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Super Love

Last year at this time, I received the following question:

Dr. Guterson:  I once heard a story about a guy who was with his buddies watching the Super Bowl.  He was having a great time and then suddenly his wife called him in a state of desperation - she was out in the middle of somewhere with a flat tire.   What advice would you give her husband?

This was my answer:

A:  Well, some questions are easy and some are more perplexing. This one is in the easy category:

He should get off his derrière and go help his wife - and never breathe a word about what a ‘martyr’ he is.

——  ——-  ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——-

Interestingly enough, since then I received three other proposed answers:

(1) “It’s the Super Bowl!  The Super Bowl! Who answers their phone during the Super Bowl?”

(2) “He should talk this out with her, tell her it’s the Super Bowl, and see if calling AAA would be reasonable.”

(3) “Time to find a different wife.”

—— —— ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- —— ——-


In analyzing these three proposals, I’ll assume that (1) and (3) are attempts to be rather cute and/or ridiculous.  As for (2), I’ll come back to that one.

Ladies and gentlemen, this Sunday evening the Chiefs will be playing the 49ers in The Super Bowl!  So - what to do, in case your spouse urgently needs you??

Healthy love, according to Chassidic philosophy, is a love that motivates us outward, beyond ourselves.  The Hebrew word for love (‘ahava’) can be translated to mean, “I will give.” 

Healthy love is not so much about receiving, as it is about giving - giving of oneself, and making sacrifices for others.

In this spirit, my use of the above word “martyr” in my answer last year was not appropriate.  “Martyr” implies that what I am doing is about me, makes me feel good.  And that should not be the focus. 

As for the above proposal (2), I believe it has a weakness because the husband is still giving a not so covert message to his wife that the game is more important to him than she is.

Let me add: last year’s question asked what advice to give the husband alone, not his wife.  So, to be fair in this Super Bowl drama, I would conjecture that his wife certainly knows that her husband is together with his buddies watching the Super Bowl. She herself  apparently has no interest in the game since she is out driving.

So…in the ideal world, the ideal world of healthy selfless love, yes - when the husband says he’s coming to help her, she could respond proactively that she knows he’s having a football evening with his friends and that he should enjoy himself immensely, and that she is just informing him about the flat tire and that she has already called triple AAA!

Two people, two people with separate backgrounds and separate early lives who have found each other, two people with souls that give to the other, two people in love.

You may ask, what is Super Bowl Sunday like in a psychiatric hospital?  Well, unlike the scene in the film, “Cuckoo’s Nest”, where the controlling Nurse  Ratched did not let the patients watch the World Series, our patients are able to enjoy and relish the entire Super Bowl game, commercials and halftime entertainment included.  And we give them popcorn and other treats.  (Is this better medicine than pills…?!)

So…enjoy this Sunday evening, no matter how you spend it, and if you wish to experience love, then give, and give some more.

(P.S. - please note that if you should have a point of view different from my own, please write to me.  I would love to hear from you.)

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