We read a column by Rabbi Moshe Don Kestenbaum in the Yated and were blown away by it. He was kind enough to give us permission to reprint parts of it for you. The title above and the English translations are from us.
We begin with a letter written to Rabbi Kestenbaum:
Hi, I wanted to share a story that happened a few days ago where I conquered my anger. I asked my husband to turn on the dryer and it was already eleven o’clock on motzei Shabbos (Saturday night). I figured it would be done in about a half hour or so and I would go to sleep with clean dry laundry. I knew I should’ve told him that there is clean laundry in the dryer that has to be taken out before he should put in the new wet laundry in but I left out that detail because something inside me said, must I spell everything out?
Some things are just common sense… or so I thought.
Sure enough when I came back to the dryer half hour later I saw that the laundry was still wet in the washing machine and the clean laundry from the load before was just spinning in the dryer for no reason. U could imagine how annoyed I was. It was almost 12:00!!! Did he just turn then on button on the dryer and walk away? Does he have common sense?????
But somehow I stopped for a moment took a deep breath and thought to myself, he didn’t mean to “get” me. He didn’t mean to do that. He means well. And I closed my mouth and didn’t say a word to him. I found the strength within.
Rabbi Kestenbaum Responds:
This is such a fantastic story. Very often husbands and wives unintentionally forget something they were asked to do and it can be very challenging not to become angry, let alone not to say anything and let it slide.
The reason a wife becomes upset at her husband for forgetting something, and vice versa, is because they probably rarely ever forget when they are asked. Therefore they don’t understand how their spouse could be so forgetful and insensitive to their needs. While certainly such a spouse needs to work on themselves to improve. This is a common theme of marital discontent. The spouse measures the other by their personality. However, we need to realize that we are not the same. We each have our own imperfections and need to try to understand how what may be easy for us is hard for them and vice versa.
Marriage offers us the precious opportunity to work on our middos (personal qualities). It certainly isn’t always easy, but we will gain so much – both in this world and the next.
Rabbi Kestenbaum’s latest book (Olam HaMiddos in English) is being released Artscroll this week. As loyal readers of Rabbi Kestenbaum, we recommend it strongly. Artscroll books can be ordered through firstname.lastname@example.org