Monday, 23 January 2012

Key to a Happy Home

Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Fishman, Tzvi (See all authors)

THE GREAT FOUNDATION

Rabbi Arush writes that peace in the home, “shalom bayit,” is a great foundation in serving Hashem. A husband must exert great effort in this non-stop mitzvah, working on it, learning about it, and praying to succeed in his efforts. Many times, husbands believe this is a waste of time, that it is more important to spend one’s time studying Torah and doing deeds of kindness to others. But this is a grave mistake. A man’s relationship with his wife is his barometer on how he is serving Hashem, and his real test in life.

A man who is loved by the world for his saintliness and charitable deeds, but who ignores his wife and causes her sorrow and tears, he is disdained by the Heavenly Court. In serving Hashem, a man must develop Faith (emunah) and humility. These can only be truly acquired by being a loving husband at home.

Since shalom bayit is of such paramount importance, Rabbi Arush emphasizes that the lessons he offers should be learned and relearned, noting that, very often, distressing matters such as sickness, problems with children, financial difficulties, and the like, stem from a lack of shalom bayit and the sufferings that a husband causes his wife.

NO CRITICISM

Criticizing one’s wife is as forbidden as pork on the dining room table. The wife of a critical husband is broken, depressed, pained, and she has no vitality.

One of the most important foundation of shalom bayit is that a husband should never criticize or negatively comment about his wife, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE! Every negative comment is “a crack in the wall of marital bliss.” With more and more cracks, the walls of the house eventually crumble and fall. Rabbi Arush stresses that comments and criticism destroy a wife, for G-d created her to be especially sensitive to her husband, for her entire vitality and happiness depends on the honor that her husband gives her. “Therefore, any affront to her honor damages her soul, weakens her vitality, and virtually kills her, both spiritually and physically.”

Even when a husband’s comments are gentle and meant in a constructive way, she still suffers. Harsh comments and outbursts of irritation are brutal in their affect. A woman wants to be perfect and appreciated in the eyes of her husband – this is her honor, happiness and security. Snide and cynical remarks destroy her self-image completely. A woman who lives with a critical husband finds her life unbearable.

A wife is in need of her husband’s respect, valuation, and encouragement. Negative comments and criticism are devastating to her. A wife’s entire wellbeing depends on her husband’s kind and loving words to her.

Rabbi Arush relates that often husbands come to him with a long list of complaints about their wife and are startled to discover that their very criticisms are the source of their problems. When a husband criticizes his wife, she becomes argumentative, hostile, and displeased with whatever he does. The house turns into hell. Husbands who give up belittling their spouses are pleased to discover a new happiness in the homes, instead of mutual badgering and strife.

THE WIFE IS A MIRROR

A man’ wife is a mirror of himself. Any deficiency he sees in her is actually his own deficiency.

If a man disrespects his wife, she will disrespect him. If he places her on a pedestal, she will do the same to him. Any shortcomings that a husband sees in his wife are Hashem’s way of telling him what he has to work on in himself. He shouldn’t criticize her, but rather work to improve himself. This understanding can save a troubled marriage, and lead a man to accomplish his tikun (rectification) in life. This is one of the purposes of marriage – to help a man correct his character traits – not to correct the faults he sees in his wife! By improving himself, he will see a change in his wife as well, without even saying one critical word to her!

Hashem gives each man the exact wife he needs in order to reach his rectification – but he first has to understand this basic point and use it as a tool for personal growth. The problems he finds in his wife are precisely the things he needs to work on in himself!

Your wife isn't the problem - you are!

Every husband should pray to Hashem to open his eyes and allow him to see, via the reactions of his wife, the things that he needs to correct.

For instance, if she gets angry, it is a sign that he needs to work on his own anger. If she refuses to obey his wishes, it is a sign that he is not obeying the wishes of Hashem. Her behavior toward him is a mere reflection of his behavior toward her. If he treats her like a queen, he will be her king.

It is important to understand that if one’s wife is a “nagging witch,” she is acting that way as a stick in Hashem’s hand to give him the punishment that he deserves for his sins. So why get angry at her? Let him do tshuva (penitence) instead.

Rabbi Arush adds: “If you see in a mirror that your hat is on crooked, don’t try to straighten the mirror – it won’t do any good. Likewise, comments and criticism do nothing to correct your wife; they only destroy her joy in life.

Without this spiritual awareness, a husband is easily upset by the flaws he sees in his wife. He becomes embittered and regrets having married such a woman. He believes he is justified in criticizing, lecturing, blaming, and the like. He can’t love her because he only sees her faults. This attitude a root cause of marital strife.

Rabbi Arush points out that you didn’t get married to correct your wife. You got married to correct yourself, by using your wife as a mirror to help expose your faults.