By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
Yaakov worked for Lavan for seven additional years, after he was tricked by Lavan into marrying Leah instead of Rochel. The second set of seven years earned him the right to marry Rochel too, as explained in Parashas Vayeitzei. The pasuk tells us that these years passed by “like days” in Yaakov’s eyes because of his love for Rochel.
Yaakov knew the secret that giving leads to love. Once he was doing his work out of love, the time element became a non-factor. When a person is having a good time, he barely feels the time passing, and Yaakov, whose actions emanated from love, was able to endure the endless work with the feeling that only a matter of days had passed rather than seven years.
When a person invests, whether he invests time, thought, energy, or money, he forges connection, as taught by Rav Dessler. The more he invests, the more love he feels and the greater the connection becomes.
The difference between mere closeness and true love can be explained by the following example. A man went to the mall with his wife. After three hours of her trying on countless tops, and even bringing some out to show him, she was ready to go home empty-handed. She had not found something worth buying, but she had fun trying on the clothing and felt like she had an enjoyable day. Her husband, on the other hand, was frustrated and annoyed at the waste of time. He had gone out with his wife for three hours so she could get an outfit, and they were going home with nothing to show for all the time that had passed. This reaction would be one of closeness but not one of love. A reaction of love would be “If my wife had fun, then so did I.” When my spouse is pleased and happy, that makes me feel happy too. It is best to express this, to let your spouse know that your greatest joy comes when he or she feels happy and content (heard in the name of Rabbi Yair Nussbacher).
Let us strive to find our greatest pleasures in the joy of our spouses and the joy of others. Let us work towards becoming givers, investing in those we most care about. Let us follow in the path of Yaakov, so that the years will pass by like days because we are so busy loving our spouses we barely notice the passage of time. Let us merit to fulfill the hopes and dreams of every couple, to have a home of peace and harmony where Hashem’s Presence wishes to constantly dwell.
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail email@example.com.