web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Marital Roles (First Of Five Parts)


Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Share Button

Decisions And The Gender Factor

Dear Mordechai,

With Pesach almost here, my husband and I have been fighting more than ever. We’re having big sedarim and are fighting over everything, from which Haggadas to use to what to expect from our differently-aged children. This frustration has caused me to finally write to you what I’ve wanted to write for months. I don’t want to be told what to do because I’m the woman or mother. My family is coming and the Haggadas we use make a difference. Should I not be able to be a part of that decision? Should I not be able to say that my four-year-old not be forced to memorize the en tire Mah Nishtanah? My husband and I can never get to a decision without fighting, so we just end up making decisions without the other. Unfortunately our kids suffer the most, because decisions for them change on a daily basis, depending on which parent is “in charge” at the moment. How do we learn to work out these small, daily decisions, much less the big ones?

Answer:

Marital partners have more to argue about today than ever before. Spouses have been made to believe that they must share every decision, from the stocks in which to invest to how to decorate the bathroom. Because it seems politically incorrect to put anyone into a “role,” many spouses feel it isn’t right to be in charge of a particular area, even though they may be “better at it,” or their time is best served that way. This “management system” based on roles once fell into place naturally. In the past, men were seen as more capable of managing the financial well being of the family, so they were expected to make unilateral decisions about finances. Since women were seen as better nurturers, they were expected to make unilateral decisions about the children’s upbringing. Each spouse felt a certain amount of power to make decisions in “his/ her” area. Usually; there wasn’t a great deal of discussion unless a huge issue was to be decided. Disagreement, and fighting were reserved for the “big” items.

Of course I just glamorized a system that worked so poorly that much of American society has abolished it. The system failed first and foremost, because it made assumptions about people based solely on gender. Partners began to resent being placed into a management role, which they never requested or felt qualified to fill. There were many times that each spouse might have cheated at the largely unspoken rules conduct. Father decided to plunge all of the family’s savings, which were earmarked for Grandma’s operation, into an investment without talking it over with his wife. Mother decided to change little Timmy’s school without consulting her husband. In many cases, Mother had no control over any major decisions, even ones that affected the children. Perhaps Father wasn’t very involved in the kids’ education, but if he had a strong opinion, it trumped Mother’s judgment. Women felt that they were far from equal partners in this marital venture.

We now recognize that a woman can be as capable as, or even more so, than her husband in the area of finance and investment. A man can be as capable as, or even more so, than his wife in the area of raising the children. The problem is that the presumed antidote to the old stereotypes is a marital relationship in which couples are equal partners in everything. We now live in an enlightened world that recognizes that people have varied talents, regardless of gender. But with this enlightenment comes tremendous confusion. Who should make a financial or child-related decision if each of us is equally qualified to do so? How can we make these decisions together, and what happens when we don’t have the time to make a joint decision? In the last decade alone, the number of full-time working mothers has tripled. The reality is that in any given partnership, one partner really is better than the other in many specific areas. It’s absurd and unnecessary to try to make all decisions jointly.

What’s critical is that we understand that differences are not necessarily determined by gender, and thus we must challenge and discover where each of our strengths and weaknesses lie. Couples must arrive at a logical division of labor according to each partner’s ability so they can spend their limited time and energy wisely.

RABBI NEUMAN is a Florida licensed psychotherapist and author of two books, Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce the Sandcastles Way (Random House) and Emotional Infidelity, How to Affair-proof Your Marriage and Other Secrets to a Great Relationship (Crown). He and his work have been featured many times on The Oprah Show, Today, The View and in People, Time and elsewhere. He lives with his wife and five children in Miami Beach, Florida. For more information on his work, visit www.mgaryneuman.com or e-mail changingfamilies@mgaryneuman.com.

Share Button

About the Author: Check out Gary’s web program where he interviews couples who share their struggles and innermost thoughts and feelings at mgaryneuman.com. Facebook or Twitter Gary at mgaryneuman. M. Gary Neuman is a NY Times best selling author and a frequent guest on the Oprah show. He lives in Miami with his wife and five children.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Marital Roles (First Of Five Parts)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Rabbi M. Gary Neuman
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Spoiler Alert: Going to see the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”, starring Tom Hanks is not like going to Disney World. Well, it is like going to Disney World if you go mid-August with your triplet toddlers, feed them all cotton candy, and lose your car because you forgot you parked in Pluto 7.394. It’s not a happy Disney movie.

Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Stacy and George walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex-wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes spent embroiled in a detailed account of their battle only fired up their anger – and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not coming back.

The therapeutic alliance has always been about a firm connection between patient and counselor. There has always been one primary standard – physically meeting in an office setting. There might be some phone calls in between sessions or to bridge some vacation gap. But therapy has always been about a feeling of connectivity and there is no better way to do this than face-to-face.

Cindy is 43, successful, attractive, a dedicated mom, extremely caring… and she hates herself. She doesn’t readily admit this, but spend a minute inside her head and you’ll discover the resounding messages revolving around negative rants – everything from “I failed” to “I should’ve done better.” You wouldn’t know it from her behavior. She’s a high functioning, regular member of society.

As adults who were children of divorce know, healing does not occur through time alone. In fact, my research found that only 46% said they had a positive relationship with their fathers as adults.

Stacy and Michael walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes embroiled in a detailed outline of the battle only fired up their anger and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not returning for therapy.

From the moment they stand under the chuppah, newlyweds have two years to enjoy the special bliss that new love brings. This new finding, reported by the New York Times, is based on a study undertaken by American and European researchers. 1,761 people who got married and stayed married over 15 years were followed. The research shows that after two years the couples moved into a more companionable state in their relationships.

There are millions of adults today who experienced the trauma of their parents’ divorce 20, 30, 40 or more years ago. Some have found closure, but many more have not. Regrettably, it is a time in a child’s life that is never forgotten. It stays with you; it is part of who you are.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/marital-roles-first-of-five-parts/2006/04/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: