Article “How I Stopped Being Cruel To My Wife & Saved My Marriage”
Author: Anonymous – Article written in Aish.com website
It was a great feeling to get the second chance to be a husband and full-time father. How many divorced people get the opportunity to be together as a family again? Things were very good and we were very considerate of each other. It seemed we both grew and learned a lot about ourselves during the time we were divorced. Unfortunately, after several months we fell back into the same old negative patterns and pitfalls after the “honeymoon” period was over. We had been in counseling but it felt like those sessions were just scheduled times for my wife to blame me for all my faults. She would express why she wasn’t happy, but it never made sense to me. She was always overreacting, claiming I just didn’t “get her.”
It frustrated me to no end when I heard the words; “You just don’t get me.” Until recently I didn’t know what this meant or how to react when accused of this. My wife could never understand why I didn’t need the same level of attention that she did. If anything she didn’t “get” me! If, for example, I broke something or cut my finger it would anger me when she asked if I was okay. I would instinctively snap back at her with a sarcastic comment. She didn’t understand that all she had to do was leave me alone and I’d be fine.
I simply did not have a need for her getting involved. When she would ask me how my day was I often had zero interest in sharing because there was usually little to say and it was downright unpleasant to have to talk about it. On rare occasions I did decide to share “just the facts,” but when her annoying, multiple follow up questions would inevitably start, I would become abrupt and rude, and that would effectively end the conversation. I had no problem sharing these things with my father or a closer friend, but for some reason I found my wife to be as annoying as nails to a chalkboard.
More recently our differences in how we felt about and observed Judaism came into play. The more I learned and I observed, the more I became critical of my wife and all the things she wasn’t doing or was doing “wrong.” I was disappointed that she didn’t want to improve and grow and was concerned we were harming our children by not teaching them properly. I often thought I would be much better off if I met an observant woman who would help my spiritual ascent rather than hold me back and keep me in such a distressed place.
I think we both felt deep down that we got back together for financial considerations as well as for the sake of the kids. I was kicking myself for getting back together because no matter what I did or how good a husband I would try to be, I was never going to satisfy her. She just wasn’t capable of being satisfied! I felt so foolish. It got to the point where we were both ready to walk away and admit with much embarrassment that we made a terrible mistake – twice! Our second marriage would not even make it to the first anniversary.
I felt cornered and hopeless, thinking how my kids were going to suffer greatly both short-term and long-term. I was in one of the deepest ruts in my life, at which point something happened that changed my inner world and the whole course of my marriage. Two people recommended the same book on marriage, The Garden of Peace by Rabbi Shalom Arush, within a week of one another.
One reading of the book and I felt the rug had been pulled out from under me. Suddenly I was able to see my situation in an entirely different light. All the confusion I was experiencing about my marriage became crystal clear. I realized that underneath all of my blaming, criticizing and finger pointing, there lay a fundamental truth. The true reason for all my marital strife was me.
Read Part 3 – For More