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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Trophy spouse

Daf Yomi Kesubos 75

Sam and Caitlyn had been married for years but they were living separate lives.  He would go golfing with his buddies every Sunday; she’d be out with the kids.  They took separate vacations and even kept separate bank accounts.  Some days, Caitlyn wondered why she was still with Sam.
‘At least I’m married,’ she would tell herself, ‘that’s got to be worth something in the game of life.’
From Sam’s perspective, he loved walking arm-in-arm with Caitlyn into his office parties and when entertaining clients.   Being married was great!  He couldn’t imagine where he’d be without her by his side. 

Raish Lakish taught: A woman would always rather be married than single.
Abaye taught: A woman whose husband is as short as an ant will place her seat amongst the aristocratic women.
Rav Papa taught: A woman whose husband’s job is to comb wool will call out to him at the gate of the house and sit with him.
Rav Ashi taught: A woman whose husband is of poor lineage will not even demand lentils for her pot.

It was taught in a Beraisa: All these women end up straying from their husbands and pinning it on them.

Many married people believe that they are doing their spouses a favour simply by being married to them.  It’s status to be married.   Even if you’re ugly (or as short as an ant), even if you don’t have a decent job (you comb wool), even if you’ve got a bad reputation, why should your spouse complain?  They should be happy that they’re not alone!

The Gemara concludes that if that’s your attitude to marriage, you’d better watch out.  If you’re not there for your spouse emotionally, they’ll wander off and find someone else to fulfill their needs.  Being married isn’t about being roommates and wearing a trophy on your arm, marriage is about making your spouse feel like the most important person in the world.  

They shouldn’t need to sit around with the aristocrats to feel special, they shouldn’t need to roll out the red carpet and make a scene as you walk through the gate, they shouldn’t need to get stressed out over making your dinner exactly the way you like it (lentils and all).

First and foremost, marriage is about being there for your spouse emotionally and psychologically.  Unless you’re constantly striving to make your spouse feel special, you’re not doing marriage.  You’re simply married, past tense.  Doing marriage means constantly thinking about what you can do next to make your spouse ever happier.

Sometime in the past, you were married.  Now, it’s time to do marriage.  May your spouse merit a spouse who is utterly dedicated to making them feel like the most important person in the universe!