An alarmingly high percentage of youth grow up with no preparation for marriage, as evidenced by the break-up rate of marriages in the Jewish community. They may have been told, but not taught how communication and problem-solving skills create harmony for more shalom bayis (a peaceful home) in a marriage.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 43% of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years. Unfortunately, the Jewish divorce rate is on the rise, with problems in marital relationships as a major factor.
Q. What is Pre-Marital Counseling?
A. Prevention. It provides an opportunity for the engaged couple to learn new on how to improve communication and resolve conflict, creatively. The couple comes a long way in self-understanding, acceptance and appreciation for each other’s similarities and differences — skills necessary for marital success. Pre-Marital Counseling can bring a couple closer to achieving shalom bayis before marriage, than what most couples have achieved after one, two, or even three years of marriage.
Q. Is Pre-Marital Counseling for couples with problems?
A. NO. The couples who come for Pre-Marital Counseling have no significant problems. Pre-Marital Counseling has demonstrated excellent results, not only in preventing divorces, but also in enriching the lives of couples through learning skills for marriage enhancement.
Q. When a couple gets engaged, isn’t much of their personality already established?
A. That is not necessarily true, says counseling psychologist Dr. Aaron Rutledge and past president of the National Council of Family Relations. He states that the Pre-Marital stage is one of the greatest teach able moments and opportunities for learning in a lifetime that can also effect positive changes in personality.”
It seems that for a short period of time, a window of opportunity is opened for empathy and emotional growth that would take years to accomplish later on. Within a minimum amount of time, a couple could learn to develop the potential to understand themselves and each other’s personalities.
Rabbi Shmuel Dishon, shlita, states in his lectures to new grooms that, the neshamas of the engaged couple are still soft, flexible and adaptable. During that time, the couple is able to become sensitive to the environment and people around them. But as they reach their wedding and first year of marriage (shana rishona), their personality traits start to harden like cement. They become structured and established, and the results can be very positive or very negative.
In doing marital counseling, I find that many of the marital conflicts I come across are traceable to unresolved issues during the engagement period and in the first year of marriage.
CPC — Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is endorsed by Rabbi Ezekiel Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbanim and Torah authorities in the NY community.
For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com. Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.