HaKaras HaTov -Vital for Good Marriage?

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    I am looking for examples or stories from people who are in successful marriages – how the Middah of HaKaras HaTov is a vital foundation of a good and happy marriage. Sadly I was in a failed marriage, where I received barely any recognition for any good I did and conversely I often was reminded about my failings (I feel that the person I was married to was a Kafoi Tov). When I will hopefully be able to look for a Shidduch again, I want to know how to identify if a prospective Shidduch personifies this Middah Tovah. Please kindly elaborate. (Obviously I can’t ask the person on a date if she is a Makir Tov!)

    A Heimishe Mom

    While dating that is one trait that can be hard to discern – eveyrone is polite and on their best behavior. Reading between the lines when she tells you stories of her life you might be able to pick up on some things.


    Silent One,

    Before going out with any other girls, you have to get a better understanding of what marriage is all about.

    I strongly suggest (and I am the furthest thing from a breslover or any kind of chossid)that you read Rav Shalom Arush’s book on marriage for men.

    I was married for 20 years + when I read it and I thought I knew what marriage was about. This book changed my life and from your post above I am willing to guarantee you that it will change yours too.



    SilentOne, yes, this is a very important character trait, and it is wonderful that you decided you want a girl that has this. I am sorry for the pain and suffering you went through in your first marriage. It is great that you can seek out this character trait as something important to you.

    It is of course difficult to discern this on a date. But you can tell somewhat if the girl really has hakaras hatov if she thanks you for anything you do for her, whether it is opening a door for her, passing her a drink, giving her a tissue, etc. Also, you can try to do things that benefit her in some way and see if she acknowledges your actions and thanks you for them or compliments you on doing these things.


    I forgot which gadol it was,before a bachur got married the gadol told him to come to his house and the gadol taught him how to boil water. He told him there will be a time when your wife cannot make you dinner and you should learn how to do it yourself.


    If you listen carefully to how to talk about their friends, family, co-workers, etc. an appreciative or unappreciative attitude can be picked up.



    Usually people who don’t appreciate have a slew of other problems. So keep your eyes open for signs of an attitude problem, arrogance, selfishness and self absorption, thinking they are always right…

    Look for someone who is kind and generous. Its not so hard to see someone’s nature if you spend enough time with them. Test them out by going out of your way to do thongs for them. See if they thank you and see if the thank you is sincere and expresses true appreciation.

    Think first

    Silent one— I’m sorry you went through pain like that, I understand because I too have “lived through” a failed marriage.

    Not only is hakaras hatov important, I feel its from the most important traits one can have for a happy and successful marriage.

    Its all about being appreciated, where there appreciation things can be tough financially or otherwise and the marriage will continue to blossom, where there’s no appreciation people feel lonely and forgotton.

    Now for seeing it in ur date,of course everyone is polite on dates however there’s a drastic difference between genuine and fake appreciation. Genuine appreciation won’t be a quick thank you for whatever you did that deserves appreciation, rather it will be lavish with words of appreciation. Cold thank you can be fake but if someones “thank you for……. I really appreciate it that’s genuine, and watch for the facial expression while saying it is there a smile? Its real. Also does the person feel comfortable saying showing appreciation or does it seem forced?


    Thank you all for your most helpful suggestions and for sharing your life’s experiences. May we be Zoche that our marriage and that of our children should be filled with Simcha, personal fulfillemnt and spiritual growth and be a Kesher Shel Kayama.


    i would say, you can very strongly pick up in a conversation with a person, what their feelings towards others are. how she talks about her family, friends, people she respects, people she hates (assuming you’re the boy) and you should get a strong feel.


    Look if she says thank you to the waiter for bringing her a drink.

    Or if she is thankful for a finding a parking quickly.

    She will for sure say thank you to you for opening the door but its the small things that count.


    Does anyone feel that it would L’Toeles L’Rabbim if we put together a small Chbbur (in En glish) on this sunject, with help of Rabbanim and Frum marriage counelors.

    The topics that would be covered are:

    1 Define Hakaras HaTov (especially in its fullest form).

    3. Where do we learn this Middah (examples of fulfillment of this) fromm Tenach, Chazals and stories of Rishonim and Acharonim?

    4. How does HaKaras Hatov work to create the glue for the good marriages and exactly how does one best fulfill this Middah in marriage situations, especialy as “the going gets rough”? crancky childrem need to picked and shipped off to school,and dealing with major injuries, laying sports, sulking teeanager.

    5. How does one fix this Middah if he/she is lacking? Can the marriage be saved if one partner only saccepted fault in this Middah after some years into the marriage, T

    6. How does excellent Hakaras HaTov contribute to happy, healthy marriages, especailly when other factors one many other issues that can drag down tha marriage (such as exhaustion from child-rearing, exhaustion fom the check-producing job)


    Please kindly offer suggestions as to which Rabbanim, mental-health therapists to consult to gain material to write the Chibbur and which aditional subtopics (within this overall theme of HaKras HaTov/marriage, we should cover.

