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“I believed in the end it would be okay, and that if my family didn’t come around, I’d be strong enough to marry her anyway.” But the ultimatum did ultimately come, and he spent months in a depression, feeling stuck, unable to choose between the love of his life and the family he loved – and the religion he truly believed in.

No matter what he chose in this situation, it could be a “huge mistake.” There was only one way to find out: make the decision, the same decision my fiancé found himself faced with years later.

“I wouldn’t trade those six years for anything,” my aunt says. I know what a soul mate is, and what’s what we were. After three weeks without a response from his mother, Lee finally called to ask her himself, I believe that her answer would have been “no” even if we did have a Rabbi and a chuppah.

Most people just say they were, but we were.” * * * y father called Lee’s mother to ask who invitations should be sent out to, even if there was no chance any of her family members would attend. Like my aunt, I accept it, and I understand it, and that does not mean I’m okay with it.

One day, about six months into our relationship and long past saying “I love you,” he started to act a little strange after a trip to his family’s house for Passover, and it took me a week of relentless journalistic digging to find out what was up. “My family told me if I ever married you, they would disown me, because you’re not Jewish.” “That’s all? He was stunned that I wasn’t flipping out, and I explained that, if anything, I was concerned for him; that I didn’t want to break up his family and wouldn’t make him choose. And if they’re going to force me to choose, that’s the easiest choice I’ll ever make,” he said. We showed up, going to a couple of Lee’s friends’ Orthodox weddings and met several dirty looks and whispers with smiles.

We were sitting on the bed in the apartment he shared with his former college roommate in a second-story walkup in Brooklyn. * * * he most common reaction when I tell people what’s happening with my fiancé’s family is shock and disgust. When we began planning our own wedding, we chose a Sunday for the ceremony so they could all attend (no traveling on Friday night or until sundown Saturday), and made sure Kosher meal options were available.

The window was cracked open, the clouds and the setting sun frozen behind the stone angel that topped a nearby church. One of Lee’s friends declined the invitation to be a groomsman, because, “Well, you know. ” I knew better than to drive a wedge between a man and his childhood friends but I still wanted to angrily sharpie-scratch their names off of our invitation list.

* * * met Lee in the fall of 2013 after he pitched me one of his clients for a story.

He worked in public relations, and I was a freelance journalist.

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