Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Limiting Conversations with Callah

This is going to be a harsh topic full of controversy.

In the wedding book I am reading, "Eternal Joy, Volume 2", there is a strong suggestion that Chossons and Callahs should limit their conversations to once per week and limit seeing each other to once per week. I believe it goes with the Lubavicher Rebbe's saying that "if you are close when you should be far, you'll be far when you should be close." This [obviously speaking of physical touching before marriage will cause doubts and distance after the marriage,] can have another implication.

On the one hand, I want to be growing with her and falling deeper in love with her. On the other hand, TZNIUS! I am feeling a tension because we are speaking on the phone so regularly (multiple times a day, sometimes for hours each day) that I am starting to feel like the physical and emotional feelings I am having are stressing me out because I can't express them with her. There's obviously a tension between us in that we want to get closer on many levels, but the situation of being platonic until marriage is keeping us at a certain level which I think we cannot move past. This is my big problem with telling her I love her. I think this will make the situation even worse.

I miss her when I don't hear from her, and she misses me when she doesn't hear from me. Yet I feel this yearning is not healthy at this stage of our development because we are NOT married and we cannot express these yearnings and so they go repressed and I don't think this is healthy. I feel like we are starting to develop the kinds of feelings that people who are married would have towards one another, but we're also feeling the obvious lacking because we are physically far apart both when we see each other in person and when we speak on the phone.

I must also mention the selfish observation that I do love speaking to her, however, when I spend so much time with her on the phone, I run out of things to talk about. What is there to discuss when I have already told her everything that is going on in my life in our last conversation just a few hours or minutes beforehand? Plus, when I speak to her for as frequently as we have been speaking, I am not connecting with her fully because it takes more energy than I have to establish that special connection so many times during the day -- I feel like our conversations get ordinary when I speak to her so frequently. [Not to mention the time constraints of such conversations, and the fact that it IS starting to significantly interfere with my studies.]

With all this said, I don't want to hurt her, and I don't want her to think that I am placing my "work" [my bar studies] above my relationship with her, which should come first. However, one thing is beginning to interfere with the other.

For this reason, I am wondering how to speak to her with the goal in mind of limiting our conversations in either time or quantity. My relationship with her is very special to me. The last thing I want it to turn into during these precious few months before we are married is a casual relationship. However, with so many conversations, it is difficult to maintain the passion. Help.

PS - I haven't resolved yet when and whether to tell her that I love her. Yichud room? At/before the chuppah? Now? I don't feel it is appropriate to start with the "I love you" conversations when we barely are seeing each other before our marriage.

This is not a marriage based on love; it is a marriage that is based on G-d and Torah. We agreed to marry before we had feelings for one another. This engagement is the product of a shidduch which is based on compatibility, not love. Love is supposed to come later. I am starting to think that I've answered my question, and I am starting to think that I am no longer acting tznius with her with the frequency of our conversations. I think I need to find a way to back out of the corner and start to limit them because I think I might have put us on a path where the results of my moving too fast too soon are starting to surface. Emphatically, I do want to form a deep, loving, and permanent relationship with her with strong foundations. However, I think I accidentally pushed us into a territory which can only cause us damage in the long run. I think I feel strongly about this, and I will see what I can do to remedy this. All this "tell her you love her" talk is messing with my head.


respondingtojblogs said...

Why don't you send her a copy of the book?

Zoe Strickman said...

She's the one that suggested it to me. :) It's a great book. I highly recommend it. Very easy to understand, but straight to the point.

michal said...

All right - you win.

You found someoe who told you what you wanted to hear, so you can go that way.

But all good marriages are based on love, with Torah and G-d as the framework that keep your home standing... Torah and G-d should be the basis for how you live your individual lives, and what you share in common - but that also binds your entire family (children) together. The love that is between a husband and wife is also considered holy. And I'm not using that term loosely, though I'm afraid I don't have the texts at my fingertips to quote sources (sorry)...

If you're talking with her too much, you should talk less, just because you've got a busy schedule. On the other hand, if you aren't talking about important things, but only dumb stuff and long silences, and you're still enjoying it... that's okay too. Long silences are also a part of being comfortable together. Marriage won't all be romance and poetry... and if anything, the less powerfully connected moments will be the healthiest if you're worried about your yetzer hara -- you want her to be your partner and not just someone you're (literally) crazy about.

Maybe you can put both together and have her help you study for the bar exams - she can get a test prep book and quiz you over the phone. That way the conversation will stay "pareve," you can talk fairly regularly, and not feel like talking to her is taking you off the proverbial derech...

just an idea.

I do think that by saying that you want this to be merely a torah-based marriage, with love being secondary, you're setting yourself up to having something really empty. And if this is her choice and not yours, and you're glad to have someone else justifying your decision to go along with keeping quiet about your loving feelings, because deep down you're a much more expressive person than she is, then I really worry about your future down the road.

Zoe Strickman said...

Michal, I do agree with you. Torah and G-d is not enough for a satisfying marriage -- love must be there also.

I think my issue with the whole topic of limiting the conversations is that the conversations, as wonderful as they are, are sapping my time and distracting my studies.