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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Torn between your spouse and your parents

Daf Yomi Nedarim 72

Hannah felt torn.  Jim had asked her to attend his company’s golf tournament.  But it was Tuesday.  And Tuesday was bridge day.  Her mom expected her to be there.  For the last ten years, they hadn’t missed a Tuesday together.  But how could she not be there for her husband’s big day?

Mishnah: It was the way of the wise that as one’s daughter would go off to marry, the father would say to her, ‘All vows that you undertook in my house are hereby revoked.’
The Ran explains: Once the young maiden marries, it is impossible to have her vows revoked.

Some parents send their children into marriage with pre-existing expectations.  Others are not so explicit, but there is nonetheless a tacit understanding of obligation.  Wise people, says the Mishnah, make it abundantly clear to their child that any prior commitments to one’s parents’ home must be superseded by one’s new responsibilities to one’s spouse.

That doesn’t mean that newlyweds should cut ties with their parents, G-d forbid.  But parents do need to let them know that, if they want to have a happy marriage, their spouse comes first.

Don’t take it as a given that your child will put their spouse first.  You need to have that discussion with them and sometimes repeat the conversation on occasions in the future.  Certainly, don’t ever put yourself in the way of your child’s marriage.  Any time you think their marriage might be suffering because they’re worried about you, you need to let them know that you are a distant second to the number one person in their life.

Marriage is complicated enough as it is.  A good parent is one who does everything in their capacity to enable their children’s marriages to flourish.  Don’t ever be the cause of furthering the challenges of your kid’s marriage!

We all want our children to succeed in every aspect of their lives.  Sometimes that means putting your own kavod (honour) to the side for the sake of the glory and success of your child’s marriage.  May you merit children who are eternally happily married and may your efforts always assist and never hinder their marital bliss!  

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