Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts

April 3, 2019

Relax, It's Just Sex

Just thought this was a really funny-sad display in the window of this store in Tel Aviv. 

It says:
Relex It's Just Sex
Forget that Relax is spelled wrong. 

But advertising for sexual items in such a casual way...like it's sex and what's the big deal.

Maybe I am old school, where sex actually meant a deep personal relationship and emotional intimacy. 

...Where you partner was also your spouse and best friend.

Now--unfortunately--it's just sex!

I think as a society that we have lost something here. 

...Something important. 

If it's just sex, and it's just with anyone, then what does that leave for us with that someone truly special in our lives? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2019

Why We Chase Love

Being a heart alone in this world is very lonely, indeed. 

Chasing another heart, so that we can pair together makes two less lonely hearts.

Two hearts that beat as one making beautiful music together. 

When the hearts are in harmony, we sway and are uplifted flying away into the heavens.  

And when the music is discordant, we are forced to retune and to grow wings that we never even knew we had. 

Hearts that complement each other, help us face the questions we often fear to ask ourselves. 

When these hearts meet, they touch so gently, and like silk they dance a perfect dance.  

What is meaningless alone is all of a sudden meaningful with another. 

What is too painful to bear by oneself is manageable when shared between two. 

And what is joyful is magnified in sweetness when there is someone else to enjoy it with. 

One heart chases another until they embrace that long blissful embrace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2018

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 

Frightening loneliness statistics:

- One in 11 Americans over age 50 "lacks a spouse, partner, or living child."

- More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  

- 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 

Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 

The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:

- Smoking 15 cigarettes a day

- Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day

Loneliness is worse for mortality than:

- Obesity 

- Physical activity

"The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful...we have to address loneliness," says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  

Truly, no man is an island!

Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.

Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 

Alone we die--together we live. 

It's not just power in numbers, it's life itself. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 15, 2018

Listen, Empathize, Give A Little

A colleague was talking to me about negotiating and working with others:

He said something I liked: 

Listen, empathize, and give a little. 

Yes, we each have our beliefs and positions on things.

But we don't live in a vacuum.

Other people have their own views, sensitivities, and wants. 

We have to get along so we can work together, and get things done. 

It starts by listening--not just hearing, but really listening to what the other person is saying. 

But that's not really enough. 

To really understand the other person, we have to try to empathize with what they are feeling--we need to try to walk in their shoes even if just for a moment. 

But that also isn't enough. 

We can't have it all our way--we need to give a little to get a little. 

No one can have everything and have a good relationship like that. 

We need to compromise--as long as it's not on things of integrity, conviction, or G-d. 

Everything else we have to listen, empathize, and give a little.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 19, 2018

Impact of Hyperwork on Family

I am seeing this all the time now... 

Parents of little children, or even older children, who are too busy working to pay much, if any, attention to their families.

Call it a disease of the industrial revolution + information technology. 

Whether people worked on the assembly line making widgets or nowadays on the computer and smartphone answering their bosses and colleagues compulsively--it's become a global obsession. 

On one hand, with the impending robot and AI revolution taking over jobs, people need to be grateful to even have a job to earn a living for the families.

On the other hand, with the connections to each other and our work 24/7, the depression-era saying of:
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Has morphed into:
Brother, can you spare some time?

Yes, we all need to be responsible adults, earn a decent living and pay our bills. 

But in the end, it's not money or things that we give to our families that is the most important.  

I would argue money and things are the least important, and what is truly most precious is the love, time, and attention you give to yours. 

As the old saying goes:
Money can't buy love.

But time and attention given to your loved ones can build meaningful relationships that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Yes, of course, people need to work to earn a living and productively contribute something to society, but it is also true that work is used as an excuse to run away from parental and familial responsibilities. 

It's easier to give an Amazon gift certificate or a Gameboy then to actually spend the afternoon with the kids. 

These days, people say ridiculous things like:
I love going into the office to get away from home.  

But you can't run away from your problems at home--you need to work on them and solve them.

The diabolical murderous Nazis used work as a tool to enslave, torture, and exterminate their victims as the sign over the gate of the Auschwitz (and many other) concentration camps read:
Arbeit Macht Frei  (or Work Sets You Free)

But as we all know inside, true freedom is being able to give generously from your time and effort to your loved ones, and slavery is not being able to let go of your work. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 20, 2018

Mikva = Tikva

I thought this was a really special Jewish clock I saw in the store yesterday. 

