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Why is marriage good for me?
The institution of marriage brings countless blessings to man, so much so that it is hard not to see G-d’s hand in it.
Marriage’s influence is most obvious on the physical plane, for it perpetuates the human race in a way that mere procreation could never achieve. To develop into healthy adults, children require tender care as infants. For nearly two decades, a child requires boundless attention, warmth and love, combined with ongoing educational guidance. A mother and father, sharing their lives and devoting their skills and spiritual energies to filling these needs, create the optimal framework in which their children can grow.
Marriage also solves the problem of physical drives. Without a partner, we (particularly men) tend to be preoccupied by our sexual desires and needs. In offering these a satisfying and sanctified outlet, marriage frees up mental energy that can be dedicated to achieving other important life goals.
Marriage also contributes greatly in the emotional realm. We humans are by nature social creatures. A life of solitude causes great suffering and can prevent us from reaching our full potential. Marriage bestows upon us true friendship and frees us from loneliness. It engenders the deepest emotional bond that exists - love between man and wife - and allows it to flourish.
Above and beyond all these benefits, marriage affords us a framework for growth in the spiritual realm. This, indeed, is its major contribution to mankind.
Jewish life cannot exist without marriage. It is virtually impossible to impart the Torah’s values to future generations without an education rooted in the Jewish family.
Foremost among these values is the belief that man was created to serve G-d and to draw closer to Him. Judaism regards this as life’s most deeply pleasurable experience, for which we merit eternal reward in the world to come. This, and this alone, is the true measure of human success.
Yet there is a stumbling block, namely the evil inclination, which propels us to seek power, social prestige, and fulfillment of our physical desires. In short, we tend to serve ourselves instead of G-d. If we fail to contend with this impulse, we will gradually stray from the purpose for which we were created. With time, we become increasingly self-centered. This tendency, if left unbridled, prevents us from achieving the goodness and happiness G-d seeks to bestow upon us.
Marriage is what saves us. It enables us to overcome our natural selfishness and shift our focus to our spouse. Thus, marriage encourages us to emulate our Creator, Whose primary attribute is giving, by also becoming givers. Rather than being perpetually occupied with our personal needs, a husband and a wife are busy caring for each other and their children. To the degree we meet this challenge and enjoy its deep satisfactions, we will have less need for honor in the eyes of society at large.
Marriage likewise channels the sexual drive away from ego gratification and toward giving to another, thus transforming it into a vehicle for expressing love, creating peace, and granting life to the next generation.
In marriage, “I-consciousness” is supplanted by a consciousness of others. This transformation is man’s key to achieving growth and perfection.