Today I have been married 27 years, more than half my life, to an amazing woman. I read The Five Languages of Love many years back. My love language is words of encouragement. It is not gift-giving, even though I should probably get her some flowers. It is not physical touch, but hopefully this blog will open the door ;-). So let me use my love language to communicate to my wife, Elana, how amazing she is.
She is the kindest person I know; ready to drop everything to help someone in need.
After 27 years, she is still beautiful. I mean, really HOT! I think she is more beautiful today than the day we got married.
She holds no grudges. You have to understand that in the Moroccan Israeli community, holding grudges is a cultural value. Yes, she can get hurt, like all of us, but she values relationships over grudges and moves on quickly. She felt bad for the man who nearly killed her last month, through his reckless driving.
She loves her daughters and enjoys few things more than spending time with them.
Elana embodies the phrase what would Yeshua do, as opposed to what would Yeshua say.
For a time she visited prostitutes on the streets just to let them know they are loved. (She would still be doing it, but the city of Tel Aviv removed them.)
She loves Israel and loves to share her country with others. Anyone who has ever been on one of our tours knows this. (It would be wrong for me to use this special blog to plug our next tour in April, right? So please don’t go to www.LivingStonesIsrael.com)
She is an amazing cook and I come from a family of caterers. Everyone knows that my mother is an outstanding cook, but Elana’s Middle Cuisine of couscous, spicy Moroccan fish and more is the best!
She is the best Israeli folk dancer. When I first met her she was traveling with Paul Wilbur and Israel’s Hope doing Israeli folk dancing. When dancing she exudes a joy that I have never seen. Not like singers with fake smiles, but someone experiencing true delight.
Elana can’t miss a party. If there is a celebration Elana will be there. She can be in bed with a 102 fever and suddenly hear there is a party or gathering. Within minutes she is healed and ready to go. My kids call it FOMO—fear of missing out.
She loves others with deeds and action, not merely with words.
Elana loves the IDF. Now you have to understand that the Israeli Defense Forces to an Israeli is like family. Elana was a drill sergeant so she sees herself in these precious young soldiers. She doesn’t see harden fighters (because 90% aren’t!), she sees her sons and daughters. She will give them rides, hugs, encouragement and sometimes gifts. I have seen her cry when speaking about IDF soldiers.
She loves older people. Every Shabbat morning she goes to the beach, five minutes away, and plays matkot, the Israeli version of beach tennis, with older people. She told me last week of an elderly man she befriended. He has been meeting two friends every week for over 40 years. One of them died a few years back. And this week the other friend died. Elana asked him what was wrong and he broke down. She was crying just telling me the story.
Elana is an amazing daughter in law. We got married in the US and lived there for 16 years—except for a year in Odessa, Ukraine and a half year in Budapest, Hungary. That meant that she had no blood relatives near her. However she became such an integral part of my family that I sometimes wonder if my parents love her more.
She knows how to relate to my father. As I have shared before my father doesn’t open up to everyone. If he is comfortable around you, then you are blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the company of one of the best men I know. But it is not easy for him to feel so free around others. Elana ignores all that and simply loves him, hugs him and always reminds him that she will take care of him as he ages. (He’s got plenty of time!)
She loves autistic children. For the past several years Elana has worked part-time as teacher and often her class is full of autistic children. Without any real training in social work, she is by a far stretch a favorite of the students. She often comes home full of life, telling me how much she loves these children suffering from autism.
She loves children in general. There are some kids in our congregation that, as soon as they come in, they are searching for Elana and demand to sit with her during the worship.
She loves her family. I married into a very ethnic family. Immigrants from Morocco to Israel—a very distinct subculture here in the Jewish state. Elana lost her father when he was just 47—just a year before we met. But she and her three siblings, plus mom, love to spend time together. They can spend hours sharing old stories after a Shabbat meal in Ashkelon or strolling at the port of Tel Aviv. They love to be together.
She is not a spender. You know all those jokes about wives and credit cards? They don’t apply to Elana. While she is not too frugal, she is very careful about how she spends money.
She is the best friend anyone can have. She never misses a birthday or an anniversary. And if you are going through something, she will drop everything to spend time with you—even your kids. Elana is not only faithful to her friends, but she calls up her friends’ kids in the army, in college, etc.
Can I mention again, she is hot!
She feels deeply. What do I mean? I mean that she knows when you are going through something. She senses when someone is in need of encouragement.
She is prophetic. When she first met me I took her to my father’s business. She told me immediately that there was something not right with a certain employee. I told her that he was my favorite (I grew up in that store and was close to some of the employees). It turns out he was stealing from my father. She has had dreams of people doing really bad stuff—very specific—and when she gently confronted them, they were in shock as no one knew.
Elana prefers telephones over email, face to face over Facebook. (I am the opposite, but that is what I love about her.)
She scratches my back if she is watching TV and I want to sleep or if she is on the phone while I am driving. Understand, that for a good back scratch, I would give up state secrets! You wouldn’t need to water-board me! Just give me a good back scratch.
She reluctantly agreed to move with our kids to Odessa for year. It was an amazing year, but a hard decision to make.
And lastly, despite knowing how imperfect I am, she has never given up on me and still loves me.
Elana, Happy Anniversary!