    Thank you very much.


    My son has been in the dating parsha for a couple of years. Across the board, the number one complaint (maybe the only complaint I have ever heard him express about any girl he has dated) is their failure to express a simple thank you. He does not believe in going to lounges, and puts a great deal of thought into planning a date where they can get something to eat and be able to talk and get to know each other. He tries to arrange for interesting activities, and is very solicitous of their having a pleasant time. One of the girls with whom he was set up was the ONLY one to express her appreciation for his obvious thoughtfulness. Though it ultimately did not work out for hashkafic reasons, he liked her very much for showing this middah.

    There is no excuse for the inability to be makir tov. It is NOT something that goes without saying, it has to be expressed. Hashem knows exactly what we are thinking 24/7, yet we start each morning off with MODEH ANI. It is a foundation of our character. If we cannot be makir tov to other people for the obvious things they do for us and of which we are fully aware, how can we properly be makir tov to Hakodosh Boruch Hu for the million and one things He does for us all the time, that we take for granted?


    From WIY’s post: “Usually people who don’t appreciate have a slew of other problems. So keep your eyes open for signs of an attitude problem, arrogance, selfishness and self absorption, thinking they are always right…”.

    WIY – you are so correct – if only you would have been at my right side ready to advise me before I got married, I might have been saved from a disaster… – what started out as a failure to utter a simple thank for valuable presents (i.e. for the diamond ring during engagement), turned into slew of other issues after the Chasunah – i.e. always thinking she was right, unwilling to change one’s tone of voice in communicating despite my request that she talk B’Nachas even when she must criticize. Probably was also self-absorbed and had a negative attitude toward Rabbonim that she knew better than them waht to do – i.e. such as refusing to go to the Mikvah often). However, it is still very tough to judge the entire character of a person before marriage (remember the Vort of Havei Dun Es KOL HaAdam L’Kaf Zchus (Pirkei Avos) – i.e. when one sees a incipient character flaw, and assuming you really have “fallen” for that girl, you may eaily justify your choice for her in that her flaw is limited to a minor scenario, while convincing yousrelf that the entirety of the person is still good. Well obviously sometimes these justifications are killers and could cause one to throw out the better part of one’s life in a miserable marriage. Pleae kindly advise and give perspective on this issue.

    Thank you very much.

    Yiddishe Kup

    SilentOne: It would also be a good idea to evaluate yourself and try to understand why you picked such a person.

    A man who driving down a road when he sees a woman crawling around on her hands and knees under a street lamp. He pulls over and asks her what’s going on? so she responds she’s looking for her keys. So he helps her look for it and then asks her if she has any idea where she dropped them. She answers that she lost them a mile down the road. “So why in the world are you looking here?” She answers “because it’s familiar territory and the light’s better.”

    While this may not apply to you, sometimes even when we know someone is not what we want, but it’s comfortable simply because it’s familiar territory. Or we are so eager to please that we don’t realize we are being used and taken advantage of.

    Again, it may not apply to you at all, but I think anyone who has in a failed marriage should evalulate not only how to not be fooled again but also to see if perhaps they also need to change someone so that they aren’t a victim again.


    Yiddishe Kup:

    Your intuition is right on target – I must be made to understand the “basis” for my ill-fated “decision” back then, so that I won’t repeat it every again. While I could list probably 10 serious fundamental mistakes I made in deciding to marry my ex-wife, the first and foremost is that I decided to stay engaged to her after she did not thank me for the diamond ring. If I could have a time machine and go back in time, the first thing i would have done (after I did not received a thank you), was to jump on a phone and call my Rebbi Shlita and ask him if this omission on her part is fundamental Pegam (i.e. Kafoi Tov) and if, therefore, I should end the Shidduch on the spot. I finally did get enough guts to say to her: I am afraid you did not like the ring since you never said anything about it”, ber resposne was so “far afield” and did not adddress the fudamental Pegam of appearing like a Kafoi Tov. I think her answer showed even more so how she not into thanking and I should have again called my Rebbi on the spot.

    What to learn from this, for Shidduch seekers? Identify must-have Middos (for the health of your marriage and Mikdash Me’at you wish to build with this person) and stragegize how to put an opportunity into the dating schedule for her to activate the good Middah you are looking for, as the previous responder posted (By the way – all of you responders were great. A major Yashefr Koach for your thoughts, ideas and strong words of encouragement).

    By the way, there was an entire tumult in the CR a few month ago about the gentleman holding the door for the lady. I feel that a true Gomel Chesed woman would naturally not wish to have the door held all the time for herself and would therefore likely would hold the door at least once and say something like: “my turn to hold the door for you”. We are looking for more of a Nosein (givver) than a Mekabel (receiver). Of course , it is our duty (for men) to be at least as diligent in doing Chesed for her and she should expect this of you as well. My father A”H used to run to hold the door for whoever was coming into the building coutrtyard to let them in (or out) even though B”H he had Aishes Chayil waiting for at home; this just means that he wanted his identity to be one of a Nosein. We should seek to find a true Nosein and be one ourselves as well.


    Yiddishe Kup, that was a very good moshol, and made a truly salient point.


    I am in Shidduchim and I thank you for this thread. I feel that Hakaras Hatov is integral in any relationship, be it parents, teachers, and friends and especially in a marriage. I can imagine what its like for someone to work so hard or even do an “easy” favor and then feel unappreciated. Appreciation of one’s spouse I feel is (one of) the glue that holds a relationship together and fuels both people involved to continue to put in their best.

    Everyone wants to feel appreciated and valued.

    Thank you. This is something that I want to work on and be aware of. And thank you Oomis for the example regarding your son on dates. This will open my eyes more to acknowledging the effort that boys put when it comes to planning the date, and so much more.


    And thank you Oomis for the example regarding your son on dates. This will open my eyes more to acknowledging the effort that boys put when it comes to planning the date, and so much more. “

    Photogenic, I appreciate your acknowledgment of this, but somehow I sense that you are probably already doing the right thing.


    Unfortunately in today’s society, many people have an attitude of “It’s coming tome to me” (someone know this in Yiddish – please write in), or sometime known as entitlment. This a major contribution to the Kafoi Tova attitude we see rampant (I think). It must start in the home when children are still little, to show them how to reject his attitude of being Kafoi Tov. Instead we need to focus and find (on our own) miracles and grfeat Chasodim from Hashem as well as from people. – I know someone who sent a small gift of appreciation to Rav Breuer ZT”L. The donor promptly received a letter in mail from Rav Breuer saying how underserving he was of the present and how much he appreciated it. It seems that this is the attitude we need to inculcate children so that when they reach “The Parsha”, this will be built ino the personality. Please provide feednack, stories etc.

    Thank you


    Photogenic, welcome back!

    And I agree with oomis, you seem to be someone who is already doing wonderfully in this area. Kol hakavod.

    SilentOne, I completely agree with you. The ability to appreciate things and not take anything for granted really does come from the home. I am blessed with a mother who personifies this middah. She has always instilled in us the understanding that we must appreciate everything that happens and always be aware of the goodness in other people, and of course, in G-d. When anything good happens, even something “expected”, like receiving a salary paycheck, my mother always says “Hodu La’shem ki tov ki l’olam chasdo”.


    Upon thinking this over more, I came up upon a stumbling block, since it is hard to determine how a true Makir Tov would behave on a higher level (than non-Makirei Tov), in the following scenarios:

    I claim, I can only marry a Makir Tov. But what should my (future wife do, in order to be a Makir Tov i.e. how can she rise above the behavior of non-Makirei Tov). Should I expect that every time I change the baby’s diaper, set the table or change a light bulb that she should tell me what a Tzaddik I am or throw me tiker-tape parade (rhetorical question)? So what is realitic to expect from a true Makir Tov wife for daily nice things I do for her or for the household? Obviously if I will be waiting for my tiker-tape parade, I will be bitterly dissapointed. So what behavior is exhbited by a true Makir Tov that can make the marriage so much better, than sets her aside from a woman who believes that she is entitled to nice things from her husband all the time. If I am not making sense, just please tell me in your own words, how a Makir Tov spouse makes all the daily chores and hurdles much more pleasant to get through (simiar to what “Think first” wrote above: Its all about being appreciated, where there appreciation things can be tough financially or otherwise and the marriage will continue to blossom, where there’s no appreciation people feel lonely and forgotten.”. Lastly, what must I do for my spouse to give her the Chizuk to remain a Makir Tov through all the difficulties of taking care of a family?


    Thank you Middle Path! You compliment is valued and appreciated. Same for you Oomis. I try, but naturally being a fast paced person, it takes some work to slow down and take time to really internalize and appreciate what the other person has been doing.

    SilentOne, I think that what you are describing is someone who has an Ayin Tov/a good eye, who naturally looks toward the good of other people and toward the good of what they do as well. Someone who is a positive person will notice the positive attributes and actions of others. And, will also naturally appreciate others as well.

    In terms of Chizzuk, I would guess its a two way street. Make her feel appreciated for what she does and for who she is as well. If she does anything for you, at all, no matter whether it is needed by you or not; if she has good intentions, thank her very much for that. And the best formula-in my opinion, is to constantly seek out the good in each other and bring it to the other person’s attention as much as you can, with it being natural of course. Again, this relates to having an Ayin Tov.

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