No matter that we had lots of last minute things that came up; no matter that we cancelled our plans to go away for the night; we bit the bullet, at the insistence of our kids, hopped in the car and drove to Tel Aviv. That’s the awesome thing about living here. Less than an hour away we find ourselves in a very cosmopolitan, trendy mini version of New York City.
And right now as I sit in my very plush hotel room bed, after having come up from sitting outside [on this ‘wintery’ day – no jacket required mind you] and having a delicious latte, I feel as if I’ve been away for a week.
As a couple this little interlude is about three years overdue. And whilst we are not completely alone, because baby makes three, it’s been very therapeutic. To walk and talk, to go for a relaxed dinner, surrounded only by adults- has been one of those small luxuries that we have long forgotten.
Life gets so crazy, and one forgets that the entity of the couple needs constant reinforcement. The Torah actually states that it is a mitzvah [a commandment] to love your spouse. It does not articulate that one has to love their children. Why would Hashem make a point of telling us to love our spouses and not our children? Because loving our children is automatic. It’s very few and far between to find parents that do not love their new infants. Or parents that don’t melt as their toddler accomplishes life skills. But your husband (or wife I suppose – in very rare cases) could be a source of constant irritation and annoyance. Because we are created as opposites (eizer k’negdo). That’s how Eve was described. A helpmate against him ( Adam). Look at all couples. We may all have common values( hopefully), but my gosh, some days do we not just stare at each other and think what planet are they from! ( obviously not in my case. I am speaking on behalf of a friend!) The relationship can turn very antagonistic, very quick. I do have a few friends who make it a point to go out once a week. And it’s these couple that are strong. Theses couples that enforce family values.
The whole idea of marriage is a vessel to house the power that exists between a man and a woman if we don’t pay attention to it , it could run its own course. So many variables go into being a couple. But if there is one bit of advice that I can give. Whether you are married for years, or newlyweds, or better yet – single and reading this. To get married = to change yourself 100% and to relinquish your ego entirely. Now, don’t say this to the guy you’ve just met. Or are dating. No man wants to hear that he has to change. But if you are already married you could mention it and if you are married to a person that will not change – well then honey, if you want to be happy, you best pulverize that ego of yours. Don’t quote me as saying you now need to be treated like garbage and stomped on like a doormat. Not at all. Assuming you are married to a somewhat normal guy – who will not abuse his right as a husband and life partner. You can safely give way to him, to facilitate his change. Like my dad always said ” let them win the battles, and in the end you will win the war.”
Oh… I know it’s not easy. It is sooo hard. I’ll get a bit personal. So last week with all the changes that teenagehood has sprung on us, for my straight laced hubby, it’s proved very challenging. Especially not really having the tools in his set to deal with it, the blame rested squarely on my shoulders. And then, in some completely unrelated incident, a word was blurted out, and like spitfire there was a retaliation, and in the space of 30 seconds it was established that neither of us was speaking to the other. And this time – I was right and I was not going to back down. Why should I make amends again??? Isn’t it always one party that tends to buckle. Well I wasn’t going to be that one – once more.
Now the already unpleasant atmosphere at home reached an insufferable crescendo. Not only did we have to deal with a child who is hormonal and has an undeveloped prefrontal cortex, a sick toddler and sick baby ; general everyday life, bureaucracy of living here, and school meetings to mention a few of the daily going ons, the density of the strife between us loomed like thick, invisible, choking smoke. Days passed. None of us budged. I was not going to apologize. No way. Not this time. And even though it was tearing me up inside. I knew I was right. And then someone who I have not been in touch with for years… randomly sent me this video
I watched. Immediately thanked Hashem for sending me this message. Said out loud to myself “screw you – ego” and literally got up and went to apologize. And instantaneously I was greeted with a huge smile and an apology in return. Marriage resumed the status quo and life became bearable again. And guess what? It’s a week later – who even remembers the small tiff? Who even thinks about who was right or wrong? Not for one second. We moved on. But during that time – the all consuming thought was ” why should I apologize????”
This is the generation of iPads, iPhones, and iTunes. What happened to We? Let’s not succumb to our egos. Let us forego our own self importance, and in the long run, our humility offers us a life of happiness and fulfillment. Our life glitches as a family are still the same, but our effort to confront and deal with them, is now as one entity. Much easier this way.
Once again, Dad, you were bang on the money!