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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Dear Real’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 2/18/11

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Dear Rachel,

Though I don’t think I can be helped, I write this letter to warn others.

I have been married for a good many years now and have Baruch Hashem wonderful, healthy children. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before, but I think my husband is crazy. He is constantly losing his temper, screaming, yelling and hitting the kids.

What’s more, he keeps track of the times we are intimate, and Heaven forbid if I am tired, he loses it completely and rants about having missed a day.

The other night I was exhausted and fell asleep. The next day he was so enraged he wouldn’t talk to me. Unfortunately (or fortunately), on the following night physical intimacy became not possible.

It was then that a horrible thought crept into my mind: maybe I shouldn’t tell him of my unclean state; he wouldn’t know, and at least then he wouldn’t rage at me.

Can you imagine that, Rachel? I, a Bais Yaakov girl who know the halachos and the ramifications of defying them, was willing to risk it all just to push off that crazy anger of his.

The anger issue is something I didn’t see all those years ago when we were going out; it has surfaced only lately. Do men go through some crazy pre-menopausal stage? Or is he a sick man in need of therapy? I almost wish he wouldn’t be so interested in me.

If only I’d be writing this letter simply to vent about my spouse’s anger and to warn singles to be on the lookout for anger issues on their shidduch dates. But unhappily I confess that I’ve been harboring ideas of doing dreadful things – something that should never have crossed the mind of a frum bas-Yisrael to begin with.

Am I for real?

Dear Real,

If your husband’s anger issue has indeed only recently surfaced (the trigger for his anger may have been festering for a much longer period of time), can it perchance be due to stress he’s been experiencing? Many families have taken a quite a beating as a result of the economic downturn of late. Has your husband suffered any financial instability or job loss? Can an accumulation of unpaid bills be weighing heavily on his mind? The pressure of such a burden can challenge the equilibrium of an otherwise calm and rational mind.

This is not to attempt to justify the kind of behavior your husband has displayed, but knowing the source of his frustration may move you to be a more sympathetic and understanding helpmate. A burden shared becomes a burden more bearable; together you may be able to come up with some viable solutions for your troubling situation.

Some men, it should be noted, do suffer from a perpetual state of immaturity, as when a husband feels that he vies with his children for his wife’s attention and/or is resentful of the time and attention he perceives his wife lavishing on their kids.

Then again, maybe you’ve been neglecting your spouse without being conscious of doing so. You speak of exhaustion. Are you too tired at the end of the day to spend some relaxed time with your husband, to sit down and eat dinner together instead of coldly placing his food on the table as you run to complete unfinished chores, leaving him to eat by himself?

Whether any of the above applies to you or not, it would seem that you have both sadly lost (or simply misplaced) the art of meaningful dialogue and communication. An emotional connection and a meeting of minds are components at least as vital to the health of a marriage as is physical closeness. Intimacy, as we like to refer to it, is not “intimate” at all when it becomes merely an obligatory mechanical function.

As for the “forbidden” acts you have entertained, thankfully we are called to account for our deeds, not our thoughts. But why would you even consider tampering with the safety valve Hashem provided us with? The rules, the laws of Niddah, actually fortify the marital relationship; they afford you some blissful downtime during which you can collect yourself and maybe even catch up on some beauty sleep – while they train your husband in the art of self-control and teach him not to take you for granted.

About your question as to whether your husband may be experiencing a form of pre-menopause, many aging men do. Moodiness, fatigue, weight gain and depression are some of the giveaway symptoms of male-menopause, also referred to as androgen decline, literally a decrease in production of the male hormone testosterone. The reduced level of this hormone leads to a decrease in sex drive – virtually eliminating your husband’s chances of being menopausal.

Please consider marital counseling, or at least a private discussion with a spiritual mentor. Not only will this help you strengthen your resolve never to act upon your impulse but may result in getting to the root of your husband’s anger.

Things may not be as complicated as they seem, and it is for your benefit to do everything you can to iron out the kinks that are impeding your happiness. Rekindling the love you once felt for one another and renewing the close friendship you once shared are well worth your trouble and time.

