Mordechai, 36, and Chani, 35, were married for six years and came to ask me for advice on how to save their relationship. They seemed to have everything going for them. They were working professionals, successful and upwardly mobile; they shared many common factors including similar religious beliefs, intelligence levels, and were both pleasantly extroverted.
One of the reasons that parenting is so difficult is because parents are caught in a paradoxical situation. What every child wants most is to be loved as he is. However, the parent (horeh) is also a teacher (moreh), which comes from the word hora'ah - instruction. A teacher's job is to civilize the child, instill values, shape attitudes and correct negative behavior. We can't let our children go out into the world as pampered slobs or short-tempered bullies. We want them to be hard working, reliable, thrifty, considerate, patient and organized.
If you would like to know if your marriage is relationship centered or not, the way to find out is to ask yourself about your core values. For example, what is the most important principle of your marriage? Is it your desire for money or pleasure? Do you dream about being comfortable, being honored by your spouse and having a lot of fun?
Are you looking for emotional first aid for your marriage? If you are, you’re not alone. Today engaged couples, newlyweds and couples who have been married for years, are feeling insecure about their relationships and looking for advice on how to make their marriages work better or simply to heal their relationship wounds.
We have a stringent duty to honor our parents. But are there limits? A well-known Gemara praises a Roman officer for maintaining his composure even after his mother tore his clothes and spit in his face in public (Kiddushin 31a). Many cite this story as proof that a child must passively submit to abuse by a parent. This view is mistaken and can lead to terrible tragedies.
Dear Dr. Yael, I think it is imperative that you print this letter because this is an ongoing problem in many families. In these families, the children stay in their parents' summer home for the entire summer, and everyone is supposed to live happily under one roof. This can get difficult if a brother-in-law picks on his sister-in-law or vice versa. This past summer my brother-in-law called me names, causing many hurt feelings.
A few years ago I was invited to be a guest on a talk show. An interesting question came up from a young man who wanted some information on the topic of in-laws. He wanted to know if I had ever known of a couple divorcing because of their in-laws. My response was that although divorced people may blame the in-laws for the marriage failure, in most cases this does not happen directly, but indirectly- YES!
The ability to maintain a pleasant and peaceful relationship with in-laws is of the greatest importance for the young couple entering marriage. The more you understand the in-law relationship, the more likely you will achieve happiness in marriage.
As the Mom of a large blended family I am regularly asked, "How do you guys do it?" How do you keep this family going with all of the ups and downs, all of the challenges that go along with being parents of eight children including several who have different combinations of parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents? Well, to tell you the truth it isn't easy and there are days that I ask myself the same question.
Dear Moishe, I am writing to you because frankly, I just don't know where else to turn at this point. I know that statement makes it sound as if I have been married for years, but the truth is I have only been married for six months, and the changes that are taking place are scary.
In marriage, money tends to mean different things to different people. Unfortunately, for some, money represents more than economic security. It becomes a symbol for CPR — Control, Power and (self) Respect.
I teach a graduate course in trauma and family crisis. The question most often asked by students is, "Why are there so many families in crisis compared to the families our parents grew up in?" Whenever changes in a support system occur, making it no longer secure and defined, our ability to cope, adapt and problem-solve will be impaired.
When my nephew Chaim was three-years old, he used to have nose bleeds quite often - so often, that he had a procedure done in the doctor's office to stop the constant nosebleeds. It worked, but he walked around the house saying, "Something hurts and I don't know! Something hurts and I don't know!" My brother Sol said at that moment, "Chaim your nose hurts! - Oh yes, my nose hurts!" Now that he was aware of what was bothering him, he felt so much better.
Dear Mordechai, When I decided to get a divorce, I resolved early on to take the high road. Whenever my children are in earshot, I am careful to refer to my ex in only positive terms. I stick to blame-free explanations for why my marriage ended, and keep my venting phone chats with my sister, late at night, when the kids are asleep. It hasn’t been easy, and no I’m not perfect. I’ve slipped here and there, but overall, I’ve protected my children from the fallout of my feelings. Last weekend, though, my daughter returned from her mother’s house and said, “I know why you and Mommy divorced. It’s because you lied to her!” Guess what? It’s not the first time. I’ve spoken to her about it, and she only defends her behavior; I don’t think she’ll ever change. Now what? (Answer, continued from last week)
Dear Mordechai, When I decided to get a divorce, I resolved early on to take the high road. Whenever my children are in earshot, I am careful to refer to my ex in only positive terms. I’ve stuck to blame-free explanations for why my marriage ended and keep my venting phone chats with my sister to late at night when my kids are asleep. It hasn’t been easy, and no, I’m not perfect. I’ve slipped here and there, but overall, I’ve protected my children from the fallout of my feelings. Last weekend, though, my daughter returned from her mother’s house and said, “I know why you and Mommy divorced. It’s because you lied to her!” Guess what? It’s not the first time. I’ve spoken to her about it, and she only defends her behavior so I don’t think my ex will ever change. Now what?
Q: Dear Moishe : Why do some couples need marital counseling and others do not ? A: I have been asked this question many times...
Are you the kind of spouse that dominates your partner by finding everything “major”? Consider the following to help you have some insight into whether this description is true of you or your spouse:
Although in my past columns I’ve discussed the importance of inviting differences into life in order to grow through seeing other perspectives, there is a good reason to limit discussion of your differences when it comes to making decisions. There are very few decisions in life worth fighting for.
I know that most people will look at the list below and ask, “C’mon, who does this kind of thing in their marriage?” The answer is, couples that want to be happily married and fight less.
Partnership doesn’t mean equality in skill. It means equality in responsibility and ownership. Show me business partners who have to meet about every single decision and hash it out until they both agree on a course of action, and I will show you bankruptcy proceedings.
Dear Mordechai, With Pesach almost here, my husband and I have been fighting more than ever. We’re having big sedarim and are fighting over everything, from which Haggadas to use to what to expect from our differently-aged children. This frustration has caused me to finally write to you what I’ve wanted to write for months. I don’t want to be told what to do because I’m the woman or mother...
Dear Mordechai, Our marriage has gotten stale. It’s not that we don’t love each other but with the kids and everything else there seems to never be any time for my husband and me. I’m sure we’re not the only ones but we need some real help. What can we do and how can we go about making time for our marriage. Everyone says just make time but that never seems to work.
Dear Mordechai, Our marriage has gotten stale. It’s not that we don’t love each other, but with the kids and everything else there seems to never be any time for my husband and me. I’m sure we’re not the only ones but we need some real help. What can we do and how can we go about making time for our marriage. Everyone says “just make time” but that never seems to work.
Dear Mordechai, This is my first marriage and my wife’s second. She was left during her first marriage and things are now going pretty well with us. But I feel that, after four years, I still don’t know her that well. We spend time together, but not nearly as much as I’d like. She’s very independent and says all that mushy stuff and deep sharing is for teenagers, not mature adults...