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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 1/19/07

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We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

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* * * * * * * * * *

Reactions To Disappointed Husband And His Critics (Continued)

Dear Rachel,

My take on Disappointed Husband is that he is obviously feeling left out and unloved and may well be justified in feeling so. There are halachic and common sense rules that state that a woman must remain “attractive” to her husband. The actual lashon the Chazal use is “lo tisganeh al ba’alah.” There is even a heter to wear makeup during Niddah times. The late Rav of London, Rav Padwa,z”l once gave a hard hitting drashah against the snood/robe syndrome, which he said has been known to cause men to stray.

It is also clear that the woman is suffering, either because of the husband’s attitude (I do not like his paragraph about “fancy women” which is over the top) or simply because of the massive pressures of motherhood, etc.

Counseling is an absolute necessity to help the woman out of her issues (which may or may not be about him) and to help him to help her. He must also be part of that process to reconcile his needs (which are very real) with being a mentch towards the wife who does so much for him and the kids.

The glamour will then automatically return.

A Concerned Reader

Dear Concerned,

My thanks to all of you who have written to express your concern and advice.

The consensus is that home is where man’s heart should be and that a woman’s way to her man’s heart rests not in her culinary expertise alone. But woman by herself cannot carry the weight of responsibility in keeping their union in tip-top form. We all owe it to our loved ones and ourselves to keep in shape and do our utmost to please our partners – for whom we have pledged everlasting devotion at the outset.

In other words, husbands are equally obliged to stay fit, attractive and attentive to their other halves. Read on.

Dear Rachel,

I am not the type of woman to write to a column, but I need and want help for my situation that I’m not even ashamed of.

I am a married, frum woman, mother of four. I am also a “wow” woman whom other men notice. My husband and I are married 18 years. I love him and he loves me. He let himself go years ago. He’s gained a lot of weight, doesn’t care about his appearance and has developed some disgusting habits along the way. I’ve lost my attraction for him. I love the flattery and attention from the looks I get, and guess what? I’m having an affair! With a man I knew 20 years ago. He is also “happily” married, but his wife doesn’t pay “attention” to him. We are not in love. Our respective families are a big priority to us. We are simply using one another because of what we are lacking from our respective spouses.

Why should I have to suffer because my husband doesn’t keep himself attractive for me? I’m tired of hearing about women who don’t keep themselves attractive for their husbands. What about the men who don’t care about their own appearances? I don’t like what I’m doing and I want to stop, but I’ve been attracted to this guy for years and he called me one day. Even though he’s married, he wants me. I’ve never lied to my spouse about where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing during daytime. I just didn’t tell.

My children are in school all day. They have no clue. I’m the same loving wife and mommy when I’m around them.

Tell me how I can appreciate my “king” at home so I don’t have to live this secret life.

Please print this letter. I’m sure I’m not the only woman out there who feels like the shoe is on the other foot.

Anonymous but not ashamed

Dear Anonymous,

Justifying your unfaithfulness to your spouse is pointless – there is zero tolerance for transgression of the sins of adultery, murder and idolatry. Rationalization only allows you to carry on your liaisons without the accompanying burden of guilt.

Most puzzling is your affirmation of your love for your husband. And yet you claim to feel no shame in stooping to an unethical mode of behavior to gratify your physical needs of the moment.

Did you ever attempt to communicate your feelings to your husband? In the event that you did and it didn’t garner any positive results, did you give marriage counseling any thought or serious consideration before taking up your secret trysts?

What do you suppose your husband’s reaction would be should he stumble upon your infidelity? How would you feel if you were to discover that your husband was being unfaithful to you? If the mere contemplation of such scenarios makes you shudder, then chances are good that you will come to your senses and get your act together.

The first thing you must do is to take off the blinders that offer you short-term vision and to start focusing on what’s in it for you in the long run. Your quest for gratification through forbidden means is hazardous to your long-term well-being and will certainly not solve your marital woes.

Ask yourself how you will go about explaining the stain on your neshamah in the Heavenly Court and defending your foolhardy risk of jeopardizing the outcome of your soul’s ultimate spiritual journey.

As for your potbellied husband, if he declines to get off his rump despite an earnest plea on your part, taking the matter up with a competent therapist will help you decipher the root of your ills and provide you with the realistic options available to you. Resorting to immorality as revenge or self-appeasement is not a viable alternative.

I wish you a speedy refuah shelaimah for all your ills.

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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