Throughout life, we have different titles.

There are the “normal” ones, like being someone’s son or daughter. You are a brother or a sister. A mother or a father. Grandmother, grandfather … you get the point.

In more recent, politically correct times, your gender has become more of an issue — it’s about how you see yourself and how others should “pronoun” you. Man or woman. Neither man nor woman. Recently, I was at the doctor with one of my parents and on the iPad where you needed to answer five thousand questions, one of them was “Do you still identify with the gender you were born with?” First of all, anyone over the age of 70 should not be required to answer questions on an iPad unless they want to. Secondly, anyone over the age of 70 should not be required to answer those questions on an iPad unless they want to. Okay, then we have titles that someone has worked for — Dr., Esq., CPA, MSW, PsyD, RN, RD, Rabbi…

In this column, there are specific titles that I would like to discuss with you. Husband, wife, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, and son-in-law. So husband and wife are pretty harmless. When you get married, and you are a man, you go from becoming a single guy, a bachelor, a ladies’ man (Husband #1 was never really a ladies’ man…) to becoming a husband. The definition of a husband? A husband is a man who goes from only caring about himself and having his mother do everything for him to only caring about himself and having his wife do everything for him. Ha, I crack myself up. The definition of a wife is a girl/lady/woman who goes from only caring about and taking care of other people to only caring about and taking care of other people AND her husband. Marriage is lots of fun!

There is a young man who used to live in my house who hopefully is getting married this week, and he told me that he wants to buy gloves to wear when he washes the dishes. I was so startled by this statement that I almost dropped the dish that I was washing! Apparently, he listened to a class about marriage where the rabbi giving the class was teaching that you (the husband) should do things around the house to help your wife. This made me so happy, because husband #1 has washed only one dish in the 24 years we have been married. Though I also believe that if a guy gets married before he is 25, the wife has the ability to “train” him. That is my belief, and I am sticking to it. Husband #1 was 25 when we got married. If your spouse was younger, please let me know how that worked out for you.

Son-in-law and daughter-in-law. These are tricky. When you marry into a family, you really want to be a part of that family. To feel like a member of that family. When you tack on the “in-law” part, it makes that distinction — well, you married our kid, but you aren’t really our kid. The birthday cards that say “To our dear son-in-law” (or “daughter-in-law”) are especially annoying. There should be a line of cards that say “To the boy who took our daughter away from us” or “To the girl that will never be as wonderful to my son as I am.” That would be fun for everyone! But the truth is, you want to think of the in-law child as your own child, because you want to do for that child what you would do for your own child (and, in some cases, probably more so they know how much you love them!).

The mother-in-law, father-in-law topic is different because you have only one mother and one father (hopefully). So what do you call your in-laws? It is a tough call. There are those who feel that calling an in-law by their first name is disrespectful. But what happens if that is what they want to be called? If you call your mom Eema, is it easier to call this new “mother” in your life Mom? If you are close with your father, how can you call another man “Daddy”? It’s a challenge, but the bottom line is this. Whether you are the son, the daughter, the mother-in-law or the father-in-law, all you can do is try your best and hope that it works out. And if your best is not turning out to be good enough, then try harder.

Wishing good health, mazal, blessings, and lots of love to anyone who might have gotten married this week.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck may have taken on a new title this week that she feels very blessed to take on and looks forward to disproving the stereotype….

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