Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Happy Weight of Marriage

On a recent Thursday, Kveller kindly published my blog post about how we are a changed household since I began setting the Shabbos table on Thursday night, rather than leaving the task to the last moment on Friday. It was my husband’s idea, inspired by Rabbi Paysach Krohn, and it’s true that his suggestion that “we” take it on really meant I’d be the one doing it.

I loved hearing from people who said that setting their tables that Thursday night had made their Friday more peaceful. Others made me smile by telling me it’s what they aspire to for their Shabbos future. Yet a number of commenters challenged me as to why the task had landed in my lap when it was my husband’s big idea. If it means so much to him, they asked, why does he not just do it himself?

A writer needs thick skin. Not everyone is going to agree with you or like what you write – not all the time and maybe not ever. But for some reason, this question got to me and I couldn’t shake it off, though I took the advice of a media savvy writer friend and refrained from getting into an extensive online discussion about it.

Still, I wanted to shout that the job had always been mine, that I’d only agreed to set the table a day early. My next inclination was to explain the intricacies of our lives, how my husband gets home very late on Thursday nights, then leaves at dawn on Friday before sliding into home plate at candle lighting. If we left it to him to set the table or cook for Shabbos, we’d be eating takeout off the paper piles on the dining room table every week – and I’d the one picking up the takeout.

I longed to add that he does do a lot of other things around here, including some of the jobs I don’t love very much, like snaking the toilet and going to Costco and taking out the garbage, not to mention all the electro-technical matters I can’t wrap my brain around and putting the cover on the grill, which I can never seem to get right. Plus, he’s handy. He fixes things.

After all of that, he’s never once said to me, “Well, if you want the deer poop out of the backyard, you should get rid of it yourself.” He just puts on gloves and makes it go away because I’ve asked him nicely (and frequently, because deer are a problem here), or more likely because he knows I’ll be much happier when the deer poop is gone.

Long ago, we sketched out team jobs that work for us, roles that shape-shift over time as we adapt to changes in our lives, our health, our children’s needs, and our careers. Without a doubt, there are growing pains that come with these modifications, just as we might feel overwhelmed when bumps in the road mean one of us has to schlepp some, or a lot of, extra weight.

What I carry around in my head, though, is the message from a lecture I attended around the time we got married. The speaker, for the life of me I can’t remember who it was, said that if both partners focus on doing what will make the other happy, the marriage will be doubly blessed, the extra blessing coming from the high we get in lifting the spirits of someone we love, a happiness that ultimately trickles down to us, too.

In the midst of the rest of the chaos of our lives, it’s what makes me rise early every morning, no matter how little sleep I get the night before, to make my husband coffee and breakfast for the road, and what motivates him to stop at the Dunkin Donuts drive-through every Friday, returning home to tell me how delicious the Shabbos food smells and how beautiful the table looks while handing me an iced latte.

Silly rituals, perhaps, but they take the edge off some of the everyday pressures that plague us all, by reminding us that behind the chores and responsibilities, we are building a life together. It’s not about the quid pro quo. It’s about love.

12 comments:

  1. Perfect response! Nobody knows the intricacies of a marriage and how a family and household run the way the TWO PEOPLE IN THAT MARRIAGE do. You do what works for you and don't worry that a few commenters don't approve of you doing a certain piece of the job. My husband and I call what we do "committees." (That developed as a cute thing over time. It is not that we literally sat down and drew up committees.) So I may be head of a certain "committee." He's still on it, but I'm the head. Example: he is head of the garbage committee. Does that mean if I see the garbage overflowing that I walk past it? Okay, maybe the first few times in a day, but I will take it out, too. Silly example, but I think you get the point!

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  2. Thank you so much, Nina, and thanks for the advice, too. Lesson learned. By the way, I love the committee concept. It makes managing life more fun to add humor like that.

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  4. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

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  5. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

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  6. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete