Q: Dear Moishe : Why do some couples need marital counseling and others do not ?
A: I have been asked this question many times in many e-mails. The answer has a Part A and Part B sequence, so let me begin with an introduction taken from the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education and Awareness for a better Marriage) curriculum.
As well-intentioned and loving as our parents are, the fact remains that nobody is perfect. Just as we all make mistakes, so do they. But for some children, these mistakes are like paper cuts. At first you don’t feel them, but later you feel the pain.
In childhood, the usual treatment for a wound is a bandage. The deeper the wound, the more bandages you put on. For some couples, these childhood wounds were never healed, and they remain hidden under lots and lots of bandages.
In marriage Hashem provides each and every one of us with a partner to remove those bandages, so that that these paper cuts can finally heal. For each of us, there exists a particular recipe for healing, and the ingredients can only be the couple themselves. Now, here is where it gets interesting! When you meet someone and start to fall in love, those bandages that you kept on for so long start to fall off, and those wounds that were so well hidden will start to open up. The pain that was so long forgotten will start to surface. Even though this is a good thing, because you found someone to love and share your feelings with, that person may not perceive it this way. Now that these wounds have been exposed, they are no longer safe and protected behind all those bandages. Those bandages of protection that served a purpose in childhood are now shutting out your partner in adulthood. In most cases your partner may not be ready to give them up, and in fact may fight to put them back on!
At this point, we have two choices: Part A – Couples Committed in a Relationship, and Part B – Couples in Need of Commitment in a Relationship.
A. Trust your partner enough to allow him/her to get closer to you. By doing so, you can heal each other and provide the specific needs that can only be met by the partner Hashem has chosen for you. You make a commitment in this marriage to give unconditional love.
B. Distance yourself so that those bandages will never come off. Some of the best methods used are: angry outbursts, lack of trust, resentment, being critical, fighting, yelling, being chronically busy on the computer, being a workaholic, drinking, eating, watching TV, shutting down and giving the silent treatment or staying out late.
If a couple becomes aware that new love heals old pain and is willing to make the T.E.A.M. Commitment, that couple can make a relationship work!
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T.E.A.M. is endorsed by many prominent Rabbanim including: Rav Pam zt”l, Rav Belsky, Rav Dovid Goldwasser, Rav Herbst, Rav Lehrfield,Rabbi Pikus and Rav Ralbag. If there are any topics you would like me to discuss in my articles or have any questions, please feel free to contact me at CPCMoishe@aol.com or at 718-435-7388. You can also log on to CPCTEAM.org and download past articles and more information about the T.E.A.M. approach.
Moishe Herskowitz MS., LCSW, developed the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education & Awareness for a better Marriage) approach based on 20 successful years of counseling couples – helping them to communicate effectively and fully appreciate each other. As a licensed clinical social worker and renowned family therapist, he developed this breakthrough seminar to guide new couples through easy-to-accomplish steps towards a happy, healthy marriage. Moishe Herskowitz holds a certificate from the Brooklyn Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in couples and marriage therapy. He is an active member of the New York Counseling Association for marriage and family counseling.