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So 1 million new customers would equal a total of 2 million insert statements in this case. These two parameters tell Hibernate to sort the insert and update statements before trying to batch them up.
Your spouse's feeling are never wrong (whether you agree with those feelings or not). Stonewalling is a power-play, an act of withholding yourself, your emotions, your affection until you get your way. It's like holding your marriage hostage with a passive-aggressive gun.
The first is to maintain a reasonable first level cache size so that you do not run out memory.
The second is that you want to batch the inserts and updates so that they are executed efficently by the database.
Hibernate batch processing is powerful but it has many pitfalls that developers must be aware of in order to use it properly and efficiently.
Most people who use batch probably find out about it by trying to perform a large operation and finding out the hard way why batching is needed. Once this is resolved they assume that batching is working properly.