Latest update: June 26th, 2012
The Torah tells us that we are put onto this world to give, not just to take, as difficult as this may seem for some people. Married life provides a unique opportunity to give to another person. When husband and wife are willing to give whatever it takes to make each other happy, they will move onto the next stage called “love.” This is where the Shechina (Divine Presence) rests.
For some couples it may take months, for others, years, for this process to take place, if they are willing to work on their marriage. In many cases, Hashem challenges couples with “shock waves” they never anticipated, in order to prove to them that they truly do love each other and can be worthy of shalom bayis (marital harmony).
My last article presented a letter written by a client of mine who is currently serving a prison sentence. His wife wants to divorce him, but he is very remorseful for both his crime, and for his former neglectful, irresponsible treatment of his family. He begged her for another chance to prove himself.
The following is a response by a Jewish Press reader:
Dear Husband In Prison;
The following is my reply to your letter in the 7/30 issue:
I find myself in a similar situation. I too committed a serious crime and am waiting with baited breath for my sentencing (yet to be determined). You don’t indicate in your letter how long your sentence is, so I assume that it is less than one year.
I was an upstanding citizen, well known in my community for volunteering, giving interest free loans, and supporting worthy causes. My husband and I were known to all tzedaka collectors as ones who gave generously. So what went wrong? I too was taken in by greed, thinking I could give my family a better life. Never once did I think of the repercussions of what I was doing.
What I have done (should it be made public) will cause disgrace to my children, parents, and in-laws. We will have to move from the community. The damage I have caused is unfathomable. I will have to make restitution, pay penalties, legal fees, and face possible prison time. All the penalties far outweigh the amount I profited.
My husband had no idea of what I was doing. When I decided to confide in him (after I went to the FBI), he was very upset (to say the least), shocked, disappointed and hurt. Yet, he was supportive of me at the same time. The most important thing to him was keeping the family together, since we have young children at home.
I am now working with a therapist to find out why I caused such damage. I am also working on ensuring that nothing like this will ever happen again. I have become withdrawn, have lost a lot of weight, and am short tempered. I have no patience for my children or my friends’ chit-chat. I don’t wallow in self-pity, as I have caused this situation myself.
At times, I feel it is unfair to my husband to have to go through this with me. He is innocent and should go on with his life. He deserves a wife he can be proud of. My kids deserve a role model and mom they can look up to. But no, he has decided that we married for better or worse, that my behavior is not reflective of the person he married, and that through professional therapy, he will have the best wife possible once I am cured. I know he will have a wife who will be forever indebted to him for allowing me a second chance and believing in me. I know I won’t disappoint him.
To your wife… if you have children at home, please give him a second chance. Please believe that through therapy, he can be cured. It sounds as though he is on the right path. But, it takes two people. Speak to his therapist and try to work things out together. Was he forced to commit his crime to support your needs for luxuries? Were you unaware of his actions? Was he a good father and husband beside this? I hope you have the same strength my husband has, and that you see your husband for the man you fell in love with and married, not as the sick person he is today.
Hoping you can say the blessing, “Matir Assurim” (“Who frees the imprisoned”) speedily…
A Jewish Press Reader
Moishe Herskowitz MS., LCSW, developed the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education & Awareness For A better Marriage) approach based on 20 successful years of counseling couples. He is a licensed and certified social worker and family therapist, with a certificate from the Brooklyn Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in Couples and Marriage Therapy. He is an active member of the New York Counseling Association for Marriage and Family Counseling. Mr. Herskowitz can be reached at 718-435-7388.
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