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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/11/08

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Dear Rachel,

We are a couple of five years and have two beautiful children together. As a husband, I try my best to please my wife and take into consideration all of her complaints by actually attempting to deal with them realistically.

Our intimate life is great, and I do everything in my power to please her. She, on the other hand, finds herself hating me at all times. She does not seem to know why or where her hatred of me comes from; she just wants to leave everything and run away.

I don’t want to lose our family. I am happy and am constantly working on myself. She is very jealous if I want to have friends, even though they are married and religious. If I am out with a friend, she thinks that I am running away from her.

Basically, what would you suggest for a person who does not know how to forgive and forget following any argument? We fight all the time, and it is maddening to me how she is always saying she hates me.

She cannot seem to accept that life has its ups and downs; she is always looking at other couples and saying how much happier they are.

Thanks for your work.

At a loss

Dear Loss,

It is difficult to begin answering your letter. Frankly, I am at a loss. Besides containing little information, your allegations are somewhat confusing.

You indicate that your wife has many complaints, and yet you are baffled by her glum attitude. You claim to have a “great” intimate life − while admitting that your partner is constantly expressing her dislike of you, to put it mildly. How does this translate to a great anything, unless it is simply your self-gratification that is ‘great’?

“Hate” is a very strong word. One tends to wonder whether it is a limited vocabulary that prompts you to toss it about so haphazardly (English is obviously not your first language as your letter required much emending), or whether hostility actually exists as a virulent force between the two of you.

Your wife must be exceedingly miserable if she indeed longs to run away from it all. But that may not necessarily be a reflection on you as a husband. She may have unresolved issues that she brought with her into the marriage, or she may be grappling with mental depression that may have been triggered by post-natal depression. (Your letter offers no clue as to when all these problems began.)

You say you “fight all the time,” yet you would like her to get over it − as in “to forgive and forget.” How exactly does that work? When is there time to get over anything if it is constantly in your face?

Forgive me for saying so, but your way of thinking is unrealistic. Regardless of the source of your wife’s discontent, how can you be “happy” under such disturbing circumstances? You may be of a different temperament (easy-going versus high-strung) and less demanding in general, but with the constant bickering and expressions of hatred flung in your direction all the time, your happiness can only be described as delusional.

While no one, including your wife, can assume the level of other couples’ contentment or good fortune, each partner in a marriage has the obligation to give his/her all to the relationship they knowingly and consciously committed to. If things get out of hand, as they obviously have in your case, seeking professional counseling should be a high priority.

Your desire to save your marriage and to work on yourself is most commendable. But, as you well concede, your methods have failed. If your intentions are true and your heart is in the right place, do the right thing and make an appointment to see a trained marriage counselor immediately. The survival of your marriage is at stake − left as is, it can spell disaster for all of you.

With proper intervention, there is a chance of setting things on the right track.

I wish you much hatzlachah in achieving a peaceful and loving co-existence with your life partner.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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