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Dear Dr Yael,

I really enjoy reading your column in Olam Yehudi every week. I wanted to comment about the even-steven parenting in a marriage. Both of the women mentioned over the past few weeks are very wrong. These women are ruining their marriages. Men and women have different roles to play in marriages and as parents. To most women, parenting comes naturally, no offense to any men, it’s just how it is. That is why it says a man should earn a livelihood while a woman should raise her kids. Of course, these days it’s not like that anymore. When a woman asks her husband to “baby-sit the kids tonight” as opposed to saying “watch the kids,” people get all upset at the wording. There is nothing wrong with saying that your husband is babysitting! Men are not naturally responsible for physically raising the kid(s). Men have a much harder time being a single dad than women have being a single mom. I am honored to get up at night and nurse my babies and let my husband continue getting his much-needed sleep. Men and women have different responsibilities in life. Let’s remember that.


Thank you for listening!

A Reader


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your interesting letter. It is true that traditionally women have been the primary caretakers, but as you noted, things have changed. Everyone’s marriage is different and there are still couples that are more traditional and then there are those who share the childrearing more evenly. This is neither a good or bad thing, as long as there is no scorecard! A marriage won’t be successful if we keep track of everything we do for our spouse; however, a good marriage will blossom when both the husband and wife think about what they can do for each other. Women’s liberation has not really liberated women. On some level, women definitely have more freedom, and yet, they work harder than they have ever worked before – not only are they responsible for taking care of their home and family, many work outside the home as well.

Some women get upset if their husbands don’t feel equally responsible to take care of the children, and there are many husbands who want that opportunity. And then there are families where it is understood that the husband’s/father’s responsibilities are outside the home. It is really all about the type of outside job each person has and the choices the couple has made.

For example, many men who are in Kollel are married to women with professional careers and end up with more of the child-rearing responsibility because of their wives’ demanding schedules. On the other hand, if a woman and her husband are both working at demanding jobs, it is usually the wife who takes on more of the responsibilities at home – especially when they don’t have enough money for cleaning help and babysitting. There are also wives whose husbands work many hours and feel overwhelmed by having to raise the children alone.

You appear to be a caring wife and I agree that no relationship can be productive if everything is controlled and counted. The root of the word ahava is hav, which means to give. We learn from this that in order to have a truly loving marriage one has to be giving. If more couples would approach marriage thinking “What can I give to my spouse?” as opposed to “What can my spouse give me?”, the divorce rate would be a lot lower.

It appears that you are someone who thinks about what you can do for your spouse. When you noted, “I am honored to get up at night and nurse my babies and let my husband continue getting his much-needed sleep,” it was obvious that you take your husband’s needs into consideration and care about his sleep. That is the secret ingredient to a good marriage! Both the husband and the wife need to care about and want the best for each other.

Rav Aryeh Levin once took his wife to the foot doctor. When the doctor came in to the room, Rav Levin said, “Our foot is hurting and I would greatly appreciate if you can help us.” Rav Levin emulated what it means to be in a caring and loving marriage. He didn’t say, “My wife’s foot is hurting,” rather he said, “Our foot is hurting,” demonstrating that any problem his wife had was also his difficulty.

Thank you for your letter and may you continue to always care about your husband and flourish in your marriage. 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 [email protected]. 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 and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at