Marriage and Summer Temptation: A Palisadian Perspective

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By WENDY FIERSTEIN | Contributing Writer

One day, I was sitting on the beach with my brother and his family. His wife was attending the kids at the water’s edge.

He promptly proclaimed: “Summer is a time for rubbernecking.”

I knew what the word meant, but … seriously! I looked at him with a question mark on my face and asked him to explain.

“When a man’s neck moves from the extreme right to the extreme left while absorbing the glory of summer,” he said.

Knowing my brother, I replied, “Oh, you mean girls.”

“Girls in bikinis,” he added.

“Yes, but aren’t you married?” I reminded.

“I’m just looking, what’s the harm?” he defended.

“Well … our wise elders taught, ‘Where your eyes go, your heart follows,’” I quoted.

“Give me a break, I’m not going to ask the girl on a date,” he said and seemed annoyed that I was interfering with his summer fun.

I said OK, but asked him where his mind goes while he is in his rubberneck zone.

“It’s just imagination,” he snapped.

“Exactly, and where do all things begin?” I pushed.

“In the mind,” he responded thoughtfully.

“Right, so if it begins with ‘harmless looking,’ theoretically speaking, don’t you think it could possibly open a person to actually doing?” I said. “For example, the next party you go to, you might take it to the next step and flirt with another woman. One step leads to another and another … ”

“Oh, please,” he objected.

I told him to put himself in his wife’s shoes, how would he feel if she was the rubbernecker?

“But she was not just looking—hers eyes popping out of her head and drool running down her chin,” I added.

I asked if that would make him feel a little insecure with where he stands in his relationship, if that would make him feel that she’s not totally committed or satisfied with their marriage.

“She may be imagining herself with that hunky looking guy—you wouldn’t know what was going on in her mind,” I said. “Would that make you feel unsettled or apprehensive? Would you be able to love her as much as you do now?”

My brother sat there for a moment, staring at his wife and ids. He finally said: “Too many questions,” got up and walked over to his wife, put his warm around her and kissed her on the cheek.

I smiled to myself—could I have broken through?

The next day he called, “You made your point. Rubbernecking is just a habit I got into when I was single, but I guess it’s time to drop that one. I love my wife and kids, I wouldn’t want to cause them any anguish. Thanks, sis.”

Summer is a fun time—we feel energized and free, the sun feels good on our skin, laughter is in the air. Everybody admires beauty, but looking for a few seconds is very different than rubbernecking.

Enjoy the summer as a conscious person and absorb the beauty around you—the glistening ocean, the silky sand, the majestic mountains, the spectacular flowers … and your absolutely amazing spouse.

Contributed by Wendy Fierstein, author of the book, “You Can Live Happily Married for a Lifetime,’ available on Amazon. Wendy and her husband have lived in the Palisades in 1988.