My friends want to organise a bucks night for me before my wedding. My fiancée is all nervous about it, because who knows what they are planning. I'm not so excited about it myself. But everyone has a bucks night so I feel silly refusing. Is there a Jewish approach to bucks nights?
The bucks night is your friends' way of telling you, "You're getting married, the fun is over." Guys get together to drink, have a few cheap thrills, and make corny and predictable jokes about how marriage is the end of your life. It is as if this is the last chance for the groom to enjoy himself as a free man, before he takes on the ball and chain of married life. The message: marriage means giving up your freedom.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You don't lose your freedom when you marry; that's when you first taste what it means to be free. Marriage is not a one-way thing, it is a relationship. You are choosing someone to be your one and only partner for the rest of your life. But you are not doing that alone. Your partner is also saying, "You are my one and only man. I have chosen you out of all the men in the world. I am entirely and exclusively yours."
Think about it: She has chosen you. Yes, you. Not because you're perfect (because you aren't), and not because she first checked out every other man in the world (because she hasn't); she chose you because you are you - as you are. She is giving you the gift of freedom. You are completely free to be yourself, because someone chose you - all of you - to be theirs.
Unlike all other friendships and family bonds, marriage is exclusive. Your friends have other friends; your family members have lives of their own. But to your spouse you are number one - you are their life. I was born for my spouse, and my spouse for me. What could be more freeing than the knowledge that there is someone out there who thinks I am number one? Who is more liberated than the man who can say that someone chose me out of all the men in the world?
Marriage is the best move you can make. But your decision needs to be supported, and the typical bucks night doesn't help anyone's marriage. Be brave, and go against the tide. Instead of a party that perpetuates an immature view of marriage, do it the Jewish way: get together with your friends, have a few drinks, and give each other blessings. Your friends should bless you that your marriage should be liberating for both you and your wife; and you should bless your single friends that they should find that special someone who will give up the whole world to be theirs.