Define Giving- Advice for Dating and Married Couples

This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Yitzchak ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah for her neshama.
-Elisheva Maline

The person who compromises, to some degree, has learned to push himself/herself away from the illusion, "I cannot give in because if I do, he/she will walk all over me." Yanking oneself out of an inner planet that shouts "Me! Me!" sharpens one's ability to focus on others. With practice, being mevatar (giving in for the sake of peace) becomes less like a burden and more like trading a piece of one's ego for long term happiness. 

One's ego is like a two-year-old yammering, "What about me?" My friends, ignore it. Don't be afraid to go the extra mile, even when you think you're 100% right and the other person is in the wrong. After you give, people usually reciprocate. Believe it or not, when you smile at the world, the world smiles back.

What about when one feels like disappointed expectations are already piled into his/her living room like a herd of tiptoeing elephants? One may reason, 'I give in all the time but my spouse doesn't respond by doing the same. I feel like giving in is no longer an option.'  

That's reasonable; let's uncover the issue at its root. Observe an atypical relationship in action. It's Wednesday, around six. Fred arrives home from work. He's tired; he's hungry. It’s been a long day. His wife, Nan, comes out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on her skirt. She's got her own problems: she's stressed and sweaty from speaking to an annoying relative over the phone. There’s no dinner ready and the kids are whining in the other room.

If Fred gets a little frustrated now because the house is a mess, children are bouncing off the walls and dinner isn't waiting, one can understand. Same thing with his wife: if Nan gets upset because Fred suddenly decides to quit his job and do nothing but sit around all day, it's easy to sympathize with her as well. Like most couples, whether it was Conscious or not, Fred and Nan drew up a contract when they joined in holy matrimony. "After all, Marriage is the recognized union of a man and woman as partners in a relationship" (Webster's dictionary).Every marriage contract has its list of terms. The husband takes out the trash, remember the wife’s birthday and brings home the money. The wife keeps the house clean, raises the kids and watches her figure. As long as the man keeps his end of the bargain and vice versa, the home front is sunshine and daisies. However, if any of the conditions are broken, someone may rip up the contract, and in affect, dissolve the marriage.

Not all is lost, though. Did you know there's no translation for marriage in Hebrew? This is because the word nisu'in literally means carrying. In a Jewish marriage, joining together doesn't allow for the possibility of a fifty fifty partnership. Ideally, one seeks to give more than his/her "fair" share. 

Therefore, in order to get into the mode of thinking selflessly, try the following exercise: when you catch yourself in a difference of opinion with your spouse, instead of fighting to be "right," bite your tongue and wait. Five minutes later, when you're no longer taking the situation so hard, perhaps you'll both reach a sweet  compromise. If you're still too emotionally involved to get a handle on your feelings, just ask, 'Would I rather be "right" or happy?' 


Anonymous said...

Spoken like a woman. I'd rather be right and be happy because I am.

azmariah said...

I'd rather be happy! For me, i do count on 1-10 to cool down my emotions. Great advice on dating you have here. I'll be checking out your other posts as well. :) You have a new fan in me.


Jessica said...

good afvice for dating, i wrote an article about dating coaching, i think you will like it feel free to check it out, enjoy

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