She: We have three children, a home and friends. Finances are not an issue: Yossi leaves money for our home, our family and for me, without my having to ask for it. The children are well dressed, well fed and healthy - at least physically. The house is clean, the laundry done, supper is on the table. I use every bit of energy to make our home the center of my life. But somewhere along the way I lost my marriage.
Question: My wife screams and curses at me. For years I have been asking her to stop, but she hasn’t. Now she’s begun doing the same thing to our children, ages 10 and 7 – and they cower in fear. Actually, we are all afraid of her. She never hits, but I think the verbal abuse and screaming is worse.
Question: I trust my husband implicitly. He has never given me reason to suspect him of wrongdoing. So, why am I writing? Three years ago he began a new job. He works very closely with a frum woman. They make a very good team – she is the salesperson and crucial to the business. A few months ago they started to train together to run in a half marathon for tzedakah. Then I found out that she and her husband had separated. I did not hear this from my husband – it was a friend who told me. When I asked my husband why he didn’t tell me, he said that she asked him not to tell anyone and he respected her privacy. Then I found out that they skipped a workout because of the rain and instead had lunch together. This I heard from a friend who saw them together. Please understand I don't want to think he's doing anything wrong. Surely he wouldn't be in a restaurant for all to see if he was up to no good. He says I'm being overly sensitive. Is he right?
Online infidelity may be the next upcoming challenge facing the Orthodox world. In the last 12 months, I have seen 11 Orthodox couples where one spouse has reported an online affair that has caused serious distress in their marriage. I now believe that an epidemic of online infidelity may be causing the breakup of countless Jewish marriages.
Dear Rabbi Schonbuch, My husband drinks every night. He starts with a few glasses of wine with dinner and always ends with whisky. Some nights it's just one or two large ones and other nights it can be half a bottle. I know that we believe that drinking at a Farbrengen or a Kiddush is allowed, but when does it begin to become a problem?
Dear Gary, I'm very upset with the younger generation today and the way they treat their marriages. I've been married for 56 years and admit that it hasn't always been easy. If I thought about getting divorced each time my husband upset or annoyed me, we wouldn't have gotten past the week of sheva brachos. It seems to me that today’s newlyweds don't want to make any sacrifices and think only of themselves. My grandson, the father of two beautiful young children, is getting divorced. He says its because he didn't make his wife happy enough and spent too much time working at his new job. This is outrageous. Do you think this younger generation is too selfish?
Dear Rabbi Schonbuch, My husband and I are having trouble in our marriage. We tend to fight about the same issues every day and he's very emotionally distant. At what point should I consider seeing a marriage therapist?
Question: A few years ago I was forced to go back to work when my husband lost his job. Baruch Hashem I have become very successful in my field, one that is largely male. While my husband is now working as well, it has become clear that my job is the priority - I make almost triple his salary and there's potential for much more. I never intended to be away from my kids, but am not upset that I had to go to work.
Question: My husband and I have been married 14 years, have 6 children, each one in a yeshiva and are so overwhelmed. Between shuttling the kids and homework, I feel like my marriage is non-existent. My husband tells me it's normal at this stage in our life but my mother tells me to do something about it. Where do I begin?
As the coordinator of the Domestic Abuse Program at OHEL for the past 10 years, I have seen many very special women come forward with their painful stories. I am proud to say that our program has made a significant difference in the lives of these courageous women.
Dear Gary, I have begun dating someone who I like very much. However, there is one issue that has raised a red flag. He talks about his mother a lot - in a good way. They have a very close relationship. However, some of my girlfriends (one who is married and does not get along with her mother-in-law) told me to beware of marrying a "Momma's boy" because then you're marrying his mother. Is this a real concern when dating? Concerned
Zelda woke up with a start, the silence eerie and disorienting. She has been waking up this way for almost a year - since shortly after Ruchy and her husband left for Eretz Yisroel. "I can go back to sleep," thought Zelda. But she lay in bed, straining to hear the sounds which for so many years began her day. The banging of bathroom doors, the shouting for lost and then found shoes, tights and seforim, the noise of phones and doorbells ringing, the house filled to the brim with comings and goings.
At a wedding, I sit across from a woman I don't know. "What's your name?" she asks me. "Alanna Fine," I say, choosing to introduce myself with my maiden name. "And what's your maiden name?" she asks me. "That is my maiden name." "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought that was a sheitel on your head." "It is. I'm divorced." "Oh, I'm sorry." "It's ok," I reply, knowing it won't be the last time I hear that.
Sometimes a few sessions of marital therapy can solve problems that were festering for years. The married couple have often locked themselves into such a struggle; they need help to simply untangle the knot. This has a lot to do with the high level of emotion they are feeling - just think of the expression "I am so angry I can't think straight. The husband and wife often cannot think logically or clearly. Every issue between them is filled with layers of anger, hurt, betrayal and fear that has built up over the years due to miscommunication.
If you knew how much trouble I had getting gay men to be interviewed by me, you would doubt that the term "gay" applies to them. Their elusive hesitance, their resistance to revealing any identifying information including their phone numbers and the need for my repeated reassurances that I would respect their privacy and exercise discretion further evidences that they are not happy with their former identities and associations and have chosen a different path because "gay" and homosexual are not necessarily synonymous. In fact Dan (not his real name) was quick to confirm my assumptions. He felt it was very much an oxymoron to be gay and happy in his life.
Many years ago, I was meeting relatives at the airport when I ran into someone I knew whom I hadn't seen in a few years. Someone who was a very active homosexual. I asked him what he was doing at the airport and he told me he was there to pick up his wife and kids. "Oh," I said and, as if on cue, his wife appeared with two little kids in tow.
During these difficult financial times, many couples, usually without ever noticing it, start dealing with life as individuals. They begin to recede from each other and allow a distance to develop. They stop talking. They find their feelings to be too intense and too difficult to face, so they don't share them. They don't want to share that they are scared, so each partner says nothing and goes into a deep and lonely place within. They don't fight for their relationship. Instead they fight over money and who's at fault for the situation. They blame each other for not making enough money, for spending too much money, for not saving money, or for not spending enough time doing the things that will bring in more money.
The morning blessings provide a daily reminder of the mitzvah to bring peace between a husband and wife. However, most couples can maintain sholom bayis on their own with a practical, easy-to-implement system: the Marriage Meeting Program.
Have you joined with other women in your community to punish someone who has behaved badly? I have seen several instances of shunning, where women banded together to cut someone out of the social life of their synagogue and neighborhood in order to punish her for wrongdoing. Women shunning another woman, often feel they are participating in a positive act, but it is one they do not discuss with their rabbi. This is a modern, informal version of cherem.
My oldest daughter recently celebrated her nineteenth birthday, and I'm just now getting used to the idea that my husband and I are heading into a new parsha in our lives: Getting ready to find a shidduch for our daughter. So it wasn't any wonder that the topic came up when I ran into an old friend at shul the other day.