Three things have a faint savor of the world to come: Sabbath, the sun and married love. (Talmud, Berakhot)
Jewish marriage is viewed as the cornerstone of the perpetuation of the Jewish people. The Bible--from Genesis on--devotes many of its words to the relation of a man and his wife and vice a versa. Careful thought, discussion and commentary dedicated to the centricity and the sanctity of the Jewish marriage has preoccupied Talmudic scholars from the time of the sages to the present.
A quintessential view of Jewish marriage is that a wife and husband complete each other: that two halves become one; “Husband and wife are like one flesh “(Talmud: Menahot 93b). Or, with a slightly different math, in Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one”. The mystical Zohar (I 91a) describes “.
The Jewish marriage is, of course, important for the fulfillment of the first mitzvah of the Torah (Genesis 2:31) To be fruitful and multiply... But, love and companionship are the true building blocks of Jewish marriage. The bride and bridegroom are referred to as reim ahuvim, or beloved friends.
The sanctity of Jewish marriage is carried over to the importance placed on the Jewish marriage ceremony. In the past the Erusin (betrothal) and Kiddushin (sanctification) ceremonies were separated in time, but today, they take place sequentially at the wedding. This includes the signing of the ketubah, the Bedeken (lowering the bride’s veil over her face), the exchange of a ring, the recital of the seven blessings and smashing the glass under the chuppah. Afterwards, the bride and groom will have a few moments to themselves in the Yihud (seclusion). This concludes the Jewish marriage ceremony and the party begins! And so does the Jewish marriage!