What Husbands Need To Know – Part 3

Article “How I Stopped Being Cruel To My Wife & Saved My Marriage”
Author: Anonymous – Article written in Aish.com website

How could it be all my fault? There must have been things my wife did to contribute to the breakdown of our marriage! What about all of her miserable behavior?

The Ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, clearly states that the husband is ultimately responsible for his wife’s happiness and hence the husband is primarily responsible for Shalom Bayit. This was a complete paradigm shift for me. It may not be politically correct, but I believe it is the truth. It is the men that need to initiate the giving, especially when it comes to giving honor. As the Talmud says, “There is no blessing in one’s home without the wife’s honor.” All the blessings a husband receives are in the merit of his wife.

When a husband honors and loves his wife, she feels invigorated and will respond in kind. The complaints and nagging are now almost non-existent, and the frustration and tension with matters related to intimacy are dissolving. We have never felt this close and secure in our marriage, and just about all of it has to do with my wife seeing and feeling consistent, deep rooted changes in me.

Shalom Bayit is one of the most important mitzvahs of our lives; the worth of a man is largely dependent on how he treats his wife; not just in public but also behind closed doors. Perhaps an analogy would be to view the husband as the sun, and the woman to a flower. If the flower isn’t blooming (the woman is acting negatively, withdrawing, complaining, nagging, or being passive aggressive), the first place to examine is to see if it’s getting the proper amount of nourishing sunlight.

I realize this is antithetical to much of today’s pop psychology on marriage. I know many will raise eyebrows at the teaching that marital harmony is primarily a male responsibility. I also had my doubts not too long ago. But then I saw how everything fell into place once I started to treat my wife properly.

I never cursed or physically abused my wife, but I now see that I was in fact a cruel husband. Every time I was stingy and tight with money, criticizing every penny she spent, that was a form of cruelty. Every time I didn’t give her my full attention or was abrupt when she spoke to me or asked for my help, that was cruelty. Perhaps those actions seem like common flaws, yet once I stopped blaming my wife and started looking inwardly, I began to see how responsible I was for the deterioration of our marriage, and how so much of her “misbehavior” and “complaining” was simply a response to my complete misunderstanding of what my wife really wanted from me.

Once I began to look within, I saw a man who was generous with his time, attention, and money with anyone who needed me – except for my wife! Seeking honor and recognition from outside my marriage (sometimes even from strangers) while simultaneously ignoring my wife’s needs is indeed cruelty.

Read Part 4 – For More