Dear Tzippora,

I love my husband, but now that we are married, I realize that he is a little neurotic. He worries much more than I do, and he worries about things that it would never occur to me to worry about, like contagious diseases, and other types of health conditions. When the baby was sick, he insisted that we go to the hospital, even though I knew that it was just a fever. But we had to go; he practically begged me. I was so embarassed at the hospital when they gave us some paracetamol and sent us home. Please help.

Married to a Worry Wart

Dear Married,

The truth is that we are all a little neurotic. We all have our small areas of irrationality. It sounds like your husband has health-related anxiety. As long as it doesn't interfere with his over-all functioning, that's fine. It's a common form of anxiety to have. This type of anxiety becomes problematic when it limits a person's ability to go to certain places or interact with certain types of people because of fear of contagion, or if it becomes coupled with a compulsive behavior such as repetitive hand washing. In these cases, professional help is needed to learn to manage anxiety appropriately.

However, assuming that his worries are basically under control, the question then becomes how do you deal with it? How do you manage to have peace in your home with a person who worries more than you do?

We say that since the splitting of the Red Sea, G‑d has chiefly been concerned with making matches – helping people find and identify their soul mates. One of the ways He pairs people up is according to their psychological profiles. So this is definitely something you can learn to deal with.

Try to step out of yourself. You say you were embarrassed at the hospital. But hospital emergency rooms deal with this kind of thing all the time. Many people panic when their baby is sick. It's normal. So the hospital staff realized that your husband was really worried about the baby; that makes him a very concerned father.

Try to get in touch with the part of you that is a little neurotic. Is your husband accepting of this less than perfect place in you? Are you? If it's okay for you to be imperfect, you will have less trouble allowing him to be as well.

Before we get married, we wear rose-colored glasses. It is easy to love someone when we only see their positive qualities. Yet the reality of marriage is that it forces us to take these glasses off, and learn to deal with our partner's strengths as well as their weaknesses.

This is a life-time learning process, and couple's therapy can definitely help the process along. However, the goal isn't to fix or perfect your partner. The goal is for us to learn to love someone imperfect.