It may seem obvious, but turning to your third partner in your marriage–Hashem–during certain moments will change everything. Read on for some real life impacting tips!
If you close your eyes and picture the most blessed atmosphere in your home, the most majestic feel in your marriage, what would it be? Happiness, contentment, peace, love, just a sense of calm permeating in the air, right?
All of this becomes possible when the Shechinah is present in our home. When a couple is zocheh, the Gemara tells us, the shechinah (which is essentially Hakadosh Baruch Hu but we refer to it in the feminine) dwells between them. With the Divine Presence in our midst, we merit light in the home, the glow in our marriage that we dream of.
So how do we bring the Shechinah into our home? Of course, there are many avenues through which to pursue peace. There are deeds we should do, those we should not, words to express, words to avoid, and so on. But here’s one very hands-on way to actually invite Hashem into your marriage, one in which you create the triangular relationship with Hashem as your connecting axis. This gesture is especially powerful when we feel a rift taking place between us and our spouse: Talk to Hashem about what’s going on in the relationship.
It’s as simple as that. Through our words, we know, we forge a connection. Since the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash, our lips, our tefillah to Hashem, have taken the place of our korbanos, whose sole purpose was to draw us near to Him. So yes, there’s formal tefillah, which is important in its own right. But then, and especially for us women, there’s informal tefillah. There’s the movement of the lips that fosters a deep, real connection between us human beings and our great Almighty Father. When things are nice and dandy in our marriage, it’s always nice to express our gratitude to the One Above. But what really helps us draw the Shechinah into our abode is to turn to Him in our moments of upset—exactly those moments when we have the urge to lash out, to withdraw, to employ the silent treatment.
When we speak to Hashem about what goes on in our marriage, we’re free to share everything. This is not an official therapy session nor a conversation that can violate the privacy of our relationship in any way. And what do we get for it? Getting into this habit is not only an incredible means to defuse tension, but it also helps us verbalize what we do want to express to our spouse eventually. Think of it like this. You’ve been told over and over that in a moment of anger or frustration, you should count to ten. What happens during that time is that you start to find your presence of mind amidst the raging in your heart. But what would happen if during those moments you actually expressed your frustration to the only One who can actually orchestrate positive change in your life? Isn’t that a win-win on all fronts?
There are no rules to this technique. All it takes is noticing the frustration bubbling up inside and channeling it toward our connection with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Even in the best of marriages, there are times when we feel upset, annoyed, disappointed, angry. These emotions may come up during a particular incident, or we may find that certain attributes or traits constantly bother us. (It’s best to properly work through consistent points of contention, but that’s for another time.) Or, we may find that the way we are conducting ourselves in the marriage is not doing anyone any good. All of these feelings are tough. Whatever the trigger may be, at that moment when we feel the barrier going up between us, distancing us from the one person in the world we want to feel closest to, there is no better way to bring it down, and quickly, than turning to our third Partner (this works in parenting too).
It’s always a good idea to start with gratitude, and then to simply express what’s on our heart. “Hashem, it’s so hard for me when…” “Hashem, really I want to scream right now. It bothers me so much that…” “Ribono shel Olam, I wish I could be more… when…” Even, “Argh! Why can’t he…?”
Interestingly, many of us find it easier to unburden to Hashem than to another individual because the vulnerability factor is less prevalent. If expressing what’s on our heart and mind to another human being is a struggle for us, with Hashem it is different. After all, He knows what’s going on inside anyway. Transparency is less frightening. Also, we don’t need to pick and choose our words—no one’s getting hurt in the process. Best of all, He is always available to listen. Always fully present.
Also, once we’ve articulated what’s really bothering us, which often happens when we let ourselves release what’s bubbling up inside, we may come away with more clarity. This will help us be more present if we choose to take up the matter with our spouse at a later time. As a result, this practice not only provides us a chance to grow closer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, but to our husband, as well. There are less words we wish we wouldn’t have uttered, and more presence of mind and kindness when we do speak.
At that moment of frustration, the choice is ours. We can choose to immediately communicate with our husband, and it may not be pretty. At that very moment, however, there’s Someone Else we can turn to. Right there, right then. Defusing the steam in His direction enables us to express our deepest hurt, concerns, frustrations, and hopes. It facilities the greatest brachah we ask for, “vesashkein Shechinascha beineinu, Rest your Presence in our midst…” When we accustom ourselves to sharing our marriage woes and joys with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, we are actively drawing the Shechinah into our relationship. There’s me, my husband, and Hashem. We’re in this together.
Note: This content is intended for women in healthy marriages.