During a few appearances in California recently, I found myself counseling three sincere and newly married young rabbis. They had all enjoyed the good fortune of marrying lovely young women deeply devoted to religious ideals along with an eager willingness to adopt the mission of being rabbis’ wives.
It turned out that all three were experiencing the same mild marital problem and it was resolved for all of them with exactly the same directive. It’s one my wife and I dubbed “The 3-A challenge for men”. I directed these three well-meaning newlyweds to create regular opportunities to make themselves authentically feel and then tell their wives how much they Appreciate them, Adore them, and Admire them.
Please don’t for a moment think that my three young men meekly acquiesced to my instruction. They didn’t. They insisted that their wives knew how they felt. They insisted that such spiritual wives as they were blessed to have would see such compliments as mere flattery. Again, I patiently explained that unless they took the time and effort to really feel deep appreciation, adoration, and admiration for their wives, saying it would be nothing but flattery. Furthermore, I insisted, their wives were entitled to husbands who really felt that way about them. Furthermore, a great many wives, unless told, tend to doubt the esteem in which their husbands hold them.