We know that words are really powerful and the way we speak to each other is so important. As a Jewish wedding cantor who officiates Jewish weddings, I meet a lot of future brides and grooms as they prepare to get married and plan their wedding ceremony. I am a student of human behavior and I always find it fascinating to see how couples interact with each other. The body language and how they communicate is so telling. A few years ago I met with a couple, who during a meeting with me a few months before the wedding, were bickering and sniping at each other and I encouraged them to speak kindly and respectfully to each other which they told me they try to do, but all the tension of the wedding preparation was just getting to them but they would try harder. So then came their beautiful wedding day and their ceremony which I was proudly officiating. The groom walked down the aisle first, followed by the bride. And as the groom was escorting his future wife up the stairs to the riser to be under the Chuppah, he accidentally stepped on the train of her wedding dress. This infuriated the bride and she turned to him and audibly said for everyone to hear under the wedding canopy: “you F*!? idiot!” (This was also captured on video forever!)
It was a shocking moment for everyone and it could’ve been said in a funny way, kind of laughing off the faux pas. But it wasn’t, there was such venom and anger behind the words. This blog is not about the connection between how brides and grooms or husbands and wives speak to one another and whether or not that affects the marriage working or not. But I do want to point out that of the hundreds of brides and grooms that I have married over the years, I’ve noticed that the couples that stay together are the ones that from day one when I meet them, are so kind and respectful to each other. They are great listeners, they are compassionate and empathetic and do anything in their power to please the other person. In the Ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, one of the clauses is that a couple agrees to do everything in their power to make sure the other's hopes, wants and needs are always fulfilled.
I’ve heard stories of husbands waiting up until the wee hours of the night when their wife gets off shift to make her a hot bowl of soup or a wife who will drive hours to pick up her husband after a long and exhausting sales conference where he’s had to pull all nighters. You can see the theme of extending oneself and doing whatever you can to help your partner in life. There’s a saying - actions speak louder than words but words also do matter. It’s not just the kind examples above of lovely actions, it's also speech. Try as you are planning your wedding to always speak kindly and respectfully to each other and carry that forward to your marriage to help ensure a lifetime together of love, respect and happiness.