A Note from the Rebbe: The Rebbe responds to a woman who is struggling with shalom bayis as a result of specific challenges faced by her husband.
In this Maineh, the Rebbe instructs a woman on how to strengthen her shalom bayis in light of her husband’s past misdeeds. The Rebbe starts by telling her that as difficult as it will be, the effort is worth it because:
1 – It is obvious that peace in general and certainly peace between a husband and his wife is so valuable, that any effort necessary is worth it.
The Rebbe then advises her on the approach she should take in how she relates to her husband. The focus of Chassidus is on the good within each person (in contrast to the path of Mussar which focuses on the negative). The Rebbe explains that the path of Chassidus is more effective, not just in Avodas Hashem, but also in interpersonal relationships.
2 – It seems that until now, your approach towards your husband followed the path of Mussar (by pointing out and emphasizing his flaws). There is nothing to be gained by crying over the past, however from this point forward, you should choose the approach of Chassidus (also) in dealing with your husband. This means you should show him his strengths, and how, if he continues to use those strengths even more than until now (while emphasizing that he has been using them until now), everyone will benefit both physically and spiritually.
The Rebbe goes on to point out the changes her husband has made in his life. By pointing out that his temptations are still present, and are different (and perhaps greater) than what she might relate to, because of her background and upbringing, the Rebbe gives her an appreciation for her husband’s efforts.
3 – If you will reflect on the changes in your husband, you will see that he has completely turned around. This change is not just in the past because even now, every time he walks on the street, he sees many things that remind him of his misdeeds. The Yetzer Harah, who is skilled in his task immediately presents temptations. These temptations can’t be compared to those faced by a woman, and certainly not a woman who is the daughter of, and was raised by Harav Hachossid … and is the granddaughter of generations of Chassidim.
Finally, the Rebbe addresses her personal health saying:
4 – You are already healthy, but you should continue to follow the instructions of the doctor, and Hashem will bless you that you will be able to happily report good news in all of the areas mentioned in your letter.
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