I got a call from an old friend the other day and he started it off by asking me in a very distressed voice if I knew anyone who had been divorced twice and was under 30. To make him feel better I said yes and then said “I can’t believe you’re f$%^ing thinking about getting divorced I thought this was the love of your life. To which he responded in the affirmative, but that something had happened and it was tearing him a part from her. The following is some conversation some part advice, but I think it would be a great mitzvah for you folks to comment on the topic because I don’t think he’s alone.
My friend is an extremely nice (I think his first wife saw him as a pushover and proceeded to berate him in public and be a general bitch) modern orthodox machmir guy, he is extremely driven and enjoys his financial career. He married a girl who was some sort of teacher at the time looking for work as a full time public school teacher.
To make a long story short, she has stated that she doesn’t want to work anymore because he makes enough money to fulfill all of their needs. He was alarmed, but he said something along the lines of saving for a house and for the children when they come. She refused to hear it and said something along the lines of criticsm towards his seemingly frugal attitude and even told him that he really didn’t need to balance the checkbook or look at credit card statements every month. Basically they both look at money in two different ways, which is dangerous as it tends to kill many marriages.
I turned on my frum judgmental stereotyping self for a minute and said that I bet that her parents had paid for her entire schooling and she had never lived an independent day in her life. Her parents also probably paid her bills, apartment and other stuff you cannot afford on a salary of 12k a year. Apparently last year she lived on her own for the first time paying her own bills and such (she’s 27 – which means she’s got the financial smarts of an 18 year old or even worse)
The problem from my friends vantage is not that she doesn’t want to work, but more along the lines of what she does want to do and that is nothing. It;s not like she’s quiting her job and going to volunteer at a homeless shelter, hospice or Tomchei Shabbos. She wants to sit on the beach all summer long and do nothing. My friend is bothered by her lack of passion for work and its rewards and he is horrified by her statements that basically say she’s not prepared for the financial responsibility of children and all that entails. I don’t blame him, she sounds like she belongs at the Occupy Protests except they at least seek something and she seeks nothing.
He keeps saying “how was I to know” they dated ten months and there were no red flags. There are always red flags, but he didn’t see them, blinded by love maybe, but chances are he couldn’t have ever known this would happen. It I didn’t have to work, I would be the active dude in the world – except that I love work and the freedoms it affords to physically make your own money.
So what’s a guy to do? He suggested they see a financial adviser, she refused. He suggested they see a Rav, she refused. He suggested they see a marriage counselor, she refused. He suggested that she suggest a solution and she sees no problem. I suggested that he mention the graveness of the situation by telling her that he’s even entertaining thoughts of divorce. He said he couldn’t do that yet. I don’t think he’s being stern enough with her and I don’t think she understands how much it’s tearing him up inside. I think that even a mention of divorce is liable to bring any newly married frum 27 year old girl to her knees (shame they don’t give good head) and that it may wake her up to the possible of at least talking to someone about her refusal to work or do anything productive with her time.
Now what do you think?