What’s Important to You is Important to Me. That’s Love.

A childhood friend posted a 40-minute video of a rebbetzin giving a public lecture about love.

Let’s break down that sentence.

  • Childhood friend = good.
  • 40-minute video = not good!
  • rebbetzin = what is that? The friend is an Orthodox Jew. Rebbetzin sounds religious. This is NOT going to be for me.
  • public lecture = I can reserve judgment.
  • love = could be interesting, but is there really anything new to say?

At this point, I have watched the whole 40 minutes multiple times. And now I am writing about it. It is very good. Entertaining, warm, wise.

According to the dictionary that lives in Google, a rebbetzin is a wife of a rabbi. Apparently this is like being First Lady: there are collateral responsibilities with the husband’s job. This rebbetzin, Lori Palatnik, works with families and speaks about relationships. This particular talk is about love in marriage.

Loyal readers of this blog know that I am old married lady. I love a good post or quote that captures the emotional goulash that is marriage: laughing, crying, support, challenge, dreams, nightmares. And yet, love and marriage are well-covered topics. Is there anything new to say? Maybe not, but Palatnik brings some old ideas to life. I approached her talk with my deep aversion to the mystical, but her stories are priceless, and her comic timing is perfect.

My favorite parts:

  1. On our spouse’s challenging qualities: “Instead of resenting them, embrace them, celebrate them….We don’t grow through our spouse’s good qualities.” Her husband is an absent-minded professor type. She tells about how she learned to reframe his maddening inability to find the parked car. He picks her up at the airport, and she is exhausted from her trip.

    And then we go to find the car.
    Again you can’t find the car?
    Reframe. Now, when I land, I’ve already budgeted in my mind that, for 35 minutes, we are going to have a date, and our date is that we are going for a walk. To find the car.

    The transcript here doesn’t do it justice. You have to watch to get the full benefit of her delivery.

  2. Loving is giving.

    Does loving lead to giving or does giving lead to loving? The more you give, the more you love.

    This is a beautiful and succinct expression of the idea in the passage I quoted elsewhere, when Michael Lewis reflects on how he grew into his love for his children.

  3. What’s important to you is important to me. Illustrating through the example of her own family:

    My mother’s idea of a great vacation is backpacking in Nepal on 24-hours notice. She’s 79.
    My father’s idea of a great vacation is an air-conditioned bus tour of Miami he’s been planning for six months.
    Every month, my father goes with my mother to the symphony, holds her hand, and tries not to fall asleep.
    My mother goes with [my father] to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey games, holds his hand, and tries to pretend this is not stupid.

Those are my three favorite parts. There is also a part that makes me think. It’s a question she poses for grooms-to-be.

Will you be happy making her happy for the rest of your life?

That’s a tall order. I am skeptical that we can predict anything about the rest of our lives. But it’s a sweet idea, one that my very own groom likely subscribes to (even if he needs a little course correction sometimes!).

Here’s the whole video. You may find yourself watching the whole thing.

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