This Monday is a very special kabbalistic holiday known as Tu B’Av, the 15th day of the lunar month of Leo, and it’s commonly referred to as my wedding anniversary, by me anyway. Most others refer to it as the day of love. It’s one of the most powerful days of the year when the union between the sun and the moon begins and the male and female aspects close in together like two soulmates reuniting as one. It’s everyone’s birthright to love and be loved unconditionally, and this day is the best chance to plant the seeds for the coming year to find that person or to strengthen the bonds you already have.
There are many things that must occur to create a happy relationship and it will come as no surprise to anyone that communication is high on the list. Over time, communication breakdown can occur leaving us feeling misunderstood and disconnected from our partner.
Allow me to present a woman’s guide to male English and a male’s guide to female English.
Yes = No
No = Yes
Maybe = No
I’m sorry = You’ll be sorry
We need = I want
It’s your decision = The correct decision should be obvious by now
Do what you want = You’ll pay for this later
We need to talk = I need to complain
Sure…go ahead = I don’t want you to
I’m not upset = Of course I’m upset, you moron!
You’re so manly = You need a shave and you sweat a lot
You’re certainly attentive tonight = Is sex all you ever think about?
Be romantic, turn out the lights = I have flabby thighs
This kitchen is so inconvenient = I want a new house
I want new curtains = and carpeting, and furniture, and wallpaper….
Hang the picture there = NO, I mean hang it here!
I heard a noise = I noticed you were almost asleep
Do you love me? = I’m going to ask for something expensive
How much do you love me? = I did something today you’re really not
going to like
I’ll be ready in a minute = Kick off your shoes and find a good game
Is my butt fat? = Tell me I’m beautiful
You have to learn to communicate = Just agree with me
Are you listening to me? = Too late, you’re dead
Was that the baby? = Why don’t you get out of bed and rock him until
I’m not yelling = Yes, I am yelling because I think this is important
The answer to “What’s wrong?”:
The same old thing = Nothing
Nothing = Everything
I’m hungry = I’m hungry
I’m sleepy = I’m sleepy
I’m tired = I’m tired
What’s wrong? = I don’t see why you are making such a big deal out of
What’s wrong? = What meaningless, self-inflicted psychological
trauma, are you going through now?
What’s wrong? = I guess sex tonight is out of the question
Yes, I like the way you cut your hair = I liked it better before
Yes, I like the way you cut your hair = $50 and it doesn’t look that
Let’s talk = I am trying to impress you by showing you I am a deep
(while shopping) “I like that one better” = Pick something, ANYTHING
and let’s go home
Just by that dialogue alone, we can see that a relationship is an ever-evolving organism. Staying connected is often hard work, yet worthwhile and fulfilling. People in healthy relationships seek to understand each other. We need to be fully aware that it can and should grow and nurture you. This investment and dedication can be compared to a parent with a child. Women carry a child for nine months. That’s hard work. Then comes the pain and intensity of labor and delivery. The work isn’t done once the baby is born, it’s just begun. It’s the same with marriages, the effort can’t stop once you’ve found the one. Just like raising children, marriages require constant effort.
Most of us crave true intimacy and a committed relationship based on honesty, trust, self-disclosure, respect, appreciation and togetherness. We all want to find our soul mate, or some variation of a soul mate, but in order to attract that level of soul, we have to become that level of soul.
What is a soul mate?
The day of creation, when The Creator decided that humanity would come into being, is the 25th day of Elul (Virgo, next month). This Monday, Tu B’av, is 40 days before that date. The kabbalists teach that 40 days before we are born, a decision is made as to who our soul mate will be. If the two halves of the same soul reunite then they will be able to achieve the purpose for which they came into this world. This is the most joyous day of the year, because even before humanity came into being, this was the day where energy was awakened for the unity of soul mates.
Whether we are in a relationship or whether we are hoping to be in a relationship, there is no other day of the year when we can draw that perfection, that energy of our soul mate. It’s a joyous day, not because of that initial moment of connection at the beginning of a relationship (which is cause for joy, certainly), but because it is the day that holds the perfection of that relationship, the potential blessings and miracles that a soul mate relationship has the ability to create in the world.
How do I find my soul mate or elevate my current relationship?
In ancient times, on Tu B’av the unmarried girls of Jerusalem dressed in borrowed white garments and went out to dance in the vineyards. Rav Brandwein explained the secret meaning of the borrowed clothes. You must be perfect in order to draw the perfection of your soul mate to you. Since we’re not perfect, how can we possibly attract our soul mate? There is a verse that says, “Borrow for yourself the Light of the Creator.” Essentially, on this day we have the ability to borrow perfection. Everyone will achieve perfection at some point. I know that I am not perfect today, that I am lacking in many areas, but I borrow that perfected self, what we call the ‘perfected vessels’ of who we are going to become. By borrowing, or connecting to our perfected vessels we can draw our soul mate to us. Another important aspect is that we must have certainty that we will find our soul mate (or have the desire to create a deeper relationship with our spouse).
Sixteen years ago I made a really good choice when I married my husband. Michael and I have evolved, grown and experienced so much together. There was no way of knowing on our wedding day who or where or what we would be in 3 years, or 5, or 16. There were no guarantees of who we were going to become and if we were going to grow together. No one can know, not even if you get married when you are in your 30’s or even 70’s!
If we can’t know how we will evolve as individuals, then how can we feel secure in our relationship?
It has to do with the spiritual work–your individual and shared spiritual work. It is almost impossible, not impossible but almost impossible, to even meet your soul mate if you are not doing spiritual work prior to the relationship. Without having done this work, there is not enough information about who you are at your core, who you will become over the next ten years, twenty years, thirty years, etc. When we think about attracting or growing soul mates, focus on the depth and seriousness of your spiritual work, both individually and as a couple.
What’s the definition of a perfect couple?
Relationships are and should be fulfilling, but a couple’s greater purpose is to push each other in ways that are uncomfortable. It’s about not being focused on fulfilling selfish desires. Many times, Michael and I have had the merit to help couples who are going through difficulties. Usually we are able to help the marriage get back on track, but sometimes it doesn’t. Rav Ashlag, the founder of the Kabbalah Centre said, “You can never do the work for somebody else.” Occasionally, we see two people who are literally perfect for each other, but their ego and pride won’t allow them to be vulnerable, open, or change in order to allow their relationship to work.
Unfortunately, people get divorced and sometimes you know that no matter how far they look for the rest of their lives they won’t find somebody who will make them grow. Certainly, they might find somebody who may be easier for them. A perfect couple is one that doesn’t necessarily make life easier for each other, but one where each partner has the ability to challenge, push and change each other.
The purpose of relationships is more complex than just personal growth or growing together as a couple, it is also to bring great Light to this world. When there is discord in a relationship between husband and wife, that reverberates throughout the universe and creates animosity and hatred in other places. We have a great responsibility not just to grow, but to realize that the health of our relationship influences not just each other, but the world.
To be with somebody who both pushes you to grow and who is open for you to push them to grow is the greatest blessing in the world. Open yourself up to ask for your soul mate or to ask for your current relationship to be elevated to that state. The most important part is being willing and wanting to do the work. Allow your partner to push you in ways that are uncomfortable. For single people searching for their soul mate, borrow and connect to your future perfection with the certainty that your soul mate is waiting. Know that the relationships we’re creating and the Light that is revealed is not just for us, but for the world.
The Kabbalists teach that when you are in a true soul mate relationship, it’s never static. My husband wrote this in his anniversary card to me last year and I’d like to share it here, “I don’t know where we’re going to be in a year or five years or ten years, but my hope is that we’re not where we are today. Not that today isn’t a thousand times more connected and more in love than we were on the day we got married, but I know that if we do our work correctly, then the love that we will feel next year and the love that we will feel in five years will make what we feel today pale in comparison.”
It is constant work, but it is also the ultimate gift.
Happy Tu B’Av!