Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shalom Bayis--a caveat

A comment was submitted that the last two postings on Shalom Bayis were also helpful for husbands. Although I agree that when you help the wives, you're helping the husbands too, there is an important distinction to be made.
In my community, the Rav always spoke in the shiurim to the men about the need to appreciate their wives, to help, to pay attention to their wives, and so on. And the Rebbetzin always spoke about how important it is to let the men learn and pray, not to always be throwing on them these burdens of the household if possible, etc.
Which can, and has, lead to the unfortunate problem of women coming to their husbands with kashrus-approved resentments, "Why don't you listen to the Rav? Why don't you help out more?" And the husbands might answer in the same vein, "Don't you know that I have more important things to do than do the floors for you? Why don't you understand that my learning is worth something?"
The wise person is always seeking to hear the words of mussar that apply to him or her, not to the other. If we want to achieve shalom bayis, we need to seek out the chizuk that applies to ourselves and our own challenges, not further ammunition to take the moral inventory of our partner.
Which I'm sure wasn't Yitz's intention with his comment, but I just thought it only right to mention.

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