My husband is an entrepreneur who runs his own company, and I’m a doctoral candidate. This means that five to six nights each week, he comes home from work just as I’m getting the girls in bed. We’ll have a quick dinner together, and then we both sit down in front of our respective computers to get some more work done before we get in bed way too late. Our conversations tend to be more like updates than discussions; he’ll tell me how much the car repair bill is, I’ll remind him that we have to get up early in the morning to make lunch for the girls. It’s not much of a connection, to be honest.
Except Friday nights. Friday nights are different. Josh comes home early from work, in time to make Shabbat with the girls. We light the candles, sing the blessings, drink the wine, and claw our way through the challah. We have dinner together as a family, and then we play or read books. Josh helps me put the girls to bed (Hallelujah!), and then we come downstairs and sit.
We sit on the couch together. Just us. No computers or smartphones to distract us, no kids to interrupt us every five minutes. We have an actual conversation: he says something; I listen and say something relevant back to him. Then it happens again. And again. It’s an amazing concept, really. We talk about the girls, our families, his work, my studies, the latest news, politics… the topic doesn’t really matter, to be honest. The point is that we are together, connecting.
I’m not sure where our relationship would be without our Friday night conversations. It truly is an exceptional time in our week. Even Saturdays are hectic; we’re getting the girls ready for services, and then wrangling them once we’re there, and by Saturday night we’re both feeling the pressure to get some more work done. Sundays are filled with classes and errands and playdates, and then the week starts again.
It has been said that just as the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews. I’m not sure I can speak for an entire people, but I can speak for our family. Yes, I love celebrating Shabbat with my daughters, but I cherish my time with my husband. These conversations remind me why he has been my best friend for over a decade, and how lucky I am to have been married to him for over 8 years.
As I wrote that last paragraph, I was reminded that Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday. I’m not a big fan of the day, but there are those who appreciate the opportunity to tell their partners that they are appreciated and loved. We don’t need a Hallmark Holiday to do that once a year, we’ve got Shabbat every week.