Thrown into that boring shit will be interesting tidbits about their friends sex toy collections and drug abuse problems, but most of the time you wonder how you can remember it all without actually listening. I happen to have master memory skills, so when my wife claims I haven’t been listening I can repeat back word for word of what she just told me.

Your friends wife was a real bitch to me…unbeknownst to me, there are more bitches in this world than I thought. One of the biggest heartaches of marriage is trying to figure out and deal with bitches. I can understand Tupac a bit more, but sometimes it’s a bit much. I’m sure every guy has to deal with the simple fact that your friends have bitchy wives or wives that will be bitches to your wife and this may prevent you from hanging out with your friends unless their bitchy wives are out of the picture. “Do you know what that bitch said to me?” is most commonly heard while hanging out at kiddush. I’m not sure what it is about stale crackers and herring that make women go crazy, but it seems that kiddush is prime time for your wife to come and cower by the whiskey table with you. In between shoveled forkfuls of cholent and being chided about talking with your mouth full you will be demanded to defend your wife and defame those bitchy wives of your friends.

The biggest disappointment of marriage is mikvah night, yes, mikvah night sucks. All of those years spent in wonderment about mikvah night were a waste, my video on the subject is completely passe. I’m sure someone likes mikvah night, but the pressure blows and it always seems to be late night appointments on weeknights.I’m not sure if Niddah has worked wonders for my sex life, but it’s damned good to get my own bed and not have any complaints about it. The wife here says I should devote a whole article to mikvah night and to all of the myths about marriage going around in the frum community, like that whole thing about growing to love each other and sharing the house work.

Marriage is darned good so far, but it requires patience (I never yell back or storm off, fine I stormed off) My biggest fear of marriage was the loss of independence. That never happened, only twice so far were there times when I was at the trail head and told that I couldn’t ride, it just so happens that I’m more outdoors active then before I was married, it’s just more localized. That whole shana rishona not staying away from your wife thing is hard on us backpackers, but if the wife gives permission than it’s all good.

I’ve taught my wife to have a thick skin like me and ignore all the comments that curse us and say some pretty disgusting things…so that guy on the previous post who told her that she’s not Jewish and cursed us to get infected by AIDS was merely laughed off as a lunatic.

Find out more about frum married life on 4torah.com





{ 149 comments… add one }
  • Dave November 27, 2012, 9:33 PM

    This post made me laugh. Write another one when you have a few kids in day school and mortgage.

  • Mark November 27, 2012, 10:02 PM

    Shana Rishona not stay apart? Ha! In our shana rishona I had miluim (reserve duty) twice, once for a week of imun (exercise), and once for 3 weeks and 3 days of shmirah (guard duty), then a business trip to Asia for nearly 2 1/2 weeks arriving back the day before erev Pesach. Then about two months later, my wife, her sisters, and her mother decided to go to Turkey for a week. While I stayed home and directed the movers to pack our stuff as we were moving the day after she arrived back from Turkey.

    But it all worked out fine. 15 years and counting. 5 kids and not counting.

  • OfftheDwannaB November 27, 2012, 10:46 PM

    Awesome article. I can’t say exactly what’s awesome here but ya really good.

  • zach November 28, 2012, 5:22 AM

    Don’t get me started on mikvah night. Any discussion of this will have some of the brainwashed minions parroting how it makes every month like a renewal of the marriage. The truth is that many, many women (my wife included) feel that the whole experience is degrading. Thank goodness that we don’t have to go through it any longer and can sleep together every night (fortunately we abandoned some of the stupid harchakos soon after marriage. And we only rarely jumped on each other bones after passing the salt, heh.) Most of the “niddah apologists” think that sleeping together means sex, but they probably also never hug their spouse or otherwise show physical affection in other non-sexual situations.

    Bottom line for us and anyone that asks our advice (including children): Mikvah? A BIG thumbs down.

    • Been There November 29, 2012, 1:31 PM

      Dude, it’s nebach to have niddah / mikva night regularly; your wife is supposed to use the mikva once before marriage and then once after each baby every 2.5 years (she won’t go more than six hours between nursing sessions, right?) until hot flashes.

