The word “bashert” is a word I’ve heard for as long as I can remember. It’s Yiddish for “pre-destined” (i.e. the person we are intended to marry). My first thought, based on where I am today, is to say that having this idea, this goal or fantasy implanted in a person at such a young age can only lead to disappointment; to the bubble bursting, where we marry someone we “think” is right when we are too young to know – or know ourselves – only to come crashing down later. Or, it leads us to the waiting game, where we hold down the single fort, searching for the right person and potentially missing the boat – or blinding us from seeing who is right (even when that “Mr. Right for me” is actually standing right in front of us).
It took me fourteen years of commitment to my ex-husband, and almost four years of healing and growing afterwards, which includes being in other relationships, to go from believing that he was wrong for me – that he was in no way my bashert – to wonder if perhaps he was.
Let me back up. I don’t say that lightly, nor do I say that with sadness or regret. I just find myself wondering, after having finally been around the dating block (which I missed out on in my twenties), if I met my ex-husband today – if we were set up or met on Jdate – if we’d actually be a really good match. Come to think of it, out of all the lame set ups and disappointing dates I’ve had, he’d be a great call. I’d put money down that we’d probably get past the elusive date three, and maybe even be in a relationship.
Is that crazy? Maybe. I probably sound crazy saying this, but I’ll bet I’m not the only divorced woman whose mind this has crossed. Important note: this feeling does not stem from nostalgia or romanticizing the past. This is called, I think, an outcome of living, experiencing and learning what we actually want. If you marry young, like I did, how are you supposed to know what’s right for you? And trust and faith, with no reference to compare what you have against, is a reach. The other and equally important point to make is that of course, if my ex-husband and I had met for the first time today, we would be different people. Different than who we were when we were 20, but also different than we would have been as a result of our marriage and divorce to one another.
According to orthodox Jewish belief (I heard this from my brilliant sister and bro-in law via conversations we have about marriage and love; I’m in no way an expert on this), Adam and Eve were bashert too. They were pre-ordained by God to be together; God had a master plan.
Until the apple screwed it all up.
Is there a metaphorical apple in all relationships that fail? And does divorce represent a fail, or can intact marriages still be failing, without it being obvious? (Probably a different blog topic). Can two people actually be bashert, but they either don’t have the tools to recognize it, or the apple seduces their intentions away?
If I had to pick one thing (okay, two) apples in my marriage, it would be 1) marrying too young to know what we wanted, without a chance to evolve as individuals, and 2) Hollywood. My ex-husband and I wrote screenplays together. We shared the determination to make it in the movie business, and when we split, we both recognized that the moment we agreed to pursue that dream, we had made a deal with the devil. Or the snake. You get the analogy.
For those of you who read this blog, you already know that I don’t attempt to provide answers. Especially not on a topic as loaded as fate and destiny. But what l I can do is call to mind two quotes that might apply: “Wisdom is wasted on the old,” and “Be ready for your luck.” In other words, in order to acquire the tools – the intuition and the vision – to see when what is right for you is within your grasp, you have to experience life. You have to taste it.
Even if it means taking a bite of the damn apple.