December 20, 2009
How to pick up your wife: Garden of Peace-Part I
Some people think when they get married they don’t have to try anymore, especially the man. He’s already proven to the woman that she’s number one in his life—why else would he give up his freedom and take the leap so many men dread? They think it’s payback time: now she’ll have to forever give love, affection, dedication without any hassle and, of course, make dinner and clean the house.
The book, Garden of Peace: A Marital Guide for Men Only by Rabbi Shalom Arush, which I reviewed for the Jewish Journal, teaches that, hey buddy, that ain’t so.
It’s the only Jewish book I know of that thoroughly discusses the problems of male masculinity in general and in the Jewish world in particular. It’s like a religious guide on how to “pick up” your wives. It has an entire chapter on “Be a Man”, where the author writes (emphasis mine):
“Sometimes couples come to me, but I find myself talking to two females. I can’t make peace between two females in what’s supposed to be a male-female relationship. The husband says: ‘She should make the first move. She should correct her behavior.’ And she, understandably, says: ‘No. he’s the one who needs to change.’ There is no solution in such situations, apart from the husband learning to become a man.’
“This explains the Talmud in Kiddushin (82b) that says: ‘Happy is the one who has male sons, and woe to one whose sons are females.’” Great Talmudic adage!
So how does Arush describe a man?
Doesn’t this sound like a pushover—the “nice guy”, which I described in my website, as the kind of guy so many desirable women reject in favor of the “jerk”? He is if he sacrifices his identity and values. Here’s where the “manliness lies”: he is not needy, whiny, or judgmental. He’s comfortable enough with who he is that he doesn’t seek honor from people around him, even from his wife. Likewise, pick-up artists (PUAs) teach that the “alpha male” doesn’t look for a woman to validate him, especially when he approaches her for the first time.
The major lesson throughout the book is that a husband must turn on his “mensch” with his wife. During dating stages, a woman generally likes to know a man has his own life—that he has values, integrity, character, and social acceptance as well as professional fulfillment and hobbies.
But once they marry or begin to date seriously, she wants to be the top value. By marrying her, he tells her she deserves to be his top value. So marriage is not the time to slack-off. It’s the time to turn on the “mensch” part of MANsch—to be that “nice guy” who will honor his wife as the best thing that ever happened to him and whom he’ll love and protect as the strong-willed, self-contained, self-assured “alpha male” that he is.
However, when approaching and dating attractive women, many men treat the girl as if she’s the best thing that ever happened to them before they get to know her, and it indicates that their interest may be superficial and that they have few standards because they’ll take any pretty woman that comes their way, like any AFC (average frustrated chump) or clueless mensch.
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