A broken record running through the heads of too many women:

Guilt, blame, compromise, recurring fights.  I need to accept what is, need to give in, he just doesn’t see me, what happened to the man I married?  Everything falls on me, can’t live with him but can’t live without him.

These frustrations are bound to eat away at your relationship and at your self-respect.

How can you immerse in the mikveh with all that weighing on you?

The first step towards shedding the burden is to realize that there is another way, a third choice.  There is a way to view life and a way to communicate that can help handle these issues.

Shall we check them one at a time?

Guilt and Blame

When young children fight, a responsible adult is bound to insist on knowing who started it, or, in other words, who is guilty?  

Unsatisfying grades in school draw accusations:  You didn’t pay attention, didn’t do your homework or didn’t study for the test. Blame.

News reports of natural disasters or unwelcome politics are greeted with a search for who is at fault.

Is it any wonder we assume someone is always guilty?  Either I am or he is. You can’t win, as guilt feelings pull you down yet knowing that you are married to a loser is not more encouraging.

A better way?

Realize that you are not the problem and that your husband is not the problem.  The problem is the problem. The two of you are a team finding a solution together.

The Need to Compromise

This is well meaning advice – with less happy results.  

It’s true that compromise is accompanied by the satisfaction of getting 50% of what you wanted.  Yet soon afterwards that satisfaction is replaced by a nagging disappointment due to the 50% you forfeited.

A better way?

Rather than looking for the midpoint between what you each want, check why you each want it.  What are the needs behind the wants?  Then you can build a creative new way to satisfy both your needs.

Recurring Fights  

Few things are more frustrating than finding yourselves fighting again over an issue you were sure you had solved.

Perhaps one of you accepted the previous solution just as a way to stop the fight – at any cost.

Perhaps the solution looked good on paper but in real life it’s just so hard to change.

A better way?

Plan a partial solution:  one or two small steps in the right direction.  Plan to celebrate that small victory and schedule when you will plan the next step.

Accepting Fate

Acceptance is sometimes a wise idea.  Striving for improvement is equally laudable.  Untangling which to choose when can feel confusing.

Chaya Hinda Allen, a positive thinking expert, suggests a clear formula:

Accept everything that has already happened – you can’t change it anyway.  Strive for improvement moving forward.  Free choice trumps fate.  While reality may not be changeable, how you choose to see that reality and what you choose to do with it, are a choice.

I Must Concede

More well-meaning advice – with less than stellar results.

Concession is rife with risks.

The one making the concession may feel somewhat righteous, while the partner is seen as less so.

Concession may leave you just waiting for the next time, when it will be his turn.

Sometimes concession is only half hearted, leaving resentment in its wake.

A better way?

Similar to compromise, find the reason you want what you are considering giving up and consider other ways to satisfy the need.

He Just Doesn’t See Me

It’s demoralizing to feel transparent, as if one’s needs and opinions don’t count.

We can’t deny the existence of true narcissists, a phenomenon beyond the scope of this blog.

Yet there are many who simply don’t see or hear others because they never learned how.

There are those who, earlier in the relationship, saw or heard more than they could handle and now ignore in self-defense.

There are those who believe they notice, yet their perception or reactions leave you feeling misunderstood.

What can be done?

Before initiating conversation, check when would be a good time for him.

Assume and honor your partner’s good intentions.

Suggest two small things that would help you feel seen and remember to thank him when they happen.

What Happened to the Man I Married?

He hasn’t disappeared.  Perhaps he’s hiding, or overwhelmed, or you are too burdened with life to notice.

Try this simple exercise.

Make a list of your good traits.  At least thirty. Include those that are true only sometimes and those you feel were only true in the past.

A few hours later, make a list of your husband’s good traits, with the same guidelines.

The lists are for your eyes only.

Everything Falls on Me 

The basic human tendency is to assume that fair division of labor is a half and half mirror image.

Imagine a world where everyone grew their own food, paved the road in front of their self-built house, wove fabric to sew their clothes, took their garbage to the dump, concocted medications, home-schooled their children and engineered their technological conveniences…

Yet when you are collapsing from responsibility for home, work and family care, it’s natural to feel that everything (or too much) falls on your shoulders.

What can you do?

Thank your partner for what he does that contributes to the family welfare and share that it’s important to you to see a balanced picture of shared responsibility.

Sit together to each make a list of what s/he does, what the other does and where s/he could use practical help or more appreciation.   

Can’t Live With Him, Can’t Live Without 

A sentiment that, in effect, includes all the above frustrations.

Some women decide to live with it, because “that’s how it is”.

Others find themselves pushed to their limit, so that they throw away the proverbial baby with the bathwater and resort to divorce.

Yet this sentiment makes mikveh immersion possible for a woman who senses that she can’t live without him.

Personally, I ache for all these women, who are sure they must choose between being alone or suffering in a painful marriage. What a heavy burden to take to the mikveh.

There is a third choice.  There is a better way.  There is a language that enables rediscovery of the treasures within each of you and revival of buried dreams.       

Rivka guides married couples in crisis to repair their relationship and is a mikveh attendant. She particularly enjoys helping women reframe and deal with relationships challenges. 

Feel free to join any of the whatsapp groups (in Hebrew) that she runs:
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