Last June, I wrote “Groomzilla,” an article chronicling the experiences of three recently married Orange County Jewish men. The impetus for Groomzilla was society’s lack of highlighting men during their weddings. A year later, I still find myself thinking…“does anybody talk about the groom?”
What style tuxedo will he wear?
A royal-blue tie? Wouldn’t navy-blue better match his eyes?
Do you think he’ll have shoes with laces…OR WITHOUT LACES?!
This July, it’s my turn to walk down the aisle. I’ve noticed the above questions are details the general public doesn’t ask and frankly, I don’t care deeply about (I lack an eye for fashion). Nonetheless, I’ve still had to come up with answers. Fortunately, my “coming up with answers,” is synonymous with, “asking my fiancé.”
However, I ask myself, “why can’t I decide anything on my own?”
I often ask older couples the secret to their successful marriages. Women’s answers range from “compassion and understanding,” to “good food,” and “never go to bed angry.” When I ask men, answers typically don’t deviate far from “ask my wife.”
When I realized where my answers come from, it suddenly hit me…the men have a point.
The “happy-wife, happy-life” answers from the gentlemen are all fun and games. Neither they nor I genuinely believe successful marriages are dictated strictly by the happiness of a woman. In Judaism, marriage is the union of two souls into one. Therefore, if one person is unhappy, unsatisfied, or discontent in any way, so too is the other. Mutual happiness must always be the goal.
The other (and seemingly more heartfelt) answer received from many men is to “give all of your being to your partner without expecting anything in return.” It’s natural, then, for the partner to strive to continuously enhance the life of, and cater to the needs of the other. Now that’s something I’m able to handle in wedding planning and in my impending marriage.
I’ve applied this concept throughout wedding planning by focusing less on my lack of interest in intricate details and paying more attention to the needs of my partner. Whether it’s affirmation of her ideas or providing feedback when given two (seemingly) simple options, I show that I care by listening and expressing my excitement. In doing so, I’m supporting my future wife and turning the wedding that she dreamed of as a little girl into reality.
When I was a little boy, I never dreamt of what my wedding would look like. All I knew was that, someday, I wanted a relationship as strong as my parents. Choosing cuff links or buttons, suspenders or vest, suit or tuxedo never concerned me. The only thing I feared was having to kiss a girl in front of a bunch of people.
Now that I’m walking down the aisle, I realize why conversations about the groom are rare; if other men are anything like me, they may not care about the long list of details, so when they’re asked about them, they either give a short answer, or shrug their shoulders and say “ask my wife-to-be.” Α
Adam Chester is the NextGen Outreach & Engagement Coordinator at JFFS.