Last week we discussed a reader’s failing marriage and had some reader input into how they dealt with their own marriages and subsequent divorces. One of our readers, Rebecca, left this comment… I want to attempt to answer it here to the best of my ability.
“Are many Orthodox husbands, standoffish, with their wives and children? I am surprised to read from the women how unhappy they are. R some of these marriages arranged, or have the couples had very little time to get to know one other. My understanding of relationships is that the couple do not spend time together alone. Is that an accurate statement.”
Orthodox men are no more “standoffish” with their wives and kids than any other group of men. In fact, some of the women who commented on that post were NOT necessarily married to orthodox men and NOT necessarily Jewish or religious themselves. I have no clue about the divorce statistics of Orthodox couples vs non-ortho or even non-Jewish, but I would imagine that similar marital problems can exist across the whole spectrum.
“Arranged” marriages are not a thing of the past, however they are more prevalent in the Chassidic community, and this is a community I do not know much about. Most Orthodox couples, even if brought together by a shadchan, a matchmaker, have the chance to get to know each other before deciding to get married. No one is forced into it.
As to “the couple do not spend time together alone” – totally false. Judaism is very encouraging of alone time within a marriage. Yes, there are times during the woman’s cycle that they cannot be physically intimate with each other, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot have quality time together. Quite the opposite. The physical break reinforces the emotional bond that they have with each other.
Most of the Orthodox homes I have been in there is a strong connection between both parents and the children, and between husband and wife. The marital bond may not be shown by physical demonstration – that kind of stuff is private, not for the public to see. You may not see Orthodox couples embracing or touching – but that does not mean there is no love there, or no bond. It does not show standoffishness. Quite the opposite. The touch between a married couple is precious and sacred, and there is no need to cheapen it by demonstrating it for all to see.
Rebecca, I know you are seeking to expand your knowledge, I hope I helped in some way. If you have more questions please do not hesitate to ask.