Parents- stop and think
Imagine this scenario: Shemerel and Yentl get married. Shmerel imagines that he will come home from a day at work to a calm wife, waiting to serve him a freshly cooked hot meal, with the house neat and tidy. But after just a few weeks of marriage, Shmerel realizes that his image of marital bliss has been shattered. The reality is that his wife works all day, comes home irritated and exhausted and he is often the one who makes dinner!
Of course, there are other issues as well, they are both human beings with flaws and hang ups. Shmerel complains to his parents, whose response is to tell him to leave the marriage! They want their son to be happy, and clearly he isn’t, so why should he stick around and suffer.
For many years now in my role as a Rabbi’s wife, I have been dealing with marriages. I have seen many couples who nearly got divorced turned things around, and with effort and commitment turn a rough marriage into a happy and secure one. They understood that marriage is hard work, but then anything that is worthwhile requires effort and exertion.
Those marriages that fell apart were the ones where parents interfered and didn’t have the staying power to allow their child to work on their marriages. “My child is unhappy, they need a divorce!” they say. Well, parents, grow up and allow your son/daughter the time to develop a loving relationship with their spouse.
Parents, stop and think, what are you doing, why are you interfering in your child’s marriage?
I am not talking about marriages where abuse occurs, I am talking about the ordinary marriage that most people live through. Do you want your child to be happy on their terms or on yours? Are you freaking out because you now found out that your darling married a human, with flaws and issues. Well your son in law or daughter in law, is discovering that your son/daughter is far from perfect too. Welcome to the human race, we are not malochim.
Your son/ daughter so wants your approval, they want you to approve of their marriage. They need and want your brocha and haskoma. Their marriage will not flourish, may not even survive, if a parent is always pointing out their spouses flaws. Believe me, they live with the flaws, they can see them.
Our job is to build up our “child in law” in your child’s eyes. A marriage is filled with kedusha and brocha, don’t be the one to demolish this. Be mature, you are the parent. Every marriage has challenges, adjustments, rough times and learning curves. If you have real cause to be worried, encourage your couple to go for therapy. Explain that all marriages go through hard times, but can be used to grow together as a couple.
Remember that when you walked your child to the chuppah, you stood back once the Chosson and Kallah were in the middle. This is to teach us parents, to stand back and allow the couple to build their own marriage independently.
Do not be the meddling parent that is like a bird on the shoulder, always chirping about your son/daughter in law’s faults. Be mature, you are the parent. A sach nachas!