Monday, July 5, 2010

The Basis of Shalom Bayis

Rav Michel Yehudah Lefkowitz, shlit”a, once explained how a ben Torah should treat his wife. “I heard that whenever there was thunder and lightning, my rebbe, Rav Shlomo Heiman, zt”l would stop the shiur and rush home. What was behind this strange custom? Very simple. His wife was afraid of lightning and thunder so he felt responsible to run home to calm her.”
When asked how to build a good relationship with one’s wife, he replied, “Shalom bayis all depends on how the husband relates to his wife. If he treats her right and honors her, she will see that he recognizes everything she does and appreciates her efforts in the home. Naturally she will also relate to him in kind.
“But the way to win the respect of one’s wife is to be careful not to waste time. If she sees that her husband uses every spare moment to learn, she will think the world of him. Sometimes we find a relationship where the wife is reluctant to allow the husband to spend much time learning. Most often this is because he does not help her around the house. A husband should realize that time spent helping around the house is not wasted, since if one helps he will usually find that his wife will allow him to learn more.
“Our sages teach that it is our sacred duty to love our wives as ourselves and to honor her even more than ourselves. Practically this means that one should compliment his wife as much as possible both for whatever she does as a partner, for building a family together, and for every second she allows him to learn Torah. Even when the husband doesn’t really feel like it he should still compliment her, since this encourages her and builds their relationship. When an avrech reaches a certain milestone in his learning, he must inform his wife to allow her to share in his simchah. She is a partner in every iota of his learning and has every right to know!”

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