Monday, June 18, 2012

Adequate Half

While young and unattached, she was discussing all of her future plans. 

"And then, when we arrive in Israel, we'll . . . "  

"Who are you going with?" I ask. 

"My better half!" (as yet unknown) 

"Your 'better half'?" I echo. "Nah, you don't want him to be better than you." 

A young wife bristled across the table. "Why shouldn't he be better than you?"  

"I should have an inferiority complex to my husband?" I respond. 

"You want to be equals," piped in a long-married woman.  

"Exactly." 

But my adversary wasn't giving up so fast. "Don't you want him to be better than you? Treat you right?"  

"It's in the books already he has to treat me better than himself," I retort. "I just have to treat him more than adequately. He doesn't have to be 'better' than me to follow that." (Rambam)

She unwillingly acquiesced, and the conversation reverted to shoes. 

10 comments:

Maya Resnikoff said...

There's just so much in this girl's perspective that worries me, in terms of the health of her eventual marriage. Hopefully, when she meets the right guy, she'll get a little more real...

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Best line I ever read:
If you treat him like a king, he'll make you his queen and treat you royally.
If you treat him like a servant, he'll still be the king but you'll be the servant instead.

Princess Lea said...

Maya: She's still very young. Very, very, very young. There's hope yet.

MIG: Obviously that line was invented by a man. How many abused women revered their husbands?

According to the Rambam, it is not in a man's nature to care more than himself for another.

Women don't need to be told to.

Ruchi Koval said...

I've heard that line used by husbands more than by wives and think it very sweet.

ZP said...

MGI--I read that line in a marriage book and I actually really did like it. Actually, in Spanish, a lot of people call their husbands, "Mi Rey", which means "My King". (and visa versa).

I don't think it is negative at all, PL. It is not about being abused or lesser or inferior to your husband. If one is constantly measuring what one person puts and the other takes, then neither will be happy. If we understand how the opposite sex operates, we can have better communication, a happier relationship, and make the other person happy.

Princess Lea said...

I would say that labels connoting nobility are not necessary: spouses should be kind to one another, rather than revere. Kindness needs no label nor metaphor.

Sparrow said...

I'm not sure that in this case kindness means a lot without respect.

Princess Lea said...

In a recent study, generosity was that which guaranteed a good marriage, not respect.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/is-generosity-better-than-sex/?scp=1&sq=marriage%20generous&st=cse

I wrote a post about it:

http://frumanista.blogspot.com/2011/12/say-nothing.html

One is supposed to respect everyone. But what is it that elevates the marriage relationship to something else?

Sparrow said...

I'm trying to figure out that exact same question.

Princess Lea said...

When comes to "kavod," only parents are specifically mentioned, not spouses.

Relationships differ, and every successful couple manages to work out a way that functions for them.