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But It’s Hubby’s Fault

To: Amy Sohn From: Shmuley Boteach Subject: But It Is Hubby’s Fault Dear Amy, Nice to hear from you again. The main reason why parents neglect their children is not because of the government. They do so because of the … Read More

By / April 4, 2007

To: Amy Sohn From: Shmuley Boteach Subject: But It Is Hubby’s Fault

Dear Amy,

Nice to hear from you again.

The main reason why parents neglect their children is not because of the government. They do so because of the single criterion of success that prevails in the United States. We are only successful if we acquire money and professional acclaim. We are judged today not by the quality of our relationships but by the quantity in our bank accounts. This has caused the family meltdown in the United States. We all want to be a somebody, and nobody wants to be a nobody. And since our culture tells us that we are only a somebody when we gain the recognition of our peers, the recognition of our children is far less important by comparison. It will take a new definition of success, a much more wholesome, holistic definition, if we are to re-energize American parents to reinvest in their families and children. No doubt government policy can help that along. But in the final analysis the real effort must come from us.

I am much more reluctant than you to blame women, married women, for putting on weight or giving up on their appearance than you are. And the hundreds of cases where I’ve seen this happen and have been involved as a counselor, it mostly involves a husband who was utterly neglectful of his wife. You mentioned that some women let themselves go despite entreaties on the part of their husbands. But entreaties are not what is necessary. It is rather an active focus of husband on wife that makes all the difference. Women today are overworked. They are the ones that have two jobs most of the time, not the husbands. They are the ones who work during the day and come home to more work at night. Why would any woman make an effort, in addition to all her other responsibilities, to look great when no one notices. The history of relationships is that the female need for attention is rarely matched by the male attention span.

I also strongly disagree that women today are forming, as you describe it, nearly incestuous relationships with their children. I do not think that a woman’s erotic needs are satisfied by a baby suckling at her breast. No baby could nave could never make her feel desirable as a woman. True eroticism is where someone lusts after you and needs you and desires you. Women are desperate for male attention and affection. But in the pornographic age in which we live, in which women are highly disrespected by men, turned into commodities, and a collection of assorted body parts, men just don’t know how to truly lust after one woman, they know only to lust after many. This is also something that should be changed if marriage is to survive and if women are not to throw in the towel and just give up on men. You will recall the New York Times cover story about three months ago that shocked the nation by reporting that 51% of women today live alone and without a man. So the tragic process is already happening.

By the way, I was surprised that you quoted statistics lauding the fall in teen sexuality when in the first letter you seem to be a proponent of teens exploring sex, something that I am vigorously opposed to.

On the subject of how my parents’ divorce impacted on the work I do now in trying to rescue families, Amy, I was honestly not avoiding your question. Rather I’ve written so much on the subject of how my parents’ divorce is the main cause of all the work I do today that I thought by now it was known. I love my father, am as close to him as I am to my mother, and I thrive in our relationship.

I decided to dedicate my new book to my mother because I wanted to take the opportunity to tell my mother and all the other mothers around America how much we children appreciate the phenomenal sacrifices that they make when the world demands so much of them.

Wishing you and your family all the very best and God bless you.

Yours sincerely,

Shmuley

To read Amy's closing letter, click here.

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