REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF the Florida Jewish News
You check off the mental list: You’ve never been abusive. You remember anniversaries, birthdays. True, you never seem to get the right gift, but you’re head and shoulders above the poor sucker who forgot all together. You do your share of household chores. True, you don’t have the perfect answer for a crying child all the time, but your kids love you and you’re a good parent. You work hard for a living. You don’t have any vices at all, no cheating, smoking, drinking, drugging: Mr. Squeaky-Clean. You don’t even flirt with people in the elevator, for crying out loud. How squeaky-clean is that! So, what on Earth is bothering your wife? Why has she told me she’s so unhappy? Why? Why?
If You Don’t Know What You Did, Then That’s The Problem
The fact that you’re asking the question is a big clue as to what the problem is. I’ll bet you good money that your wife told you why in good, plain English a thousand times. And it did what things she says usually do: Went in one ear and out the other.
Statistics show that marriages in which a couple are “like two ships passing in the night” are a no-go. There’s got to be more than the absence of abuse or a bare-bones gesture on Mother’s Day and the like to make a marriage something someone would want to stay in. A marriage is not defined by the absence of problems; it should be defined by the presence of magic. And magic is easy. Ask any magician. It may look amazing—that’s the idea—but with some serious practice, it isn’t alchemy, after all.
The magic begins with being known.
Being known is what makes up true intimacy. In the Bible, when Adam “knew” Eve, it means just that: He really knew her.
Being In Synch Means Really “Getting” The Other
When you know someone, you know what to avoid saying because it will hurt. You know what will make your partner laugh—and what will make him cry. You know what is important to her—and what is irrelevant. You know his favorite treats—and the things he hates. You know his favorite people, too—and the ones that are, ahem, opposite to that.
But here’s the nifty part, the part that goes over the top and makes merely “knowing,” old hat: The couple for which there’s magic goes beyond knowing. That couple is in synch. They “get” each other.
Being in synch means you don’t just know what your spouse likes; it means that, with impeccable timing, you produce what she likes at just the right moment—and avoid like the plague what she doesn’t like at any moment. It’s a combination of knowing and letting your partner know you know. It’s a combination of knowing and timing. The in-synch partner turns to make eye contact at the exact moment you were thinking of sharing something you were both experiencing. The in-synch partner knows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you do not want anything more than your cup of coffee and your muffin first thing in the morning—and would not consider bothering you with an offer of scrambled eggs.
The in-synch partner knows that you do not believe in being even one minute late to the office—and therefore won’t detain you on the way out. The in-synch partner knows that you can’t stand foul language, ever—and therefore won’t repeat it, laughing, and wondering why you’re not laughing too. The in-synch partner knows you do not, emphatically, want to hear a particular joke you’ve heard too many times in your short life—and won’t re-tell it. The in synch partner knows what’s missing from the fridge and restocks it without being asked. The in-synch partner knows your routines and doesn’t act like he just landed from Mars when he finds you in the middle of one.
Best, and most important of all, the in-synch partner’s partner—that’s you—is in synch too. That’s magic. That’s intimacy. Here’s the funny part: I actually know couples just like that. Remember, magic isn’t magic, just skill and practice.