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Appreciating the Wife

How can I give myself more to my wife?

GYE Corp. Sunday, 01 April 2012

"Be-Holy" posted once on the forum:

We have kosher internet Rimon and my temptations are getting lighter, but my issue is that I still can't look my wife in the eye because I wish she looked better, and in my mind, I want her to dress sexier - while at the same time knowing that as a kollel yungerman, it is totally inappropriate. Additionally, it is demeaning for her, because a man has his Torah, and a women has her Tznius. But when I see other women on the street, it's still hard for me to control that "double take". I know it is lust, but for some reason, I just can't let go of it. You guys have always been there for me in the past, and we are at 5 months!! But it is the summer and my imagination goes wild when I am on the street... I hope we can get to the bottom of this and that I can learn to be the person that I really can be, and give of myself more to my wife.

- a wondering soul.


"Yakov_Shwartz" answered:

Dear Be-holy,

B"H, you have the right perspective. Everything you wrote is true. Having the right the perspective is obviously the start. Trying to attain it, as you say, is much more difficult. You are definitely not alone in your avodah, and I have no doubt that if you truly want it, you will get it.

From what I have gathered over the years form comments here and there, I have noticed that your feelings are normal. But let me tell you what worked for me and try to give a few pointers:

1. You must internalize a very fundamental concept in marriage. People often want to think that their wife is the most beautiful. But in truth, you should view your wife as the only woman in the world. By doing this, you stop comparing your wife to other woman.

2. Work on shmiras einayim. If you internalize that she is the only woman for you, no other woman will tempt you anymore. You will have no desire to look at a woman for the sake of pleasure (this really worked for me!).

3. Look at you wife's good attributes. When you become less physical, you become attracted to deeper things. You become attracted to your wife because of what her body represents, i.e. her neshama. In other words, you are attracted to her soul not her body.

4. Write your wife a love letter. Sit down, think about why you love your wife, and tell her. Give her affection.

5. Begin asking yourself the purpose of marital relations. Understand how its main purpose is to bring shalom into the home.


"Me" answers Be-Holy:

Dear Be-Holy, you are doing great, but you need to work on the shoresh. You are still fighting the lusting. Now is the time to leave the lusting alone, and change yourself to a person that no longer lusts; a person that no longer has the "need" to lust; a person that has many many more important things in his life than lusting.

As we all know, lusting is only temporary. When we go out to grab it..... it was only air, i.e. there is nothing to hold on to. It was all imagination...... it wasn't really REAL.


Ahron answers:

The first thing I'd suggest is thanking Hashem for leading you here to this forum - this is exactly the right place to be! Also, don't be so hard on yourself. After reading some of your posts and knowing that you've gone almost 6 months without a fall, I can't accept that this accurately describes your situation. The Y"H does not have you in chains!

As Ykv said above, write your wife a love letter. Think about where you'd be if you weren't married. With far fewer responsibilities, can you imagine how much harder it would be to overcome the addiction? It sounds like you generally get along with her - that's a huge Bracha! You have the foundation on which to build a magnificent emotional bond with a life partner who is there with you and for you! Give her everything you have - your money, your heart and your time. It is an investment that will yield tremendous benefits - she will respond and give you more than you can imagine in return. You'll find new strengths in you that you never knew you had. You'll find yourself on a path of true, positive growth, not stagnation. You want to be expressive? Express! Use your own words, however inadequate they may sound to you. She will encourage and support every small step you take and she will recognize and acknowledge tiny positive steps that no one else would ever see, because they don't know you as well as your partner does. Spend time together and get to know her even better - it will be well worth it!


Suggested Reading: For more on the proper attitude to have with one's wife, and on marital relations in particular, read "Day 16" through "Day 20" of the PDF file from the translations of "The First Day of the Rest of My Life".