Ask Rabbi Miller: Why Does the Attraction Between Husband and Wife Continue Even After They Have Children?
From Improving the World (#792)
Q: Why does the attraction between husband and wife continuing even after they have children?
A: The answer is Hakodosh Boruch Hu needs that union. First of all, it is of utmost importance that a family should continue even after children grow up and leave the house, because they have to look for guidance to their parents. It’s the two parents together that cause the leadership of the family.
We cannot estimate the value of an old grandfather and old grandmother of the family; inestimable value! It’s an anchor for an entire family: “what would Abba say?” “What will Ima say?” The fact that the father and mother are still around causes a certain control over the behavior of the children. Very important, very important.
The union of husband and wife is a tremendous tikkun (improvement) for themselves
Besides guidance, besides consolation, they lean on the parents many times for advice and therefore it’s important that the father and mother should remain together. So Hakodosh Boruch Hu causes the attraction between husband and wife to continue always, down to the end in order to preserve the family.
However, we should not overlook the fact that the union of husband and wife is a tremendous tikkun (improvement) for themselves. Every additional day that you live together successfully means that much more perfection of character. It’s never easy to get along with someone; always requires a certain exertion of the soul. Therefore Hakodosh Boruch Hu said don’t think you're finished with the tikkun by merely raising a family, the tikkun of yourself is extremely important. The fact that they are together forces them to continue to adjust to each other.
Sometimes what two old people living together accomplish in their last days is even more important than what they accomplished in the earlier days of their lives. Like it says “toiv acharis dovor meireishisoi — the way you end [your life] is more important than the way you begin” your life. Sometimes you began your life with discord, with arguing, constant recrimination, but near the end of your life you learned how to keep your mouth closed, you learn how to be tolerant to that other person’s idiosyncrasies, you learn how to take it, to swing with the punches. In your last days you can achieve more in perfection of character then you did all of your life.