A mirror. I know what you are thinking. “Rabbi, you need to get out more.” I don’t mean a mirror of the body; I mean a mirror of the soul. Think what life was like before we had mirrors. Before that fateful day, no one had any idea how bad they looked to other people (which explains the state of dental care in my home country, England). The only people who had a clue were the ones who listened to their spouses. Everyone else was blithely strolling along looking like village idiots. Then along came mirrors and with them the famous spousal line, “I told you so.”
If you are reading this email on a computer while sipping a Starbucks special latte, then you are well within the top 1% richest people on this planet. There are places on this good earth where one in four women still die in child birth. There are places where the courts uphold a man’s “right” to beat his wife. There are even places where women are forbidden to read emails like this. Just in terms of the standard of living, the gap between you and 80% of the world's population is so great, that they all truly believe, if they had your lifestyle, they would be in constant bliss. So why aren’t you? Oscar Wilde said it brilliantly, “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire." "The other is to get it.” What more out of life could we possibly ask for that is more significant than what we have right now? Relative to all who have come before us, haven't we achieved a standard of living extremely close to the epitome of existence? And yet we aren’t jumping up and down or singing the praises of life in the 21st century. Why?
Early symptoms of Mh-idmC (My husband is driving me CRAZY): • The number 400 often comes up in your conversations, as in: “I have asked you 400 times to fix the light bulb!” • You start predicting the future, as in: “You will never change.” • You lose all sense of humor so you keep asking your husband, "Are you kidding me?" Let me tell you a joke that is not at all funny. Joe has a dog. Joe has spent an enormous amount of time training his dog. As such, Joe takes great pride in showing off how his dog is house trained, fetches Joe’s slippers and paper, waits dutifully at the curb and even rolls-over and begs on command. Every Sunday Joe would fall asleep in his comfy chair watching old re-runs of I Love Lucy and The Beverly Hillbillies. As he does, the dog would regularly have a few (dog) friends over, plays some cards, have a few drinks, swap stories and bad jokes. One Sunday however, un-be-known’s to the dogs, Joe wakes up but pretends to stay asleep. When all the dogs leave, Joe, in a rage, starts shouting at his dog, “All these years you could have helped me, you let me run around and do everything and all I had you do is fetch a stupid paper and roll over?” “Like what did you want me to do?” said the dog. “How about bringing in the groceries?” replies Joe. “Well,” The dog answers, “I would have helped, but you never asked.” I told you it wasn’t funny. But it does have a deep point. Not only can’t you hold a normal dog accountable for not taking in the groceries, but if he can, then he is accountable. The same is true for your husband (and here is the real joke). If your husband can perform all the duties of a sensitive thoughtful member of the human race, then he is quite capable of the same with you.
It may seem obvious to you, but believe it or not, some think there are perfect people out there. My personal guess is that around 99.98% of the population, give-or take 0.02%, strongly believe there is an elite group of perfect people roaming the planet. What else can explain why these so-called perfect people make news when they show up drunk, violent or fill-in-the-blank, when millions of people are doing the same disgusting things every single nano-second? Yep, because we thought they were perfect. I only mention this because it’s at the heart of 99.99% of all marital misery, give or take 0.01%. We all know our spouses are not perfect – no news here. As such their imperfections fall into two categories: (1) Imperfections that are the same as mine, and (2) Intolerable imperfections.
One of the reasons Judaism does not like gambling is because for you to win, someone else has to lose. It’s for this reason the Jewish way of marriage is to never compromise. I can hear you saying, "I thought marriage was all about compromise, so what do you mean?" Let me explain. Let us suppose you and your spouse are going out for dinner. Your spouse wants to do Chinese, you fancy Italian. The problem is you have gone off Chinese food and they are not much into Italian. What do you do? Compromise. Tonight we will go Chinese and next time out we will go to an Italian restaurant. Sounds pretty reasonable. And to the average single person, that should work just fine. Not. Compromise means that this evening you will BOTH be miserable, and the next night out you will also BOTH be miserable. Why?
The blue pill turns your husband into the man of your dreams, no socks on the floor, he loves talking about feelings – yours and his, he eagerly looks forward to shoe shopping on a Sunday — even clips coupons. On top of that, he learns how to dance. The red pill changes you […]
The 7 elements to effective communication One of the reasons we often find communicating with our husbands so frustrating is the delusion that we are good communicators. Whatever you do in your day job, hostage negotiator for the FBI, Secretary of State, or plain old Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, relative to the average spouse, it’s just not real communication. Groucho Marx said, "People who agree with me, tend to be right." Communicating with people who agree with us is not communicating, it's nodding. We tend to surround ourselves with people like us, so that when an issue arises there is hardly a debate. A spouse is really our personal shot of reality telling us we need to improve our communication skills.
People hate their spouses for the things they love! When I started working with couples in marriage counseling, I noticed an odd but consistent pattern. People hated their spouses for the very thing that once attracted them. It took a while to figure out what was going on, but soon I was able to explain to each spouse how they picked their poison, pardon the expression. Let us suppose Harry is a completely disorganized chap with a happy-go-lucky attitude. He smiles all the time and enjoys life thoroughly. He has a job that is nowhere near as challenging as he could handle with his natural talents, but the salary is perfect for his lifestyle and he doesn’t need the ulcers. One day he meets Alice. Alice is superwoman. She organizes her garbage, outperforms everyone in her firm, has meetings on the train to work and she’s so scheduled that she hasn’t got time for a second scoop of ice cream. They meet in an elevator, where obviously neither would look twice at the other, but then the elevator jams and they are stuck for a good 45 minutes. After a while, Alice is charmed at how Harry is at peace with the whole incident. She wishes she could enjoy life like that. Harry, on the other hand, is blown over by how many meetings Alice has to cancel and how her whole week is thrown off by this delay. He thinks to himself, “I wish I could get so much done.”
This JOKE is set at the time of the Cold War, when escape from Russia was almost as difficult as getting real, live customer support on the telephone. One of the first escapees to arrive in America lands at New York Kennedy Airport. As he gets off the plane, a reporter from the New York Times greets him and asks: "Now that you have left the oppressive Soviet Union, tell me, what was it like living under such a harsh dictatorship?" The Russian answers: "Well, comrade, to tell you the truth, I couldn't complain." Surprised, the reporter asks: "Tell me then, what was it like living with food and housing shortages all the time?" The Russian answers again, "Well, I have to say, I couldn't complain." Frustrated, the reporter tries again: "So what was it like living without any freedoms, like movement or speech?" The Russian again answers: "I have to say, I couldn't complain." The reporter is now angry at not getting the answer he was looking for, and says indignantly, "So why did you come to America?" "Because," replies the Russian, "Here I can complain!" Leaving an oppressive dictatorship is very much like getting married....
Did you ever hear a girl on a date ask, "Do you change toilet rolls?" Or a guy ask, "How many dents do you have in your car?" Would you ever tell someone about to get married, "You know, he doesn't lift the seat." Or, "She's always on the phone." No. You know why? Because when you are dating those things don't bother you. I was asked this question in my class recently as I was drinking a cup of water.... no, I didn't do some ventriloquist trick and I didn't spray them with water either. The question went something like this, "What is the most common reason people get divorced?" It was perfect timing, I pointed to the cup, "In here is the answer."