This brief but especially important lesson in marital peace is designed predominantly for the man of the family.

The Complaint

Here’s a very true story: a couple came to me with a marital problem. The wife spoke first and made one brief complaint. “He doesn’t pay any attention to me. I’m lonely. What do I need to be married for?” She then lowered her head because tears were streaming down her cheeks.

The husband jumped right in and said, “Of course! I can’t sit around and hold her hand. I’ve got no time for small talk because I’m the busy working overtime to make a living for her. She’s the biggest spendthrift in town.” He then showed me credit-card statement from the previous month. She had spent nearly one thousand dollars on shoes alone.

Not waiting for me to ask, the husband continued, “Rabbi, every month is a thousand bucks on shoes alone. Who ever heard of that? She has 350 pairs of shoes! Come to our two-bedroom apartment – it’s paved with shoes. She has every color in the rainbow. She has running shoes, walking shoes, Pilates shoes, spinning shoes – you name it! I don’t own a shoe factory or a shoe store, but neither would probably be enough for her.”

The Calculation

I turned to the wife and asked gently, “Is he telling me a fictional story?” Sobbing, she told me no.

The Almighty put a flash in my mind. I made a quick calculation. “Have you been married for seven years?” I asked the husband.

Raising a brow in surprise, he asked, “How did you know, Rabbi? Our 7th anniversary was a few weeks ago.”

“Simple,” I told the husband. “Some women love books. Others love a new hairdo. Still others love a new blouse or skirt. They get a 7-day thrill from something new. After that, the thrill wears off and they need a new thrill.”

The Conclusion

I continued to explain to the husband that a wife gets her biggest thrill from one-on-one attention from her husband, when he spends quality time with her and listens to her. When she doesn’t get that, she looks for a substitute thrill to pick her mood up. “Apparently, you haven’t given that your wife the attention she needs, so she’s been buying a new pair of shoes every week. With the 350 pairs of shoes, I made the quick calculation that you’ve been married for 7 years.”

The Takeaway

I’m not going to preach, guys, but when you give your wife attention, you’ll not only save money, you’ll save your marriage. When she’s happy, you’ll be immensely happy. G-d bless!

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