Try a Double Take
There’s a feature that I love in Mishpacha Magazine. It’s called Double Take, and it’s a fictional story told twice: once from the perspective of one of the central characters, and once from another person’s perspective.
Like the new caterer who can’t understand why his brother won’t hire him for his bar mitzvah – and the brother who has been burnt by a ruined relationship with a relative whom he hired for a business project. Or the bachur who is upset that the empty lot has been taken over by parents bringing their kids to the new playground – and the mother who was so happy to have a playground for her kids and is concerned for their safety.
When I hear a story from a wife about her husband, I try to remember that there are 2 sides to every story.
Like the wife who complains that her husband doesn’t help as much as her father did – and the husband who feels that he is already doing his best, and is worn out by his wife’s seemingly endless demands.
Or the wife who feels unloved because her husband doesn’t buy her flowers or tell her she’s beautiful – and the husband who doesn’t understand why his contributions of fixing things and running errands aren’t seen as the expression of his love for her.
And then there’s the wife who mourns the loss of her dream of a husband who learns all the time, forever – and the husband who is honest about his capabilities and feels dejected that his wife doesn’t appreciate his good middos, loving commitment, and hard work for the family parnassah.
Or the wife who loves her husband and keeps giving him helpful advice to make him healthier, more frugal, and more efficient. While her husband wishes he could explain to her how disrespectful and painful her constant instructions and admonitions are.
At the end of each Double Takes segment, the narrator has the opportunity to sum up his or her experience with once sentence starting with: If I could tell _______ one thing, it would be…
You’ve probably thought a lot about the things you wish you could tell your husband.
And maybe you can imagine what he might say if he could verbalize the one thing he wants to tell you:
I’m much more motivated by appreciation for the things that I do – than I am by criticism for the things I don’t do
I show my love daily through all the things, big and small, that I do for the family – and for you
My masculinity and self-worth are constantly being eroded by your constant instructions which show your lack of respect and trust
I’m honest with myself about my strengths and how I can best accomplish my tafkid – it would mean so much to have your genuine support for who I am
If your husband could say one thing to you, what do you think he would say?