web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Individuality In Marriage


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

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, sweating “over the small stuff,” and forgetting the positive points that brought them together in the first place.

When I’m told by couples who have been 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, over time, feelings begin to change. Emotional inertia sets in leaving 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 married in the first place. Ultimately, they need to focus on each other’s unique qualities and highlight their individuality.

One of the ways we help couples focus on their unique qualities is by going back to the beginning of their marriage and recalling with them the enthusiasm and exhilaration they 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 become dull. 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. The secret to a long and successful marriage – each individual must remind him or herself of the gem he or she found 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 rather then finding each other’s strengths. A common interchange would revolve around Rivka’s feelings that her husband had lost interest in their relationship and Shmuel’s feelings that she was overly critical of his behavior. They often fought about house cleaning, childrearing, and how money was being spent.

I suggested that reexamine the reasons they first got married. To start the process, I told them 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 – even 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
* 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 who 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 glancing 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

How often do you nurture your spouse’s awareness of his or her individuality?

1 2 3 4 5

Never Rarely Constantly

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 “Individuality In Marriage”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A scene from the opera "Death of Klinghoffer." Protests at Lincoln Center start Sept. 22, at 4:30.
Klinghoffer: Pretending Art Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Latest Sections Stories
Ganz-091214-Fifty

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

Goldberg-091214

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

Women's under-trousers, Uzbekistan, early 20th century

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

Schonfeld-logo1

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.

The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”

Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.

Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.

The new group will also deliver kosher food to Jewish residents in non-kosher facilities, as well as to kosher facilities where the food is not up to par.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/individuality-in-marriage/2012/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: