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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 6/22/07

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Dear Rachel,

Being a young married woman myself, I was taken with “Feeling Hopeless” (Chronicles 5-4) and the situation she finds herself in. She is questioning her “endurance” as she waits for her husband to take the initiative in the bedroom.

I take issue with her husband for not recognizing his wife’s legitimate needs. When a man shows no interest in or desire to be close with his wife, he is in essence belittling her and conveying the message that he does not love her.

Let’s face it: We are human, and many of us are overworked and stressed out – so that often when our spouses reach out to us, we would rather just be left alone. The ramifications of rejection, however, may not be worth the trade-off. Husbands and wives must allocate time to be attentive to their spouses, even if this means summoning all our resources to demonstrate our caring.

The husband of “Feeling Hopeless” is displaying immaturity in his stubbornness not to go the extra mile for his wife, whom he claims to care about. This is not to imply that “intimacy” is about sleeping together 24/7. But to show your love to your spouse about two or three times a year – well, he sure is testing her endurance.

I also beg to differ with their therapist’s prognosis. In our religion there is no such thing as “asexuality” between husband and wife, who are clearly commanded to cleave to one another.

I would advise Mr. Blasé to get his act together if he places any value on a future surrounded by the warmth and love of a family. He is lucky to have a wife who craves his attention, and he is playing a dangerous game.

Young but Wise in the Ways of Love

Dear Young,

Wise you are, and I could not have said it better myself. The same people who have little energy for their spouses seem to have no problem going all out to prove their strength and virility in the work world – leaving their most important relationship undernourished.

Unfortunately, spouses often tend to take one another for granted. The problem of the husband in question however, seems to be of a more complicated kind. Professional therapy, according to the wife, did not garner any positive results.

It would be a mistake for this couple to give up trying to get help. They should seek another perspective – advice from a different channel of counseling, such as from a rabbinical source.

Your valuable input is much appreciated. Hopefully “Feeling Hopeless” and her husband are tuning in.

Dear Rachel,

I think both you and “Put your spouse first, not last” (Chronicles 4-20) are taking a very one-sided, myopic view of the pre-Pesach situation. “Put your spouse” feels that he is on the bottom of his wife’s priority list before Pesach. But where is she on his priority list at that time?

Does he come home after a hard day’s work, eat a good dinner, which she prepared, and then plant himself on a comfortable chair and read the paper or watch TV, while she is busy slaving in the kitchen after an equally hard (if not harder) day? Or is he in the kitchen beside her, helping her so that she can finish her work an hour earlier, less stressed and tired, so that she can be available to him?

If he will be available to her in the kitchen, she will be available to him in the bedroom.

Let’s be fair

Dear Fair,

Though your sentiments echo those already expressed by readers in a previous column (see Chronicles 5-11), I am printing your letter because the message bears repeating – and to highlight the different challenges that couples must strive to overcome.

Your letter addresses the man who felt his wife was attentive to everything and everyone but him, while the first letter deals with the topic introduced by a young woman whose husband is indifferent to her needs (or seems to have difficulty in satisfying them).

While the circumstances do vary from one to the other, they share a common thread. The moral derived from both is applicable to every married pair:

If you take your spouse for granted, you’d be wise to search your soul. For your approach to life is slanted – you’d best re-evaluate your goal. Your husband/wife is number one and you’d do well not to forget it. If you wait till all your chores are done, ’tis you who’ll live to regret it!

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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