Thursday, December 10, 2009

Achieving Shalom Bayis

Rav Nissim Yagen, zt”l, recounted: “It truly pains me that many times shortly after marriage husbands approach me with complaints. ‘Rabbi, my wife is simply not what I though her to be before our marriage.’
“I invariably reply in precisely the same manner: ‘You too, are not precisely as she thought you to be before your marriage!’
“The truth is that this feeling betrays a marked lack of bitachon. In Moed Katan 18, Chazal bring three proofs from Tanach that Hashem sends one’s wife to him particularly. The ben Ish Chai, zt”l, asks why the gemara specifically discusses shiduchim. Is not everything from Hashem?
“He explains that specifically in these areas one eventually sees clearly with his own eyes that the woman Hashem has sent him is truly his shidduch, since like the splitting of the Yam Suf, natural law does not reign when it comes to shidduchim.
“But one needs a lot of patience until he sees this, especially at the beginning. I still recall my first trip to America thirty years ago. I saw a slogan that pithily explains how to build and maintain a good marriage. It was on a billboard that proclaimed a message from Kennedy’s inauguration address: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.’ This is the secret to marriage. Ask not what your spouse can do for you. Ask instead what you can do for your spouse!”

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