web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


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, LMFT is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, treating anxiety and depression, and helping teens in crisis with offices For more information visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com, e-mail rabbischonbuch@yahoo.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.

Current Top Story
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner
House Speaker Boehner Says Netanyahu Speech Won’t Harm US-Israel Relations
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

Hebrew Academy students learn the ABC’s of safety during Hebrew Academy’s recent Safety Kid Program.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

Women learn in honor of first yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chasia Kudan, a”h.

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

Recently, due to age and wear, programming and NCSY events were moved into portable units outside the youth building.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Teens-at-risk feel alienated from their parents and often believe that no one is interested in hearing about their problems.

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.

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:

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: