Menachem Bluming Muses: How Your Spouse Can Help You

The choice of words the Torah employs to describe the role of the spouse — “a helper against him” — seems contradictory. If a wife is supposed to serve as a helper to her husband, she is obviously not poised “against him?”

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that the woman becomes a “helper” for her husband by sometimes being against him. For a husband to become the maximum he can be, he must profess the courage to welcome the ideas and feelings of his spouse which may be “against” his own.

Some men cannot tolerate their wives disagreeing with them, and conversely, some women cannot handle another opinion. They grow angry and frustrated, exploding or imploding. What often transpires, as a result, is that the woman, or the man, in order to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the home, remain silent. Or, to avoid confrontation, they just drift away from each other emotionally. Conversely, the arguments and fighting never cease.

The Torah is teaching us a different option. Each of us needs the help of our partner to be healed from our egos, insecurities, blind spots, and wounds. When a man and woman learn to genuinely embrace the otherness of his/her spouse, they can develop a true bond and reach their own deepest core.

This does not mean, of course, that it is a biblical injunction upon every woman and man to disagree with their spouse 100 percent of the time.  What it does mean, though, is that we must learn to respect and truly listen to the voice of our second half.

Mendel (Menachem) Bluming from many sources

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