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