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Lonely Adam

Lonely Adam

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Question:

My husband just doesn't seem to get it. He came home over an hour late last night without so much as calling to tell me that he wouldn't be on time. This is the fifth time he has done this, and we have only been married three months! It may seem petty, but it upsets me greatly. I don't want him to see me as a nagging wife. What should I do?

Answer:

This may be disappointing, but it sounds like your husband is acting like a pretty normal guy. And you sound pretty normal too. That's why you are having this problem.

There is something you need to know about men. They are loners. Being in a relationship is unnatural to them. They do not automatically think about how their actions affect someone else. The default emotional state of a man is loneliness.

This is not true of women. A woman has an innate sense of relationship, of connection to others. A woman naturally shares herself and bonds with others. A man does not. She is a relationship being, he is a lonely being.

Of course, it is a big generalization to say that all men are loners and all women are connectors, and generalizations are never accurate. But to say generalizations are never accurate is itself a generalization, and thus not accurate either. So let's generalize: While there are of course many exceptions, generally speaking, man's natural state is to be single, woman's natural state is to be in a couple.

There is a solid base for this theory. It stretches all the way back to the beginning of time, to the first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve.

Adam was created alone. His original state was that of a bachelor. But Eve was created from Adam. She was never single. Eve, by her very nature, was a relationship being, because she was created with her partner next to her. She had an inborn sense of interconnectedness; she intuitively knew that we are not alone in this world, that our actions impact others, and that we can and must be sensitive to those around us. This was innate to her psyche, for she was never alone. But all this was new to Adam. He had to learn what a relationship means and how to be aware of another, for at his core he was a lonely being.

Adam is the essential man, and Eve the essential woman. And so until today, women are relationship beings, and men are lonely beings. Not that all women are good at relationships, and not that all men are hopeless hermits. Rather, women are more likely to know how to bond with others, and men are more likely to keep their emotions to themselves.

So your husband has no idea why you are upset when he comes home late. He may be thinking, "Why can't she occupy herself until I get there? Is she so insecure that she can't look after herself for an extra hour or so?" What he doesn't yet understand is that while he is a loner, you are a connector. You don't need him to be physically with you all the time, but emotionally, he must be with you all the time. If he would just call to say he is late, you would not feel alone, because he showed that he cares, that he has bonded with you.

Eve's mission was to help Adam come out of his isolation and learn how to connect. You need to do this too. Explain to your husband that it is not his lateness that upsets you; it is that he wasn't considerate enough to communicate his lateness to you. Help him understand that he is no longer alone, and show him how beautiful the world is when shared with someone else. Give it time. You can't cure existential loneliness overnight. But if you persevere, with gentleness and love, he will open up that lonely place inside him and let you in. Then you can share your lives in your own Garden of Eden, and never be lonely again.


Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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31 Comments
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twighahn cleburne May 2, 2013

being a woman's friend takes more work than being a man's friend in general is true. but a bus full of women are more likely to work together then a bus full of men Reply

Baruch Jerusalem April 24, 2013

Bonding We men are loners but our bonding capacity is greater than women's. Get twenty men that doesn't know each other for a 1 week sightseeing trip. Do the same with women. After a week bonds are created between men and possibly some case of friendship for live. Women fight each other even before the bus departed, and after 1 week there are cases of eternal enmity. We have friends even from childhood, they have foes since then (and see our friends as effective competence). There's no such thing as feminine bonding, call it something else. Reply

Hahn Jackson cleburne April 23, 2013

have you lost it? A Jewish marriage begins with the signing of the Ketubah (legal marriage document) in which the groom pledges to be a good and faithful husband. The opening paragraph states that the husband has committed to his new wife, saying, "I will work for you, respect you and sustain you."


he is not respecting her in any way Reply

Gabrielle Sacramento April 23, 2013

it might also be something more basic- like if he's late w/out a heads up- dinner gets ruined because its planned around his arrival time. Reply

Anonymous vic, au October 15, 2012

left waiting without a call Once the spouse has been told that you'd like a courtesy call on impending lateness and they still won't, they put the ball in your court. You can call them and ask on their progress on returning if it matters to your plans and that may work. Or assume that you are free to do whatever you like and do it. Therefore on his return he can't expect that you'll be ready to cater to him in any way unless he hits a moment in your receptive availability, though remain amiable and friendly. Never waste time waiting unnecessarily like a bereft puppy locked in the laundry waiting for masters return. A vibrant woman with a life to live is happier in herself and more desirable to get back to as well. When a person realises they are running late and now face displeasure they often feel more like putting off the miserable home coming further and get even later. If he feels like prisoner so early in a marriage he might not come back at all one day not so far away. Stop sweating such small stuff so soon Reply

Arthur NY, NY November 15, 2011

SAVE THIS MARRIAGE I understand the response that indicates there is good news and bad news---the good news is your husband is a normal guy, and the bad news is that most guys are inconsiderate, self centered dolts. Well, yes and no. To cop out to "everyone behaves like this" may ring with veracity, but the hurt engendered by his attitude is still very real. In order for any marriage to successfully navigate the potholes there MUST be communication and understanding. How can you love me and not know what hurts me? You belong to yourselves, and to eachother, and if he is this callous after a few months, when the honeymoon should still be in full swing, what have you to anticipate after ten years, a few kids, mounting bills and commitments, and an even more necessary imperative for understanding and caring? Fix it now..... Reply

Kari Clovis, ca May 23, 2011

excellent answer. The key is understanding the difference.

