The Jewish marriage is that unique and holy institution through which a Jewish man and a Jewish woman build - through the course of a lifetime - a unified relationship, a home and a family. This relationship, home and family are the building block of the Jewish people, of the Jewish society around them, and of the remainder of all Jewish generations to come.
Marriage, as laid out by the Torah, is an institution through which the Jewish husband and Jewish wife give their best to eachother, bring out the best in eachother, please eachother, fill eachother's needs, and fulfill a meaningful joint-mission together with their lives. All through the course of a lifetime, the couple gets along with eachother in basically (if not perfectly) peaceful fashion, accepting eachother's quirks and shortcoming and appreciating eachother's virtues and attributes. Their focus is on the constructive, the positive and the holy.
We live in a generation in which marriage, a most fundamental institution of normal adult life, is breaking down. Marital peace is eroding, divorce is rising. This serier deals with this issue head-on.
In the particular context of this series, the Torah sets forth standards and obligations regarding:
* basic character as fundamental for addressing all issues in life (including interpersonal relations),
* the practical conduct of human relations in general, and
* the conduct of the marriage relationship (the closest relationship that exists between human beings) in particular.
It might be instructive to keep in mind that the Torah is very stringent on how each Jew is to treat every other fellow Jew. How much moreso your spouse: the one who is closest to you and most vulnerable to you. Further, remember at all times, please, that the Jewish people is not "merely" a "nation" nor a "religion." Every Jew goes back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We're all family. Jews are all extended cousins. Seen in this light, the imperative to treat other Jews with high standards and with closeness is anything but strange. And if a spouse is family before you were married, how much moreso should it be natural to treat a spouse with goodness and closeness after marriage!
The Torah says (Genesis 1:27), "And G-d created man in His image, in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them." This verse links G-d's creation of man with, at least, three things.
1. Mankind is created in G-d's image. This teaches us that the goal of the creation of the human being is for achievement of exalted and spiritual goals through cultivation and manifestation of G-dly potential and characteristics found in the essence of the human soul.
2. The "complete human state" is male and female together.
3. The achievement of humanity's potential, purpose and goal is possible only through the uniting of male and female, forming the entity of "complete human being," and working towards
* cultivation of that potential and
* achievement of that purpose and goal.
Marriage is the formal state which provides for the unification of the male and female. Viable marriage, therefore, is the foundation of the world.