Yossi and Deborah were unsure of their future and didn’t know if this was going to be a successful marriage. Like other young couples, they wanted to know if there was some kind of “crystal ball” that I could gaze into to tell them if their marriage would work. I told them that I wasn’t a magician, but I could offer them some sound advice about relationships. I explained that the key to marriage was something that has been known from time immemorial. In fact, it is so simple and profound that most couples (barring serious emotional illness or domestic abuse) could utilize to greatly enhance their chances of staying happily married.
No doubt, Yossi and Deborah would be challenged by financial concerns, work stress, childrearing, and difficult in-law relationships. Amidst the ups and downs of everything waiting for them — happy or disappointing moments, quality times enjoyed together or stressful late nights at work, watching their children take their first steps or struggling at school— the “secret” that could hold their marriage together and bring them the most happiness and stability in their lives, would be to focus on the primal importance of their relationship.
I call this simple yet revolutionary idea Relationship Theory, which states that for a marriage to work, both husband and wife need to make their relationship their main goal.
Another way of stating this is: H=QR. Where, Happiness (H) is directly proportional to the Quality of Relationship (QR) one develops with their spouse. The more that a couple works on deepening both the quality and quantity of their relationship, the greater likelihood they have for success.
That’s why when couples like Yossi and Deborah come to speak with me about their fears of marriage; I begin by asking them if they are willing to make their relationship a priority in their lives. If they don’t make it the number one priority, then it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for them to succeed.
Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is Marriage and Family Therapist, and author of a “First Aid for Jewish Marriages.” For more information or to make an appointment visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com.