Thousands of people celebrating the completion of the 39th cycle of learning Maimonides’ magnum opus Mishneh Torah today are learning the best newlywed advice the Rambam could offer. And it is particularly poignant that this marriage advice is pro-offered on the same day commemorating the Fast of the 17th of Tamuz and the beginning of the three weeks of national mourning.
The newlywed advice is woven into the fabric of the two laws which read as follows:
Positive Commandment 214 (Digest)
A Newly Married Groom’s Obligations
“He shall be free to his home for one year, and he shall cheer his wife whom he has taken”—Deuteronomy 24:5.
A newly-married groom, for the first year following his marriage, is commanded to remain together with his wife, and should not embark upon journeys, join the army in battle, or anything of the like. Rather he should rejoice with his wife for a full year.
Negative Commandment 311 (Digest)
Causing a Newly Married Groom to be Absent from his Home
“Neither shall he be charged with any business”—Deuteronomy 24:5.
It is forbidden to conscript a newly-married groom, for the first year following his marriage, for military or civic duties. Rather, he must be absolved from all duties that would cause him to be absent from his home.
This prohibition is directed to those responsible for conscription as well as the groom himself—he may not journey away from his home for an entire year.
Lessons from the Rambam
What the Rambam is pointing out is the extreme lengths that we are obligated to free up a newly married couple to focus on one thing – their relationship first and foremost. Nothing – not a war, not a civic responsibility, nor “the deal of the century” is permitted to take a groom and his bride from their rejoicing in each other’s company.
The one challenge that Rambam’s law is that it does not come with an instruction manual for how the couple can learn to celebrate the positives in their relationship instead of immediately being confronted with the daily challenges of life in a Corona environment.
And this is where marriage education comes as the remedy for helping make this first year of marriage the best foundation for the years to come.
4 Key Elements for Newlyweds
These are the 4 key elements which comprise the secrets to a “happy forever marriage”:
• The couple shares friendship and love in many ways.
• The couple treats each other with kindness and respect.
• Each partner knows his own part. (Have you really had the talk “what do I expect from you as a wife or husband”) So what is my part?
• The couple is committed to staying together, even when it gets tough.
How can you, as a couple or as individuals, learn the ins and outs of these secrets to making your marriage a success?
- Start by spending a few hours together discussing your vision for what you want your life to be like. This makes a huge difference in the success of your marriage.
- Learn the communication and conflict management skills that will strengthen your relationship and prevent negative behaviors that can cause problems and breakdown.
- Decide to Do Your Part and each commit to participating in a marriage education workshop.
Due to the Corona crisis, the nonprofit Together in Happiness is subsidizing the entire cost and offering for FREE to engaged and newly married couples an online scientifically and empirically researched marriage education course known as ePREP.
In this course the engaged and newlywed couples will learn:
- How to listen to one another, using the proven speaker-listener technique
- The escalation danger signs and best ways to avoid conflict
- Scientifically proven problem-solving techniques
- How to engage positively
- How to nurture and sustain a loving relationship
It Takes a Village
The gift of a year for newlyweds to grow together is what Rambam appears to have endorsed as a prescription for our society to harmonize.
And this is where we as a society can help protect the treasure that we have with each bayit ne’aman that is created. It behooves all the stakeholders – parents, rabbis, rebbetzins, kallah teachers, grandparents, friends and neighbors to encourage couples to safeguard the early marriages and take marriage education classes and help the message of Rambam become a cause for celebration every day.
We owe that to these newlyweds.
Please help share the registration information for ePREP and know you are helping couples gain the lifelong skills for healthy and happy marriages.
The link for information and registration for the online marriage education course that is getting rave reviews is: