Helpful Tips for Married Women – Rabbi Zamir Cohen

Even if you are certain that your husband is at fault and his claims against you are unjustified, listen to what he has to say. Perhaps you will discover to your surprise that he is right.
A man’s moral stature can be measured, among other things, by his readiness to admit a mistake and apologize. Ego and fear of public censure make it difficult to admit one’s fault and say, “I made a mistake and I apologize. I’ll try to improve in the future.”
The more you repeat the words, the easier it will be to say them. Admitting one’s error dissolves hard feelings and promotes an atmosphere of contrition. Don’t be afraid of being looked down upon by your husband — we are all human and prone to err. On the contrary, one who admits his mistake truthfully is regarded more highly by his fellow man.
If you find that your requests are being disparaged and ignored, examine your general approach towards your husband. It could be that he feels hurt or offended and this is his way of showing you how he feels.
If you find this to be so, work on changing your approach according to the principles discussed in this book. He will then be compelled to respond differently to you as a result. As our Sages have said (Avot 4:1): “Who is honorable? One who honors his fellows, as it says, (I Samuel 2:30): “For to those who honor me, I accord honor; those who scorn me shall be demeaned.”
Some time has elapsed since you got married. By now you have a good idea of what is most important to your husband as well as his sensitive points. Instead of trying to change him, why not adapt yourself to them and take them in stride?
Begin with those points that mean a lot to him and proceed with those that are not as crucial but can still spark an argument. The resulting tranquility will prove that an all-out effort is worthwhile, especially since once he realizes it, your husband will come towards you in those matters that are very important to you.
Never use information that your husband has revealed to you against him.
Don’t involve other members of the family or outsiders in your difficulties and problems in general, and certainly not in the first years of marriage. Don’t let them intrude on your marriage. Entry to a construction site is permitted only to professionals, in this case, only a Torah sage or a Torah-trained marriage counselor.
There are times when you feel hurt. You are full of bitterness and frustration; you are convinced you are in the right. This is the time to stop and contemplate the things most important to you in your marriage, and all the good in him — and start expressing your gratitude in a genuine way.
Despite your previous hopes and anticipation of marrying the perfect man, lower your expectations regarding your husband in those areas where you realize it’s difficult for him to change. Be realistic and concentrate on what you think is doable. When there are no expectations, there are no disappointments. The pain of divorce, or even the suffering of living with false expectations, is many times worse than simply lowering them.
It is not uncommon in this day and age that one spouse of a secular couple seeks a life of Torah and mitzvot. The husband may wish to grow a beard and peyot, and the wife may choose to devote hours of her time to saying Tehillim, praying, and taking on other practices and laws independently of his/her spouse. It is all the more difficult for a husband to take on new practices if he is not being consulted and made a partner.
The subject must be broached gently and in stages, with calm attempts to convince him that life will be more meaningful, that the bond between them through religious practice will be healthier and blessed with heightened mutual respect, not only in those areas that deal with a person and his Maker.
Keeping Shabbat and family purity can also be presented in a very positive way in living a more meaningful married life so as to appeal to the husband. In general, the feeling of being left out or rebuffed can result from the husband’s one-sided decisions, which can be headed off by making critical decisions a result of mutual sharing and logical, respectful persuasion. If the wife can help her husband see the benefit to himself as well as to her, the chances of success are much higher.
Experience has shown that an honest, candid love between the pair will remain intact even if one of the spouses is a few steps ahead of the other. If there is friction because of the change, it is generally a sign that the relationship was not altogether smooth before, so that the religious changes are liable to touch off dissension.
When her overtures have not been successful and the husband is opposed to the changes in his wife, there is a need for them to discuss the matter in a mature way and arrive at a workable compromise wherein the wife does not take on more than is required by Jewish law, and the husband should agree.
For this balance to be achieved and maintained, they will have to consult a qualified Torah authority who has experience with outreach and provide ongoing advice for the couple.

Adapted from ‘Happily Married – The Complete Guide to a Successful Jewish Marriage’ For Women, by Rabbi Zamir Cohen. Click Here to Buy Now

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