web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Part 7 – Individuality in Marriage


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

(*Names changed)

One of the most powerful dimensions of a successful marriage is a couple’s ability to keep focused on each other’s good points and unique personality traits. Too often, people become fixated on the negative.  They “sweat over the small stuff,” and forget about the positive points that brought them together in the first place.

When I’m told by couples married for ten or twenty years that they have lost their loving feelings toward one another, I respond by saying that it’s a matter of perspective. If they can change the way they view one another, they will also be able to change their feelings and actions.

For example, when couples get married, most have an abundance of positive feelings toward each other.  They are attracted to one another on an emotional and physical level. Yet, after time, feelings begin to change. Emotional inertia sets in that leaves them with a gnawing sense of rejection and disappointment.

To get over the emotional hurdle, they need to shift gears and contemplate all the right reasons they got married in the first place. Ultimately, they need to focus on each other’s unique qualities and highlight their individuality.

In counseling, I also help couples focus on their unique points by going back to the beginning of marriage and recalling with them the enthusiasm and exhilaration both had for one another. Reliving the engagement period is an easy way to get started. Most couples will fondly recall the excitement of shopping for their engagement ring.

When they entered into the jewelry store, their eyes were drawn to the brilliance of precious stones, their unique sparkle, and the beauty of their settings, which captured and displayed their radiance.  Eventually they chose a ring that called out to them and said, “This one is unique; there is none other in the world like me.”

The ring, I explain, is an appropriate metaphor for marriage.  One starts a marriage feeling that they have chosen their special “ring,” one so unique that it will never be found again. For the first few years, the ring maintains its sparkle.  However, after five, ten or fifteen years, the brilliance can diminish.

It’s a fact of life that the human eye becomes weary of even the most beautiful objects. When we see something all the time, we tend to lose sight of its beauty; we tend to take it for granted. And when we do, the secret to a long and successful marriage is for both individuals to remind themselves of the gem they found in each other in the first place.

Shmuel* 30 and Rivka* 28 came to speak with me about their troubled marriage. He was a law student and rabbi, and she was an occupational therapist.  Each was at the top of their class.  They were charming, talented, and full of life, but somehow over the years, they lost their “spark,” and were more focused on pointing out each other’s faults instead of finding their strengths.

A common interchange would revolve around her feelings that her husband had lost interest in their relationship and his feelings that she was overly critical of his behavior.  They often fought about house cleaning, childrearing, and how money was being spent.

I suggested to Shmuel and Rivka that they needed to reexamine the reasons they got married in the first place.

To start the process, I suggested that even the simplest objects can be enjoyed.  Take a rose for example and stare at it for several minutes.  Look at how its petals are perfectly placed next to one another.  See how each petal reflects varying shades of red and blends precisely to the petal that gently rests beside it.

You see, the more you look closely at something as simple as a rose, the more beautiful it becomes. So too, in a relationship, a husband and wife need to think about their spouse’s unique identity, and by doing so, begin to appreciate the special “one” that they married. They need to appreciate their spouse for who they are instead of what they expect them to be or not to be.

Think about all the positive qualities inherent in most individuals: Loving-kindness,

Sensitivity, Flexibility, Sense of humor, Capacity to grow, and Parenting skills. It’s all about focusing on the good in one another and using that reference point to develop a better relationship. Unfortunately, I have seen many couples that spend a significant amount of time nit-picking about each other’s faults. Instead, they need to change their lens of perception and view their spouse in a positive light.

 

Relationship Quiz

To change your perception of each other, I suggest making a list of your spouse’s positive points. Here are some questions that can get you started:

  • What unique qualities does your spouse have?

 

  • What are his/her talents?

 

  • What can he/she do that you are unable to do yourself?

 

  • What tasks does he/she fulfill in the marriage that makes your life easier?

 

  • In what ways does he/she help you develop your own identity?

 

  • What acts of loving-kindness does he/she do for you, un-noticed?

 

With your new list you can review your spouse’s good points every day.  I even suggest keeping the list in your wallet, and glance at it every night before coming home from work.  The “individuality” list can gives couples the energy needed to grow closer together each day.

 

Relationship Test: Individuality

On a scale of 1 to 5, how often do you nurture your spouse’s awareness of his or her individuality?

1 = never; 2, 3, 4 = rarely, to occasionally and mostly; and 5 = constantly.

 

In the next article – Part 8, we’ll discuss the topic of Love and Friendship

 

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


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 “Part 7 – Individuality in Marriage”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The three salesmen -Netanyahu, Ya'alon and Gantz
Netanyahu Tries to Sell Bill of Goods that Israel Won Goals in the War
Latest Sections Stories
Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot together in concert.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

Mordechai-082214-Armoire

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Einhorn-082214-Water

Stroll through formal gardens, ride mountain bikes, or go rock climbing.

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/first-aid-for-jewish-marriages-part-7/2009/03/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: