Love is a driving force for many people in the world. Love inspires people to get up every day and go to work, either in order to support the people they love or to find someone to spend their lives with. Divorce is so common these days that many people are left wondering how to make a lifelong and lasting connection with someone. Imagine a couple who were not only wed as young children but have weathered the hardships of life together for over 90 years. They’ve got some advice to help younger generations learn to make a marriage last a lifetime.
Orphaned and Alone.
A Jewish couple named Zechariah and Shama’a were ages 12 and 10 when they first met and married. It is unclear how both individuals lost their parents but both were orphans at the time of the meeting. These orphaned children had lost everything prior to the meeting and have spent their whole lives together building each other up. Together they’ve endured poverty, persecution, and other hardships but have come so far from where they started.
How Judaism Brought Them Together.
Judaism is a historically rich and long-standing religion. It is a culture deeply rooted in tradition. As was customary in the early 1900’s, these two lovebirds were arranged to be married in order to avoid possibly having a marriage to someone outside of their faith. There are so many traditions that many people feel Judaism is more than a religion, it is a way of life and for some, segments that make up their genetic heritage.
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Both children were born in Yemen, a desert country in the Middle East. Yemen is located on the Southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Coming from a life of poverty, and facing persecution, Zechariah and Shama’a first started their marriage with no place to call home. The couple resorted to cleaning up a barn and living there temporarily. In 1948, shortly after gaining its statehood, the pair moved to Israel. They were among the first Jews from Yemen to make the move. Despite the pain of losing their mothers, facing persecution, and the uncertainty of living in poverty, the couple began to grow together and as a family. They now have 11 children and 64 grandchildren.
What Keeps Them Together?
Married life is incredibly laborious for most people. Not only is there difficulty in learning how to make a life that is comfortable for both parties, but there are also many other challenges to face in a marriage. Society places its expectations on couples, adding pressure that can leave some feeling inadequate. Zechariah and Shama’a share a heartwarming story about overcoming hardships and making a marriage last through it all.
Their secret to happiness is unwavering love, sharing a common goal, and dry wit. A great friendship, which is the most basic foundational piece, means being able to tease one another, and laugh together through the hard times. Another secret to their long-lasting marriage is teamwork and support. Over the years, they’ve worked together to achieve their hopes and dreams.
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Their goals are well aligned, thereby assisting them to support one another with ease. The dreams they’ve had as individuals work in tandem to build off of each other, equalling a recipe for success. Zechariah and Shama’a were asked in an interview what they feel is the secret of love. Despite having answers that were significantly different, their sense of humor and dedication to one another is apparent.
Zechariah stated, “ God sent her to me. I was lucky to win her. Women flocked to me like a herd of sheep, but I didn’t take any of them. Meanwhile, Shama’a responded with, “We rarely fought, it’s the happiness of being together that sustains our marriage.”
Most marriage counselors would say at the base of every great relationship is a solid foundation, usually made of qualities such as support, encouragement, humor, etc. With roughly half of the marriages ending, divorce is far more common today than it was 100 years ago. Exceptions like infidelity or abuse were some of the few reasons divorce was accepted and even then it was frowned upon. People learned, through religious and societal beliefs, how to work together to make a marriage last. Through listening to the wisdom of our elders we, too, can learn how to be married to the same person, for a lifetime.
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