Don’t spend time with fiance….What??!!

I received the following letter thru email today, I answered her personally, but I wanted to see what my commenters would come up with. You guys generally are on the ball!!

“My friend told me that her kallah teacher said that you should limit your interaction with your chosson during engagement, that you shouldn’t get too close, because only after marriage do you have like a “security” that he’ll stay with you. That if you get too close beforehand then you may become ordinary to him and he might start to find faults.

But then I’m thinking that when I get married I want to already feel close to my chosson, I want to start off the marriage with me loving him, that he should be my best friend. I was observing a cousin’s wedding, where I watched my cousin interact with her chosson and it felt like they were barely talking to each other, and it made it seem like she wasn’t into it. I want at my wedding that when I look at my chosson there will be that gleam in my eye that I’m excited to marry him. Am I allowed to feel that way? I’m confused.”

So what do you say, folks? Should our kallah keep her distance from her bridegroom before the wedding or should she ignore the yentas and do what she feels right?

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  1. E. Fink says:

    The kallah teacher or the kallah made a big mistake here.

    There is a reason to limit interaction once engaged. It is called hormones. Due to the nature of the frum engagement, it is very easy to see how a couple make mistakes they will regret in the realm of sexuality. That’s the only legitimate reason.

    They should see each other and spend a lot of quality time together, but with limitations.

    Either the kallah teacher has the wrong idea of limiting interaction or the kallah misunderstood her teacher….

    • Mark says:

      I have to agree, and echoing an earlier post, the most important quality in a Kallah Teacher is sensitivity, but perhaps the second most important quality is the ability to “talk straight” without euphemisms or embarrassment.

  2. Trip'n Mommy says:

    I read “too close” as a euphemism for negiah.

    The kallah teacher needs to be as direct as Rabbi Fink. Kallah’s should understand that engagement is a very exciting and tempting time. It is also incredibly stressful.

    A young kallah should understand that overstepping some of the boundaries that halacha sets up might feel good, but can add to the stress and emotion of engagement. However, the kallah teacher should in no way negate the feelings or deride sexuality in any way. B”H, in Judaism there is a time and a place for all of that!

    It is really important that our Chattan and Kallah teachers get it right, and not beat around the bush! If a teacher can only talk in euphemisms, then they should not be talking to kallahs about such a vital part of marriage.

    On the same note, I am personally against group kallah/chattan classes. I think it inhibits questions and adds discomfort to the environment. I am so thankful that I had one-on-one classes with a wonderful woman who was open and honest. She told me personal anecdotes and encouraged me to ask many questions. The focus was not only the halacha of taharat mishpacha, but developing a healthy marriage and sexual relationship with my spouse.

    • E. Fink says:

      except that whole bit about “security” is way out of whack…

      • jewishside says:

        This is how someone explained the security part to me:

        “Rabbi Miller assumes that becoming “reyim ahuvim” offers a measure of protection that will not lead to a breach in the relationship after marriage. But before marriage, it is not present, so disagreements could have greater consequences.”

  3. batya from NJ says:

    i agree that it is important to have a close & loving relationship with one’s chosson BUT it is tricky like E. Fink & TripNMommy said b/c of the negiah temptations once one is “in love” & about to marry someone. of course, in chassidish circles, it is not recommended for the couple to communicate much during the engagement period but that was not the way i was raised & TG i was fortunate to have a very close & strong emotional connection with my chosson while we were engaged…despite that, the old saying is def true that you don’t know someone until you are married & living together. supposedly, even unmarried couples who live together b/f marriage find surprises once they actually “tie the knot” & find that their spouses change in some way or another!

  4. Yonit says:

    My teachers/rabbis mentioned that as the engagement period is a stressful time most couples should spend less time together than they might have done while dating. A fight between 2 people who haven’t made any of the bonds a married couple have nurtured would probably be much worse.

    Course since hubsters and I were pretty chill about the whole thing they said we didn’t need to decrease so much except for the week leading up where we only communicated by sms and didn’t see each other.

  5. G6 says:

    I’m in agreement with those that posted already.
    It’s not the “security” thing.
    It’s the stress of engagement mixed with hormones…..

