TO LOVE & TO CHERISH
In Two Parts
Part I: Honor Your Wife
Part II: Honor Your Husband
Enlightening And Encouraging a Husband And Wife To Love, Honor And Respect One Another, And How They Can Transform Their Home Into A Paradise On Earth.
Based on the Teachings Of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev
And of His Student Rabbi Nossan of Breslev
Part I. – Honor Your Wife
A Precious Gift
Honor your wife because she is the most precious gift given to you from G-d. Give her the consideration she deserves and make her feel cherished, and she will become your greatest asset in life. Treat her as your own flesh and blood and you will win her undying devotion and loyalty. Remember there is no one closer to you than your wife as is taught in the Zohar (Lech Lecha 85b), that prior to entering this world the souls of the husband and wife existed as one entity. Upon entry into this world the soul splits with the object of reunification through marriage. Take advantage of this G-d given opportunity to rediscover a lost part of yourself, by appreciating your good fortune at having gotten married, and reunited with your soul-mate. But remember, growth through marriage doesn't end under the canopy, rather it's a continuous process of self-development and fulfillment, achieved by mutual respect and by giving to one another. As a husband, you owe it to your wife to make her feel nurtured and loved, and in return it will bring you closer together, making your marriage a lasting success.
Feeling Loved and Appreciated
A wife craves her husband's attention, and she depends on his approval to feel emotionally secure. Therefore, be attentive to your wife's needs and be gentle, by speaking tenderly to her, in a soothing and soft tone. Feeling loved and appreciated, your wife will forever remain bound to you – never straying – as implied by the Sages in their usage of the word "covenant" to convey the strength of a woman's commitment to her husband (Sanhedrin 22b). So go out of your way to be sweet to your wife and always give her the benefit of the doubt. G-d wants you to want each other, so make her feel special and wanted, and then she will want you. The key to keeping your wife interested in you and receptive to your desires, lies in how well you make her feel good about herself. Cherishing your wife will only strengthen the bonds of friendship and love between you.
Honors His Wife More Than Himself
The Sages taught (Yevamot 62b), "He who loves his wife as himself and honors her more than himself, is assured that his home will be a peaceful one". It is human nature for a person to love themselves and to evaluate their own actions in a favorable light. Any shortcomings or faults, errors or mistakes become easily forgiven or forgotten by the excuses we tell ourselves. Why not extend the same consideration to your wife, by always looking at her good side and giving her the benefit of the doubt? Love her despite her faults, even if she makes stupid mistakes or she offends you. We all want to be valued for who we are, and we love those who encourage us to be the best that we can be. A wife suffers a disadvantage when it comes to taking pride in her role as a housewife and mother, and she finds it even harder to feel valuable as a person. She needs that extra bit of recognition and praise for her accomplishments – more than her husband – in order for her to bear through the monotony of daily housework and the pressures of raising the children. Sometimes just an encouraging smile, a nod of approval, or a caring glance is enough to lift the dampened spirits of your spouse and help her get through a rough moment. Remember, behind every successful marriage, exists a caring and supportive husband who knows the importance of putting his wife's needs first.
Uniquely Intended For You By G-d
The demands of being a housewife and mother can be overwhelming and typically leaves most wives feeling irritable, depressed, and unable to cope. A husband sensitive to his wife's moods, will act quick to cheer her up and ease the tension in the house. In general, the mood dominating the home is a reflection of the wife's temperament, which rises and falls, in rhythm with the emotional vibes given off by her husband. A husband who looks forward, after a hard days work, to being welcomed by a loving wife, must greet her with equal enthusiasm, warmth, desire, and caring. As a husband, you're obligated to put personality differences and past hurts aside, and put the welfare and general happiness of your wife first. A neglected wife drives all the warmth out of the house, whereas the home where friendship, joy, and love exist between the couple, even the Invisible Presence of G-d rests (Sotah 17a). As the woman uniquely intended for you by G-d, you are expected to love and nurture your wife, to the extent that she feels a part of you. It is precisely through the process of getting close to your wife, that you come closer to G-d and make Him a part of your life! Honor Your Wife.
