Last year, I posted a topic about Marriage Fitness. The author is Mort Fertel, and he makes no illusions that his method is a quick or easy solution to a better marriage, but he does guarantee it works, if followed. Part of the package includes a book with the same name.
He has an interesting perspective on the Biblical story of Rachel and Leah. As we all know, Jacob (who later changed his name to Israel), greatly loved Rachel. After working for 7 years to marry Rachel, he was duped into marrying Rachel’s sister Leah, and then had to work another 7 years to marry Rachel. Fertel makes an interesting note that Jacob didn’t complain that he married Leah, and was satisfied to know that he could still have Rachel.
Let me quote directly from the book, because I love this point.
Jacob lived in the community as a single man for seven years. He knew the tradition that the older sister marries first. That’s why he didn’t complain about marrying Leah….Jacob knew he had to marry Leah–that wasn’t a problem for him. He wanted to marry Rachel, and the fact that he did not–that was a problem for him. So when he was told that he would marry Rachel, he was satisfied. That’s all he wanted. He didn’t need an explanation for why he married Leah. He knew he had to marry Leah in order to marry Rachel. He knew that to marry the woman of his choice, he had to marry the woman of his fate too. And that’s why the story of Jacob serves as a paragon for a successful marriage. Because the truth is when you marry, you marry Rachel and Leah. You choose your spouse which you don’t yet know–your fate. And to succeed in love, you have to commit to both–Rachel and Leah, your choice and your fate, the revealed and the unrevealed.
Most people don’t enter a marriage with this attitude. Most people, when they wake up to find Leah next to them, complain that Leah was not their choice. Most people become frustrated with their spouse and their marriage when they discover character flaws, problems, and differences. Most people feel so duped into marrying Leah that they divorce Rachel. But it’s not possible to marry one without the other. Leah always appears. The key to success in love and marriage is to know what to do when “she” does.
Soul mates are not perfect for each other. Soul mates love each other with all their imperfections. Soul mates love each other no matter what.
I found this story intriguing, and have enjoyed the book and other materials from the package. One of the pieces of advice I have tried to implement (which my wife fully supports) is to have a set day for a baby-sitter every Friday night. This is a scheduled appointment, and we have a girl in the ward who has agreed to do this. However, she has not proved as reliable as she agreed at the beginning.
Fertel says a consistent date night is a must, and should not be canceled for any reason. He says it puts marriage as a priority, and forces you to do something. And he says that the date night can’t include movies, or other people (ie no kids or extended family). You must talk face to face for at least one hour, and it can’t include anything logistical. Learn about hopes, dreams, philosophy of life, etc. The more I thought about this, it reminds me of what dates were like when we were single. Unfortunately, it seems that children and work crowd into the romance. He says too many couples become roommates, and this is why we drift apart. I must confess that I have fallen into this trap, and I resolve to get my marriage in better shape!
So, what do you think of Fertel’s analogy of Rachel and Leah?