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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Saddened Wife’

Craving A Wife’s Emotions

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

My wife, who takes good, loving care of our children and is very generous with her time, has a closed nature. It is not in her character to pay compliments or show appreciation. While she tries valiantly to never raise her voice to the children or me and works hard to always speak with derech eretz, I yearn to hear her tell me that she loves me – although I know that she does. I keep trying to be giving and warm her, exhibiting what I want in return, but I am usually disappointed. After seven years of marriage, I see some changes – but they are very slight. I crave more openness and warmth from my wife.

Her family is less expressive than mine. My family is emotionally open and we often express how much we care for one another. My in-laws never really say, “I love you,” and so I know that is what she grew up with, but I want my wife to be more like my family and me. I want our children to be warm and expressive, and although they definitely bring out my wife’s limited warmth I still feel that she has a long way to go in this area. I am not trying to be critical because I love my wife and am very happily married, Baruch Hashem. However, her lack of openness sometimes frustrates me. I don’t always want to be the one who starts loving conversations, I want her to learn to trust me with her vulnerabilities by telling me more often how she feels. How can I help her overcome this closed nature?

A Loving Husband

Dear Loving Husband:

Family nature is significant and often contagious. Thus if your wife grew up in a family that was not expressive with their feelings, sharing her feelings with others will likely make her uncomfortable. Over the years it has become clear to me that people tend to subconsciously emulate the way they were raised. I applaud your continuous giving and warmth, but although modeling the behavior is very helpful, it would also be valuable for you to have an honest conversation with your wife about your feelings. In a warm and loving manner, consider saying the following to her:

“I really love you and treasure our relationship. I appreciate all the time and effort that you put into bringing up our children and caring our home, and the way you support and take care of me – as well as the derech eretz you have always shown me. I know that in your own way you try to be there for me. But you cannot imagine how much I crave your warmth and loving words. I know it is hard for you, but maybe you can try to initiate speaking to me in a loving and warm manner. It would mean so much to me.”

It is important that you try to be patient, as this is not something that can be changed easily. You may have to bring this up a number of times, always in a gentle and caring way – and never in a manner that is accusatory or nagging. It may even be a good idea to give your wife some examples of things she could say that would make you feel good.

You both may feel uncomfortable the first few times she says what you suggested, but it will become more ingrained in you both as time goes on. Think of the famous lesson, mitoch she’lo lishma, ba lishma – from doing something habitually, you may come to do it for Hashem’s sake. Even if your wife initially speaks more lovingly to you because you requested that she do so, she will become more comfortable speaking in this manner over time. And in due course it will become like second nature to her – as well as more meaningful.

Focus on the positive qualities that you acknowledge your wife displays. Be patient with her while continuing to be loving and warm, even if she is not initiating the types of conversations you are craving. You mentioned that there your wife has already demonstrated some change, so what you are doing is working, and she is really trying.

Spicing Up Your Marriage

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

After 30 years of marriage, some things that bothered me before are now magnified. While my husband was trying to make a living I stayed home, doing the shopping and taking care of the kids. I never demanded – and still don’t require – vacations, fancy clothing and going out to eat.

I feel as if I am not my husband’s friend or equal partner. At times I feel like I just work in my home – unappreciated, unloved and lonely. We probably should have worked more on our marriage, but instead we just let things proceed as they were. There were blowups, both of us said things that were not nice, and then things improved for a short time. I always felt that he was a little selfish, always worrying how tired he was and never really caring whether I had a hard day and needed help with the kids or in the house. While I appreciate all of his positive efforts, I also want to feel appreciated.

As we are now getting older, I feel that he asks the kids for their opinions more than he asks me for mine. Much of what he ends up doing is okay, but it is his way of going about things that bothers me. I should be his partner in making decisions, but I feel like my opinion is not wanted. If I disagree with him, either my view is criticized or it is said about me in private that I am difficult and going through a crisis.

Do women in their 50s, my age bracket, regularly experience what I’m going through? I thought that as we got older we would have a warmer and more loving relationship; instead I feel lonely and that I’m always taking a back seat to everyone. I feel that my husband does not value and support me.

How do I channel my feelings for the better, and have us become true life partners?

Saddened Wife

P.S. My children think that I am undergoing a crisis. I assure you that that is not the case; I am simply realizing that things need to change in order for me to be happier. I no longer wish to brush everything under the rug.

Dear Saddened Wife:

I sympathize with your plight.

The roles of mother and wife are of paramount importance and, unfortunately, often not appreciated. I am sure that your family’s successes are due largely to your efforts. However, it seems that you feel that your husband doesn’t appreciate you and doesn’t value your opinion.

Based on your letter, it is unclear how your husband actually feels and what his perspective is on the situation. You seem to feel that you’ve sacrificed a great deal during your marriage and that you clearly feel unappreciated and unloved despite your efforts. (I will suggest ways to help you improve your situation but, to be fair, as I am only hearing your side of the story I will refrain from commenting about your husband.)

It is imperative that you discuss your feelings with your husband. It is very possible that he doesn’t even realize how he is making you feel. It is also possible that your husband may not feel this way about you, but you think he feels this way because of certain actions of his. This may lead you to conclude that his actions are meant to be negative.

It is very important for a woman to have self-esteem. As your children are grown, you might consider doing something outside the home. Maybe it is time for you to start loving and caring for yourself. Perhaps you should do some kind of creative and energetic work – either to earn money or for chesed – that will make you feel happier. Since no spouse can actually fulfill all of the other’s emotional needs, being involved in other activities might very well increase your level of happiness.

Ponder these questions: Do you spend time with friends? Do you have a regular exercise routine? Do you sleep enough and eat well? By making self-enhancement in these areas, you will be taking care of your needs. This does not mean you are selfish; rather, you are feeding yourself emotionally and physically.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/spicing-up-your-marriage/2012/06/07/

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