Parshat Ki Teitzei: Marriage Advice for Tom Brady
The not always reliable Daily Mail and NY Post – 2 tabloids on different sides of the pond but apparently joined at the hip – have been reporting that football GOAT, Tom Brady and wife are having marital issues. As they breathlessly report:
NFL legend Tom Brady has still not made-up with wife Gisele Bündchen after she returned home from a furious solo trip to Costa Rica which was triggered by his decision to un-retire from football. The 42-year-old supermodel and the seven-time Super Bowl champion, 45, have not patched up their rocky relationship, and ‘could be heading’ towards a divorce, insiders have revealed.
There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. I mean, you can’t get any more authoritative than “insiders” can you?
If true, it would seem Mr. Brady is making a common mistake that many men and women make in their marriage. A mistake that is addressed by a short phrase that appears in this week’s Daf Yomi and that he should study to understand what’s going on in his life.
In Daf Yomi – the program where people learn a folio a day of Talmud and cover the whole work in 7½ years – the sages discuss how often a married couple should have sex. Yeah, they talk about those things. Way before Dr. Ruth and all the manuals out there, Jewish tradition had these discussions. The context is Ketubot – the legal marriage document signed at the wedding which outlines the man’s obligations to his wife and her obligations to him.
The talk focuses on the issue of how often they should engage in marital intimacy and how his job is a significant factor in this. (The focus being solely his job since that was pretty much the norm at the time.) The general rule is that the more available he is and the less travel he needs to do, the greater the frequency they should engage given his accessibility.
So for instance, the Talmud says that if he is a man of leisure – like he sold his start-up for millions and now no longer needs to work – well then, every day if she so wishes and he is able. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if he is a sailor and away from home for long periods of time, then he has to make sure he has sex with the wife once every six months at a minimum.
But those are extremes. What is the frequency for the average Joe who is a day laborer? Twice a week the Talmud suggests. For a donkey driver (today, an Uber driver) – at least once a week. A camel driver (today, an 18-wheeler trucker) at least once every 30 days.
In the midst of these guidelines, the sage Abaye is asked what if a donkey driver wishes to switch jobs and become a camel driver? Meaning, he can get a better paying job (18-wheelers fetch way more than an Uber driver) but it means he will be away from home more – thereby less available for date nights. “Hey honey, I got a great opportunity which will mean I will make much more $$. We can send the kids to better schools and get that bigger house and new car. But it does mean I will be travelling and out of town a lot.” Does he need her consent?
You betcha he does, says Abaye. Why? And here is the key: “Because a woman prefers a kav (a measurement used at the time) along with intimacy over ten kavs and abstinence.” Yeah, one kav with her man means more than 10 without him.
Ya hear that, Tom? Gisele is not interested in another Super Bowl ring. She doesn’t care about the glory you get from millions of adoring fans cheering your amazing talents. She could care less of the excitement and rush that comes with your unparalleled career as the GOAT. She would prefer to have you home. She wants you there, at home with the kids. A million kavs of football glory with you away on the road and always at practice pales in comparison to just a kav of you by her side.
This short phrase from Abaye is a fundamental idea to the success of any marriage and a mistake that men too often make. They will work endless hours and spend so much emotion, time, energy and their life to becoming financially successful so they can provide that big, beautiful home and luxury cars and all the so-called good things in life. But for what? For their spouse… or for their ego? They will say it’s for her, but is it? Because if you would ask the wife, there is a good chance she would rather have you around more and do with less, than have you AWOL but with lots of nice trinkets.
And same goes for you, ladies. All that time you devote to your career, and home and kids and volunteering – yeah all very nice. But is it at the expense of your marriage? Your husband? Your relationship?
So take it from Abaye. Everyone, but especially the ladies, would prefer a kav with their man than 10 kavs without him. So get out of that office and get home. The work can wait. The bigger paycheck can wait. The dreams of material grandeur can wait. The NFL can wait. They can all wait. But she can’t. And if you don’t be careful, she won’t.
Everybody’s high on consolation
Everybody’s trying to tell me what is right for me, yeah…
She’s gone, she’s gone
–Hall and Oates