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My wife caters to me. Why am I uncomfortable?

Updated: Jan 15

We've been married about one year, and we have a good connection. But I have one personal problem: I don't feel comfortable feeling that my wife is giving to me, going out of her way for me, preparing things for me, and trying to please me. It's not just uncomfortable for me but actually repels me, whether it's the preparation of food or anything else.

I've reached a point of feeling disconnected, that I don't want to receive from her at all. My wife is not aware of this, but I'm sure she senses it and will start reflecting it. What should I do?


This will be a relatively long answer as we need to understand the root of the issue so you can have the right outlook. Your feelings will naturally follow your new perspective.

It appears you are a giver. You only want to give and not to receive. On the surface, this is a wonderful trait! But there is one mistake, and only one, but it is impactful and dominant. It's important to correct it at the outset so that the situation will not deteriorate.

Let's examine what a giver is. It is known that the masculine is the giver. The feminine is the receiver. The divine characteristic of yesod was embodied by Joseph, and he was the governor and chief provider or provisioner over all the land, even over the people of Canaan. This expresses yesod, the power of influence, the power of giving. We can see another example in the prayer "Place peace..." (Sim Shalom), which expresses the divine characteristic of yesod. In all the other blessings in the prayer service, we request one thing only from G-d: either knowledge or repentance or forgiveness or redemption, etc. But in the blessing of Sim Shalom, we request a whole list of provisions: peace, goodness, blessing, life, and much more. This request also reflects yesod: divine influence, more influence, and even more.

On our human level, yesod is reflected in what a husband provides to his wife. Here's what it looks like: the man brings home wheat; the woman grinds and bakes it. The man brings home flax; the woman spins it and prepares linen cloth (see Yevamot 63a, Talmud Bavli). So the man brings the essential, concentrated potential of the thing — the woman grows it, develops it, and brings it to the light of day. From the man's perspective, is he even giving? He brings something, yes, but for the woman, it's just the beginning: nine months of hard work (and if you're not a woman, you can never really understand what it's like), giving birth through intense pain, nursing, childrearing, etc. The details included are too numerous to list. The self-sacrifice is too great for honest description. The same goes for the wheat and flax. The woman does most of the work. So again, is he even giving?? This isn't just an analytical question but also an experiential one, as we see from the questioner's question.

  • So the first conclusion is that, indeed, a man owes a huge debt of gratitude to his wife! Appreciation is not just saying thank you but fully experiencing and enjoying the fruits of her labor and then considering the person who worked hard on your behalf. This is a lesson in itself and too detailed to get into here.

  • The second conclusion: the situation itself of a woman receiving something from her husband, when it's done in the right way (another lesson for later), causes her to experience great pleasure and peace and ease within her soul, a feeling of fullness.

  • The third and most important conclusion: Our fundamental premise is that work is suffering and rest is pleasure. According to this premise, you might think that a woman who is not prepared to have children should be happiest of all — and this just isn't true!

A woman's soul is predisposed to receive and then create whole worlds from what she receives. And this is her joy! This is life, the joy of life, and also her life expectancy. It's peace, goodness, blessing, grace, and kindness. All this is what a man gives her! This perspective opposes the widespread opinion that men and women are the same, which actually dishonors a woman and reduces her true identity as well as her true happiness in life. Men and women are the same when it comes to needing to be considerate and respectful (although he needs to do so for her more than he does for his own body). But they are not the same when it comes to their roles in life or propensities of thought and emotion.

Without the man and his propensities, she has no life, no joy, no happiness. When you enjoy a good meal that your wife worked hard to prepare for you, and you appreciate and compliment her properly, you give her strength and life and joy. And again, your debt of gratitude to your wife has no limit because, in the end, she is the one who worked very hard to bring your gifts to full expression. But it is incumbent upon us men to know that we give life. This doesn't mean you should use it against your wife. Definitely not! This understanding is meant to help you grasp the reality so that you can enjoy the fruits of your wife's labor, not as a beggar but rather as a real partner to her.

(We say, "Blessed be G-d Who created us for His glory." He created us, and the goal is His honor, to reveal Him in the world. This is hard work as each of us knows! It is also the greatest privilege we have, the greatest joy that has no equal anywhere else. We are part of the ra'ayah elyonah, the divine wife, as it were. Look at the Song of Songs and the relationship between a man and a woman for it is a parable for the divine relationship between G-d and His people.)

If the understanding above does not help, then perhaps one of the following may be true:

  • Something in your past made you feel very inferior when receiving. Maybe someone took advantage of what they gave you to fulfill their emotional needs at your expense. In order to move past this, try professional counseling.

  • The perspective explained above may actually be helpful to you, but you still need to integrate it into your heart, mind, and experience.

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