With all the recent news stories about philandering husbands, I am starting to worry about my own. What can I do to help ensure that he won’t cheat on me? If these other men cheated on their beautiful, successful wives, what chance do the rest of us have?
I am so sorry to hear that you feel this insecure and worried about your relationship. For starters, that is the first thing that must change, as having doubts, fears and questions can eat away at the best of relationships.
If these other men cheated on their beautiful, successful wives, what chance do the rest of us have?Clearly, I don’t know you or your situation, but I find it interesting that you mention only reasons outside of your marriage that make you worry. At least from your letter, it seems that there is nothing that has happened inside of your relationship that is of concern.
If that is indeed the case, you are a perfect example of why we must keep our personal lives personal, and ensure that we protect them, not just from other people but from other influences.
In terms of the infidelities you mention, no matter how much we think we know from the media, we do not really know what is going on behind closed doors. But in general, when a man cheats, especially when a successful man in a position of power cheats, it is indicative of an issue, or ironically, insecurity, on his end that must be worked through. That is why typically, when these stories break, they are followed by reports of the counseling that the husband then enters to deal with his “problems.”
But without analyzing their situations, let’s discuss yours. And that is that at the core of any healthy relationship is being able to communicate and being able to trust. If you have any reason to doubt your husband, you must speak with him and share your concerns. If he has any behavior that has made you worried, you must communicate that to him and discuss ways it could change. However, if that is not the case, then it is essential that you trust him.
Our lives our built around trust. We trust, when we get into the car, that we will end up safely at our destination. We trust that when we eat something we won’t choke, or when we go to sleep, that we will wake up. Yet our trust must come along with gratitude and awareness as well. This is why Judaism teaches us that we must have emunah (faith) and bitachon (trust); yet, alongside that, we have blessings we say to ask for this security and to be thankful when all goes well.
We must keep our personal lives personalThis is why, when we drive, we have a blessing for safe travels, and we have a blessing for both before and after eating our food; and when we arise, the first thing out of our mouth is thanking our Creator for returning our soul.
So, then, how does this apply to your marriage?
You married the man you love, with the commitment to be true to one another. You must trust that this will be the case. Simultaneously, you need to ensure that you are communicating and sharing with each other your love, your concerns and your feelings. This is where that gratitude comes in. The same way we have trust and yet we say blessings before and after, apply that to your marriage. Recognize the wonderful things your husband does for you. Thank him for being there, and for helping out, and for making you happy—even before he does something specific. Acknowledge him for his hard work and his involvement in the various aspects of your life. You will find that the more you give and share, the more you will receive in return. And the more you receive of his love, affection and acknowledgement, the more it will help strengthen your relationship and will help dissipate your fears.
Moreover, Judaism teaches that marriage has three partners: the husband, the wife, and their Creator. When both of you are aware that there is that third partner who created your souls to come together and who is a part of your marriage, then you have something greater holding your marriage together. A beautiful concept is that the Hebrew word for man is ish and the Hebrew word for woman is ishah. They share two of the same letters, the aleph and the shin, which spell aish, which means “fire.” The two letters that are unique to each word are a yud and a hei, which spells one of the names of G‑d. This shows that men and women together, on their own, create fire. The fire may start as passion, but can quickly either grow out of control and consume, or cool off and die out. But when each partner recognizes that there is a third partner in their marriage, then the fire can exist and be one that illuminates, warms and glows.
Take a lesson from those stories as to the importance of working daily on your relationshipYes, there are marriages out there that fail, and where both men and women cheat. But you have no reason to believe that yours is one of them. So, instead of reading the news and worrying that maybe the same thing will happen to you, take a lesson from those stories as to the importance of working daily on your relationship to strengthen it and give it everything you have. And along with hard work, make sure you have that trust and gratitude, so that your fire will continue to burn strongly.
I wish you all the best in your marriage!
“Dear Rachel” is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.