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The Fruits of Friendship

Sarah Chana Radcliffe

Centuries ago, Rabbi Akiva’s students died because of the lack of kavod they showed each other. At this time of year, we remember why friends are so important, plus how to be a trusty confidante.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

friends“When I got married, I went from living in a seminary dorm — where I’d spent the last year bonding with six friends — to an apartment with my new husband. Without consciously realizing it, I expected him to take the place of my friends,” Rochie admits. “He was supposed to be deep like Sari, adventurous like Leah, practical like Talia, and so on. Finally, around three months into marriage, my intuitive husband exclaimed, ‘Rochie, I’m only one man — I can’t take the place of six women!’ ”

Few wives find that their husbands can satisfy all their emotional needs. This isn’t to say that men are lacking; it just means that women have more complex social needs. In fact, John Gray, best-selling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus — along with a myriad of other secular marriage experts — even asserts that, in order for marriage to flourish, women need friends.

It’s not only because females function differently emotionally and verbally (which they do), it’s also because women have different interests, especially after they become mothers. Take Chaya, for instance: “I’ve been blessed with a great husband. We get along really well, and he’s a great listener and friend. But he is not a woman! (And I’m not complaining about that.) He has zero interest in some of the things that really interest me, like the fantastic bargain I found on brand-name stretchies for my granddaughter or the changes I made to the salad dressing recipe that completely transformed the flavor. But I have a friend that I’ve been discussing these things with for decades and we never get tired of it.”

Whether a woman’s interests are domestic, creative, or business-oriented, they’re usually brushed with a feminine stroke. A female accountant working in her home office while the baby is sleeping has a completely different experience of her profession than does her male counterpart who leaves the domestic realm for his office downtown each day. Even when working out of the house, a wife tends to be attached to her family and home in ways that her husband is not — and in ways that other women can immediately understand.


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