The question: If your mother (or father) and I fall into the sea and both of us cannot swim, who will you save first?
I always wonder if I am nuts to think of asking my spouse such a difficult question. I think I learnt this question from a movie. I wonder if any of you readers have the same question lingering in your mind that you want to ask your spouse. Or if it is just me. Or maybe you have similar question which I hope you would share.
One day, I got into this funny mood (which I cannot really remember why and how funny my mood was) and asked Jeffrey this question. His answer blew me out of the water. Of course, since I have toyed with the questions multiple times in my head, I have, very much, anticipated what kind of answers I would get. And I have also formulated my response to each possible answer and maybe another question to ask in addition to that.
If you have this question in your mind before, I recommend you to stop reading for now. Go and think about how you would answer if you are asked this question. And then go and ask you spouse. I hope you can share your answers. :)
Honestly speaking, I anticipate everyone would choose his mother first. I have not really collected any statistic on this. I never ask this to anyone before, including my ex, whom I have been with for six long years.
That is because I think I already knew what his answer would be. So, I never thought about the questions much when I was with him. Most probably he would not answer and say I am too childish to ask such kind of question. Or, he would say he can choose me but that would make him a very bad son. This will make me feel very guilty because I make him leave his mother to die for me. In fact, I felt guilty even without asking him. Thus, I already reached a conclusion about this question long ago. He should save his mother and I would be totally supportive of his decision. I will even make sure he would choose his mother because I do not want to feel guilty. And I am prepared to brace myself and keep myself afloat, for maybe he would have the chance to save me after he saves his mother. Maybe that is why when I was in my previous relationship; I am always independent, tough and strong. At least, I pretended to be even if I was not.
I assumed everyone, especially sensible, logical and unselfish girls or boys should think like I did then. When you do the math - a young woman certainly has a better chance of surviving and can stand longer in the sea than an old woman. So, logically, when a person save an old woman first and then get back to the young woman, the total chance of survival for both increase. I never get to question my assumption until Jeffrey’s answer.
And I am glad for his answer and the way it completely changed my view of things, particularly make me question how I used to view things in conventional ways, or in my own assumption, oblivious to the world.
This is his paradox (or, is it?) answer:
“Since you are my wife and the mother of our children, I will definitely choose you to save first. I do not want to lose you and I do not want our children to lose a mother.
My mother is old and already been through most of her life. She would want happiness for her son and grandchildren too.”
Even though Jeffrey and I do not have children yet and we are not officially married, I always like the way when Jeffrey think of us in the future context.
On the other spectrum, if I am the mother and my son give such an answer, would I be jealous? My answer will be no because I already have my husband who chooses to save me over his mother so I would be happy that my son wants to do the same thing.
But, what if on a baffling twist of fate, my husband chooses to save his mother, would I expect my son to do the same? I think I would then. If my son chooses his wife and my husband chooses his mother, wouldn’t I be a miserable mother and wife then? What would become of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"?
Isn’t life full of puzzles and wonders?