In the charming 1980 South African movie masterpiece, The Gods Must Be Crazy, the Kalahari bushman hero found an empty Coca Cola bottle dropped from his plane by a careless pilot. No life experience or knowledge gained till now prepared Xi to understand the bottle’s purpose. He couldn’t imagine its value other than as a magic talisman.
In a similar way, no education or experience in the lives of many young men today prepares them to view a wife as anything other than an economic asset in an attractive package. They marry with a picture dancing in their minds of the larger house for whose mortgage they will now jointly qualify. Understandably, they can’t imagine the magic of a marriage partnership in which each partner carries responsibility for a separate specialty just as in a successful business partnership.
Social media and occasional news articles reveal the existence of an informal association of women devoted to the homes and families of the husbands who happily support them. These women, in the U.K., Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States gather beneath the banner of traditional wives and have assumed the hashtag #Tradwives.
Angry voices in mainstream media malign these women in terms so vituperative that you’d think traditional wives drank the blood of journalists. You might have thought that feminism’s commitment to “choice” would praise these wives for making their own unconventional choice. Yet, they disparage these wives in the vilest ways going so far as to drum up today’s ultimate charge—racism. Yes, these primitive and bigoted women are not only setting back women’s “progress” by decades, but they are obviously trying to have and raise more—that’s right—white children.
So shrill and incessant is the pervasive pounding of feminist propaganda that many men have been conditioned to barricade their brains against any traditional model of marriage. To their detriment they have also been indoctrinated to the now common custom of eventually marrying the last of a long line of romantic entanglements. What’s wrong with sowing your wild oats, as the saying goes? What’s wrong with enjoying a sequence of sexual escapades and then marrying whomever is left standing when the music stops playing?
This is at odds with one of life’s realities. There is something indelibly memorable about firsts. We don’t even need the innumerable books and studies attempting to explain why we humans remember so well our first car, date, foreign travel. We know intuitively that we do remember the first of almost any significant experience far more strongly than any subsequent instance. Many couples will, for years, commemorate the date they first met. Indeed, a wedding anniversary is in reality, a commemoration of a first.
Though I tend to be skeptical about studies, one from the University of Sussex that recently caught my eye addressed how often people make themselves unhappy years down the road by comparing their marriages to their first loves. One “expert” suggested that in order to avoid the problem of first love memories, people should avoid first loves and go straight to their second. This is probably what author Jane Austen meant when in one of her little-known stories she has old Lady Williams advising young Alice, “Preserve yourself from a first love and you need not fear a second.”
Ancient Jewish wisdom offers a far more practical solution: marry your first love. This is not to suggest that you marry the first person you love. It is, instead, advising you to love for the first time the person you marry. In other words, instead of indulging (emotionally and/or physically) in many short-lived intimate affairs, rather choose a careful courting that protects your heart and your soul. That way, you can be married to your first love and live happily ever after without ghosts of former loves intruding.
Many people today fail to see the value of sharing your ‘first’ with your life partner because they often fail to understand the profound significance of firsts. See how the Bible treats firsts.
The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God…
And when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall set some aside as a gift to the Lord. From the first of your dough you shall set aside a loaf as a gift…
The first of your corn, wine, and oil, and the first fleece of your sheep you shall give to him [the priest].
To a farmer, how his family lives depends upon the arrival of the annual harvest. When all the produce has been gathered everyone feels the blessing of joyful relief. Thus, the first of each year’s bounty is so sacred that he uses it to bond with God by sharing it with Him.
In each verse, the Hebrew word translated as “first” is: reishit
ר א ש י ת
T i SH ie R
which also means beginning. In fact, it is the very first word of the Bible—B’REISHIT –in the beginning.
ב ר א ש י ת
T i SH ie R B
The very first cause of all reality is God.
The Bible uses that word REISHIT for both the first fruits and also for God starting off all reality for an important purpose. It is to show us the source of that excitement we feel at the unforgettable firsts of our lives. That thrill we feet at a first flows from our subconscious realization that experiencing a first is another way of experiencing God. Feeling a first is coming close to He the Founder of all Firsts. How could anyone forget that?
Although I have piloted single engine aircraft for hundreds of hours in different countries, I have never forgotten the feeling of elation and disbelief that first time I lifted my PA-28 aircraft off the runway of a small South African airfield with nobody else aboard but me. I’d like to emphasize that I never threw a Coke bottle out of my airplane.