It promotes holiness and sanctity in the family.
Mikva (Jewish ritual bath) = Tikva (hope) 
Rebirth and renewal (from the immersion in the holy water).
Build your family in sanctity!
Purity leads to sanctity.

The Jewish laws of refraining from sexual relations during Nidda (a women's menstruation) and of immersing in the mikvah at the end of the cycle and before the husband and wife coming back together physically are cornerstones of acting with self-control and a couple dedicating themselves to Hashem first.

The family is the core of raising and educating our children and of the makeup of the community and ultimately of serving G-d in everything we do. 

Self-control (with sexual purity, kosher food, Sabbath time, etc.) is what separates us from animals and how we emulate being more like the angels. 

It is also a way for a husband and wife to elevate their love and show respect for each other as human beings and not just physical beings.  

I never saw a clock that reminds us of these holy concepts and laws like this. 

Also at the top it says another well-known Jewish quote about managing our time wisely:
"The day is short and the task is great."

Another good reminder to maximize the use of our time every day here on Earth and to make the most out of every moment. 

If we dedicate ourselves to serving G-d, raising our families, being productive professionally and personally, and acting with integrity and sanctity always--this is a good life! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 18, 2018

Together 4Ever

In elementary school, the children sing about love and romance. 

"The spades go.
Two lips together.
Twilight forever. 
Bring back my love to me."

When 2 people are together, it's as if the angels in heaven themselves are dancing and singing. 

Love seems to make everything in the world right again. 

Recently, an old person from my building lost his wife of over 60 years!

I see him around and while he continues to go about doing his everyday things, I can see that he misses his wife so much. 

He is broken, and his strength is gone. 

I remember my grandfather and father the same way when they lost my grandmother and mother, respectively. 

Completely devastating to them--their wives were their lives and what made them complete-- afterward, they were never really the same. 

Our companions are truly our other halves. 

When someone asked the old man from my building how he was doing late last week, he simply responded:
"I'm getting along the best that I can."

He said it was such sadness and loneliness for his wife who passed that his words literally cut right through me. 

People need each other--no one is an island--and especially loving couples who have been together for decades and decades--they are for each other and with each other, even if "together forever" is just a song that children sing...it is what we all ultimately wish for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Fashion Wow!

Now, how perfect is this guy's suit?

I can't imagine who would make such a thing, but WOW!

This guy is a walking Mr. Charming. 

Forget the sales job in the jewelry store, I would put him right on the "The Bachelor" season whatever. 

Who isn't going to fall in love with this guy?  
"Matchmaker matchmaker make me a match.
Find me a find.
Catch me a catch."
Love wins over hate...

Happy Valentine's Day!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 5, 2018

My Contribution To Love

So I saw a casual work friend the other day doting around what looked like his girlfriend. 

They looked really cute together.

And this guy is in his 60's and lost his wife a number of years ago to cancer, so I was really happy to see him happy, and playful in love again. 

After a while, I took the opportunity to play cupid best I could. 

I told her how nice this guy was and how well he takes care of his customers. 

I ended by saying how we really love having him around and how it wouldn't be the same without him. 

I could see him behind her smiling ear-to-ear--this lady really meant something to him.

When I saw him again today, I asked innocently, "so was that your girlfriend?" and like a young teenager in love, he smirked and nodded. 

It was obvious how much it meant to him that I spoke well of him to her. 

What can I say, I am really happy to make a little contribution to love--and I am really happy for them. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 16, 2017

Beautiful Innocent Child Angel

So wonderful news is that one of my daughters is getting married, please G-d, at the end of the month.

Today, we had a celebration in synagogue called an Aufruf, where the groom is called to the Torah and makes the blessing and then we all throw candies (we chose bags of chocolates).

After the services, we had a kiddush luncheon and it was really nice to see everyone from the community sharing in this wonderful Simcha with us. 

But something happened towards the end of the services that had a really big impact on me...in fact, I can't stop thinking about it--I need to write it down. 

As services concluded and we were leaving the sanctuary, this beautiful innocent little girl came right up to my daughter--sort of out of nowhere and without her parents--and wished her Mazel Tov. 

There was something about her and the way she did it with such sincerity--I literally couldn't have been more touched. 

It was almost like this child was some sort of angel--I mean it!

The child's eyes and facial expression had an innocence like I have never quite seen before. 

All I could do was marvel at this child and how she came up all by herself with this incredible pureness of heart that I can't fully explain to wish the bride and groom well. 

Then I found my words to say thank you and wish her that in a "few" years she would be getting happily married too, G-d willing. 

