I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the book "Women are from Venus, Yungeliet are from Yeshiva". Until they publish this self help manual, I’m grappling in the relationship on my own.
Yeshiva is an odd planet. It’s a place buzzing with species dressed in loose, big black chalatlech gowns; Its living beings consumed with worries and debates about Rebbes day and night. The Yeshiva definition of fun usually incorproates flamables or similar destructive material. The Yeshiva definition of hygiene involves nothing at all. The Yeshiva definition of women involves sisters, period.
My parents drove down to that very planet, and brought me home one of them people. He was a good boy, they said, and we were to spend the rest of our lives together.
A couple of days before we wed, my Yeshivinite was briefed on the nature of the institution called ‘marriage’. He was introduced to the unpredictable female specie, with all her interesting ways, and given some important pointers as to how to survive life with her. His handbook mentioned nothing about seeking love. It was about nidda, about faking basic cleanliness, and the infamous moods of the wife. By the time I started to scramble eggs for him, he considered himself blissfully and eternally married.
Why shouldn’t he be happily married? He figured he’d executed all instructions in excellence. He proudly took his socks out of the bedroom every day and threw them next to the hamper. He volunteered to skip the disposables and use the corell dishes, and washed them afterwards. He thanked me a million times for every bite of my lavish breakfasts, and he issued a replica of the exact same compliment every time I got dressed. If you throw in a home he has to himself, and a few new men-gadgets on his belt, walla, he’s absolutely in love!
Well, this here Venus wasn’t all that delighted. At first, I was occupied with convincing my friends that I’m ‘In himle’, in heavans. Trouble began a few weeks post nuptials.
I remember one particularly dark evening. I was standing at the mirror, trying to make a headgear out of the scarf and all the pins, with hands numb and impatient. I overheard my husband beam his newlywed happiness via cordless waves to his parents, as he was gushing into the phone.
Then heard him casually disclose a most private secret. He said “oh, my wife doesn't wash my tsitses at all! She just says we can send it to the cleaners.”
My hands limped to my sides. I could not believe what I just heard. The secret was out, this baal habusta has a pact with the dry cleaner. My in-laws will now know that they’ve been really been had. The housewife they were promised is a fraud. The Shout technique they taught me really isn't what makes his tsitsis so beautiful.
I rushed into the kitchen and silently, with a face bright purple, motioned for him to stop saying so much. Later that night I explained to him that I do not appreciate the sharing of personal information with the in laws.
“Why not?!" he protested. "They always ask me about you!”
“Because! They don’t tell you this, but when they hang up they ask themselves what sort of wife they got you.”
“What makes you think that?” My Yeshivanite didn't get it.
“I know that! Nobody sends the tsitsis to the cleaners. Everyone washes it by hand. It's just... I don't do well with the scrubbing.”
“Nah. They love you.” He returned to his beeper.
“HUH!?” I croaked, tears were swelling in my eyes.
“Okay. Then I won’t say it again. ”
There. Problem solved. We were blissfully married again. After these discussions, he considered the subject resolved and shelved. He could put his keyrings on the nightchest, turn out the light, roll to his side, and begin with the deep, long, snores.
Just a couple of days later I, woman and moodiness, created another one of these fusses. Again, the blissful newlywed life Yoelish was enjoying was interrupted by my emotional big-deals. It was after he asked the in-laws not to make the goulash supper anymore. “She doesn’t like it. Not the potatoes, not the chicken”.
I exploded in my contained way. “I told them a half hour ago that I loved the supper they sent! Why do you tell them everything?”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I won’t tell them anymore.”
Simple. Another little bump in married life was resolved. Did he learn anything? Oh, no need to. He just needed to avoid conflict. It wasn't about if I was right or not, if I was hurt or not, it was about not having any disagreements at all. I couldn't get Yoelish to agree to hash out my complaint. I hardly began crying and he soon had a solution and closed the discussion. Thus, I began with the infamous, ultra-wifey "blowing", the silent treatment. The next time I had the urge to argue, but couldn’t summon his cooperation, I simply stormed away. How helpful! When he tried to go on with life in total oblivion of my earnest blowing situation, I’d answer in short monosyllables through tight lips. I participated in conversations with a lot of ‘adonoknows’. I ate my food with loud, angry crunches.
It took a lot of time for him to grasp the concept of a fight. To understand that it’s a cleansing ritual. It took a lot of time for him to understand that a marriage involves a relationship, and a relationship involves some good arguments. It was my Yeshivinite’s most important lesson and he wasn't taught any of this in all of his introductory courses.