What Can I Do For You?
We have discussed in the past how one of the foundations of the 12-Steps is learning how to "Let Go and Let G-d". Well, another major foundation of the steps that helps us find freedom from the addiction, is learning how to live for OTHERS and not be "self-centered". As one guy wrote today on the forum:
Some of you know that I've been attending Duvid Chaim's 12 step phone conference. I can honestly say that after 3 weeks of Duvid Chaim's call, I am reminded during the day to perform a couple of selfless acts and to think more about others. Although I don't see yet exactly how this helps the addiction, the calls are worth it just for that!
Also, someone asked a question on the forum about the addiction "vis-à-vis his wife" and Dov responded with something so beautiful that I must share it with you all today. (Dov is sober in SA for 18 years, click here to read his story). Please take the time to read it slowly and try to internalize what he is saying because it is truly profound.
The big issue in my case (which at least partially covers your marriage concern as well) is that I try to always ask myself: "what 'mode' am I in now, Giving or Getting?"
Without even getting into the issue of what is "good" or "bad", or even what is "nice" or "better" - just for us to know the real truth about ourselves, it really works wonders to be aware of it.
Rav Dessler brings the following idea in Kuntres Hachesed, but I write it here be"H from a (12-Step) program perspective. Please tell me if the following makes sense to you...
If I am truly and primarily concerned about what I am giving to all the people in the world, to the people on the street (that I'm walking down), to the folks in my workplace, to my family, to my wife... well, then a lot of things are gonna be OK. Like how people look (beautiful or otherwise), what they are giving me, and how they make me feel.
For example - if I find myself gazing, I quickly ask myself, "Hey! What good am I doing for that person in the street I am staring at? I'd better daven for them instead, Hashem certainly has some kind of purpose and/or plan for them - even if they are a goy, no? I'm sure they need something! (and it's surely not: my ogling at them!)"...
Are my kids making me feel proud and secure as a parent with their behavior or are they 'driving me nuts'? "Hey! What does how they make me feel have to do with what I can give to them? Better I should look at how I can be useful to them, especially given my proclivities to anger or insecurity.
Now I am getting somewhere...
Is my relationship with my wife fulfilling - or not so much... "Hey now, is that why she married me? And is that the only reason I married her? If she'd give me all the fancy stuff I desired (including the lust), would it satisfy me? And what would really happen then?
I am not speaking out against satisfaction in every aspect of marriage, but I need to face this truth: Am I really looking for physical satisfaction, or do I really want for something else in her - like being truly deeply, fully and trustingly connected to another person in this short life - with no price tag either way - just because we are one? Yup, for me that is definitely it.
And the only way to "get" that, is by giving it all away for free to her, no?" After all, do we really expect anything less from our wives?
You may be able to apply this idea in your marriage and think about how whatever you do or choose to communicate etc. with your wife, gives to/affects her. If you try it, let us know what happens, OK?
If this was helpful to you, fantastic!! If not, nu... At least it reminded me of how precious my relationships really are to me, and maybe I'll smile just a bit more when I walk in the door tonight!