I think I will always remember the piecing innocent eyes of this child and how she was like an angel visiting us on this special occasion today. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2017

Longevity...85 Is The New 65

So I was speaking to one of our very nice elderly neighbors.

Last week he lost his dear wife of 60 years!

I had visited him during Shiva (the Jewish period of mourning) to wish him our best and let him know we are there if there is anything he needs. 

He told me how the night before she passed, they had gone out to eat and to the theatre (she loved the theatre)...and everything was fine!

And then the next day, he went to work--he still teaches medicine at the local hospital 2 days a month.

At midday, he called his wife and asked how she was and if she needed anything from the store (to eat etc.)

She told him she was fine and she didn't need anything. 

But by the time he got home just one hour later...she had fallen, hit her head, and died. 

He tried to do CPR by it was no use, she was gone. 

Both he and his wife were 84-years old. 

He mentioned that would tease her that he was 3 months older than her, and so she had to listen to him!

I felt so bad for him...it was obvious how much he loved her and missed her already. 

When he told me how old she was, I tried to say reassuringly:
"That's a good old age...at least she lived a full life!"

But then he answered:
"84--that's nothing! 85 is the new 65!!!"  
And went on to tell me how many of their friends are already in the 90's. 

It's funny how no matter what age you are...there is always a will to live!

He said how she had passed quickly and so maybe he could consider that a blessing. 

And we talked about how it truly is especially when some other people really suffer prolonged periods with terrible debilitating and painful illnesses. 

It was also strange that around the same time, I ran into yet another elderly neighbor, and he had tears in his eyes...and I asked how he is. 

He told me how he just learned 3 weeks ago that his wife has lung cancer. 

Seeing his expression how bad things were, I inquired what stage it was at. 

He said, "stage 3 cancer," and I told him as well how sorry I was for his pain. 

All this made me realize again, how very tenuous life is...and we all hang by a thread that G-d decides at any moment when to shear and when to cut--we need to live every moment to the fullest and as if it's our last. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 14, 2017

What Women Want From Men?

So I was talking to this nice gentleman.

He was telling me that he lost his wife of over 27 years to cancer--this happened over 15 years ago. 

And since then, he had a girlfriend who recently broke his heart and married someone else. 

I felt really bad and sorry for this nice man--who is always so friendly and intelligent.  

He says to me:
"Over the years, I've learned what women want from men."

I ask him inquiringly:
"And what is that?"

He's obviously glad that I asked, and he proceeds to tell me:
"Women want two things: curiosity and security."

Not understanding what he means by the first one, I ask:
"What do you mean curiosity?"

He looks intently at me and says:
"Women want to talk, and they want to know what's going on."

He explains to me that if you talk and be a good listener to women and provide (your part) materially in a stable relationship with them--they will be happy and you will be happy. 

This is sort of the "Happy wife, happy life" idea that I've heard before. 

Listen, even at this stage in my life, with a wife and two lovely daughters, I can still learn something about what makes women happy...teach me the pearls of wisdom and I will learn it well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 8, 2017

Is It I Don't or I Do?

Wow this was tough...

I was at a luncheon with some friends, including a couple we're friendly with that's been dating a while.  

At one point, the young man gets up to get some more food, and the young lady all of a sudden asks me, "Do you still live around here?"

I said "Yes, not far from here," and in turn asked whether she was still living in {blankty blank neighborhood}.

She said, "Yes, {and continues sort of out of the blue} and we're not going to live together until we get married."

I was sort of surprised at the turn that her answer took about their relationship, and innocently asked, "So does that mean you guys are planning on marriage then?"

Just then the man comes back and I must've been reading the tea leaves {and the ominous music for the laying of the trap starts playing in my head}...

Immediately, the young lady says to him before he even sits back down, "He's asking if we're getting married {and for some reason she's literally pointing at me or am I imaging that finger like a dagger coming out}!"

At this point, I think my eyes started to bug out a little as I must've had this look on my face like what the heck is going on here. 

But if this isn't going bad enough {what in G-d's name did I walk into with this?)...

This older lady across the table, starts blurting out loudly saying, "How would you like if she ends up with another guy?!!!"

Holy sh*t {where is that coming from now?)!

The guy next to me is obviously at the point of fury {I can't say that I fully blame him}, and he packs up his stuff and sort of storms off from the table.

The young women is still there trying to make conversation as if this whole thing just somehow didn't happen. 

But it did and it was pretty ugly!

