||YOUR GUIDE TO BEING A MARITAL INCOMPETENT
- August '02/Av-Ellul 5762
In my marriage counseling experience, I find that there are some basic patterns which go into those marriages that are hopeless. One or both members of the couple is what I call a "Marital Incompetent." No more than its floor washer is competent to operate a multi-national corporation or a Bowery "SHIKUR" is competent to do neurosurgery, many people come into marriage UTTERLY INCOMPETENT at managing a responsible adult marriage relationship. This is especially striking when Yeshivish or Chasidish people have done intensive checking before marriage, the person checks out to be as big a tzadik as the Satmar Rav, as big a talmid chocham as Rav Aharon Kotler and as big a baal midos as Rav Yaakov Kaminetski; yet in every day married life the person turns out to be Nevuchadnetzar, Og, Billam, Esav, Titus, Haman and Anshay Sedom - all in one. The likes of these beauties - men and women - is far too common.
It seems such a MAALAH these days to be an OISVARF in married life, and so many in frum society today grow up to be marital catastrophes. However, since they seem to be groping, proceeding by "trial and error," I want to perform a much needed public service by writing, once and for all, a guide book on HOW TO MESS UP A MARRIAGE THOROUGHLY. Don't pick and choose! If you want to destroy your family, here is how to do a classic, comprehensive, effective and even professional job! Although this is meant to be funny and sarcastic, it is all too painfully true. WARNING: IF YOU DO THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING WRITTEN HERE, YOU RUN THE SERIOUS RISK OF A SWEET, HEALTHY AND LIFELONG MARRIAGE. Here goes.
Be rigid. Whatever your partner asks, never bend. Be sadistic. Never have greater pleasure in life than making your partner squirm with emotional anguish. BE CLEVER ENOUGH TO REPEATEDLY BE EXCRUCIATING without ever hitting, since this gets the police involved (that gets things messy, and kosher food in jail or arraignment scheduled late on a Friday might be a problem). Brainwash your children to hate and disrespect the other. Love to be in control, do anything you can to manipulate or domineer. Be sneaky - do as much as you can for your own interests and enjoyment, behind your partner's back; and, of course, have those secret bank accounts and get food stamps under a different name. Try to find a way to be nasty, selfish, crushing or frightening to your spouse AT LEAST ONCE IN EVERYTHING YOU DO TOGETHER. Never have sensitivity or sympathy. It's helpful to have an irrational, animated and furious temper. Whenever you can make your partner feel mutilated, that gains you extra credit.
Keep a constant tense and unstable tone in the house. Make sure you argue in front of people, especially relatives who will meddle, instigate, speak lashon hora, take sides or also get into disputes between themselves; and, of course, have vicious fights regularly in front of your children, so that they grow up pathological from familial dysfunction and emotional trauma. Why are their KISHKAS any more worthy than yours? Why should they have Shalom Bayis and normal children, since you couldn't? If you can fill them with anxiety, tension, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and, of course, fear of commitment (even if subconscious), that's extra credit!
Talk to as many people as you can about what a RASHA, IDIOT OR ODDBALL your spouse is. Till (s)he's too embarrassed to put his/her head out the door, you haven't done the job. If you keep at it till (s)he feels two inches tall or wants to move to a little obscure village in Mexico, that's extra credit.
Probably the most important thing is: BE IMPOSSIBLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH. Once you start talking, be IMPENETRABLE. Keep going like a steamroller. Never be wrong, never adapt, never admit fault and never say you're sorry. When your partner says something that matters to him/her; avoid it: do not respond and do not accomodate what is asked for. This one is like a Chinese menu: there are several ways to do this. a. Walk out of the room, preferably while your partner is still talking. b. Start yelling about how your partner has faults; so who is (s)he to complain, demand or criticize. c. Bring up a time when you said something and your partner refused to listen to you. d. Say you'll do it and then break your promise, preferably more than once. e. Change the subject. f. Turn away silently and pout like a baby. g. Put on a cassette so loud that no one for about four miles can hear anyone speak. h. Do something violent and terrorizing while your partner is talking, like kicking out a window [remember you must have your shoes on!] or throwing a vase at the wall. i. Insist on the opposite of whatever your spouse wants. Always have "tairutzim [answers]." The more "lomdish" [using Talmudic logic], the better. Give your wife fourteen intellectual reasons why she shouldn't have feelings rather than ever facing the reality that she has them. You learners out there: relate to her like she's a gemora. If you can add Tosfos (or an abstract Maharal), that's extra credit! If you tough women out there make him feel emasculated, you get extra credit!
The wife should know her priorities. Keep the house in shambles. Look messy and repugnant yourself. Don't tend to the children; as they must grow up wild, disturbed, misguided and undisciplined. Ensure all of this by being lazy or by having a hobby or cause that is too important to interrupt for mere housekeeping and child-raising. You know you've succeeded if every room looks like a bomb dropped in it. If your husband's jaw drops DOWN TO HIS PUPIG when he comes home tired from work, longing for refuge from the world, or if he stops wanting to be home, that's extra credit.
The husband should go to Atlantic City at least once every week. If there are rumors he was seen with a girl friend, that gains him extra credit. If the girl friend was a cute shiksa, that's double extra credit. He should come home at four every morning and be out just before every one wakes up. Your wife can't say "He's never here." YOU TAANAH LIKE AN ANGEL WITH A HALO, "I come home every night;" and if, because you truly come home (even though it's only seven minutes a day) you give her EXTRA frustration, this gives you EXTRA credit!
Before you each smell like overripe fruit on a hot day, don't ever shower. Make sure that there are parts of the Torah that you pick and choose, to ignore and violate steadily. Be very shrewd about making the outside world see you as impressively frum (preferably they should all PLOTZ from you). On mikva night, one of you "MUST HAVE A HEADACHE." If the husband is "really too tired after a tough day at the job," that works too. Breaking the other's heart, or missing three consecutive months in a row, gains you extra credit.
If your partner wants to work on the relationship, demand that everything be on your terms. If you go for marriage counseling, only "go through motions," then claim to be wonderful for all your brave effort, and argue vigorously that it SOMEHOW PROVED you are perfect. Never admit your reasoning is convoluted and distorted. Don't give anything and don't back down on anything. Your partner must PROVE FULL LOVE FOR YOU BEYOND ANY DOUBT and confess that every last thing (s)he has ever done in earthly life was wrong, evil, sick and cruel. If you break his/her back with your stubborn-ness, onesided-ness and demanding-ness; or send him/her to a psychiatric hospital for life; extra credit - way to go!