Married to a Wimp

Written by Rabbi Steven Baars on . Posted in Advice Columns

Take a guess. Out of 100 wives, how many would say they are married to a wimp? In my totally unscientific study based on 30 years in marriage counseling, I estimate 99 out of 100 would answer in the affirmative.


The other one would have to consult her lawyer before answering.

From where did this malady arise? It’s easy to blame your in-laws (mostly because it’s just easy), but there is a very deep and meaningful reason your hubby’s parents raised a wimp.

That’s because it’s easier to raise a wimp.

Your husband is someone’s son, and your son will (G-d willing) be someone’s husband. In parenting, it’s so much easier to accept children than it is to bring out the best in them.

There is a very widespread philosophy when it comes to parenting: limit the number of times you say “no” to a child. Yet, I have never heard of anyone advocating such a rule for a spouse.

Can you see the problem here?

That child never hearing the word “no” is going to get some real culture shock when they get married.

In-laws might annoyingly tell you it’s about time their grandson grew up, and that you coddle the children too much, to which you are probably thinking, “If you are such an expert, then why didn’t you get your son (my husband) to grow up!”

But the truth is, one day you will be answering to your own daughter-in-law for all the qualities you failed to instill in your son. It’s at that point you will think back to your own mother-in-law and realize, it’s a circle of life thing!

Parents are great at raising wimps. They just don’t want to be married to one.

What is really going on is that we have forgotten how to bring out the best in others, even our own children. In fact, we don’t really know how to do it in ourselves too well either. It’s so much easier to praise our children for anything they do than it is to work with them on their faults.

We are high on sympathy and low on understanding. We are great at forgiving but poor at correcting. Correcting is tough; criticizing is a piece of cake, but those two are very different animals.

While it may be true that you are married to a wimp, what’s more important is that you might be raising wimps, too.

I have never heard a mother say, “My son is a loser.”

That husband of yours is someone’s son.

It may be true your husband should be more responsible than your son, but the truth is, unless someone teaches either of them how to grow up, neither is going to. It’s one of those immutable laws of nature: Things don’t spontaneously combust, money doesn’t grow on trees, and men don’t figure it all out on their own.

Even G-d had to recognize this fact: “It’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). For man “to get his act together,” G-d needed a new technology. It was called a woman.

No child is a loser, and any parent who thinks so is the one who has really lost. Our spouses similarly, aren’t losers. It’s us; we just gave up.

By Rabbi Steven Baars

 Originally from London, Rabbi Stephen Baars resides in Rockville, Maryland, and serves as executive director of Aish Seminars. He did nine years of post-graduate studies at the Aish HaTorah Rabbinical College in Jerusalem, and has been an educator and marriage counselor for the past 25 years. Rabbi Baars and his wife, Ruth, are blessed with seven children. Learn more about Rabbi Baars at and