How do you resolve disagreements? Rav Amital, of blessed memory, was the head of the Yeshiva at Har Etzion for 40 years together with Rav Lichtenstein. When asked how they were able to work so well together, one answer he used to give was that they would decide on the basis of who the issue mattered more to. If something was very important to one of them and it wasn’t quite so important to the other, they would follow the opinion of the person it mattered more to. He added, that this is a model we can follow in a marital relationship as well.
What a concept! That I can say, “Let’s follow my suggestion because this means more to me” and at another time I can say “We should do what you want because this means more to you.” It sounds so simple. Of course it can only work if there is honesty in the relationship to begin with, and one person is not always the one that everything in the world is more important to.
Today my husband and I went on a hike. One the way there in the car, I told him that I was planning to write about this topic. So when we came to a fork in the road where we had the chance to do the more challenging path he agreed, knowing how much I love hiking. It wasn’t long before he sort of sprained his ankle, which is why he wasn’t too keen on doing it to begin with.
Does that mean the rule is no longer a good one? Of course not! It just shows how life is more complex than that. But the process of thinking along those lines. – Is this important to you? How important is it to me? – is still a good one.