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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Are you a Martian?

Daf Yomi Yevamos 26

“Whenever we have an argument, he disappears!” said Nicole.
“Nicole thinks that you need to talk about everything.  Yap yap yap.  She doesn’t know how to be quiet, even when we’ve spoken about something a million times,” responded Keith.

Sounded like a textbook John Gray case.   In Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, Gray explains that men and women have fundamental emotional differences.  When the Venusians had issues, they would gather together to discuss; but when the Martians had problems that would disappear into their caves. 

The Mishnah states: The following people may not marry Sheila for fear of an ulterior motive when they release her from her marriage to Bruce: One who arrived from overseas with a gett (bill of divorce) from Bruce to Sheila, claiming that he witnessed the signing of the document; one who arrived from overseas testifying that he witnessed Bruce die; a rabbi who prohibited Bruce and Sheila from living together for a vow of abstinence they made.  Nevertheless, Sheila is permitted to marry any of these men’s sons or brothers.

The Gemara asks: How is our Mishnah different to the case of the Beraisa that teaches that if there were rumours about a man and woman engaging in a forbidden relationship, not only may they not get married to one another, but nor may he marry her mother, daughter or sister.  In that case, we are concerned that they will see each other regularly and may come to sin.  The Gemara answers:  Women frequently go to visit other women, but men are not frequently around other men. 

John Gray was not the first to suggest that men and women are different in their social habits; the Talmud already proffered this explanation over a thousand years ago!   The Talmud clearly states that women are more likely to come out of their caves and chat than the men.

Men and women are different.  We have different needs and different ways of dealing with issues.  The first step to success in marriage is to recognize these fundamental differences.  Once you know that your husband has a biological tendency to disappear, it makes it somewhat easier to deal with and not take personally.  You’ll understand and give him the space he needs.

Once you recognize that your wife has a biological proclivity to talking about a problem, you won’t simply disappear.  You’ll sit down and talk.  You’ll listen.  You won’t jump to offer solutions without being asked.

We live in an age where we are increasingly being told that men and women are the same; that our differences are to be found not in nature but in nurture.  But it’s not helpful when it comes to dealing with relationship issues.  Unless you are prepared to acknowledge, respect, and understand your differences, you will not be successful in your marriage. 

The Almighty created men and women as a kind of yin-yang.  You want to thrive in life?  Don’t ignore the differences.  Make the most of the unique qualities your spouse brings to your life as a member of the opposite gender.  And your relationship will forever be exciting, meaningful, and unbreakable!

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