Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The hardest question to ask your spouse (and even yourself)

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?


Crayfish said...

Ask the same question again to your spouse (and even yourself) but this time in front of his mother. Will the answer blow you out of or sink you into the water?

It is always nice to hear what one expects to hear... especially when one is deep in love. :)

Ruby said...

Yeap....Life is sure full of puzzles. Since we are on to that "puzzling" topic, maybe you would like to ask ur spouse or partner this other puzzling question..

"If me (ur wife) and ur son/daughter fell into the sea/pond etc, who will you safe first?"....

*wink*....Just another puzzle in life.....

Valen Lim said...

I heard another answer from TVB drama.

"I will save my mother first, then only save you."

"What if you fail to save me after that?"

"I will still jump into the sea, to die with you together. Without you, my life is meaningless."

But I still prefer Jeffrey's answer!

Chelsey said...

The answer will defiantly be different whether you are just with your husband or whether you are with your husband and his mother. I read this post a few days ago and for some reason I keep thinking about it and whether I should ask my boyfriend because now I am so curious. This is defiantly a difficult question no matter which way you spin it.

autumnmusic said...

"My mother is old and already been through most of her life. She would want happiness for her son and grandchildren too."

somehow, when i re-read this line again... i tink it sounds selfish and full of oneself.

right now, to me, it's a question that isn't really worth asking as it's the kind where the outcome will surprise you all the same when it does happen.

Anonymous said...

I think that we are supposed to take the statement in all of it's context instead of just "My mother is old and already been through most of her life. She would want happiness for her son and grandchildren too."

Well, you wouldn't want to only wear half a shirt right?

So I think taking it on it's full context is the idea.

Cheow said...

I am a man and my answer will be DYNAMICALLY according who is asking the question.

Some questions best remain unanswered... *wink*

The "Mother-And-Wife-fall-Into-Sea" Syndrome.

It's a nightmare of time-management.

This happen to my schedule sometimes.

Whichever you choose, loss is guaranteed.

Susan said...

Thank you for all of your comments.

Don't you think sometimes it is just enough to say what it the best to be said?

Like if you decide to do some drastic and risky, you want to hear from your family or people close to you on how they trust and believe in you in whatever you are doing, instead of them asking you why you want to do it and telling you that you should not do that. And worrying about you, which they probably would. But do you prefer to hear all these worries or just the re-assurance that they believe in you?

Hey people, it is not wrong ALSO to say something nice to others! Even, at times when it is not really true.

Since this "Mother-And-Wife-fall-Into-Sea" situation would most probably never happen and if your spouse have said he will save you first, why do you want to hit yourself and ponder whether he really would if it happens?

IT is what he said that matter!!! It is what one says that matter sometimes.

Like you say "I LOVE YOU" to your loved on. It is not enough to just love them, you have to SAY IT!!! And that is important.

Seok Chin said...

After reading your blog, I did asked my boyfriend this question, 80% of me knowing his answer would be saving his mom and then the child first before me. We had a long discussion over this topic, and in the end I did not come out disappointed and quite agreed with his phylosophy.

These were the highlights of our disccusion:

Me: Although I would definitely love to hear a similar answer of Jeffrey's from you, somehow I think it is not right putting me first as the priority.

Him: Of coz. Parents are our roots, without them, do you think you and I exist in this world? By choosing the wife over the mom first not only made me a selfish person, an unfilial son, but it also made us forget the root of our life.

Me: But mom is old and been through most of her life, don't you think mom would sacrifice willingly for the son's happiness?

Him: I am very sure the answer changes in different stages of his life. Ask him when he was a young chap (12 years old)when he needed his mom most, ask him when he is deeply in love (like now) when he needed his wife most, ask him again when he is 60 years old when he has been through most of his life....

Him: But if you are very clear where you come from and the root of your life, ur answer is one and only one no matter how old you are.

Me: Why the son over me then?

Him: Why would we generate the next generation then? Both of us give a life to this world and we are responsible over the child. We would die to protect him/her from harm. If my wife loves the child as much as I do, then she should understand the reason....I will also hope that my wife saves the mom and the child first before me.

Me: ...(dumbfolded but could not agree more with what he had shared with me, though sometimes I hope he could be more romantic)

KinWah.lai said...

Wow.. This is a tough question.
I will make sure i won’t ask my spouse because I don’t want her to make a choice and I hope she won’t ask me too.
If she really asks me this question, I will tell her that I can’t save either of them because I can’t swim.

Alice said...

I think I will save the one who's closer to me, doesn't care if she the mom or wife..., who ever I have grab, I will save her.

Alice said...

I am sure I will save the person who is closer to me first, don't care who she is, Mom? or Wife? Son? or Daughter?

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