Every marriage presents the potential and more realistically the promise of challenges. In my relationship with JB the understanding that we both come from different faiths was blatant from the very beginning. I remember one of my first goodnight phone calls with JB in the early stages of dating, which some might refer to as blind love. We were not yet at the point of exchanging “I love you,” and so, JB decided to wish me a peaceful sleep with the Hebrew saying “laila tov.” I quietly giggled on the other end of the phone contemplating whether or not he was serious. I am Jewish, but do not speak or read Hebrew unless attending synagogue during a High Holy Day or perhaps in the presence of my Cantor while exchanging vows on our soon to be wedding day.
Although raised to believe differently, over the past two years, our separate faiths have actually brought us closer. There are of course uncomfortable moments and at times certain comments and questions, which we have both learned to embrace rather than defend. Two weeks after my engagement I attended my very first Christmas at JB’s home. Last night I returned from my second holiday season with the lovely Peterman family and felt compelled to share my bridal thoughts with Posh Petal and Pearl readers.
This Monday, the tone of my article has far less flowers and more faith. Lucky for us, we will never have to worry about alternating one holiday between two families. Instead, we can both embrace the meaning and traditions of Hanukkah and Christmas with each side.
Lighting the Menorah on the first night of Hanukkah, only a few days before sitting under the Christmas tree!
But how will we marry when both sides are present? On a much more personal level, the way in which our wedding ceremony will be handled has definitely presented its challenges. While we want both of our families to feel comfortable and included, I have my heart set on my husband-to-be wearing a Yarmulke and breaking the glass, which is a tradition at the conclusion of a Jewish wedding ceremony. When I looked into the reasoning behind the groom breaking a glass, I learned one of many explanations that directly pertains to our union: the breaking down of barriers that exist between people of different cultures and faiths.
As the granddaughter of two remarkable Holocaust survivors there are certain traditions that I simply cannot imagine excluding from our ceremony. With that said, I often remind myself that religion is one spoke in the wonderful wheel of marriage. This past Christmas, I made a sincere effort to speak with JB’s family to learn certain traditions that are important to my groom and his faith. As the bride and groom-to-be we are currently in conversation with my beloved Cantor and her dear friend, who is a well-respected Pastor in the community to better understand the intersection between our faiths.
Before leaving JB’s house for the airport yesterday, his mother pulled me aside and told me to think about upcoming challenges in our lives (whether religious or not) in comparison to driving a vehicle. The rear view mirror is of course smaller than the front window. But, why? Whether in a car or on the road to planning a wedding, we are meant to focus on the future and simply glance at the past. Our wedding ceremony is the perfect place to learn, grow and respect one another, not as a labeled interfaith couple, but one that is beneficially interlaced.
~Written with a heartfelt understanding that religion can unify rather than untie marriages~