The older lady {not stopping--this is madness} then chimes in again and says, "Look at what he did, he stormed off--if I were you, I would just drop him!"

We're all sort of sitting there in complete shock now. 

Pulling for a straw to somehow make this scene go away, I ask the young lady, "Should I go out and see if I can speak with him?"

She's shakes her head and says, "No. We're almost done {done--in what way...?}!"

Within a couple of minutes, we excused ourselves and headed out--sort of not believing how this whole scene went down. 

One thing I can tell you is do not get ANYWHERE near people and their relationships--there are a whirlwind of just under the surface feelings, agendas, and finger-pointing ready to take flight and eradicate everything in the vicinity of ground zero. 

Anyway, I hope everything works out okay for this couple...they actually do seem really nice together.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 15, 2017

Better A Mensch Than Money

Here is a lesson that I learned when it comes to love...

Better a mensch than all the money in the world.

Some people think that money is their Golden Calf.

They literally and practically worship it.

They are so greedy for it, hoard it, protect it, and believe in the power of it.

But what I say is you can choke on all the money!

Those who put the emphasis on money are sick and empty with materialism that means nothing in the end.

Better the love of a good, decent human being and best friend than all the money in China.

For money you can buy lots of meaningless things, but with a mensch you can have a potential for a life of real togetherness and even a chance at some soulful bliss.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 11, 2017

A Curse That Is Really A Blessing

So here is an amazing true story from this week.

My wife was in Israel. 

She went to the Kotel (Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem) to pray. 

On the way, an old, poor man stopped her and asked for food. 

My wife gave him her sandwich. 

Then after walking another block, he stopped her again and gestured for assistance. 

This time, my wife gave him some money too.

After this, she asked him if he would bless our family.

And he did and also gave a special blessing to my elder daughter who had just recently gotten engaged. 

My wife also went to the Kotel and prayed for us and her. 

That same evening back in the States here, my daughter and her fiancee ended their engagement. 

At first, the breakup seemed like a big disappointment and that a terrible thing had happened--almost like a curse--but G-d works in mysterious ways. 

When we saw the reasons for the breakup, we realized fully that G-d had indeed heard the blessings of the old, poor man (maybe an angel) and the prayers of my wife.

We wish the young man all the best in his future, but we just saw clearly that this was not the right match. 

So what at first can seem like a curse is really a blessing in disguise. 

Truly, when you give charity, you're not only helping others, but it's really a blessing for you too. 

Thank you to the old, poor man in Jerusalem and to Hashem who heard my wife's prayers at the Kotel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2017

Fighting Domestic Abuse


I came across these excellent graphics used to educate and prevent against domestic dominance and abuse.

The first wheel shows how "power and control" are used to instill fear and dominate domestic partners as well as in an overall pattern of relationships with physical and sexual violence:

- Intimidation
- Emotional Abuse
- Isolation
- Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming
- Using Children
- Male Privilege
- Economic Abuse
- Coercion and Threats

In contrast, the second wheel displays positive patterns of "equality" in relationships and nonviolence and are marked by the following attributes:

- Non-threatening behavior
- Respect
- Trust and Support
- Honesty and Accountability
- Responsible Parenting
- Shared Responsibility
- Economic Partnership
- Negotiation and Fairness

Have you ever noticed a pattern of domestic abuse behaviors that include the following?

- Constantly lecturing on political views the other person should hold.
- Keeping them away from their family and friends.
- Controlling the major life decisions.
- Hiding money and accounts.
- Demanding the partner stay home with the kids indefinitely.
- Using emotional withdrawal and/or passive aggressiveness to control.
- Requiring the other person to be available whenever they want.

Spouses and partners should be your best friend and not your servant or dog to kick when you get home.

Watch out for those who exhibit the bad behaviors and patterns of abuse and violence...and stay safe in good and healthy relationships! ;-)

(Source Photo: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project - Duluth Model)
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April 1, 2017

A Sexless Generation

Oy vey, the statistics are not good. 

Sex in America is on the decline (and no, this is not an April Fools' joke)!

Based on this who can argue with President Trump that we need to "Make America Great Again"--and that should include sexual vitality along with military might, economic competitiveness, and social justice.

In the early 1990 and 2000's , Americans had sex on average about 60 to 65 times a year.

Moreover, for married couples, who are at the high end of the sexual spectrum, this is down from 67 in 1989 to just 56 times a year now.

This is a reduction of 9 , which doesn't sound like much--however that actually comes to 14% less nookie!

