Letter to the Wives From Miriam
Avraham put aside his own nature of Chesed and did what Hashem asked him to do and did that without any question or hesitation. He did something that was totally against his essence - totally against what he was preaching to his friends and people who knew him. And yet Hashem asked him to bind his son, his only son, the ONE that he loved most, and bring him as an offering to Hashem.
One may ask, how is that relevant to a woman who is married to a man who has an addiction to Sex?!
What does it have to do with the wife who feels cheated, feels that she was wronged, and most of all feels that she cannot compete with those women he looks at on the computer or on billboards at the side of the highway?
When I married my husband, I did not have a clue that my purpose in marriage was to support my husband, to be all that he can be. Actually, I came into marriage for rather selfish reasons - so he could provide for me a good life, where I can travel to many places and see the world, be in America and hit good sales and eat well, not worry about money and make a living much easier than what Israel was offering to young couples who just got married. Oh and yes, I thought I loved him....
When Sarah Emanu died after the akeida, Chazal wonder why she died. Many commentaries say that she died because she felt that she accomplished her mission to this world as her son and her husband did the ultimate Kiddush Hashem. She finished her Tikun.
With this notion in mind, as I learned more about my husband's addiction - which I sure didn't bargain for, the more respect I had for him. Now that he is taking on the SA program and working the steps, the more I feel that the life that I am leading with him is a life of truth.
Sure it is easy to label our husbands as "Sex addict." We live in a society that likes to label anything and everything. From your diets, the Zone, North Beach - to our children who need less or more attention ADD, ADHD - to our generation of X or Y or Me.
I do not like to be labeled. I invite you ladies to get out of putting a black mark on your husband and see them as humans - who are trying to have a deeper experience with Hashem. And sometimes, the only way they know how to get out of the pain of being disconnected is by medicating with Sex, Food, Gambling, Work, Alcohol or Drugs. That is, until they find the Program that teaches them the source of their pain and how to bring light to it, rather then shame it or ignore it.
When they find the Program, they find freedom; they find fellowship, telling them they are not alone. They find answers to what brought them to self-pity and distraction. And as their wives, we can be here to support them – to let them know they are not alone and give them the feedback that they are on the right track.
No, we are not here to check on them and see if they failed with their steps or obsess over them. We need to give them the freedom to BE, and pray to Hashem to bring them to their potential.
Because of my Journey, I decided to join the CODA Program and to "be of service" and run the call for you ladies. And hopefully, we can shed the label of a "spouse of an addict" (even though they use this title on the GYE site) and be proud that your husband is working on his yetzer. He is being proactive and doing something about it, rather then bury it and slipping every now and then without a program.
And to those of you whose husband is not in the Program yet, I would like to support you through the 12 Steps and help you find hope with the re-program of CODA.
This Program gives you tools on how to keep your side of the street clean, practice boundaries, surrender, acceptance, courage and freedom.
So what does all of this have to do with the Akaida and with Sara's death??
Once I decided to make the commitment to my marriage in spite of the fact that I found out that he was acting out sexually, I went to therapy. There I learned to take care of myself and find out “what do I want, what do I feel, what do I think?”
Then I started to go to meetings of CODA. There I learned more about how to set boundaries and how not to obsesses over him and what he would do next. This supported me to learn more about my own ‘acting out’, as I would have bouts of rage, control, denial of my feelings, and obsessiveness over him or others. I also found out that I expected too much of my husband to build my dreams, rather then working together to make our mutual dreams come true. And most of all, I learned more about myself.
It took 10 test for Sarah and Avraham to pass, and in each and every one of us we carry the DNA of these 10 tests. Whether it’s in parnasa (famine), raising kids (Isaac and Yishmael), relationships (Hagar, Avraham and Sarah), moving (Charan, Cnaan, Grar), health (barren), and Akaida - life purpose.
And so I realized that my personal Akaida - like Avraham, was to change my nature and to give up on my "need to control." And in doing so, I learned that my husband's struggle is not about his acting out (that is the result of pain) but rather that he is longing to connect to something higher and acquire the tools to do so.
So now my purpose has changed and I see myself as his “Aizer” not just his “Kenegdo” - as his support; not as one to point out his faults but rather to see his potential.
So from who did I learn this from?! From Sarah.
I hope that Hashem will grant me a long life to see the fruits of my labor - not only with my husband but also with my children.
Ken yehi Ratzon!