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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 5/05/06

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To One Sided Love,

Do you really think that you can buy your wife’s love and affection? Weekly manicures and pedicures are a real treat, but they do not and cannot replace a thoughtful, sensitive, and genuinely loving spouse. In the beginning of your marriage, did you call her from work to ask her how her day was going? Did you bring home her favorite treats just because? Did you make her a glass of hot tea when she was under the weather and send her to bed for a nap?

Did you tell you that you loved her every day? Did you hold her close when she needed a shoulder to cry on? Did you help with supper and bath time while she relaxed and unwound from a hectic day with the little ones?

When a man who loves you does these things without expecting anything in return, that is appealing. That makes a woman feel good about herself as a wife and a mother.

When I read that you threatened to go outside the marriage and she said to go ahead, I realized that this woman has lost all faith in you as a husband. What you need to do first is to APOLOGIZE. Never use that as a threat, even if it is an empty threat. That alone shows that you need professional counseling.

When you say that she thinks kissing is dirty, I do not think it has anything to do with the school she went to. If she felt completely loved and accepted by you, it wouldn’t be dirty and disgusting to her. When you seek professional help, be sure to listen to what your wife has to say, and do not be defensive. Listen and take it to heart – and then you might be able to have a fresh start with a new powerful love.

It is never too late

Dear One-Sided Love,

I only know your story based on what you wrote and so cannot assume that my story is the same or similar to yours. But I would like to tell a woman’s version. I am a woman who goes to the mikvah as a job.

You state in your letter that you don’t know if your wife likes you. I can tell you unequivocally that I do not like my husband. He is lazy and irresponsible. He has almost never been there for me or for my children when we needed him. He has worked it out in such a way that we know not to bother even asking him, so he doesn’t ever even have to say ‘no’ anymore. (Don’t think we haven’t tried).

In addition, he has a strong personality and a temper, so we generally acquiesce to his demands for fear of setting him off. So you see, I don’t like him. Yes, I go to the mikvah because this is a Jewish woman’s duty. He has me, but he doesn’t have ME.

When you wrote that you don’t know if your wife likes you, it immediately made me think of my situation. How can you not know if your wife likes you? Do you spend time with each other? Do you have fun together? Or, do you just go to weddings together, but otherwise lead separate lives – which is the case in my marriage. This is something very important that you omitted in your letter.

I know that my husband thinks he can yell and let me carry the responsibility of the house and children – then hug me in the bedroom and think all is fine. It just doesn’t work that way. Again, I don’t know if this is representative of your situation – but if it is, just know that if a woman loves her husband, she will be there for him – even if she does not enjoy intimate relations.

Your other half (?)

Dear Other Halves,

Life can be so incredibly (and unnecessarily) sad, especially when individuals each live in his/her own world – completely oblivious to the thoughts and feelings of their life-partners.

One would be inclined to believe that the act of going to the mikvah as a “job” would be a transparent one. Any caring, feeling and sensitive male shouldn’t have a hard time picking up on the charade. And if misgivings on both sides continue to fester without being brought out into the open, this can lead to a build-up of resentment and anger that is likely to erupt with the slightest provocation.

A wife’s aloofness can in itself cause her man to be an ill-natured unhappy camper. Perhaps a high-spirited moment can be used advantageously, to gently cajole your man into recognizing how his behavior/action/mood can have a detrimental affect on your feelings and the level of respect you have for him.

Is it not a shame to live life in such unfulfilled fashion? Professional guidance may open up new vistas for you as husband and wife, to give you both a chance at happiness. Granted, there are instances when one or both spouses’ personalities do not lend themselves to modification and compromise is unachievable. In cases of severe incompatibility, unalterable by any amount of counseling – divorce may be the only solution.

The Torah makes it clear that the role of a wife is to be her spouse’s eizer kenegdo. Couples often stay together despite hardships, for various reasons. Sometimes it’s for the sake of their children; some simply rationalize that they are better off with – rather than without – one another. Ultimately, only the parties involved can decide what course of action to take.

We must constantly pray to Hashem for shalom bayis and implore Him to guide us in the right path. Every successful marriage has two full-time participants who live to give to one another. It’s the only way

Thank you both for your valuable and insightful input.

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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