Saturday, January 22, 2022

I am not sure who invented marriage. You take two people from two different families, two different backgrounds, two different ways of being raised and, somehow, they fall in love and vow to spend the rest of their lives together. When you are dating this person, you spend lots of time together to get to know them. What their hobbies are. What kind of food they like. How many kids they want to have (the number is always higher when you are dating for some reason.) You talk about dreams for the future, your future together, blah, blah, blah. It is all sooo romantic. You go out to lovely dinners and shows. Money is no object. You want to have two sodas with dinner, “of course shmoopie, whatever you want.” You want to park in a garage right next to the theater so you don’t have to walk 20 blocks, “Anything for you, my precious.”

And then you get married. And you are living in the same house. Now, you have one person who was raised in an environment where it is okay to leave every light on in the house. It is okay to put the heat on when there is a little chill in the air. It is okay to turn the air conditioning on when you are feeling a tad warm. Then, you have the other person who shuts every light off in the house, even if it is dark out. The heat only goes on when there is a winter storm watch on the news and the children’s teeth are chattering. The air conditioning only goes on when there is actual steam rising from the carpet and you can take a shower just standing in the hallway and taking in the mist. How does this work? How can this couple stay married?

We are supposed to teach our children financial responsibility, which isn’t always easy to do when they have friends that have no monetary boundaries. So your home becomes the microcosm for the real world (or the world you may think is real.) If you leave the room, turn off the light. If you think you are going to trip when you turn off the light, have a flashlight handy. If you are a little chilly on a cold winter’s day, put on a coat. Yes, you are inside your house, just put the coat on. If you are feeling a little overheated, take a cold shower. Cold water is less expensive than hot water. These are all life lessons. The amount of money you save on all of these techniques helps pay for yeshiva tuition. I’m kidding. It helps pay for the six pack of beer that you need to drink when you want to throttle your spouse for making you live in a cold/hot, dark house. It helps pay for one of the many therapy sessions that your children might need for being the only kid in school who has to wear a hat and gloves when they go to bed so they don’t get frostbite.

Perhaps I am being a little extreme. Marriage is about compromise. You can make this work. Before your spouse leaves for work, send him/her off with a healthy breakfast. When the door closes behind him/her, crank that heat up. Just remember to turn it off again before they return home. See, compromise (unless, you forget to turn the heat back down to 63 and they wonder why the kids are wearing T-shirts and shorts.) I confess that when my spouse was away for a week, the heat was running on 76 degrees, that’s right, 76 degrees. My name is Banji and I am a heataholic. (Except when I am having a hot flash, and then I am just old.) It was warm. It was cozy. My boys did not have to wear their snuggies. And boy do I hope I am not home when that heating bill comes…so much for compromise.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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