Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Av 5766 - August 1, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Marriage Tips
by Raizel Foner

"Dina, Mazel Tov! I was thrilled to hear that you're engaged! I'm so flattered that you've made the time to come visit me — I'm sure you're incredibly busy with all the preparations."

"Miriam, I wish I were thrilled too. I'm so nervous that I don't have any fingernails left to bite."

"Here, sweetie, have some popcorn instead. What are you so nervous about?"

"Well, you know, nowadays not everyone who gets married stays married. I'm really worried — any tips you can give me?"

"First of all, there are a lot of good books out there, like Ezer K'negdo by Sara Chana Radcliffe, for one. Rav Avigdor Miller zt'l also wrote on marriage. Second of all, the more someone works on her Middos, the easier it is for her to live with other people."

"What do you mean?"

"For example, a patient and humble person isn't going to get so upset when other people don't behave exactly as she'd want, right? If a wife works on judging her husband favorably, a lot of fights can be avoided. When my cousin was newly married, her husband picked up the can of applesauce she had just served from. She burst into tears, `Boo-hoo, you don't trust my kashrus!'

"Her husband was bewildered, `It was very good applesauce. I only wanted to see what brand it was.' "

"Heh, heh, that's a good one, Miriam."

"Well, that was a rather extreme example of jumping to conclusions, but bear in mind that they had recently gotten married and she didn't know him yet so well."

"Any other stories?"

"First, a short introduction, OK? This story brings out the point to treat your husband with deference. Men feel the lack of respect as strongly as a woman would suffer hurt that `he doesn't love me.' " Marriage involves the same menchlichkeit and bein odom l'chaveiro that you'd hopefully do with everyone, but in the case of a husband, you have to add extra respect.

My neighbor's husband had surgery, and as he was discharged from the hospital, the nurse warned, "Now you go home and rest." In the taxi ride home, he said to my neighbor, "I think I'll go to the office."

"Was he crazy?!"

"Aha! Dina, that's not how one speaks to a husband. Actually, that's how my neighbor might have spoken when they were first married, but this was after a few decades."

"So what did she say?"

"She merely smiled and said, `What an interesting idea. Maybe we'll go home first and see how you feel? By the time they got home, he was ready to drop and was happy to plop into bed. Had she said, `Are you insane or just plain stupid? Didn't you hear what the nurse said?' he would have felt that now he had to prove how strong he was or that she could not push him around or that he had to protect his pride. By the way, this works for teenagers, too.

"Wow, how am I going to remember 'til then?"

"Don't worry, after you've been married a bit, I'm sure you'll have tips to give me too! Also, you'll get to know what YOUR husband prefers. Some men really go for an orderly house and some couldn't care less, as long as the wife knows how to cook. One kind of husband is particular about how his wife dresses, and another type would rather she spend her time saying Tehillim. These are just a few examples; once you figure out what your husband's priorities are, it's easier to please him."

"Oh, I'm supposed to please him?"

"Dina, are you sure you're ready to get married?"

"I was only kidding."

"So was I. Mazel Tov again."


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