And geez, that's less than once a week! :-(

What's weird is that the statistics show that Americans working longer hours and watching more pornography actually is tied to a "busier sex life."

To me the obvious answer is that people are living too much in a virtual world of loneliness and nothingness. 

And they have lost touch with each other in the real world and have become more selfish and less giving personally and sexually. 

So while some people are busy infighting and infatuated with reading and generating all the fake news these days, it seems like they are missing the real disheartening and unloving American news of the times. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 20, 2017

Settle Down or Trade Up

So I always hear this question from people...


Should I be happy with what I have or should I seek out something better?


It's the age old question of whether to settle down or trade up.

When it comes to any decision in life...choosing a school, degree, career, place to live, an investment decision, or even your spouse and life partner--how do you know when you are making the right decision?

Maybe you like or love what's in front of your eyes, but you still don't know 100% if there's something better out there for you.

Every choice means you are settling in some way, because let's face it, nothing is perfect in life!

When is good, good enough for you?

There are trade-offs with every decision.

And it's a matter of what YOU can live with!

A guy may say, "I like this girl, but I'm not sure whether she's the one for me or that I really want to settle down with long-term."

Someone else says, "I'm studying to be an accountant, but you know I really always liked psychology."

And yet a third person says, "I like working at company ABC, but maybe I can learn something new or do better financially for myself and family if I go somewhere else."

So when do you settle down and when do you try to trade-up?

The dilemma is fateful because you don't want to lose what you have, but you also don't want to potentially miss out on something even better for you.

Listen, we're not prophets!

No one knows whether your investment in something is going to pay off in spades or land you flat on your butt. 

All you can do is try to weight the pros and cons of every decision. 

If you treat life like a roulette game in Las  Vegas, the one thing that is pretty sure is that at some point, you will lose it all to the house. 

So choose wisely and make sure you are passionate about your choice and that can live with it over time. 

Know that you made the best decision you could by looking at it from all angles. 

And most important of all, be grateful for everything you have--these are blessings from the Almighty Above and you need to have faith that He/She is guiding and helping you all along the way. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 1, 2016

The Unmarried

So I know like everything, marriage is a choice. 

But more and more people are choosing to be unmarried. 

Today, in the Wall Street Journal, 48% (almost half) of American eligible voters are unmarried. 

And almost 40% of births are to unmarried couples. 

The average age for getting married for women is 27 and for men 29.

While of course, it is tough to find (and keep) your soulmate and a lot of it has to do with mazel, it seems like there is not enough appreciation for marriage. 

Everyone who is or has been married, I am sure, has had their share of disagreements and fights with their "better half," and certainly some abusive and cheating relationships are way better off undone!

But for the most part, I believe that life is greater and fuller with someone special to share it with, and it is part of our learning and growth to couple, care, give, and love. 

I remember when my Opa (grandfather) lost my Oma (grandmother) and when my dad lost my mom and those where some of the most heart wrenching traumas, I think I have ever witnessed. 

"What G-d has joined together, let no man break apart." 

When I got married, the Rabbi blessed us that we should be Ra'im A'huvim or best friends, and that is a very beautiful blessing to have. 

My advice is to try it and hopefully like (or love) it--I think it's worth even all the I Love Lucy moments.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 27, 2016

Coupling, The Beauty Of

So just a couple of birds, right?

Not to me!

There were a number of reminders to me today about how special and fortunate it is for any of us to be with someone we love.

It's not just that two heads are better than one. 

Pretty much, everything is better with a partner who looks back at us and smiles. 

We magnify the joy and we share the sorrow, together.

What my dad used to call my mom, his "better half!"

What we are lacking in, often our soulmate can fill in the blank. 

And planning and executing is as a team, rather than flying solo. 

There is someone who keeps our lofty ideas in check and at the same time challenges us when it's time to think bigger. 

We learn from the other person, at the same time that we teach them maybe a little thing or two from our repertoire. 

Strategically, divide and conquer makes everything from routine tasks to complex projects easier to achieve, especially when we agree on the goal and the approach. 

Even the "occasional" disagreements and fights helps us to learn to control our temperament and to work things out or when to take a break and think things through afresh. 

Someone to reach out to.

Someone to hold unto. 

Someone to caress.

Someone to buttress. 

Someone who makes us a better person than the one we see in the mirror naked and mortal. 

Like 2 by 2 in Noah's Ark or in the birds and the bees, we are committed to that special someone. 

The Bat Kol calls out "so and so shall be married to so and so" like only the L-rd in heaven can decree from the rib of man to the flesh of a women. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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