The Iraqi Garden of Peace
Does she have to do your laundry? No. Does she have to cook for you? No. So why don't husbands appreciate everything that their wives do?
It seems that everywhere I turn, I run into women who are divorced and have kids. The American Psychological Association (APA) says that divorce rates are at about 50%, and even higher for subsequent marriages. Those are some terrifying numbers! I know so many good, sweet, wonderful women who are struggling to raise their children on their own. Even though I live in a religious neighborhood, I can’t help but still be shocked by how many people are divorced here.
I can’t help but wonder why, if these men are already Torah-observant, they get divorced! After all, doesn’t the Torah teach us how to have happy and fulfilling marriages? Sure it does! That is, if you follow its guidelines!
Now, I know that most of us are human, and we certainly have trouble following certain parts of the Torah more than others. That’s why we’re here, after all. But, nonetheless, I still can’t help but be shocked by how many men just can’t seem to get it right.
Since I’m so bothered by this, I’ve taken the liberty of writing my own very condensed version of Rav Shalom Arush’s The Garden of Peace, called “The Iraqi Garden of Peace.” This one’s certainly not filled with sweet-smelling roses, I can tell you that much. But for that matter, neither is Rav Arush’s. He is Moroccan, after all.
Now before you men get all defensive, I totally agree that there are two people in a marriage, and there are times when much of the blame lies on the woman. For the sake of this article, I’m referring to the women who have yirat shamayim (fear of Heaven), who genuinely want to do the right thing, who give their all to be great wives and mothers. There are plenty of women like this. And so many of them are divorced.
“But you don’t know my wife!” I can just hear you husbands yelling at me. “She’s crazy, I tell you! She yells, she gets overly emotional, she doesn’t think rationally, she spends too much money, blah, blah, blah!” Um, in other words, she’s a woman. Gotcha. Oh, you have more complaints? She’s a slob and can’t manage to put together a decent meal? Nice. And I assume you’re Prince Charming.
Reality check, hubbies. Your wife doesn’t have to do anything for you! ANYTHING!
And I’ll prove it! Who signs the ketubah (marriage contract?) Well, if I remember correctly, it’s you! And if I further recall correctly, doesn’t the ketubah obligate you to take care of your wives, both physically and emotionally? I’m pretty sure it’s not the other way around.
Hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t the woman have to sign something that obligates her to you in some way? N-O. Here, I’ll clarify it for your simple unevolved man-brains.
Does she have to do your laundry? No. Does she have to cook for you? No. Does she have to clean up after you? No. Does she have to put the toilet seat down after you? No. Does she have to clean the house? No. Does she have to care for your children; to cook for them, do their laundry, make their beds, straighten up their toys, do their homework for them, make them breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, and to entertain them? No. Does she have to take your suits to the drycleaner and run your errands for you? No. Does she have to make sure that you have dinner ready for when you get home? No. Does she have to be intimate with you? Nope! Does she have to work to help ease your financial pressure? NO.
But doesn’t she still do all these things and so much more?
I speak on behalf of all wives and Rav Shalom Arush when I tell you that: YOU DON’T DESERVE A THING! Who said you get to have a live-in slave that will do whatever you ask, without any decent reimbursement? And by the way, don’t slaves get some time off? At least once every seven years or something like that? Where do you get this feeling of entitlement from? Your wife doesn’t owe you A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G!
That being the case, you, dear ingrate husbands, have no right to complain in any way, shape, or form about your wives! Oooh, boy, I can’t wait for the hate comments to start pouring in.
You’ve got to excuse the tough love. But it really is love. Rav Arush explains, in his marriage-saving guide, The Garden of Peace, that a husband must appreciate every little thing his wife does for him! Everything! And he must never, ever complain about her!
But what about that annoying ear-grating, screechy, nagging voice that drives you insane? Well, you brought that on. That means you can make it go away! How?
First, say “Thank you” for everything she does! As much as we don’t want to admit, we wives aren’t mind-readers. We can’t tell how much you appreciate us, so for G-d’s sake, show us! And if you don’t appreciate, then you’d better start right now! There is no trait more disgusting than ingratitude.
Second: read The Garden of Peace! Most husbands that read this book can’t believe how many mistakes they’ve been making. Wouldn’t you say that you learned how to be a husband and a father from your father? And how many of you can say that your father was an exemplary role model? Not that many, obviously.
The key is to work on appreciating your wife for every little thing she does, and don’t forget to thank her for it! You have Rav Arush’s blessing that if you implement this simple, life-saving wisdom, your marriage will be the romance that you had envisioned!
But now I’m wondering if there’s even such a thing. Do men envision a romantic marriage like women do? What exactly do they envision when they get married? Their wives bringing them slippers and a cigar when they get home? A five-course breakfast every morning? What?? Send me your comments, because I’d love to know. (I don’t have to ask you to send me your hate mail, right? I assume you’ll do that anyway.)
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Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at email@example.com