  6. jewishside says:

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Just to clarify a few things, I’ve only gone on one date with my fiance after we got engaged, and it’s almost 2 months later! I’ve seen him just a few times, with his family or with mine there. So when I say interacting I don’t mean necessarily seeing each other. I mean communicating.

    The reason my friend mentioned what her Kallah teacher said, is because I mentioned to her that my chosson said he wants to speak to me every day, at least for a few minutes.

    So there’s no real “fear of breaking Shomer Negiah” kind of reasons here. It’s just based on emotional closeness. I just feel as though I want to know more about him. So that we can “finish each other’s sentences” so to speak.

    • batya from NJ says:

      if there are no negiah issues to be concerned about then i really cannot understand what would be so wrong about talking on the phone every day with your chosson. i certainly think it is a good thing to develop an emotional closeness with your chosson & to be sure that you enjoy verbal communication with one another. like i said b/f, i felt fortunate that i had a very close connection (like a best friend) with my chosson when we were engaged & that was something very special to both of us & made us both so excited to be getting married…i think it’s important to have this closeness b/f you get married as it will help you feel like you are making the right decision by getting married someone who you feel like you can really connect with. mazal tov to you on your engagement & hatzlacha!

  7. Z! says:

    I have heard of the “distance” before marriage argument before. I feel that for two “emotionally mature” people getting married this is ridiculous! Perhaps for two young people, the stress and hormones may get to be too much and can lead to inappropriate behaviour and possibly broken engagements, but for those of us who wanted to emotionally know our ‘soon to be spouse’, then any time was too little to have with them.
    I remember people were shocked when I came down to NY for the period of a week to date my soon to be Chosson. ‘They’ argued it would be “too much”. I argued that if I cannot spend a WEEK with the guy then how can we last a LIFETIME?

  8. Lady Lock and Load says:

    come on Z! Even older couples have hormones and attraction. For people who are shomer negiah it makes perfect sense. I have heard stories of couples that had a hard time and did things they regretted. Important for the engaged couple to observe the laws of yichud which are even more stringent with an engaged couple. I don’t think a week is too long in your case but if a couple is engaged for a long time and spend lots of time together they have to be careful. playing with fire! Everyone should ask their rabbi what to do in this situation that they are engaged (there should be many engagements G-d willing!)

  9. It’s based on the very chareidi approach. My neighbor who had been raised in a very extreme chassidishe court said that he wouldn’t have recognized his kallah if they passed in the street. After the chuppah a doctor came to their apartment to explain to him what he was expected to do.

  10. newbie says:

    Surely this is the crux of the matter – how can a poor woman (and of course a man) be expected to sleep with someone with whom they have no emotional connection on their wedding night? I find it completely incomprehensible and it must be absolutely terrifying, not to mention unpleasant and possibly even traumatising.

  11. Z! says:

    LLL- perhaps you are correct….

  12. “Rabbi Miller assumes that becoming “reyim ahuvim” offers a measure of protection that will not lead to a breach in the relationship after marriage. But before marriage, it is not present, so disagreements could have greater consequences.”
    I recall posting this on the Bad4Shidduchim blog. If the kallah teacher was steeped in Rabbi Miller’s writings (which are still promulgated and promoted) then that is what she would believe.

    As for myself, though, after my husband and I were engaged, we saw each other at least once a week, and usually arranged to spend Shabbos together. Either I slept at neighboring house in his neighborhood, or he did in mine.

    But the Chassidic approach is very different. I recall a Chassidic woman recounting that when she asked her chasson why they could not see each other during their engagement, he replied as follows: just as there is no need to check on a sack of potatoes, there is no need for him to come see her. They do have different expectations. But even Chassidim are given a chasson class PRIOR to the wedding.

    • jewishside says:

      Ariella: yea, I copied and pasted what you wrote by B4S’s blog.

      But also, I’m not chassidish…so we do plan on seeing each other.

      And my chosson wants to see me at least once a week. I can’t wait till he comes to me for Shabbos.

  13. Mark says:

    I saw and/or spoke to my wife almost every single day between being engaged and being married. After all, it was only a few weeks (12) and we had so much to do to prepare for the wedding since we were 5000+ miles away from each of our parents and did all the arrangements ourselves. We did so much running around during those weeks, the time flew by …

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