Daf Yomi Nedarim 70
Ronald was at his wits’ end. He’d done everything for Talia. He was constantly buying her roses and jewellery. He’d spent a fortune on extravagant vacations. He knew how important her personal grooming was to her – he never questioned her constant trips to the spa and beauty parlor. He never forgot her birthday or their anniversary – in his mind, he was the perfect husband!
But she still wasn’t happy. What more could he do for her? Why was she so ungrateful?
If a woman said, ‘I am hereby a nazir,’ and her husband heard and said, ‘and I am,’ he cannot annul her vow.
The Gemara asks: But why could he not contend that his declaration concerned only himself; by contrast, her declaration of nazirism, which he initially confirmed, why may he not choose later to annul?
The Gemara answers: ‘And I am’ is like saying ‘existing for you forever.’
Your wife doesn’t need your presents; she needs your presence. Sure, it’s important to say ‘I love you’ to your wife, but actions speak louder than words. The most important gesture a husband can make for his wife is to fulfil the ‘I am’ – simply to be there. ‘I am’ – in other words when the husband is there for his wife – is like saying ‘I exist for you forever.’ It’s more precious than the most exquisite diamond ring. It’s more thoughtful and meaningful than all the I love you’s in the world.
When my in-laws were married, my father-in-law was a student and couldn’t afford to buy my mother-in-law a diamond ring. Madly in love, that certainly did not deter her from marrying him. With time, she began to say, ‘My husband is my diamond!’ What an incredible remark! When a husband is so devoted to being there for his wife – physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually – all the diamonds in the world do not match up!
Do you find yourself so absorbed in your own life that you’re not quite there for your spouse? Do you spend more time thinking about earning a living, than living to earn your spouse’s love and respect? Is your mind fixated on your means of support as opposed to what it truly means to support her in every which way – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually?
A good roadmap I often share with young men is the bus-stop rule. Imagine your day is like a ride on the bus. You have to get from point A to B, but along the way there are a number of stops. Each time the bus travels from one stop to another, you are getting closer to your destination – think of those travels as your appointments and meetings. Whenever you get to a bus stop and you momentarily pause en route to your destination, pick up the phone or shoot a text or email to see how your spouse is doing. In the beginning it might seem like you’re going overboard – but with time, it will feel natural and you will make her day!
Remember: more than your spouse wants your presents, she needs your presence. May you be there for her physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, and merit a marriage that is rock solid and the pinnacle of physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual satisfaction for you both!