Dear Rabbi and Shira,
I’m not sure what to do. My chasan who is generally responsive and attentive has become very distracted now that football season has started. He spends hours watching games and is not conversational during them. He doesn’t want to go out when there is a game, and it seems there is always a game, and when there is no game on, he and his friends are talking about their fantasy league.
What should I do?
Relationship Fumbled in Flatbush
We’re sorry about this challenge that you’re experiencing in your relationship and that it does seem like he’s dropping the ball.
Everybody has different relationships which they navigate in their lives; there are different roles that people play, and they have limited resources including time, energy and attention which they devote to these roles. These roles include their family relationships, like being a son, brother, grandson, and chasan. They also include their profession, their hobbies and interests. Your chasan has just run into a clash between the time he can spend as “a hobbyist” aka football aficionado and as a chasan. He might not recognize what is happening, as in his family the culture always was that “game time” was sacrosanct, as an unwritten rule in their household. Therefore, he might not even understand your concern.
So how can you “make a recovery”?
First make a time to talk. This is not an easy feat with the constant football games; but set it up a head of time, not during a game. Second, relate that you understand his perspective as a hobbyist- this is an outlet for him, he probably has many fond memories watching football with friends and family. Don’t put it down or make fun of it- that’s going to invite conflict. Third, take a position of working together to understand the new challenges of time management, with his new role as a chasan. Discuss your concerns and needs in terms of attention and time. Understand that the both of you are going to try to find some middle ground in how you can use your shared time together. Don’t be afraid to have a difference of opinion and feeling. The two of you come from different families, will continue to discover that you have different interests and will need to work out other issues in future.
Rooting for this next touch down for your shared team!
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack