It may also make things easier if you begin to communicate with your wife instead of constantly fighting about the same issues. Is it possible for both of you to agree to disagree and develop a loving relationship based on other things? Try to open the lines of communication by going back to the drawing board.
Can you and your wife make some time to have a date and talk about things that are unrelated to your differences? Can you and your wife focus on your beautiful family? Obviously there must be some major shifts in the way that you and your wife perceive and relate to each other. If the two of you are willing to make the effort to learn how to relate to each other in a different manner, both of you might be surprised to find out that you may actually enjoy each other’s company and that you want to be happy – together. Remember the saying, “kemayim panim el panim, kein lev ha’adam – people will treat you the same way that you treat them.” The lesson: If you are always looking for your wife’s faults or her differences with you, she is likely looking for the same things in you.
Instead, turn over a new leaf and compliment your wife, appreciate her good qualities, and make an effort to focus on why you should stay together rather than why you are unhappy with her.
As a Modern Orthodox Jew, you appear to follow halacha but are upset by other issues. I am not certain, though, that this is true. Perhaps those other issues reflect other inner issues that are making you miserable. If this is so, please seek guidance from a competent rav or frum therapist. One or both of them will hopefully help you get through this trying time.
Remember that your wife is different than your mother and that just because she dresses like your mother or has some of the same views regarding Yiddishkeit, it does not mean that your wife has the same personality or outlook on life. It is possible that you are associating your feelings about your wife with all of your negative feelings about your mother. This can be very destructive in a marriage because things that may be innocent or miniscule may become vital in your mind due to this association.
Your wife does not appear to be like your mother in both personality and middos; thus it would be prudent to start focusing on all of your wife’s good qualities. If you do so, maybe your wife will feel loved and appreciated – and respond in kind. And you might be able to reshape your interactions, making them positive, loving exchanges. This will have a great impact on the way you feel.
Hashem sometimes sends us gifts that we just don’t appreciate. Hatzlachah!Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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