A Sensitive Nature
A woman's sensitive nature makes her more prone to getting hurt in a relationship, therefore, the Torah wams husbands against offending their wives (Baba Metzia 59b). Because she is so easily moved to tears and her emotional pain sensed so acutely, any form of distress inflicted on a wife constitutes abuse, that violates the spirit of all that Jewish values and ideals represents. The definition of wife abuse is not limited merely to battering; it also includes hurtful actions of a more subtle kind such as speaking harshly to your wife, insulting her or criticizing her in front of others. Although these behaviors may rive from a deep sense of disappointment with your own performance in the marital relationship insofar as your wife makes you feel inadequate as a breadwinner or a failure in satisfying her needs – it doesn't justify your brutality. In fact, an objective look at your marriage would reveal that the conflict began with your failure to demonstrate consideration and proper regard for your wife's feelings, which led to her subsequent rejection of you. The delicacy of her feelings are such, that even the slightest comment or remark, while harboring no malicious intent, can be perceived as hurtful and undermining to the relationship. Exercise caution when relating to your wife – steering clear of criticism – and couch your words in endearing terms, so that you always communicate to her your love and support. Not only will your marriage improve but so will your finances, as the Sages taught (Baba Metzia 59b), 'Always take your wife's feelings into consideration, because it'sfor her sake that the home prospers". In order to succeed in getting G-d to love you and to support you, you must prove your capacity to show love to the most precious gift given to you by Him – your wife.
New Found Confidence
A husband's treatment of his wife has decisive impact on his wife's mental stability and ability to cope with the demands of marriage. The stress of living under the domination of an over-controlling and abusive husband progressively wears at the nerves of a wife, which may ultimately lead to a nervous breakdown. If you wish to avoid spending the rest of your married life with a dysfunctional wife then stop victimizing her. Your wife's emotional well being is essential for a healthy marriage, so promise her the world, if that's what it takes to keep her happy and content. Instead of always criticizing her, build-up her self esteem by indicating your approval whenever she expresses her opinions and ideas, and lavish her with effusive praise for her accomplishments. With her new found confidence, the formerly timid and shy girl you married, whom you judged as needy and insecure, will transform into a capable and self-assured person, whose sole desire will be to please you. Even the most formidable defenses and stubborn opposition of an incorrigible wife yield and give way when showered with compliments by an adoring husband. But the club-wielding husband who exerts control over his wife, by bullying her and intimidating the rest of the household, crushes her will, which he sought to gain. This is why the Sages taught (Gittin 6b), "[A husband] should always refrain from intimidating his household etc… ", and furthermore, (Ibid.) "Whoever inspires fear in his household, will ultimately transgress the three Cardinal Sins: illicit relations, murder, and violation of the Sabbath". Fearing backlash from her husband, an intimidated wife will withhold vital evidence, or she will fail to inform When a Halachic problem requiring ruling arises. Consider then, that your job as a husband is not to focus on the irritating qualities of your wife, but to discover her most attractive ones. In this way you will attract your wife into becoming your confidante and ally, and together you will live happily ever after.
Raising Normal And Healthy Children
A husband's conduct towards his wife has significant impact on the molding of his children's character, as expressed by the Sages (Berachot 51b), "A woman's children receive blessing through the father". An influential part of the process of raising normal and healthy children involves the amount of consideration that the husband displays towards his spouse. Children must see their father cast in the role as a caregiver, providing for his dependent wife. Despite his preoccupation with his own personal problems and pressures in coping with the demands of fatherhood, he considers her feelings first, and is emotionally available to her. And, although her natural feminine shyness makes her hesitant to disclose feelings, he readily assumes much of the guesswork and patient coaxin involved in discovering how to satisfy his wife's expectations. This kind of devotion in the marriage produces offspring that are emotionally stable and mentally alert, who go on to lead productive lives and achieve success. With the marital unit serving as the model from which your children pattern their own responses in their relationships, take care to provide them with a healthy example, by being a thoughtful and considerate husband.
A good rule of thumb in achieving marital satisfaction with your wife is unconditional acceptance. Consider the guarantee offered by the Torah (Eruvin 4]b): "Whoever has a bad wife will never see the face of Hell". Accepting uncomfortable situations in life, such as a bad marriage, without reacting with avoidance or escape, is regarded as such an act of sheer heroism, because of its implicit trust in the justness of G-d's ways. Indeed, this enlightened soul has so ennobled itself in This World, that it makes the need to undergo suffering in the Next World unnecessary. Motivated by genuine remorse over the recklessness of a wild youth, he views the current schism dividing him and his wife as only part of a greater wedge that was driven between himself and G-d. But if you are unwilling to make the personal sacrifices necessary for preserving the Jewish home and marriage, as prescribed in the Torah, and you embrace instead, the self-centered thinking of today's secular society, you may tragically bring your house down. To repair your marriage and to revive the love between you and your estranged wife, you must rid your mind of unrealistic expectations gained in your youth, that were shaped by contemporary notions of love and romance. You must move away from selfish concerns and find your way back into the heart of your spouse, which can only be accomplished by causing Heaven to stir first. The sense of alienation and estrangement that comes from years of shutting G-d out of your life, will become erased just by opening your mouth and speaking to Him, plainly, in the language you know best. Sharing with G-d your private thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and fears about marriage, routinely during intimate conversations, wi e p you afterwards relate more intimately with your wife. Follow this practice with regular Torah study, and its teachings will help you transform into a more sensitive and caring husband, which will earn you her love and respect that you felt so missing from your ailing marriage. So, if you find that your wife has turned you off and tuned you out, remember, she'll only change if your willing to change.
Roll Up Your Sleeves And Pitch In
Men tend to have a more organized and efficient style in their approach to work. What may seem like hours of housework to your wife can be accomplished, in your eyes, in minutes. So if you arrive home from work to find the house in a shambles, with toys scattered about, and dishes piled high, why not roll up your sleeves and pitch in? What's the use of yelling and criticizing her? She probably had a hard day and a difficult time handling the kids, so why make her feel worse? And if you're reluctant to get on your hands and knees to wash the kitchen floor, because it's beneath your dignity, then perhaps you need to be reminded to what length the Torah goes to preserve marital harmony: that even if G-d's own name must be erased, it's permissible, so that peace be made between a divided couple (Shabbos 1]6a). So go ahead, lower your pride and show your wife you care about her and your marriage. You will discover, ironically, that on the contrary, instead of forfeiting your dignity, you've gained a wife. With the responsibilities of the house now shared, your wife will feel less tired and less stressed-out, and more full of energy to concentrate on enhancing the quality of your marriage.
Make Peace the Primary Objective
There is nothing that brings more happiness to in-laws then to see their married children living happily together in peace and harmony. On the other hand, there is nothing that so disrupts family unity, by causing the polarization of both sides, than when a couple is embroiled in marital conflict. In order to prevent all out family warfare, bite your tongue when coming across some irritating quality about your wife, and master the art of compromise when negotiating mutual decisions. Don't allow every difference of opinion to erupt into a major altercation and shouting match. There are some overly critical husbands, who may be well-meaning, but by constantly making comments regarding their wives'behaviors, actually provoke arguments that later escalate into major family feuds. Marital relationships are a family affair, so in order to maintain goodwill amongst the entire family, make peace between you and your wife the primary objective of your marriage. Since peace is synonymous with G-dliness (Shabbos ]Oa), your diplomatic efforts on behalf of your family, will only yield success. The couple that stays the family together, and enjoys together, brings the warmth and love that only a close family can offer.
Seeking Understanding And Validation
Don't be alarmed when your wife shrieks and yells. Remember the Sages taught (Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah Chap. 2, Law 1), "It's a woman's nature to scream". So, don't take your wife's hysterics personally, it's merely her way of venting her frustrations at having to deal all day with the unruliness and mischief of her children. Antagonizing her will only aggravate her further, so try easing her burden by letting her get it out, and don't answer back. All a tired, wom-out wife is seeking by complaining is for some measure of understanding and validation of her feelings. Don't misinterpret her actions as an attack directed at you, nor paint your wife as a mean person, rather show her your concern by making her pain your pain, as the Sages taught (Yerushalmi Sanhedrin Chap. 3, Law 6), "A wife and a husband are identical". The function of marriage is to sweep out the selfishness from our hearts by teaching us how to love someone other than ourselves. Marriage is about caring; it's the ability to identify with the feelings, thoughts, and needs of another so that by looking at them we learn about ourselves. In marriage our humanity is tried, and to the degree that we can love and display compassion to our wives do we earn G-d's love and compassion. The abusive husband, on the other hand, who exploits his wife solely for his own selfish purposes deprives himself of the meaningful lesson that the marital experience can offer. His days are spent instead, in blind frustration blaming his wife for all his cursed luck in life. So if you're dissatisfied with the direction in your life has taken and you feel like a failure on the job or in relationships, look no further than your reflection in the marital mirror. Are you as manipulative and exploitative at work as in your marriage? Do people reject you because they find you too self-centered and inconsiderate, as does your wife? The respect and dignity accorded a wife is the yardstick by which a husband's overall success in love and life is measured. For it's precisely in the schoolroom of marriage that the basic lessons in humanitarian conduct are taught and mastered. Remember, the getting in life is in the giving of yourself to your wife!
G-d Is Thoroughly Involved
To improve your situation in life doesn't necessarily require a change in circumstance as much as an alteration in how you perceive reality. You must understand that G-d and reality are one and the same. When you can fully accept the fact that G-d is runnin g the world, and that all of creation is under His dominion, then you can relax your neurotic drive to have control over the events of your life. The reassurance provided by the insight that G-d is thoroughly involved in your affairs, allows you to approach all your obligations in life, whether marital, intellectual, or financial with a sense of serenity and confidence. Everyone's life is filled to some degree with frustration, but you will no longer feel so annoyed and hurt, because you will interpret all of life's predicaments as deliberately designed by G-d to make you more aware of His presence, and thus draw you closer to Him. Whether your marriage is satisfying or not, you will feel at least grateful that G-d has spared you from selfish and unhealthy preoccupation with bodily urges, by providing you with a wife with whom you can express them more meaningfully, through the sacred act of procreation. The significance of her role will only serve to increase her esteem in your eyes and transform you into a loving and respectful husband. Similarly, your scholastic pursuits will no longer have that self-serving quality about them, as you busy yourself with looking for G-d in your books. All knowledge acquired from your studies will be measured in the amount of awareness of G-d's presence they impart. Likewise, with all commercial activity conducted under the watchful eye of G-d, you no longer feel you can justify stealing and defrauding others in the name of business. Honesty then becomes your best policy and the only means of getting ahead. There is no greater control you can gain over your life than in surrendering control to G-d. So let go by letting G-d in, and watch your whole life improve.
Even though the mutual exchange of ideas and opinions makes a healthy marriage thrive, still, a husbands' religious observance should remain a matter of private concern. Wives should not interfere with their husbands religious devotions, as the Sages taught, "Women take matters [of religious observance] more lightly" (Shabbos 33b). How many husbands have had their religious resolve weakened and subsequently became lax in observance, or not observant at all due to the casualness encouraged by their indifferent spouses? In matters of Jewish law and practice, traditionally studied more by men, and less familiar to women, don't seek a wife's counsel. No matter how impassioned her plea or persuasive her argument, do not relent when her opinion runs counter to Jewish Law. The Sages have already warned, (Pirkei DRabi Eliezer, Chap. 41) "It is the tendency of men, to follow the opinions of women etc…". It is in this one exceptional case that a man must flex some muscle and impose his will, in order to preserve the religious integrity of the marriage. Despite the insistent demand by the Torah to honor your wife's wishes and opinions, when they conflict with Jewish ideals and values they should be firmly rejected and unequivocally denied. Remember, your wife is also obligated by the Torah to conduct herself in a manner that's proper and befitting a Jewish woman, so don't be moved by her tearful fits nor surrender your position because you feel sorry for her. March confidently and unafraid, displaying the banner of truth and eventually she will follow after you, as the Sages commented, (Midrash Rabba; Vayera, Chap. 54) "When a man's position finds favor in G-d's eyes, even his opponents are made to reconcile with him – meaning his wife etc… ". You may be uncomfortably deadlocked with your wife, in a battle of wills, but your dogged determination will surely impress her, and she will be struck by the sincerity of your convictions until finally, instead of fighting you, she will join you. Not only will you have gained your wife back, but now out of sheer admiration and willingness, she will adopt your religious beliefs and values. Capitulation, on the other hand sends her a clear message whose the boss, and the Sages have already warned, (Betzah 32b) "When a wife dominates a husband, he has no life". Don't sentence yourself to such a cursed fate. If you're firm in your comnittment to Torah ideals and accept no compromises in regard to religious observance, you will earn the respect of your family and they will duly follow in your footsteps.
Still The Ideal Marital Arrangement
You should ask G-d each day to help you achieve financial independence, so as not to have to rely on your wife for support, as the Sages commented, (Pesachim 50b) "Whoever expects to be supported by his wife will never see blessing in his life". When the wife is the breadwinner, the marital roles become reversed and she becomes the dominant partner. His neediness and dependency only serves to diminish his esteem in her eyes, and feeling humiliated, his life becomes a misery. Traditionally, men have assumed the socialized role as the family's breadwinner, and it's their success in performing this role that has secured the respect and admiration of their dependent wives. Ironically speaking, a husband can only win well that bread for his dependent family, by realizing that he too is a dependent. Recognizing that all income originates from G-d's generous hand, he relies solely on G-d for support. His faith gives him the courage to ignore the dictate of today's economic reality, that a household needs a second income to survive, so he keeps his wife at home to raise the family, as the Sages remarked, (Midrash Rabba; Bereishis, Chap. 18) "A woman's place is in the home, while a man's place is in the marketplace etc… ". The conventional roles of the working man, and the domestic wife, has characterized the success and stability of the Jewish home throughout the Ages, and still represents the ideal marital arrangement.
Treating Her Royally
There is no one more special and prized in your life than your wife, so go ahead and pamper her! Make her feel like a queen, by treating her royally. Surprise her from time to time gifts, and include a note telling her how much she means to you. Don't complain that you can't afford it, because the consequences of a marriage gone sour, are even less affordable. Think of these thoughtful gestures as an investment in a lifetime deal, in which the returns are marital satisfaction and enduring bliss. There is nothing that better serves to arouse the passion and spark romance in a wife than when her material needs are met by her husband. But when a wife has to beg her husband for every last penny, and even the bare household essentials are lacking, then the marriage begins to disintegrate, as the Sages taught, (Temurah ]6a) "When the pantry is bare, the squabbling begins". Whether you have the means or not, don't be so tight-fisted with your wife. Indulge her with your attention, lavish her with praise, stretch your budget to cater to her needs, and if there isn't enough, then at least leave her feeling hopeful that one day, when your fortune improves, she'll have it all. Guaranteed that you made her happiness your top priority, your wife's whole outlook will become buoyantly optimistic, and then the whole house will brim with good cheer. Remember, all a wife needs to know is that your trying and that you care.
Free Yourself From Self-Interests, Accept G-d's Will
The use of manipulation and force is no way to treat a wife. When she refuses to go out socially with you, or is reluctant to join you in some recreational activity, don't pressure her, as the Sages explained, (Midrash Ruth, Chap. 2) "A woman feels more comfortable in her own home". Show your wife that you are an agreeable sort, by not twisting her arm to follow you to places that she finds unpleasant, or to enter situations that make her uncomfortable. It's that gentle touch with which you handle your wife's delicate feelings, that paradoxically influences her to let you have things your way. Simply put: when you give respect, you get respect! Generally speaking, the moral to your life story is: you get what you want from others in life, including your wife, not by resisting their demands, as much as by giving in to them. By freeing yourself from the pursuit of self-interests, you're free to accept G-d's will. And, since all wills ultimately bow in submission to G-d's will, you will be able to live in peace with yourself, and peacefully with others, of which there is no better life.
Part II. – Honor Your Husband
A Precious Gift
Honor Your husband because he is the most Precious gift given to you from G-d. Always wear a smile in his presence and show him due respect and you will arouse his ardent love, and strengthen the bonds of your affection. After a hard days work, all a man longs for is a warm home and an adoring wife to which to come home. So greet his weary soul at the door with a warm smile, and his heart will fill with love and desire for you. Although you may have had difficulty handling the kids today, or experienced trouble with the neighbors, this is not the time to unload your problems on your husband. Instead, fix your attention on him, and dedicate this time fully to the satisfaction of his needs. To make your husband closer to you, spend more time in close encounter with him.
The Woman's Wisdom Builds The Home
Depending on her skill, a wife can either make or break a marriage. With her talent lying in the art of gentle persuasion, she can lead her husband constructively, on a path towards mutual satisfaction, as the wisest of all men, King Solomon, stated (Proverbs 14), "The woman's wisdom builds her home, while a corrupt wife destroys it with her own hands". Not wishing to jeopardize the relationship, the prudent wife practices discretion in her marital negotiations so as not to bruise her husband's ego, nor detract from his romantic interest. Her subtle maneuvers ensure that she gets what she wants, while keeping her marriage solidly anchored in a warm, loving, and conflict-free environment, so that the relationship continues to flourish. On the other hand, when the wife lacks the requisite common sense to conduct herself civilly and affectionately towards her husband the marriage flounders. Lacking tact, she issues one abrasive demand after another, instigating arguments, until the tension in the home is so intolerable that her husband wishes only to escape. Finding her unreasonable and contentious, he is found rarely at home until finally, in disgust, he disappears and the marriage collapses. A wife can have it her way and still keep the romantic flames flickering, if she spices up her marriage with clever use of her feminine charm and talents.
The Wife Who Creates
G-d provides the man, but it's the wife who creates the husband, as is illustrated in the following anecdote related by the Sages (Bereishis Rabba Chap. 17:7): Once there was a righteous man who was married to a righteous woman, but they had no children. So, this man divorced his wife and married another woman, who was corrupt, and eventually he himself became wicked. Meanwhile, his former wife married a man who was wicked, yet through her inspiration he became righteous. Indeed it's the wife's pivotal role, once she unearths her hidden potential, that can literally transform a husband from a sinner into a saint. True love is patient, so allow for change to occur in your spouse naturally, always encouraging it, yet never insisting upon it. Your willingness to accept your supportive role contributes more towards advancing the rights of women, and towards gaining acceptance in your husband's eyes than by marching for liberation. The mark of a true feminist, is the wife who lets her husband wear the pants in the family, because far from submitting to male domination, she shrewdly fosters equality. By shifting the focus of marital interactions off gender differences, she creates a climate that's ripe for sharing and cooperation. When a husband perceives that his authority is no longer questioned, he will let his chauvinistic guard down, revealing a more agreeable partner who is not so threatened by the opinions of the opposite sex. The rebellious wife, however, who stubbornly refuses to conform to her trad'tionally-defined gender role, succeeds only in antagonizing her husband, further widening the gender gap that separates them. Following in the radical footsteps of her feminists sisters, she conducts an ideological quest to achieve equal rights by insisting on exchanging roles with her husband. Stuck in a power-play, her objectives never become realized, because instead of she demands it. Ultimately, her inspiring change aggressive manner sends her resentful husband, with his pride wounded, into further retreat behind his defensive shield, inflicting more damage on an already scarred marriage. Marriage is a game whose rules are meant to be followed; getting him to act the part of the loving husband, means you have to start behaving more like a giving wife. Men are naturally defensive and act superior in reaction to inner feelings of insecurity and performance anxiety. Excessive concern with their self-image and the constant pressure to prove themselves to earn love, makes them naturally fearful of intimacy. Criticism will only feed into their fears of rejection and makes them even more inhibited, so why not work on making him feel comfortable around you, by making him more comfortable about himself'.? During his shining moments, or ones of disgrace, stand approvingly behind your husband and reassure him that you love and accept him not for what he is, but for who he is! Unconditional love, expressed in that uniquely feminine way, works well to uncover a sensitive, more vulnerable person behind your man. Don't be surprised if afterwards, he begins to treat you as a person, and not just as a woman.
Appearances not everything, but…
Appearances may not be everything, but they are important and make a lasting impression. If you want your husband to be attracted to you, you have to look good and feel good about yourself. Therefore, your wardrobe should contain a selection of tasteful items, kept neat and of clean, that together with a few pieces jewelry, and a charming smile, ensure that your husband always finds you captivating. There is nothing that turns-off a husband more and causes him to set his sights elsewhere, than a woman who neglects her appearance and is careless regarding feminine hygiene. A person's appearance is a reflection of his self-worth. Even under the most dire circumstances, where you can afford only rags to wear, nonetheless, keep them neat and clean, and wear them with dignity so your husband still finds you becorm'ng. Don't be naive! Men do take pride in how their wives look, and generally it's the key that opens the door to even greater intimacy.
A Refuge From A Revolution
Today there exists an even greater need for wives to make themselves readily available to their husbands, and not to practice abstinence. The advent of the sexual revolution, marked by freedom of sexual expression and general moral decline, has thrust these personal matters out of the privacy of the home, and into the streets. The sexual outspokenness of the media and the provocative styles of today's dress have made promiscuous behavior so fashionably common, that even decent men can no longer resist the temptation to indulge in decadent behavior. Take preventive measures against the tide of moral degeneration, by making yourself a constant source of attraction to your husband. Heighten the sense of romance by beautifying yourself during your permissible times together, and make it obvious that you're a willing partner by being overtly affectionate. Providing him with an easily accessible outlet to channel his passions, will serve to deter him s from feeling compelled to express them in deviant ways. Take pride in the importance of your function as your husband's moral safeguard, and be heartened by the fact that the Torah offers greater promise to the wife, than to the husband because she waits on him, and thus deters him from sin (Berachos 17a). Don't withhold yourself from your husband because you're afraid of being taken advantage of, or because of your fear of losing autonomy; On the contrary, your willingness to please him only makes him love you more, and motivates him to want to please you. And the Sages add (Eruvin 100b), "Any woman who solicits her husband to perform his marital duty, will be worthy of sons the likes of which, did not exist even in the generation of Moses". A marriage needs passion to survive and it's the wife's chief responsibility to continuously revive that passion during permissible times, in order to sustain his interest, and keep him committed to the relationship. There is nothin that so distorts the image of wholesome relating between man and wife than the puritanical belief that glorifies abstinence and shuns sexuality. The Sages strongly repudiated this perverse ideology, counting the prudish woman as one of the menaces to society bent on destroying the world (Sotah 20b). Don't deny yourself those special moments that can be spent in shared intimacy with your husband; purify yourself at the first permissible moment possible. The products of your wholesome and loving union will be, healthy and charming children, who will follow your intelligent example by choosing the righteous path. Life will seem like paradise when you enjoy the exclusive attention of a loyal husband. But marriage is a two way street; you have got to give in order to get.
