Marriage Matters: My Wife Is Unbearable

By Shmaya Grunfeld, LMHC

As a little boy, my client Mendy was very attached to his father. Smart, rich and powerful, he had a commanding presence at home, at work and in shul. To Mendy, he could do no wrong. He was his role model, adviser and mentor.

One of Mendy’s father’s favorite expressions was “My wife is unbearable!” The words were uttered often around the house, and for a variety of reasons. In fact, it was his father’s go-to stock phrase when anything met with his displeasure. Unconsciously Mendy could hardly wait for the day when he too would have a wife, so he could finally be able to inflate his chest and say the phrase aloud: “My wife is unbearable!”

Eventually Mendy married Estie, and like all women (and men) she had her good days and her bad ones. Mendy actually liked her, but nothing could stop him from fulfilling his dream of having an unbearable wife.

He found his first opportunity the day Estie complained that he had left his dirty socks on the floor. “My wife is unbearable,” he whispered to himself. A surge of power coursed through his veins. Emboldened, he told Estie that if she didn’t like his socks on the floor, she could pick them up. Estie was surprised.

From then on, Mendy began to use the phrase more frequently. Estie would say, “Mendy, don’t forget to take your lunch bag from the fridge. I made you a nice tuna sandwich.” Mendy would think to himself: My wife is unbearable. She won’t even let me eat out in the pizza shop near my office.

“What time are we going to your mother’s house?” Estie asked him one day. My wife is unbearable, he thought. She always has to control everything.

One afternoon Estie sent her husband a text: “I’m going to be a little late getting home because I have to cover for my colleague who just gave birth yesterday. Could you put supper in the oven to warm it up? Thanks!” “My wife is unbearable,” Mendy commented to his coworkers. “She never lets me work. She even has to send me messages in the middle of the afternoon.”

Sometimes Mendy would come home and find a note waiting for him: “There’s some turkey roll and a green salad in the refrigerator.” Mendy would say to himself, “My wife is unbearable. She only feeds me diet food.”

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