Wednesday, 08 February 2012

The Currency of Marriage

by Dov (See all authors)

I admit that it is challenging to me when I feel my wife is becoming unattractive, the weight thing, whatever. But I remember that it is all a trap of my addiction to remove all joy from the relationship. I know that this type of thinking is a slippery slope for me, so I need to stay way out of the whole thing and love her and do more things for her (and more, and more, and more actions of love), as I start to think about it more. That is the only medication I know of.

You know, this ain't a Torah source, but I read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" many years ago and it struck a chord with me. Not so much the big point he makes about men and women thinking entirely differently, but the idea of how we react in different - and often unexpected - ways to each others' signals and behavior.

But knowledge wasn't enough for me... It took a lot for me to agree to start communicating to her in her way, for a change, instead of davka my way. Before my long fall and subsequent recovery, it was probably impossible...

It takes a lot of surrender of ego for me to regularly use her "currency" in the relationship, such as: sharing the load of the kids and responsibilities, being on time, being happy rather than so serious and deep, being able to be near her and close without necessarily being sexual, and taking actions of love (giving of any kind without expectations of getting anything in return). My "currency" in the relationship on the other hand, is naturally, well, you can guess what it is... But I'm getting better though, b"H!

It's a slow, slow process but well worth it. When real life happens, it is surely entirely different if you know what love is and are really together with someone, not a fantasy. But it can't happen as long as I'm demanding.

It says in Koheles (more or less):

"s'mach im ha'isha she'ahavta. Ki hoo chelkecha mei'elokim bechayei hevlecha -be happy/satisfied (see Twerski on "simcha" in his book "Let us Make Man") with the woman you love, for that is your portion in this hollow life."

Shouldn't he have written "for she is your portion"? What is "that"?

I think "that" is referring to "the relationship" - which must become something much bigger than either spouse. To heck with me, it's all about what we create together by giving. (This attitude may have been the only thing that got me and my wife through my horrible early recovery).

I really hope this helps somebody, cuz I'm dumping out personal, mushy stuff here, and GYE isn't offering me a raise at all.... :-)

Someone responded on the forum:

The stuff about the weight, I hear you 100%... us addicts have a one track mind and that track can only lead to bad places, I get that... but all this stuff about "true love" between a husband and wife actually existing entirely outside of any physical attraction, based completely upon this closeness and togetherness.. I don't know, bro, I don't know...

Dov Responds:

I don't know either. Inside, I know that I really don't know. I'm not there yet, just tasting it and sharing it with you. The point is, that we grow in that direction, not that we are there. I have found that even a little taste of a true perspective coming from inside of me, changes the entire ball game - a little bit.

Nu, it ain't much, but it's great anyway!