Monday, January 3, 2011

Sshhh, I'm back

I owe a big apology to my readers. I disappeared, and it wasn't very nice of me. All I can say is that planning a wedding sure takes a lot of time. But at least I'm back now :-) And I missed you!

One of the big differences with married life is the sudden secrecy that veils your life. There are two of you now, and the things that go on between you should remain between you, should be private, intimate, told to no one, shared with no one. That's right, that's good, that makes sense.

And it really is wonderful, being together, sharing a life and a home and a future with someone you love, who loves you. It's so good you don't know how you survived so long on your own. It's like tasting heaven. It feels like a dream you don't ever want to wake up from.

Yet still the secrecy bothers me. I wish I'd been more prepared for the halachic aspects of marriage, the physical aspects of marriage. Nobody told me, because nobody talks about it. Ten sessions with a Madrichat kallah are supposed to cover all of that. One woman, one hashkafah, one bank of knowledge; it's not enough. There's a new voice inside me, crying that it wasn't meant to be like this, feeling betrayed by the silence. Knowledge is power, that's been my motto throughout my life, and suddenly, in one of the most important aspects of human life, of Jewish life, I feel like an ignoramus.

I would have like to read about more than the sweet platitudes of married life. On the internet I only find the PR, the comparisons of Mikvahs with Spas, the marketing of Niddah laws as the secret for a perpetual honeymoon. Is it only me who finds it difficult? Do no other women ever struggle with some of the laws of Taharat Hamisphacha?

And now I want to write, want to break the silence, but keep coming up against a brick wall. The wall of privacy, of modesty, blocks me from speaking.
I don't want to stop blogging. I don't want to lose that part of me. I may not be single, not be in Shidduchim any longer, but I think my blog was and is about more than that.

And I don't want to stop being open. I don't want to start spouting out surface sweetness, all the time hiding what's really on my mind.

I guess I'll just have to find the balance. Somehow.

14 comments:

  1. This, my friend, is why you need friends who can understand, empathize and are open- you can count me as one of them. I have always spoken against the practice of thrusting men & women into this intimacy after being forced apart for so long. It is not the right way to create strong marraiges. It will get better :)

    My sister got married and said "Niddah Sucks". I said, "May you always feel that way"

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  2. You are right. Too right and I hope you find the way to keep blogging and shout out the facts of life for too many who suffer from the wall of silence.

    I grew up in general goyish society in an undisclosed western country and married in Israel. My worldly knowledge was greater then average for the frum and my madrich hatanim was more open than average but nothing prepared me for the crises surrounding the physical side of the first months (nay days) of marriage.

    I am determined that my children will at least benefit from me being able to tell them what I didn't know or was not prepared for. On a wider scope, I once had this idea of setting up a "ten things no-one ever told you about ishut" web site but never did. It needs doing though.

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  3. I will gladly contribute - help lead a site/book/service like that if anyone wants to get it going! And I know lots of fabulous women who will join...

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  4. Welcome back.

    There is definitely a need for some (pardon the expression) "hands on" knowledge. It can be a very confusing time, and while hopefully the shidduchim period allowed one to develop a certain mental connection to the new spouse, it's still quite a big change.

    The contrast between the confusion and the bliss can definitely be demotivating. Things change, and relatively quickly. Looking back after 12 years, I'm amazed at how awkward some things were, and yet how close we are now; almost like Aliyah (for many), it's the kind of thing you don't regret, are thrilled about, and never really understand how you got through (or want to try again).

    I think that most women struggle sometimes with TM. For that matter, I think most men do, too [and I'm not talking about (just) in a purely physical sense]. Especially the post-chuppah period, it can be a very confusing time (although perhaps removing some pressure is a good thing... for many (most?), halachos begin to apply several days after, and not the next morning...). Even after a while, and if one appreciates the "stereotypical" benefits of TM [such as the perpetual honeymoon], it's never at the right time, it's always inconvenient and frustrating, etc. That's natural and common.

    As someone who straddles the modern world [grew up somewhere on the loose side of MO] and now associates with a more chareidi crowd [but definitely am not classic Israeli chareidi], there was, and still is, a very strong tension there. I'm always open to learning new things; hopefully that will happen.

    Sorry for the anonymous post; some things can't be said in my name.

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  5. OK can we start by shouting this out loud (even though we are all to scared to do it in our real names) "for many (most?), halachos begin to apply several days after". Yes it is normal. You probably won't manage to do It on the first night. You probably shouldn't try. Please don't be pressured. Please take your time.

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  6. Have you ever looked through Calm Kallah?

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  7. having gotten married does not mean that youve missed something permanently. Many women go back to trusted rebbetzins to relearn and refresh things. The easiest way is to learn from the tapes of Rebbetzins' Gabbay or Lapidot.

    Turn to the wife of a prominent respectable rabbi, and she will understand.

    Persoanlly, I have learned from my mother, and from good rebbetzin before getting married, and never stopped enjoying mikveh. For me it was a matter of making sure I was going to a clean one, and from then on it has been The Spa. Least of my problems. Good luck and mazel tov

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  8. Try imamother.com
    If you register you'll have access to the TM and intimacy forums.
    Mazal tov, take everything one day at a time!

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  9. Hi, my name is Anna and I think your blog is excellent. Can we do a link exchange for our blogs? I have just added you.
    My blog is http://mazaljudaica.wordpress.com/

    My website is www.mazaljudaica.com. Please like us on Facebook! I would really appreciate it!
    Have an excellent day
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mazal-Judaica/114296348633458?ref=ts

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  10. mayimrabim.com

    Go and read the essays there. The message boards are not very active these days, but the essays are definitely worth reading.

    There is also frumarrieds, which was created as a reaction to imamother deleting "sensitive" topics
    that the members wanted to actually discuss. Not sure how active or inactive that one is right now.

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  11. I also think mayimrabim is lovely, though the message boards have pretty much died out. But really the internet is NOT the place to learn anything about intimacy! A trusted friend or even a book is much better.
    I'm a big opponent of secrecy (=keeping things hidden that should be talked about), but a huge fan of privacy (=keeping things hidden that don't need to be talked about). Find out the info that you need, vent a little to a close friend, but know also when to stop talking. One of the things I love about my intimate relationship with my husband is that it is completely and totally between the two of us: that means that only we define what is normal, what is ideal, etc. It is a private world that we have created as we want it, with no pesky outside influences.

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  12. Fro the inspirational aspect Yamima Mizrachi is also excellent:
    http://ashira.co.il/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1046&Itemid=37

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  13. I don't think EVERYTHING that goes on has to be kept sh-sh. But honestly, I did stop telling people about a lot of stuff...not because of privacy, but simply because I was afraid that people would start comparing their marriages with mine and find that their husbands fell short. :) Yeah, seriously. B"H...

    At any rate...if you want, email me - zug-chassi-dim at gmail daht com (take out the hyphens - they're there for security).

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  14. calmkallahs, imamother, mayimrabim, yoetzes. these are the sites that i thought of off the top of my head. im sure there are more.

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