web analytics
July 12, 2014 / 14 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim's Restaurant in Tiberias Restaurant in Tiberias Enriches Holocaust Survivors’ Wellbeing

The generosity of Mrs. Lee Steinberg of New York helped establish the Meir Panim Free Restaurant in Tiberias.



Being Enmeshed: Insights Into Concurrently Holding On And Letting Go

Cohen-Rabbi-Dovid-M

I once heard a story about a single man struggling to find a spouse. His main challenge was his insistence that a potential mate permanently welcome his widowed mother into their marital home. A friend suggested that he speak with the great authority, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt’l. The man shared with the Rav his delicate predicament. The Rav validated the man’s approach as acceptable. Sometime later, the man met his bashert, the special woman willing to live with his mom. They returned to Rav Shlomo Zalman for his blessing. Surprisingly, the Rav called the man aside and told him that they cannot live with his mother anymore. The young man was shocked. After all, on the previous visit, the Rav had supported his desire to find a woman who would accept their living with his mother. Rav Shlomo Zalman explained that he supported the young man’s exceptional requirement as a test of sorts, to ensure that the young lady he would marry would be a woman of valor, a woman of kindness. But once he had in fact found such a woman, it was imperative, for the sake of the marriage, to exclude the mother from a permanent place in the home.

Most newly married couples don’t permanently invite parents into their private dwelling in a literal sense, but figuratively, they may bring their parents along for the ride. In the national bestseller The Good Marriage, Judith Wallerstein & Sandra Blakeslee report that many marriage counselors tell their clients “there are at least six people in every marriage – the couple and both sets of parents.” A delicate balance must be struck between maintaining positive and meaningful connection with family of origin, while at the same time, not alienating the new spouse and the fledgling marital union. In his renowned work, The Art of Loving, Eric Fromm discusses object relations theory and the process of individuation from parents. He explains that ideally we physically separate from our parents while concurrently bringing them with us in our minds and hearts. In this way, our parents are a support and a significant and influential backdrop throughout our lives. This concept is highlighted in the episode in Parshas Vayeshev when Yosef is saved from eishet Potifar’s advances with the help of the image of his father Yaakov, “dmus dyukno shel aviv.” He is far away from his home, but yet able to marshal Yaakov’s values and spiritual strength when it was most needed.

I recall many years ago counseling a young couple immediately after their marriage. It seemed that the husband was looking forward to a honeymoon with his new bride. His wife wasn’t adverse to the honeymoon, but her family had planned their yearly family vacation and the young lady didn’t want to give up on this special time. I empathized with both the young man’s disappointment in potentially having his new in-laws intrude on his honeymoon time, and the young women’s deep desire to remain attached to her parents and siblings. These tensions and conflicts are rampant in many marriages and don’t always have easy solutions. Sometimes a young couple is placed in the unenviable position of having to erect boundaries, as the more “mature” parents are oblivious to these considerations and are grasping to hold onto a child. It’s a complex dance with competing interests and my purpose in this brief article is to try to articulate some foundational principles to protect the marriage and the formation and development of the couple.

Jewish couples stand under a chuppah or canopy during the marriage ceremony. This canopy has no walls just a roof. The chuppah symbolizes the home and the husband bringing the wife into his material and spiritual domain. The task of erecting walls for this edifice is left to the couple. They must, over the course of their lives together, fill-in those walls and thereby fortify their relationship. Wallerstein and Blakesley alluded to above, bring an anecdote about a mother sitting down with her future daughter-in-law and attempting to intimidate her. She tells the poor girl that her upcoming marriage is doomed to failure. The young girl is mortified and immediately calls her future husband. The husband says, “don’t worry about it. I’m going to call my mother right now and tell her she’s not invited to our wedding.” This is a beautiful illustration of communicating to a spouse that they are the absolute priority. They report that this uncomfortable episode ultimately helped launch the marriage.

About the Author: Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen, Esq., is the mara d’asra of the Young Israel of the West Side in Manhattan. He can be reached at cohen.dovid@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Being Enmeshed: Insights Into Concurrently Holding On And Letting Go”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IDF tank along Gaza's border.
IDF Warning Gaza Citizens to Evacuate
Latest Sections Stories
Aaron in front of Gush Katif-related school history project.

He wondered what it was like to live in Israel, to be religious.

Eller-071114-Book

The Open Kitchen is so appealing you practically want to eat the pages as you turn them.

Schonfeld-logo1

In reality, Baruch is one of many children who can be described as twice-exceptional. He is both gifted and struggling with a learning disability.

Since there is no “happenstance” in our world, we can only say that something of great import is taking place in the Holy Land.

Alternatively, you can try your absolute hardest to listen whenever she says anything.

As queen of the Maghreb, Aures Damia reigned in peace and prosperity until 702.

Some yeshivish couples do not believe in going out with other couples, but that does not mean that the women cannot have social lives.

That rescued little boy is Israel’s former chief rabbi, Israel Meir Lau, now chief rabbi of Tel Aviv.

An SRO crowd recently celebrated the 22nd Anniversary Breakfast of Congregation Bais Naftoli, honoring Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell and community leader and philanthropist Ira Frankel.

Zimmer was popular with veteran teammates like Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider – and with a rookie lefthander named Sandy Koufax.

Of course it is disingenuous to tell a person from a non-rabbinic, non-rosh yeshiva home to make an effort.

Israel’s coastline may be short, but there are still some real estate pearls waiting to be realized, offering cheap alternatives for sea front living. All you have to do is go further from the boundaries of Tel-Aviv and the Dan Block.

Explosive children or those with ODD are easily frustrated, demanding and inflexible.

More Articles from Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen
One of the great challenges in emunah today is not so much believing that Hashem can fix all problems but rather accepting when Hashem chooses not to.

The first month of 2014 has brought an intense high and a profound low.

Rav Dovid Lifshitz, zt”l

At some point I noticed an arresting picture on his wall and discovered that his maternal grandfather was Rav Dovid Lifshitz.

There is always some tension surrounding Super Bowl Sunday as one decides whether to watch the big game with friends or go it alone. I have a friend who makes a compromise. He watches the first half with friends – or, as he explains, “the novices,” those who aren’t “real” fans – but the second half, generally the more intense part of the game, he watches alone.

It’s been a rough few weeks. It began with the news of a heinous crime just blocks from where I live on Manhatan’s Upper West Side: a nanny viciously took the lives of her two young charges. Hurricane Sandy came next, contributing additional loss of life and financial devastation of a magnitude never before experienced by our East Coast brethren.

I once heard a story about a single man struggling to find a spouse. His main challenge was his insistence that a potential mate permanently welcome his widowed mother into their marital home. A friend suggested that he speak with the great authority, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt’l. The man shared with the Rav his delicate predicament. The Rav validated the man’s approach as acceptable. Sometime later, the man met his bashert, the special woman willing to live with his mom. They returned to Rav Shlomo Zalman for his blessing. Surprisingly, the Rav called the man aside and told him that they cannot live with his mother anymore. The young man was shocked. After all, on the previous visit, the Rav had supported his desire to find a woman who would accept their living with his mother.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/being-enmeshed-insights-into-concurrently-holding-on-and-letting-go/2012/06/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: