Although it is a bit early, my husband and I are already having our annual dilemma about the High Holidays. The problem is that my three children (ages 11,13, and 16) and I prefer to go to my parents’ home in Brooklyn for the holidays, while he would much rather stay home in Deal.
The last two years, I was able to convince my husband to spend the holidays in Brooklyn. But he is dead set against it this year. He said that it is only fair to take turns. However, my children feel that it is so much more fun and exciting to spend the holidays with their cousins in Brooklyn.
I know my husband reads your column regularly. So, I’m hoping that you can offer some sage advice and he will change his mind.
Dear Holiday Hopper,
It is certainly nice to know that your husband enjoys my column. Let’s see if he feels the same way after reading about himself.
Classic answer – one year you go to Brooklyn, one year you stay in Deal. Compromise. After all, isn’t that what marriage is all about?
I don’t particularly think so. Now you might be thinking, okay, so what’s so bad? One year he will be unhappy and one year the kids will have to learn to deal with it and they’ll be unhappy. You know, that’s not what really happens. If your husband is unhappy, you will also be unhappy. If your kids are miserable, then both of you will be, too. In short, everybody loses. Every year.
So how do you find a solution? Well, we already know why you and the children want to go, but why doesn’t your husband? He likes sleeping in his own bed? He wants to pray with his rabbi and friends? He doesn’t like your mother’s cooking? They raised the tolls on the Verrazano, and he refuses to pay?
When you fully understand his position, then you can more easily arrive at a solution that works for both of you. The idea is to come up with a third plan where you both win. Perhaps the 16-year-old goes to Brooklyn and some younger Brooklyn cousins come to your house. Perhaps you invite your parents and some cousins to Deal. Maybe you convince his learning partner to go to Brooklyn to his parents so your husband will have someone to pray with (if that’s why he wants to stay).
But let’s say that nothing works. Then here’s the sage advice:
Shalom bayit is number one. Bottom line, it is up to the husband to be the leader and keep shalom in the family. If Hashem could have His Name erased to keep peace and if He could change Sarah Imenu’s words to prevent discord, then the man of the house has to be flexible and giving enough to make sure that at this most holy time of the year, that his house is blessed with peace. Mr. Hopper, it’s up to you.
Tizku leshanim rabot.