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It's Not About the Diamond
Mom with a View

It's Not About the Diamond

Presents are nice. Luxurious presents may be nicer. But don't confuse them with real thoughtfulness and caring.

by

"You have been married 10 years and you don't have Journey piece?" is the new way that DeBeers Group plans to sew the seeds of discontent in our marriages. Just as engagement rings -- with emphasis on size and shape -- have become synonymous with that expression of commitment, so too should the new multi-stoned diamond necklace (with the diamonds gradually increasing in size) symbolize growth within marriage and renewed commitment.

The purveyors of such a shameless manipulation have no problem describing their plans publicly, so confident are they of its impact, so sure are they of our susceptibility.

And we are susceptible. We fall into the trap of dissatisfaction with our spouses because we didn't get a romantic enough anniversary gift, a thoughtful enough Mother's Day gift, a dramatic enough diamond for our ring. Even while objectively recognizing the foolishness of this outlook, we still fall emotionally prey to this philosophy. And good husbands are judged by artificially manufactured standards.

Instead of looking outside our lives for what would be preferable, let's look inside our marriages and be grateful for what works.

Not only should we not buy the sentiment that Hallmark or Godiva or our local jeweler is trying is sell us, but we also need to be careful about comparing.

You can almost see our eyes turn green as we examine rings, bracelets and flower bouquets received by other (luckier? happier?) wives.

But external gestures are easy. They may require money -- and I'm not diminishing the thought and time that may also be involved -- but they are a brief one-time act. They say nothing about the ability to care for us, to be solicitous of our needs, on a daily basis.

If you can have chocolates and constant attentiveness, all the better. But instead of looking outside our lives for what would be preferable, let's look inside our marriages and be grateful for what works.

No flowers, but he changes the light bulbs? No chocolates, but he's wonderful with the kids? No diamonds, but he'd lay down his life to keep you from harm? It's the unrecorded commitment and effort that are the most impressive. No one's looking and complimenting.

While everyone may see the new Mercedes the man down the street bought for his wife, no one sees how many times your husband gets the baby in the night. No one watches him clean the kitchen, read to the children or rub your back. No one applauds him for getting takeout so you can have a night off. Or wiping the floor after your bout with the flu (or other nausea-inducing situations). Or listening patiently as you talk of your day even as his eyes are shutting. Or for dealing with the leaky faucet and the termite infestation.

There are no diamonds to mark growth in character, hurdles in patience overcome. There are no necklaces that can capture attentiveness and concern. There are no flowers that express the fun, the joy and good times shared.

Presents are nice. Luxurious presents may be nicer. But we shouldn't confuse them with real thoughtfulness and caring. We shouldn't permit them to distract us from the Jewish ideal of "being happy with what you have". We can't allow ad campaigns to get in the way of our Shalom Bayis (domestic peace).

Our husbands are susceptible to those ads too. We have to make it clear that we love and appreciate them, multi-stoned necklace or not. That their smile and love for us is their biggest gift. And then perhaps for our birthday...

Published: December 16, 2006


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Visitor Comments: 9

(9) Tammy Humphrey, August 12, 2007 2:43 PM

Yes, Exactly!

Yes, yes, you said it so well. Thank you, thank you... It is all so very true, and after my husband and I read this, we laughed and both admitted that we have fallen into such ploys also... After 20 years of marriage, I wouldn't trade my great-grandmothers wedding ring (she gave us, we couldn't afford anything else)with its little precious stones for anything, nor would I trade my husband, with his heart more brillant than the finest stone. Much regard, The Humphrey's

(8) Anonymous, January 18, 2007 8:40 AM

YOU'RE SO RIGHT EMUNA....

It's not about the gifts; it's all about what's in the heart. So many people quantify love by how expensive an item is; pure materialism!

(7) Anonymous, January 7, 2007 10:39 AM

Well-timed reminder to what we all hopefully know! Some of the other comments show that they didn't carefully read the article. OF COURSE gifts are wonderful! OF COURSE husbands should make an effort to get his wife a gift. Mrs. Braverman's point was to not focus only on that. To not look at your friends' gifts and compare to yours. To not be upset when your husband got you tiny stud earrings like you got when you were 7 years old instead of the huge diamonds that you wanted. Because while gifts are nice, gifts can be romantic, that's not what shows CONSISTENT caring. Let's not lose track of what's really important. I'll never forget my friend who always has the most beautiful clothes, jewelry etc., but is so miserable in her marriage. That is the ONLY way he knows to show her that he loves her. HE doesn't help one bit in the house, isn't helpful or good with the kids, and doesn't ever speak affectionately to her.

(6) Anonymous, December 20, 2006 6:00 AM

What's wrong with diamonds?

Why can't we have both? What's wrong (if one can afford the luxuries) of a husband who helps out at home still purchasing an extravagant gift for a special occasion? I'll admit to being materialistic...I'm a bit disappointed that the last time my husband bought me jewellry it was with the insurance settlement from our break in when all of it (except my wedding band, engagement ring, and grandma's pearls) were stolen. I'd be perfectly happy with a simple pair of 14K earrings... He is helpful at home, and I know he loves me and appreciates me, and he DOES buy me little things here and there. But some nice jewelry, which I could wear and use much more frequently than the heart shaped pillow or other cute doo-dad, and which I could look at fondly as I remember the occasion for which it was purchased, well, it couldn't hurt.

(5) Chava, December 20, 2006 12:41 AM

To have one, you must have the other

Don't take the one liner to mean to have appreciation you must have a token of appreciation. Rather, to have genuine contentment in what you have, you must have genuine contentment with yourself. The root of materialism is found in our perception of lack. Whether it is lack of affirmation within ourselves or what we perceive as a lack of affirmation from our spouses. Why does this kind of marketing work so well?? (I highly disagree it is lacking in the frum community) Because we are looking for something and our western society tells us plainly that "things" will stop the craving. What are we craving anyway? Perhaps some of us instead of using shiny "things" to find our affirmations we use "religiousness" or loshen hora. Maybe we do compare what we see as a value to what someone else has or does. All in all, I appreciated what this author had to say. Living in the Western Hemisphere, it's never a bad thing to hear the mussar of "Learn to be happy and content

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