Wonderful World of Womenby Marnie Macauley December 29, 2015
Women! What other gender thinks with such complexity, nuance, and, according to Louann Brizendine, author of “The Female Brain,” speaks an average of 20,000 words per day, nearly three times the mere 7,000 spoken by men. Of course this may have been a rumor spread by Jewish male marriage counselors, but we don’t need a “study” to tell us we’re … sensitive, empathetic, and have issues. Let’s look.
WIFE UNDER A PEDESTAL
Dear Marnie: Intelligent Husband vs. Dumbo Wife here. I’m really ashamed to say this, but I’m no match for my husband. He’s extremely intelligent, quick, decisive and successful. Because of this, I have lost my self-confidence. I don’t open my mouth in public, even though I know I’m right, for fear I might be wrong. He’s a computer genius, and I’m nothing, not even an undergraduate. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on college. How do I boost my esteem and become equal with him?
– Dazed and Confused
MARNIE SAYS: If you don’t stop crouching in that supine position, I’ll fly out there and thwack you upright! I know you have opinions. You said so. Unless your brilliant husband adored the idea of spending eternity with a potted plant, you must have been or done something he found delectable.
Before you threw yourself beneath his pedestal, who were you? Only positives now, even if it’s hearsay. Finish the sentence, “I am, most of all, a truly great…” listener? Mambo dancer? Decision maker?
Who do you wish to be? That’s “who,” not “what.” Use the words “a little more” or “a little less,” and write down the qualities you wish to own precisely. For example, “I’d like to be a little more assertive” or “a little less shy.”
Mamala, your husband didn’t put you under that pedestal, you did. And this stage was set early. Somewhere in the backwaters of your childhood you “learned” lies about you that still haunt the adult you, today. Get tough.
Find a better place: upright. Where? In exactly the place you don’t want to “spend a lot of money on.” College (or specialty training). Stop with the excuses. There are night classes, video courses, computer courses (if your Michael Dell is such a turk, he can spring for a few semesters). If school isn’t your fancy for now, focus that “I know I’m right” on other things. Volunteer! There are scores of Jewish organizations just waiting for your input. Serve meals to AIDS patients. Teach a child to read. “Woman” a hotline.
Quit competing with your husband or anyone else. Do you want to be a Xerox or a unique creation?
Do what it takes to lift yourself from that stupor. You say you don’t want to lose him. My friend, how can there be a “we,” if there is no “you”?
Dear Marnie: I am a 40-year-old woman with my own website. I look good, I have funds, I’m educated. I love life and what it offers. I’ve had two marriage proposals, but from the wrong men. I worry I may intimidate prospects because I travel on my own, golf and am independent. Friends have suggested that I play the defenseless, but I can’t do it. I am who I am and cannot fake what I’m not. What do you say?
– Ms. Independent
MARNIE SAYS: Sweetie, you’ve got that bite ’em in the beeswax pepper that makes me want to bottle you! While Judaism considers marriage a mitzvah, we’re each considered as unique as snowflakes. You’re captain of your soul and have chosen freedom over a chuppah with the wrong man. Honey, as the kids say “you’ve got it going on.”
Play some helpless gothic heroine? Pish posh. Your pals’ bibble babble is what’s making you wonder if you’re coming on like the Terminator. If your desire for independence instead of picket-fencing-it upsets them, their egos are made of Silly Putty. Ask yourself who’s got the problem?
Get new friends, OK? Useful ones who adore you for who you are, admire your pluck, and don’t feed their own needs on “pitying” damsels in need rescue, thank you.
ASK NOT WHAT HE CAN DO FOR YOU
Dear Marnie: I’ve been dating a nice guy now for about a year. We were friends for seven years in Day School before we became involved. I’m going to be 21 soon and I find myself thinking more and more about marriage (my parents are also pushing). My concern is, he’s too complacent about things. We have discussed what he wants and he’s content to get his degree and take an ordinary boring job as an accountant. Do I worry about finding a man to give me my exciting “happily ever after” or do I just stop worrying and be happy with the relationship?
– Young and Perplexed
MARNIE SAYS: Oh, suffering space shoes! Who are you, some ancient, geezette! My heart just felt the pang of early suffocation – yours – at your words! Mamala, you’re mucking up your brain with the wrong stuff.
At your age, the choice isn’t whether to settle for a “if it’s Monday it must be meatloaf” mate, even if you do adore him (although not once did I hear the word “love”).
Hanging in and getting all nutsy about the canyon between you is a bigger waste of time than me trying to bake a challah from scratch. You haven’t even made a shidduch yet and you’re already kvetching.
It’s my sad duty to inform you that you could marry a cross between Mark Cuban and Matisyahu at this stage and still blow it. You see, despite rumors to the contrary, there is no mate, no paragon, no flesh and blood-er in the cosmos who can carve out your perfect “happily ever after.”
Time to state the “right” question. “Ask not what another can do for you, but rather – what you can do for you.” Now go do it. Α