    • Allen Roth November 29, 2012, 1:33 PM

      I was raised FFB, but I left the Orthodox world about the age of twenty. The reasons have less to do with my being gay, then about issues of science, faith, and intellectual honesty. Not really relevant here. I haven’t kept anything at all since then (with the exceptions of when my mother a”h was still alive, I always conducted the Seder at her home, and spent Rosh HaShanah there).
      So, with the exceptions of the Passover rite, and maybe Rosh HaShanah, I dont really believe that any of the Commandments makes much sense today. But Niddah is the one exception (which, obviously, has no real relevance for me because I’ve only lived with men, not women). I believe that the custom of periodic separations with prohibited sex, alternating with periods of permission, is an aid in preserving sexual excitement in long-term relationships. We all know that there are many marriages where, after the first few years, sex becomes routinized, stale, mechanical, and…boring. As one becomes more and more familiar with one’s partner, there usually comes a time when sexual excitement significantly decreases. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but many, many marriages founder on sexual boredom or simple decline in excitement. Niddah helps to prevent this. Of course, it will not always work, but I think it will help prolong a couple’s sexual bond to each other, as much as anything can. The only issue I have with this law is that the benefits I am describing are not the rationale that the Halakhah gives for it, which lies with the concept that menstrual blood renders a woman spiritually “unclean,” untouchable, similar to a man who has had a nocturnal emission, or has masturbated. To my mind, this notion of unclean “tah-may” is the kind of primitivism, akin to some of the issues which drove me from Orthodoxy. But I feel the way I do because I genuinely believe it is psychosexually beneficial in sustaining a relationship.
      In the gay world, sex is available almost any time one wants it, and I don’t mean prostitutes or anything unattractive like that. I simply mean that one can walk into a gay bar, approach someone one finds attractive and, if a conversation goes well, and positive feelings arise, one could be having sex with that person a half-hour later. When I was younger, I occasionally engaged in such behavior. The consequences of constant sexual availability do not really lessen the excitement or attraction of sex, because one is, ex hypothesi, enjoying new sexual partners, with the acompanying excitement. But in the context of a long-term relationship, there is no question that lovemaking slowly grows less and less intense over the years.
      So, ironically for me, I think you frummies don’t quite realize the benefits of niddah laws. That’s not to say that they aren’t devoid of some negative consequences (like not being able to hug or touch one’s partner at the end of a hard day, for two weeks out of every month), but over the long haul, on the whole it confers benefits to the stability and enjoyment of your married lives.

      How’s that for a testimonial? Just thought I’d comment.

    • A. Nuran November 30, 2012, 1:04 PM

      You can never be too careful about primitive Blood Magic. It will make your wang-dang-doodle fall off. It will condemn you to the Pit forever. It’s more dangerous to your soul than murder, idolatry, paedophilia and reading secular novels. Better to stay safe and send your wife off to the Hut of Shame three weeks out of the month and use your concubines in the meantime.

  • Ellis November 28, 2012, 6:40 AM

    It’s very welcoming to hear you and your wife have a great relationship.

    It’s interesting, as youv’e pointed out in previous postings how “closed minded” many (not all, so no one should freak out) BTs and converts are towards choosing a spouse and their friends. To this day, I still find girls who stuffed their face with pork in their “past life” find distaste in me as an FFB because I watch the Price is Right. The Pope is pretty religous, maybe he appeals to those.

    • The Mrs. November 28, 2012, 1:52 PM

      Ellis, I’m sorry you’ve found BTs to be discriminate towards FFBs. I hadn’t noticed the “holier than thou” thing before, but now I see it. The only side I ever hear about is how many times BTs and converts are rejected by FFBs.

  • jimbo November 28, 2012, 7:21 AM

    This article is so incredibly spot on. We’ve never met, we have completely different lives, but wow – you nailed it.

  • SF Jew November 28, 2012, 8:49 AM

    How did “a family with impeccable yichus” produce someone pasul like Heshy?

    • Anonymous November 28, 2012, 10:17 AM

      Hmm, the greatest of the so called passul Jews who were a big part of the conservative and reform movements came from yichus.

      On the other hand I think it was a very subtle joke.

  • talking stam November 28, 2012, 11:13 AM

    sharing housework isn’t a myth, you neanderthal! man up and do your share!

    • Heshy Fried November 28, 2012, 11:56 AM

      I cook, do all the food shopping, and she does everything else, claims I do more harm than good when I try to wash dishes or do any type of cleaning.

      • A. Nuran November 30, 2012, 1:06 PM

        All straight men are genetically Cleaning Impaired. It says so right there on the label. Some women believe men can be trained to see and clean up “messes”. Without more evidence I’m skeptical.

        • Israelit December 5, 2012, 8:36 PM

          Or there are those of us women who are the only ones in the household who are employed! My Straight Husband does the cooking and at least some of the cleaning (a) because was a trained chef and makes much better food than I do and (b) I would kill him if he made me earn all the money we ever get and he didn’t do something to contribute in the meantime. In one thing you’re right though, Nuran, I have to point out the messes to him, or else he would never notice to clean them up.

    • OfftheDwannaB November 28, 2012, 5:55 PM

      A study came out not too long ago which says that couples that stay married tend to have more traditional roles on housework. So, contrary to what you’ve been told, sharing is bad.

      • abandoning eden November 28, 2012, 6:50 PM

        actually what that study showed was that traditional roles were more likely to stay together than non traditional roles (like men doing most of the housework) but the most likely of all to stay together are those who have an equal share of housework when both partners are working. Also, women who think the division of housework is unfair are twice as likely to think of divorce as women who think it’s fair.

  • Dan November 28, 2012, 12:58 PM

    A fellow in my yeshiva quipped to the rosh yeshiva after he’d been married for a year, that: “he just ‘got up’ from shana rishona”.

  • Anonymous November 28, 2012, 1:55 PM

    The first 5 years of my marriage was hell. After that it took a turn for the worse.

    The trick is that every time she asks you to do the dishes you break 1 plate.

    Don’t make fun of a Ger’s past. A Ger is like a brand new baby halachakly.

  • Jonathan November 28, 2012, 2:02 PM

    Loss of independence and the real shana rishona begins with kids. Go tell your wife you’re going backpacking while she stays home with the kinderlach.

  • Z November 28, 2012, 6:16 PM

    I had an illness when I was a baby and it caused a chronic condition so when I’m threatened with marriage, I pull out the “you’ll have to take care of me some day” card and women, Jewish or not, run for the hills. That’s my secret!

  • Woodrow/Conservadox November 28, 2012, 7:32 PM

    I don’t even have to point out chronic illnesses in order to stay unmarried- just be myself and that seems to do the trick!

  • BostonDave November 29, 2012, 8:59 AM

    You’ve gotta check out the Breslov Pamphlet “To Love and Cherish”. It’s unintended comedic magic on the roles of husbands and wives in frumkeit:
    here’s the pdf, but the hard copy is great (- you can get one outside of any kosher pizza hole-in-the-wall. Got mine outside of Pizza Cave in 2000.)

  • Mindy November 29, 2012, 10:31 AM

    Lol. Glad to hear you know marriage is hard work. We’re married for three years and it’s still the best thing we ever did.

    Zach, I’m sorry you didn’t find mikvah nights enjoyable. I can only speak for myself, but I thoroughly enjoy being niddah and having the two week break. It definitely increases my desire and I don’t feel degraded at all. And yes, I suppose I am a niddah apologist, but my husband and I DO give each other plenty of non-sexual physical attention. Pronouncing harsh statements like that about people you don’t know is dishonest.

    And in regard to something Hesh wrote a while ago, people CAN go through the niddah weeks without breaking the rules.

  • A. Nuran November 30, 2012, 1:08 PM

    Glad marriage is treating you well. It would be interesting to see how your wife’s perspective differs.

    • The Mrs. December 2, 2012, 6:56 PM

      No difference at all. I’m thrilled by it, even the niddah part. 😉

  • Seriously? December 1, 2012, 12:06 PM

    Free advice, given to me years ago:

    When you are tired, and she is tired, and you are thinking to yourself, “I really could just fall asleep now; I don’t have the energy to jump her bones.”…..

    JUMP HER BONES. It always pays off.

    You should be having sex at least once a day when not in Niddah.

    • You can't be serious December 19, 2012, 2:21 PM

      Jump her bones? Are you a neanderthal? Does she belong to you?

      If I’m tired, I’m tired–and no means no! And there is definitely no way I would go once a day!


      Married 13 years (thank G-d not to you!)

  • Leftover Cholent December 1, 2012, 4:58 PM

    Great article, per usual. Glad to see that marriage is treating you well!

    Leftover Cholent

  • mmorningstar December 19, 2012, 9:51 AM

    Hesh, I have been a very loyal blog reader for years. I am a giyores, too. I was delighted learning that you married a giyores! I am very, very happy for you! There should be more out-of-the-box-thinkers like you in frum society!!!

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