Ask The Rabbi: Why Don't Women Just Say It?

Question of the Week:

Last week you wrote that women are relationship beings, and men are loners. Well if women are such relationship experts, why can't my wife communicate clearly and just say what she means?

It was her birthday yesterday, and when I mentioned it last week, she said, "Don't you dare do anything for my birthday!" So I didn't. Now she won't speak to me. I did exactly as she said, and I'm in trouble. Am I missing something?


Yes, you are missing something. It's called women's intuition. Your wife has it, and you never will. Men are literalists, women are intuitive. It's been that way since the beginning of time.

It all started with Adam and Eve. When G-d told Adam, "Do not eat of the fruit of knowledge, because if you do you will die", he took it literally. But Eve read between the lines. She understood that when G-d says don't eat, He really means, "Eat if you choose to, but I didn't tell you to". Eve sensed that G-d wanted humans to experience mortality and fallibility, He wanted them to know both good and evil, but He didn't want to force it on them, He wanted them to choose it. She used her intuition to uncover what G-d really meant. That's why she ate of the fruit.

Eve acted intuitively because that's how she was created. The verb used to describe G-d creating Eve was "Vayiven", which literally means G-d built Eve, but can also be translated as "G-d endowed Eve with intuition." She was given an additional insight to be able to read between the lines, and understand what lies behind the words people say.

To this day women possess this ability, to intuit hidden messages and sense what is below the surface. And sometimes they mistakenly expect others to have this insight too. When your wife told you she doesn't want anything for her birthday, she thought you would hear not her words but her inner intention. What she meant was,"I don't want to tell you what I want for my birthday, I want it to come from you." But being a man, not blessed with women's intuition, you took her on face value, and did as she said: nothing.

Women's intuition is a wonderful gift, but your wife will have to learn that you simply don't have it. Her female friends might know exactly what she means even when she doesn't say it, but you, her husband, will only ever hear what she says and act accordingly. You must let her know that you may never learn to read her mind, and ask her to say exactly what she means and give you clear instructions. This is not because you are not in tune with her, and not because you don't love or appreciate her. It is because you are a man. And that's all you will ever be.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Moss

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