I remember being told many times, both before marriage, during my first marriage, and after it ended, that the one thing you admire most about a spouse is also the one thing that makes you crazy. Every maala has it's chesron. Or more quaintly put, every cloud has it's silver lining.
I'll give you an example. My husband, Sky, is probably one of the most reliable, responsible people I know. If he says he's going to do something, he does it. What's the flip side of that very positive trait? He can be G-d bless him, extremely rigid. If he doesn't think he can accomplish something, he won't commit to it. This is how he does things and he can't veer from them. It makes me crazy! But when I think about what the opposite would be - someone who is more flexible, but potentially more volatile in other parts of his life - I shudder and am grateful for what I have. I can work around his rigidity because I value the stability that comes with it more.
One of the best things my rebbetzin suggested I read when I was dating the second time around was A Plate A Ring and the Time In Between because in the back of the book there is a chart that lists about four pages of attributes - and their flip side. For example (and this is not verbatim, because I'm doing it from memory)
happy go lucky and lackadaisical or
enamored and obsessed
Love (and lust) can easily blind us to our spouses' less than stellar traits. But that's where parents and Rabbonim and Rebbetzins come into play. Their job is to point these things out to us BEFORE ENGAGEMENT and MARRIAGE. Somethings a person can deal with. Somethings a person cannot deal with (mental illness, abuse, and drugs/alcohol are at the top of that list for me).
One of the best ways, in my opinion, to help us deal with our disappointment in our spouses not being perfect, is to look at ourselves and figure out what is our own personal biggest maala and what is the flip side of it? I know that one of my maalahs is that I have a very lively and dramatic personality. I can entertain many people and I can switch moods quickly. The flip side? I'm often moody and I feel my emotions very deeply. When I'm happy, the whole world sings. When I'm angry, watch out. I feel pity for Sky at times.
Can you identify the positive and negative sides of the traits of you and your spouse? Can you see how they fit together?
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