As for saying in the artice as well about what the man should do if the wife responses negativley... .. you can't cover it all in one answer to one question. Reply

Wedding Planning Guide New York, United States March 18, 2011

Wedding Planning Guide You did it! Thanks for posting this informative post. Reply

Anonymous brooklyn, NY March 7, 2011

Garden of Peach/ Women's Wisdom These two books, the first for men and the latter for women, are probably the most popular books on marriage. The author is
Rabbi Shalom Arush. Read it and reap. Reply

Jeremy Lincoln, NE March 2, 2011

Adam and Eve Good article. However, I wished you would have explained what a husband should do if he did call his wife to say he was going to be late and his wife told him how unacceptable that is, regardless if his boss forced him to be late. Sometimes men try to communicate and they get scolded so they avoid the call and just have one fight when they get home instead of one at the office then another when they get home. Reply

Sia Flis Meriden, CT December 28, 2010

The Beloved Child Known as Respect II'm baffled if not slightly concerned with Dean's response. That being said, I think the bottom line here is that bad behavior is typically learned behavior. Learned behavior is dictated by respect or the lack thereof. What the wife probably really wants to know is WHY he thinks it's ok to come in late without an explanation. To her, I offer the following advice from a girl with great male friends who have shared much wisdom with me: IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY HE IS DOING OR SAYING SOMETHING....ASK HIM. Believe me, men respond well to a direct question they can respond to directly without emotion and drama. In asking, you have to commit to LISTEN and process what he SAYS, not what you want to hear. He needs to acknowledge the bad behavior, provide the reasoning behind it and what he can do to change it. You need to analyze your role in creating his reality and be willing to change whatever contributed to this. Problem solved. Respect is the beloved offspring of Communication & Trust. Reply

cece and mark ny , ny November 15, 2010

Your Marraige Sometimes the most confusing, complex questions contain answers so simple that they cannot be seen by those experieincing the emotional upsets and complexities involved.

In the case of marraige (recent or decades after the initial promise) open communication is essential. SImply step back, and tell your husband that you love him very much. When he comes home later then expected it worries you. Ask him to please call you if he is going to be late so you can rest assured that he is ok. Reply

MP Brooklyn October 26, 2010

'The First Year' Something that may help. The guidelines for 'The First Year' are how Judaism helps reverse a man's tendency to independence - at least for the first year of marriage. If the issue can be couched in those terms, your husband might see the issue in terms of 'the right thing to do'.

p.s. The scriptual source for the above is Deuteronomy 24:5 . There are enumerated laws on the subject - you'll have to ask a Rabbi where to find them - but it's the spirit of the law that is the issue here. Reply

Anonymous hallandale, Fl. October 18, 2010

Message Lost... Dean you really don't get comments.....the message is not lost and we understand fully what the author means and agree with you no one wants to be a victim....but like the saying goes....You're preaching to the choir....usually the people that want to do right are reading advice....and others just don't care.....and yes agree with the article...but still there are many situations that are unsolvable.....because people simply refuse to get along....really don't know the answer just grasping at straws...to try to prevent the continuation of so many divorces. Reply

Mr. Dean Levit October 18, 2010

The Comments can be almost the best part... Comments always bring out the, to use a word a tad overused, "interesting" qualities of the readers. I find it sad for the author, though, when their message is lost beneath the personal baggage of some Commentors. To some women, expressing even the slightest possibility that some men just don't seem to require a woman's constant care are fighting words, as though if it caught on, men would turn away from females altogether and the race would die off. Ha! ha! Then there are those, in this case it's women again, anonomous, or not, who can't comment without dumping on either their spouse or all men, clearly not understanding the author, clearly not wanting to. Some readers will walk away with a little new undersanding, if they allow themselves to, while others will grumble and continue seeing thmeselves as victims forever. This was a very good article, indeed. Reply

Michael Tupek New Ipswich, NH October 17, 2010

Poor explanation! Your theory is poor and also mishandles the scripture concerning Adam and Eve. You insult the Creator when you force the text to teach that man is a loner by nature. God himself said that it was "not good for the man to be alone", and the man was relieved to finally get a suitable companion, and the man willingly leaves his parents to cling to her (Gen 2: 18, 23, 24). The real reason that a man is inconsiderate is because of the sinful nature which intoxicates a person to only think about himself instead of (in the case of marriage) holding dear the felings and needs of his mate, whom he supposedly covenanted to love. Reply

Anonymous hallandale, Fl October 17, 2010

keeping someone waitng Yes Molly Resnick is correct....and its usually the women that keep their husband waiting.....so we can always do better.... Reply

Mr. Dean Levit October 17, 2010

Good explanation Rarely are men described with this kind of sensitivity, unfortunately. Thank you. I think every woman who reads your words may feel better about her situation, and perhaps, the men will reconsider a bit themselves and get home on time more often. It happens. Shalom! Reply

Noii Chicago October 15, 2010

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Men This is very interesting...I suppose we are to believe the true virtue of the husband's solitude as a man and hope that he is truly faithful in his ways. In any event, this approach to Eve's "connectedness" is really wonderful. You must have received this kind of understanding from G-d! Exhalted be He for such wisdom. Reply

Anonymous brooklyn, ny October 14, 2010

thanks! I've been married for close to 15 yrs and now I can look at my husband with a new light! Thank you! Reply

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Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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