Today was a difficult Shabbat (Sabbath) because of the heat. I went to shul (synagogue) on Friday night, but not today, as it was too hot and Minchah (Afternoon Prayers) were at an awkward time. I fell asleep quite quickly last night, but woke up in the early hours and struggled to get back to sleep, probably because of the heat. I think I woke a couple of times in the night gasping for breath again, although I’m not sure how many times or whether it’s happening more often or I’m just paying attention to it now I think I may have sleep apnoea rather than thinking I must have just woken up from a nightmare or similar.
I did some Torah study, including some Talmud study, and a little recreational reading, but it was too hot to do much of anything really. I ended up sleeping in the afternoon despite not wanting to because the heat made me so drowsy.
I can’t believe my civil marriage is in under three weeks (God willing)! I am nervous, but more about travelling alone, which I’ve only done twice before, than about the wedding itself. The fears that something would go wrong and E and I would be stuck in engaged or semi-married (civil wedding, but not religious wedding) limbo indefinitely seems to have gone away. Now there’s some nervousness about all the paperwork (civil and religious) this is going to take, as well as house-hunting and organising the religious wedding.
We want a very small party, although we’re still not sure how many people. E would like to do just close family. For a while I wanted some close friends and a couple of more distant cousins I see frequently, but now I’m wondering if close family (counting first cousins, and one or two extras, like my rabbi mentor) might be better. I’m worried about getting autistically exhausted for days afterwards if I invite too many people, and it’s easier to say ‘No friends’ than to decide who can and can’t come, especially as, realistically, I think some of my closest friends won’t be able to make it. I worry that all my parents’ friends are expecting to be invited to a Big Fat Jewish Wedding like my sister had, and like their children had, and invited my parents to. Reciprocity can be a tricky thing. My biggest worry is that I would like a quorum at the party for shevah brachot (wedding blessings) and I don’t think we’re going to get that with a very small guest list.
By this stage, after having dated on and off since 2018, and having been together continuously since May of last year, but having only spent a total of a couple of weeks together in person, E and I just want to be married. We are hoping to be married by next Pesach (April 2022), but I’m worried that we won’t manage it. We can’t submit E’s spouse visa application until after the civil wedding (29 August) and it will take about six months, unless things have improved at the Home Office. The last we heard, things were delayed as the Home Office struggled to deal with Ukrainian refugees. That takes us up to the end of February, not leaving much time for organising the wedding and finding somewhere to live, not to mention stocking a new kitchen (small party = few presents).
It is very frustrating being this far apart for so long, as well as not being able to live together (with everything that entails). It’s kind of embarrassing to say this, but I think it’s only now, age thirty-nine, that I’m ready to get married, or to have sex, not that I would have done one without the other. Sex in particular has been something I’ve struggled with for years in a way that is not really acceptable to talk about in either the frum (religious Jewish) world or the secular world, wanting to explore it, but being scared to do so as well as subject to religious prohibitions that generated guilt.
Being a virgin at thirty-nine isn’t particularly normal or acceptable in either community (frum or secular), the assumption being something must be wrong, whereas I think I just wasn’t ready and hadn’t been in the right relationship. I realise that my previous relationships (mostly just crushes; other than E, I’ve only had two real relationships) wouldn’t have worked, and I sort of intuitively feel that God was making me wait for the right time (and that therefore the religious wedding will come at the right time too), even though I didn’t believe it at the time. But now I’m ready… and we have to wait another six months or more.