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, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215. 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.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 8/17/07

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

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.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Rachel,

The grandmother who wrote to you regarding her regret at having forfeited her young love (ForEver Mine, Chronicles 6-1) is missing some crucial points and is causing herself much unnecessary pain.

If her young suitor, who professed his undying love for her, was really sincere about his feelings, he would have waited the year or two it would have taken her to feel ready for marriage. But he didn’t. Also, if he were really sincere about his feelings for her, when she wrote to him repeatedly he would have jumped at the chance to renew their relationship. But he didn’t. Her letters were returned unopened! He did not like being rebuffed. His love for her was clearly narcissistic; he loved being loved and adored, and if he wasn’t getting it from her, he had no more use for her. I am sure that he found greener pastures elsewhere and forgot her forthwith.

Since she has not had any contact with him from the time she was so young and naive, she has created in her mind a perfect man, someone who never existed, except in the fantasy which she created. Had she met him again when she was more mature, she likely would have been more discerning in her judgment of him.

She has been flagellating herself all these years for nothing. Everything that is causing her so much pain for so many years is a figment of a very creative imagination and has no bearing on reality.

He won’t be there to cry over her grave; he has, in all likelihood, forgotten that she ever existed.

This woman is so fortunate in having made the right choice all those many years ago. She is B”H in a very loving marriage and has a beautiful family. She should thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu every day of her life for having guided her on the right path and for having given her the wisdom to recognize that she was not ready for the relationship that she was offered at that time, and to reject it. Something much better for her was waiting in the wings, and she should be grateful for the special Siyata D’Shmaya that led her to make the right choice and find herself in a solid, happy marriage.

Reality needn’t be harsh

Dear Real,

While you echo my own sentiments in my original response to ForEver Mine (see Chronicles 6-8), your no-nonsense approach gets straight to the heart of the matter. Sometimes a forthright message reaches its mark more effectively than one that is laced with sympathetic overtones.

Last week this column highlighted the responses from readers who empathized with the heartsick grandma, all who spoke of being virtually in the same boat. You are a welcome voice of reason in a whirlpool of emotion.

As we recite each day in Krias Shema, “Lo sasuru acharei levavchem” – Do not stray by following your hearts

We as humans are a susceptible lot – Heaven help us and guide us, as we navigate our way through the turbulent sea of life.

One way to overcome the “turbulence” encountered in the area of shidduchim is highlighted in a story about R. Chaim of Volozhin, who was bent on acquiring a certain bachur as a son-in-law. Hillel, the illustrious son of a R. Simcha, was a “prize catch” in every respect. However, the young man rejected the shidduch, and to R. Chaim’s consternation, no amount of pressure from the shadchanim could impel R. Hillel to change his mind.

One day, R. Chaim’s Rebbetzin encountered R. Simcha’s Rebbetzin, and the two wives discussed how to go about effectuating a union between their children. At that time, R. Chaim Volozhin was in the company of a friend when he suddenly lit up and declared that he gets a Mazel Tov – R. Hillel had just become his chassan. Asked whether this was revealed to him via Ruach HaKodesh (Divine Inspiration), R. Chaim answered simply that he knew it to be so.

He further elucidated that our Sages advise us to relinquish our will to the Will of Hashem, and He in turn will make another’s will yield to ours. “As much as I hankered after this shidduch, I decided to subdue this longing from within my heart and mind, and to subjugate my will to that of the Almighty’s. As soon as I succeeded in vanquishing my yearning in its entirety, Hashem deferred another’s will to mine.”

At the same time that R. Chaim had pronounced the good news, the two mothers who had set out on their joint venture received word from R. Hillel about his change of heart, and true to R. Chaim’s intuit, the shidduch was forthwith concluded.

The moral of this story is applicable to all who drive themselves crazy wanting this, that or the other. Hashem has from long ago paired the right zivugim – the less we push and the more we rely on Him to get us to where we are supposed to be, the easier and more pain-free it is to arrive at our destined place. Though it may seem to us that we are in charge, we are in point of fact very far from it.

Thank you for taking the time to write and express your views.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-73/2007/08/15/

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