25 Kislev 5778 / Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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Happy Wife, Happy Life    

Happy Wife, Happy Life

Marriage is the best opportunity for a man to ascend; having appreciation for his wife is one of the greatest lessons he is supposed to learn in his marriage…


Someone recently told me that her husband is quite stingy with her. It’s so bad, that if she buys a little too much at the grocery store, he gets very upset with her. Obviously, his behavior is putting tons of stress on her, and their marital peace is suffering. She wants to know how she can fix this problem. It’s a good thing she knows the Iraqi Love Doctor, who’s here to save the day.


Okay, guys, stand back, ‘cause it’s about to get a little bit crazy.


First: we have to figure out if the wife’s spending is really out of control, or too much beyond what they can afford. That’s something that only the couple can decide on together. However! If it turns out that wifey is indeed shopping like she’s a billionairess, but she’s really not, there is a deep problem going on in the marriage. It could mean that she’s looking to fill a void that she’s feeling in her marriage, whether it’s attention, affection, appreciation, or all of the above.


Shopping gives women a quick fix and an instant rush. It’s like eating chocolate, but better. Wait, let me clarify: shopping for ourselves, by ourselves, preferably when combining it with a nice lunch date with our girlfriends, makes us feel good. However, if you’re talking about grocery shopping, or dragging your kids to the store to buy them new shoes and the baby won’t stop screaming because he wants to get out of the stroller and crawl around, and the toddler has to go to the bathroom urgently, and your older kid doesn’t like any style you pick out for him except the most expensive pair of shoes in the store, and you haven’t had a thing to eat all day besides your morning coffee, well, that’s borderline torture. Okay, torture.


Second: if you have ascertained through your extensive research and fighting that indeed, wifey doesn’t spend too much beyond your means, then you, darling husbands, need to take a good look in the mirror. This problem starts with you, and it ends with you.


While it’s true that I am slightly biased toward women being faultless, this time I am totally laying all my biases aside, and telling it like it is, according to the Talmud and our beloved Rav Shalom Arush.


The Gemara states (Chulin 74): “ A person should always eat and drink according to less than what he can afford, dress according to what he can afford, and honor his wife and children with more than what he can afford.” BOOYAH!!


There you have it. Straight from God. You have a direct commandment to be very generous with your wives! For goodness’ sake, don’t scratch your heads and wonder exactly what that means! Here, I’ll explain it in two simple rules:


1. If she wants something, let her have it!


2. If you can’t afford something, promise her that as soon as you can, you will buy it for her!  


Now, some men may think that they’re being financially responsible by trying to limit their wives’ spending. They may also really, truly believe they are doing the right thing by criticizing their wives if they buy a little extra. They may justify it as trying to teach their wives how to be more responsible with money.


Guess what!! These husbands are being fooled, 100%, by the evil inclination. He convinces them that as the man in the family, it is their responsibility to control family spending, and if necessary, to enforce disciplinary action.


What is this, high school??


A husband never, ever, nevernever, has any right to criticize his wife on anything! Rav Arush has written extensively on this topic for years already. Check out his article, The Stingy Husband. It’s a great complement to this one.


So where does all this criticizing come from? If it’s from the evil inclination, there has to be something that the husband is doing that makes him susceptible to the EI’s mind tricks.


Don’t worry, husbands, you can stop scratching your heads. I’m going to tell you the reason, free of charge: when a husband is stingy with his wife, whether by not buying her nice things or by trying to limit her spending, he is telling her something very deep: HE DOES NOT APPRECIATE HER.


It’s okay, you can get mad at me. If you’re mad, it’s probably because it’s true.


Lack of appreciation doesn’t just mean he doesn’t want to spend money on his wife. It also means that he doesn’t appreciate her monumental efforts to support his family in every way that she does. How many men actually stop and think about how much their wives do for them every single day?


Do they realize the physical effort alone it takes to run a household? To shop, drive everywhere, clean the house, cook, laundry, dishes, bathing the kids, doing homework, taking them to after-school programs, oh, yeah, work, and be pregnant and/or with a baby to take care of through all of this? I challenge any pampered husband to do everything his wife does in one day, and to do it while they’re sick with a stomach bug, because that’s as close as they’ll feel to being pregnant.


No chance that he won’t quit after Day 1.


Beyond all that their wives do for them, the husbands also suffer from a deeper lack of gratitude to their wives. They fail to appreciate that the woman they married is the one who decided to commit her entire future, her life, and all of her life’s efforts into being married to this man. Ungrateful husbands, who said you deserve anyone to slave over you for the rest of her life?


A woman doesn’t have to be married at all, according to Jewish law. A man does, and it’s no wonder why. Marriage is the best opportunity for a man to work on his spiritual correction. Having appreciation for his wife is one of the greatest lessons he is supposed to learn in his marriage.


Therefore, dear husbands, know this: if you ever raise a critique to your wives, at that moment, you are guilty of severe ingratitude to her. And, by extension, to Hashem, because He gave you this woman that you did not really deserve.


And to the religious, Torah-observant men - know that all of your Torah learning, praying, and mitzvot are meaningless if you don’t honor your wives. If you want to be a real tzaddik, read The Garden of Peace before you finish your next tractate of Gemara.


The Zohar says a happy wife is the vessel for all of the blessings of abundance that you receive. So if you really want a happy life, make sure you have a happy wife!



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Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il

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