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Dear Dr. Yael,

I read the letter about the woman who has everything (February 13) and wants “words of affirmation” with interest. There are many women in our community who fit the description of “I’m Special and deserve to be served.” This woman is clearly an “Advantage Taker,” who needs to know what life would be like without all her luxuries.

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I recently offered to help a woman clear away the snow from her Flatbush home. She declined and told me that none of her friends or their husbands would pick up a shovel to clear the snow. That is the job of the hired help.

She went on to tell me about someone she knows who complained that her four-year-old had an accident on a day that the housekeeper was off. She was going to wait until the woman came back to change the sheets.

These out-of-touch primadonnas are obnoxious. Baruch Hashem for people who know and understand the meaning of hakarat hatov.

This husband needs to make some changes! His wife should appreciate what she has and not expect more and more and more. Of course all women like compliments, but this woman seems to have an amazing husband and she should be happy with what she has.

CW

 

Dear CW,

Thank you for your response. I agree that we should all try to be positive and look at what we do have, rather than what we are lacking, especially when we are blessed with so many brachos. It is important for women to have household help, so that they do not fall apart, but it is essential that they be the primary caregivers for their families and homes. Children need to feel that their mother is there for them, whether the “cleaning woman” is there that day or not.

Of course, it is not our place to judge, as we can never know what difficulties people are dealing with. For some mothers, having a housekeeper or full-time cleaning help will allow them to be there emotionally for their children. We all have different needs and although it may appear as if a woman is “spoiled” it may just be that she is involved in many different organizations outside the home or dealing with many challenges. Since we can never know for sure what is going on in another person’s family we should always judge people favorably.

Recently we featured a letter from a woman who seemed to have everything going for her – parnassah, healthy children, a loving husband – and yet, she felt her life was lacking because her husband was not able to express himself in ways she wanted to hear.

It is important that we all look at our spouse’s good qualities and try to focus on what he or she does, rather than on what he or she does not do. If each and every one of us can learn to focus on the positive aspects of our spouse and be appreciative, we will all be much happier in our marriages. It is also integral that we think about what we can do for our spouse rather than what our spouse can do for us. One of my favorite lines is, “Marriages are not made in heaven, they are made here on earth.”

Last week’s letter writer learned to appreciate what her husband gave her, stopped nagging at him and then helped him understand what she needed to feel happy and fulfilled.

The point of the discussing love languages, as we have been doing these past few weeks, is to make us aware that we all have different needs. It is our job to try to figure out what our spouse needs and to learn to speak our spouse’s love language. Some people need compliments, others may need gifts. Some individuals do not feel the need for a gift, but they feel loved and valued when their spouse helps out with the children or remembers to make them coffee in the morning. The challenge is to discover what will make your spouse feel valued and special – and then do that thing at least once a day.

Hatzlocha!

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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 deardryael@aol.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.