The Talmud suggests that an early marriage, surely one supported by the parents and family, can help bring about a successful marriage.
Two types of parents in the Orthodox world
There are those who raise their children to prepare for this world and the next by studying the Torah and also prepare their children to earn a living.
These children come to maturity faithful to the dictates of their parents.
When it comes time to marry, the parents or family make suggestions, or sometimes a stranger makes a good suggestion, and if the family and the boy or girl are interested, it could be a marriage.
We call this the first type of parent or child because the parents guide the steps of the child towards marriage and further.
Another type of family is when the child grows up independently, finds his or her own friends, and decides on their own how to earn a living. Sometimes a parent is unable to guide the child, or dies, or is in a family where the spouses’ quarrel or divorce.
Surely in such situations, a child is often on his own.
A child of a problem family has a problem escaping problems.
So let us first concentrate on the first level, where a child is given a good start at finding the right way to marry. What is involved?
Rabbis taught children to marry young
One thing the rabbis taught is that we want children to marry young. This means marrying at the age of eighteen or maybe seventeen unless the boy is involved heavily in learning Torah and needs some more time.
Furthermore, if a boy is actively seeking a wife, but has not found the right one, this may be acceptable, at least, for a few years. There is, in addition, another idea, one so powerful it may even influence a child from the second level of seeking success in marriage, where the family is broken or divided or somewhat lacking what a child needs from his parents.
That is the passage in the Torah, “and he should make his wife happy.” Rashi and the Zohar tell us that this mitzvah is not a command for the wife and husband to treat each other properly.
It is a mitzvah only upon the husband, that the burden of making his wife rejoice is not upon her, but only upon the husband.
Monetary obligations create marital problems
Raishis Chochmo explains that this can refer to monetary obligations that the husband has. If it is freezing outside and the husband only has money to buy one winter coat, he can buy it, but it should be for the wife.
Obviously, when there is only one coat in the house, and this means that one person cannot go outside in the cold, we have problems. A great rabbi once had this problem, and he took turns with his wife who would use the coat. But the basic idea is that the wife should, if possible, have her coat.
But, maybe the husband can find some job to support the needs of the family so that both husband and wife don’t freeze in the winter.
Differences between parents and children
The mitzvah of “and he should make his wife happy” can apply even to the first level when parents do their part in making children happy and successful.
People are what they are, and children being what they are.
Differences can sprout up, not only between couples, but between children and parents, and sometimes these differences lead to, in any kind of marriage, to anger and even divorce.
We have covered a lot of material in our short pages here, so let us pause a bit, and devote some space to divorce. This is important because divorce does happen and when it does many people simply refuse to remarry.
This itself is a major disaster, and it consumes a large section of the community, even the Orthodox community.