Outdated Stereotypes Of Women
Are you tired of hopelessly waiting around for your husband to take notice of you? Do you blame yourself for feeling increasingly angry and I at being ignored by an emotionally resentful unresponsive spouse? Stop feeling guilty and start taking charge for the direction your marriage has taken. Don't let your actions be misguided by outdated stereotypes of women that force you to helplessly take a back-seat in all decision-making, leaving you stranded until your husband finally decides to make a move. Men don't know what women want or need; they require instruction from their wives, as the Sages remarked (Niddah 45b), "The Almighty granted greater intuition to women, than to men". So, enough with the marital charades! Start taking initiative by being honest and open about how you feel about him and what you expect from the relationship. Let go of unhealthy inhibitions and let inner feelings of love and affection surface and flow freely between yourselves. Eventually he will take your lead and soften up enough to expose some of his own vulnerability, as it's written (Kiddushin 2a), "It's the nature of man to follow after the woman". There is no mystery behind the "feminine mystique"; a husband simply finds his wife more intriguing when she knows what she wants and is not afraid to ask for it.
Calm, Cool, and Collected Communication
Sometimes, it's not so much what you say, but how you say it that makes for good communication with your husband. The policy governing any verbal exchange with your spouse should be: calm, cool, and collected – avoiding at all costs direct confrontations. Mens' oversized egos bruise easily, so don't raise your voice to him, and certainly don't stampede at him in a wild fit of rage. Eliminate the sarcasm from your speech, and don't be abrupt or else you can expect a prompt and angry reprisal for your rudeness. Continue to antagonize him and he will raise his hand to you, signaling the beginning of the end of your marriage. Why permit a minor verbal skirmish to escalate into all out marital warfare, when a gentle, kind word is sufficient to silence the threats. Even if your husband is short-tempered, you can spare yourself the heartache of constant bickering, by exercising some self control and keeping silent while he blows off steam. It's common that, during a heated argument hurtful remarks will be traded, but your concern should only be to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict as swiftly as possible. While maintaining your composure, try to pacify your husband by reminding him how much you love him and cherish his companionship. In a soothing tone, ask him why he is permitting himself to hurt the most important person to him in his life. His bark is really bigger than his bite, because men are really very soft and sensitive creatures underneath. So, don't waste your time senselessly arguing with your husband. Greet his anger with sympathy and love, and ultimately a gentle soul, full of regret and apologies, will emerge from behind the bully.
A Good Listener
He arrives home from work looking tired and upset. Maybe a lucrative deal he was working on for months fell through? Perhaps his boss gave him a demotion, or maybe it was just a tough day dealing with demanding customers or unkind co-workers? Without even waiting for him to take off his coat you proceed to whine and grumble about your difficult day. He-sighs out of disgust, and feeling fed up and resentful just hearing about problems, he shouts and picks a fight. Don't let this be your sorry story! When your husband comes home, shelve all your complaints and frustrations, and be all ears for him. Lighten the air by wearing a cheery smile and look for ways to comfort him and make him relax. Let him recount all the abuse and pain that he endured at the hands of others that day. Be a good audience by listening with rapt attention and let him know that you're on his side, by not defending the others. He will love you for listening, and helping him get the pain out. Feeling refreshed and relaxed, he will be capable now of lending his sympathetic ear to all that's troubling you. Remember, being a good wife means being a good listener!
Receiving A Warm Welcome
There's and old saying; "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"! Therefore, make mealtime a special event in your home. Devise menus that include your husband's favorite dishes, and make sure the table is tastefully set and ready when he arrives home from work or from his studies. They may not tell you, but most husbands resent when their wives are gossiping at the neighbors house or chattering on the phone when they arrive home. A husband feels loved and wanted when he receives a warm welcome from his beloved wife, and he doesn't appreciate having to share the attention with others. It's these small acts of consideration that are the building blocks of love between husband and wife. When you care so much about each other, G-d cares about you and rests His Invisible Presence in your home bringing with it peace and blessing.
No husband is perfect, but many men can't accept that fact. Don't make the mistake of trying to fix your husband by pointing out all his faults and criticizitig him directly. Looking over his shoulder and acting as his conscience will make him uptight and resentful, extinguishing all feelings of romance and making the moment ripe for a fight. If a confrontation can't be avoided due to the seriousness of the situation, or because the behavior is too offensive, then phrase your words carefully so that they convey a message of genuine concern, and not condemnation. Because of their natural machismo, men feel demeaned when lectured by a woman, so whatever message you're communicating to your spouse, make it very positive and inspiring, so that he can accept it.
Marriage: Financial Mirrors The Romantic
The bills are mounting. The refrigerator is near bare. The children's shoes no longer fit, and the holes are showing through the soles. Panic sets in and you tell yourself you've had it! You're about to march in, waving that finger of blame, to demand immediate financial relief, or else. Stop! Think a moment. why put more strain on an already stressful situation, by threatening and complaining? Are you prepared to allow financial hardship to bring your otherwise storybook marriage to a tragic close? You may be needy, but your husband needs you more, so stand confidently by his side. By not losing faith in him, hold onto to his faith and he'll find the strength to G-d, that things will work out for the best. If, however, you withdraw your support during this critical time, and nag him incessantly for what he can't give you, he will never forgive you. The humiliation suffered at the hands of a cruel and callous wife, because of the failure to provide, will never be forgotten, creating an indelible blight on the marriage. Show him compassion and understanding by not pressing him for money, when you know there's none to be had. Your empathy, conveyed in a calm and soothing manner, will make him less tense and nervous, easing his mind, so he can concentrate on formulating strategies to climb out of the financial hole. Otherwise, he may join the ranks of similarly badgered husbands who, out of desperation, were driven to break the law in order to get the money they lack. Stick by your husband and be his best friend, because the financial state of your marriage mirrors the romantic one, so that the money is only as good as the love. Marital disaffection can interfere with overall job performance, productivity, and motivation. Working to keep your husband happily married, will motivate him to work on keeping you financially happy.
Bond Of Love And Trust
You may not see eye to eye with your in-laws, but your husband is blind to their faults and does expect you to get along with them. If your relationship with them is adversarial and you permit accumulated anger to take the form of vicious swiping, it may cause irrevocable damage to your marital relationship. Protective of his parent's honor, your vindictive remarks may penetrate so deeply that, unable to forgive and forget, your husband will despise you permanently. In an extreme case, where your in-law's treatment of you is outright abusive, you should initially take evasive action, looking for any excuse to avoid social interaction with them. Later on in your marriage, when the bond of love and trust has been cemented, it's safe to assume that your husband can accept well-intended criticism regarding his parent's unjust behavior, without jeopardizing your relationship.
A Kosher Home
The term "kosher" has a nutritional connotation that goes beyond mere health-mindedness and diet awareness. Every Jewish homemaker should know that with every dish that's lovingly prepared she's not only feeding the stomach, but also serving the soul. Therefore select only ingredients that meet the rigorous religious standards as prescribed by the Torah, without looking for shortcuts or compromising on kashrus quality for convenience sake. Unkosher food products, even in minute amounts, when allowed entry into the kitchen exert a deleterious effect on the personality and behavior. In our nutrition-conscious age, where diet has been singled out as the culprit, linked to a wide range of physical diseases and emotional disorders, compliance with the laws of Kashrus makes good eating sense. As a completely balanced approach to eating, the kosher diet is compatible with the bodies own metabolic system, eliminating substances that needlessly excite or overstimulate the body, inducing a person to be nervous, moody, and irritable. Those enjoying the salubrious effects of a strictly kosher diet know the freedom from the emotional ravages of fluctuating mood swings and raging outbursts. With their eating habits promoting good impulse control, those on a kosher diet develop stable and solid personalities, so vital for healthful functioning in life. Mastering of the practice of keeping kosher, including expertise in the inspection of fruits and vegetables, for insects, will naturally transform you into a discriminating cook. You will find yourself selecting only the freshest and most natural ingredients for your husband's meals, and he will taste the love in every bite. Despite the popular trend towards restaurant dining, which women have come to associate with proof of spousal affection, confine your dining experience to your home. Stand firm against the temptation to socially dine out and avoid the distraction of eating in public where the dangers of social comparing can undermine your marital satisfaction. What better setting can there be than the romantic ambience of your own home, at which you delight in each other's company while sitting down to a cozy, quiet candlelight dinner? Indeed the Sages have stated (Avoth D'Rabi Nosson, Chap 31), " A person w o eats at his own table feels a sense of ease that is not found even at his parent's table nor at his children's ". So discover the lost art of homemaking, by developing expertise in cooking those dishes which your husband loves best and his heart will warm towards you. Men take pride in their wives' homemade cooking and often boast about it to their friends. Additionally, in today's confusing world of kashrus, with a myriad of kosher labels to choose from, homemade cooking has more than ever become associated with top quality kashrus, particularly since many times the supervising agents for kashrus need supervision themselves. A kosher kitchen is the cornerstone of a Jewish home, and because its management is solely your responsibility, insist on only the highest standard of kashrus. After all, you only want the best for your family!
A Staunchest Advocate