July 20, 2024
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July 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I was walking a few days ago when I saw a man wearing a shirt that said, “If a man is stranded on the sea and there is no woman around, is he still wrong?” It could just as well have been written, “If a woman is in the park and there is no man around, is she still wrong?”

I’m not sure why it is usually written about a woman complaining about a man. Possibly because men or people believe that this is more common than men claiming that women are usually wrong. I don’t think that is the case. What about the countless times that men are the perpetrators of control and demands of their partners (and, of course the horrible, common next step, of abuse, intimidation, and even murder)? In fact, I don’t think either gender is exclusively more commonly the controller or criticizer (though if it is the man, the danger exists that he might become much more aggressive).

People occasionally face difficulties in their lives and it is an almost universal tactic to blame someone else. It was only two weeks ago that we read about Odom claiming that all the problems of the world were caused by Chava, and then Chava blaming the snake. Men and women both occasionally, though hopefully, not frequently, resort to it and that is one of the many problems that people need to carefully navigate in order to get their relationship back on track. In most reasonably well functioning marriages, they can manage it well. But sometimes, both of the partners are having a difficult time, and that is a point of danger. If either one criticizes the other one, the partner often lashes out and returns with a stronger criticism. Unless one of them swallows his/her pride and softly says that they know that they sometimes have been difficult and are truly sorry, but would like the partner to join with them in moving forward, the problems will quickly slide from bad to worse. People need to do this even if they KNOW that the other person really does have problems. If they do this, the spouse often will agree to put behind the argument and move ahead. Sometimes, though, the spouse will not admit to being difficult and insist that it is all the other person’s fault. The problem then becomes much more serious.

Here is where truly committed people earn their keep. He (or she) needs to do the most difficult thing that any one is called upon to do: They must put their own hurt feelings aside, ignore whatever it is that is eating them up and do almost anything to earn back their spouse’s love, even if/when they are sure that the person is absolutely wrong or even crazy! I have felt that way many times, as I am sure my wife has felt it even more. That is the way it must be and that is the way true love works. Marriage is not for the easily insulted or faint hearted. In the end, it is enormously worth it.

Please feel free to contact me regarding this (or any) topic. You can do so anonymously by writing to [email protected] Dr. Glick was a clinical psychologist in private practice for 35 years as well as the rabbi of Congregation Ahavat Yisrael in Montreal. If you would like to submit a question, or contact him for an appointment, he can be reached at [email protected] or by calling him at 201-983-1532.

By Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Glick

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