Rabbi Brody posts the following question and answer from a reader and thought it would be of interest to the Beyond BT audience.
Dear Rabbi Brody,
I’ve been a Baal Tshuva for almost a year and a half now. Before I made Tshuva, my relations with my wife were shaky at best, and tense most of the time. Now, they’re even worse. She doesn’t want to hear about Torah or tshuva. All she seems interested in is fun and games – DVDs, tennis, girlfriends. I see no hope in this marriage; when I’m in shul, she’s playing tennis with a girlfriend. We’ve tried marriage counseling, but it hasn’t done anything other than depleting my available cash. Luckily, our three-year old son is not in school yet, but that’s the next potential battle down the line – how to educate him. Both her parents and my parents are against me. I need some urgent advice. Waiting to hear from you as soon as possible, Dennis C., Southern USA.
Your wife isn’t against Torah – she’s against you and anything you represent. If you started playing tennis, she’d probably start horseback riding. The first thing you have to do is to learn how to be a loving and considerate husband. For that, you need emuna.
Don’t despair, and don’t fall into a self-pity mode. Now’s that time to mobilize and take positive action. If you play your cards right, everything will fall into place. This is a classic test of faith. Stop wasting money on marriage counseling, for if the counselor doesn’t help you strengthen your emuna, then nothing will change.
With emuna and patience, you’ll have just the home you want. From this moment on, do the following with no excuses and no compromises:
1) Don’t criticize your wife in any way, even if she eats shrimp in front of your nose.
2) Show her unconditional love – let her feel safe, not threatened.
3) Let her know that you won’t leave her for all the tea in China.
4) Don’t be stingy with her – give her whatever she wants, and trust that Hashem will provide.
5) You will save your own life if you listen to my CDs – they’re cheap, and they’ll save you thousands in other areas.
6) Let her see how Torah makes you a model husband – bring her surprise gifts, and do little considerate things around the house, such as preparing her favorite dinner.
7) Talk to Hashem for an hour a day, pouring your heart out and asking for help.
8) Always show her a happy, smiling face.
9) Call your father-in-law at least once a week.
10) Realize that if your wife is unsatisfied with you, Hashem is too. Once you strengthen emuna and your relationship with Hashem, your wife will do a 180.
Your entire future depends on your adopting all of the above 10 points. With real tshuva, there shouldn’t be tension in the home. Hashem wants us all to throw away our arrogance, for with arrogance, you can’t have emuna or shalom bayis, peace in the home. Keep me posted and may Hashem bless you with understanding, patience, and success. Yours always, LB