Monday, January 3, 2011

Prenuptial Counseling

We met with our Rabbi recently for round 1 of 3 of Prenuptial Counseling. This is the same Rabbi who converted me, so I feel completely comfortable with him. Because I studied extensively with him, many of the things he normally talks about with couples we already covered (like what it means to live in a Jewish home, & belonging to a synagogue).  So we brought up tons of questions we have about the ceremony.
And after only 30 minutes we ran out of things to talk about.  I'm not kidding.
He suggested that for next time we write down things we think of, and bring that list with us.

Here are a few main things we discussed:

The Sheva Berakhot (literally "the seven blessings")
This is the real meat of the Jewish marriage ceremony.  These seven blessings praise G-d and wish joy upon the bride and groom.  They are said under the Chuppah and again after dinner.  What we need to decide is who will say these blessings. We are considering how to give the honor of saying this blessings to friends and family while not taking forever.  These blessings can be said and given out in a number of ways.

Way 1) Allow 7 different Jewish people to say the blessings in Hebrew followed by 7 people (of any religion) saying the translation in English.  This way takes a long time and adds about 20 minutes on to the ceremony, considering everyone has to get up from their seat, go up to the front, say their bit, then sit down again.  It's nice, but is it practical?

Way 2) Allow 7 Jewish people to say the blessings in Hebrew, with the translation following - OR the Rabbi says the translations

Way 3) The Rabbi says it all, along with the traslations.

Remember, the Sheva Berakhot are said at two different moments.  It is possible to do it one way (have the Rabbi say it all) during the ceremony and then after dinner allow for more participation.

The Wedding Rings
As you know, I already designed and purchased my wedding ring.  But it's not kosher. Literally.
See, the ring needs to be plain, without engraving, frills, or stones.  This is to show that the ring has no perceivable ending point. It is round and unending, just as the love between husband and wife. Also Mike needs to own the ring, so that when the rabbi asks "who owns this ring" which is about to be put on my hand, Mike can without a doubt say "I do."  So my ring has stones and I own it.  Mike is going to buy me a plain, pretty band.  Interestingly there is no need for Mike to have a ring, but we're modern and want to roll like that, so he's getting one.  Plus we need a way for him to fend off the ladies once we're married, right?!

My Shoulders
Without saying too much about my dress, I was worried my shoulders needed to be covered while under the Chuppah... or that I needed to be wrapped head to toe in fabric. (to be slightly more conservative, ya know?) Our Rabbi said so long as I am comfortable and not falling out of my dress, I am fine. 

Anyone have more questions for us to bring to the rabbi for Session Two of Prenuptial Counseling?


  1. Pffft he doesn't want you falling out of your dress? What kind of Rabbi is that? LOL. I don't know your timing on the location and such but I'd do part two or something that has special people involved. We are heavily pressed for time (wedding at 10 need to be announced at 11:11 inc. pictures!) so i'd be nixing that or moving to the end lol!

  2. I'd recommend you take the "Couple Check Up" which is an empirically validated snapshot of your relationship :) You and Mike complete the survey independently and then it calculates scores in key areas like conflict resolution, personality, expectations, stress management, communication, etc. If you take the results to your Rabbi, it will give you three a great foundation to discuss both strengths and areas of needed growth. It's $29.95 very well spent dollars. I'm certified in this test (Prepare/Enrich) and I've probably mentioned it before so forgive me for rambling...but I truly believe in it as a foundational tool to help build a great marriage! Here's the link!*assessment*TakeAssessment.html&set_widget_lang=ENGLISH

  3. I love hearing about all of the traditions involved in different ceremonies! I think it is fascinating and lovely to hear the meanings!!!

    My husband and I did not really have pre marital counsleing but we did meet with our pastor several times prior to the wedding to discuss areas of conflict and concern.... mainly regarding our families.

  4. One thought about the rings....Can Mike "buy" a family ring off someone to be used for the cermony? My family has a tradition that we are all married in our great grandparents rings - which are of course the plain bands. We use them for the ceremony, then they are returned to my mom and aunt for safe keeping until the next wedding, and we put our own rings on that will live on our fingers. A plain band isn't too pricey, but this is a cheaper alternative, and a cool family tradition that has now lasted for at least 5 couples in our family (not sure if more used them).
    Good luck with the counseling! I would also make sure the Rabbi's okay with giving the brachot before meals at the dinner. Not that I can see any objecting, but we forgot to ask ours beforehand!

  5. I went a Jewish wedding once and it was one of the most beautiful weddings ever! I'm sure yours will be just the same.


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