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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rav Dovid Goldwasser’

Help Me, If You Can

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

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.

I am quite aware that Shana Rishonah is supposed to be the hardest year, but the problems I am having are breaking my heart and my will to stay married. My husband and I dated each other for about six months and we were engaged for another five months, so I thought I knew him quite well. What I was not prepared for was the way we fight. We have had less than five fights throughout our short marriage, but each one is still a burden on my soul. When the first fight happened, in the heat of the moment he suggested divorce. I was so devastated; I was shocked to a complete silence. “Divorce?” I thought, “It’s just a fight!” so I calmed down, he apologized, and it was forgotten.

Or so I thought. About a month later we had another intense argument, and when the argument had reached its boiling point, he again said that we should get divorced. Again I let it go. But the third time we fought, he insisted that we look into divorce and I realized that something was really wrong. We had a very long talk and he told me that he does love me, but he is just not happy. I can’t understand why he can’t imagine working out our issues, and the only reasonable option for him is divorce!

When we aren’t fighting we have a pretty nice marriage, but the minute that we get into a sticky situation, he wants right out of our lifelong commitment. I am afraid to really speak to my own husband. It breaks my heart to imagine divorcing the guy of my dreams, and to know that he does not want to continue our marriage when we reach a stumbling block.

I feel so helpless and so depressed, because I don’t see how I can continue my marriage with someone who is unwilling to work through problems along the way. I just don’t know what to do. It’s all I can think about, all the time. I cry myself to sleep every night, and I wake up in the morning with a knot in my stomach from fear and stress. I just don’t see how this marriage can work if I am the only one actually willing to put effort into it.

Is there anything you can do to help me?

Dina Dear Dina:

Disillusionment is a common factor for newlywed couples, especially in the first year of marriage, a time period the Torah states as the Shana Rishonah. Soon after a couple gets married, they come to the conclusion that the person they knew before marriage is not the same person they had married. More so, I often hear couples in my office remarking to one another: “you know, you’ve changed…” “No! You’re the one that changed!”

The reality is that no one has changed. Let me explain: When you and your husband first met you were both in the Romantic love stage, a stage of anesthesia that Hashem provides couples with when they get engaged. At T.E.A.M we divide this into two stages; A. Romantic love, and B. Acquired love.

The Romantic love is based on taking, meaning, what you can give me to make me happy. Acquired Love is based on giving, meaning, what I can give you to make you happy. For most of us, when we were growing up, our parents were the givers and as children we were the takers. This is the normal cycle of family relationships and rightfully so. Hashem set this life cycle in place so that one day when we get married we too will be in the position to give, and act as role models for our children.

Now here is where it gets interesting. We watched our parents give, but we were programmed to take. This is why when looking for a partner in marriage, we look for what we can get, not give! In fact, if we really knew ahead of time how much we would have to give, we would never get married! This is why Hashem gave us Romantic love, in order to ease the transition of giving as a stage in our marriage.

Something Hurts – And I Don’t Know!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

A truly successful relationship has more than love and compatibility; it has Couples Awareness, an approach used in T.E.A.M. Couples Counseling, when we feel understood by our partner. This heightened awareness provides the positive energy for connecting and detecting miscommunication early on. 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.

It’s often the same thing in relationships. A partner may not be aware of something he/she said or did that hurt the other partner. As a result, the other partner may start to feel distant, and the “offending” partner does not know why. When that person asks the question, “Honey is there something wrong?” he/she may respond with… “Oh, not really; I just had a hard day.”

Having this dialogue is okay if it’s forgotten, and it is something that hardly ever happens. But if this happens too often, the emotional tension will not be forgotten. In fact it will turn to negative energy, a process we term “Tanking.” Every person has his/her own “Emotional Storage Tank,” where it stores positive or negative energy. If you push down and suppress all negative energy in to your own emotional storage tank, the pressure it contains will start to move the tension into your partner. This is because energy is never lost; it just changes form.

The fact remains that the emotions you suppress, your partner will eventually feel and express. Let me explain. When a couple gets married, Hashem sets up a two-part cable system. In this process the cable that Hashem connects to the married couple splits, so that the couples are not only connected to each other but also to their emotional storage tanks. The two of them now have the ability to become one and feel what the other one feels. This way the relationship can move to a higher level for healing and growth.

Please be aware that what we want in marriage is to have this positive energy moving within us. If each of our partner’s tank overflows with positive energy, this energy will flow through your connecting emotional cable into your partner’s tank and produce powerful LSP; Love Safety and Passion. Then again, if one partner (or both) is filled up with suppressed negative energy it will flow through the cable into the other partner. As a result both partners will start to feel irritable and tired; something will be wrong, but they won’t know why. This is because holding onto negative energy is very draining. If a couple continues to “tank” each other with negative energy, four things may occur: Distance, Anger, Rage and – in time, Depression. Your emotional storage tank needs positive energy to function.

The walls of the cable then become too thick with pain and unresolved issues of the past. The negative energy being pumped into your partner takes up all the space so that no positive energy can pass through the cable, making you feel tired and depressed. The negative energy will cause the tanks to become unbalanced and shut down, which will prevent us from feeling. This is because anger and passion do not mix, and if you stop feeling, you stop loving. Every marriage has some sort of healing that takes place and as long as you have more positive energy than negative passing through those cables, these tanks can still operate.

I find that when couples become aware of what is really hurting them, and learn to use the tools that Hashem has given them to keep the cable free-flowing with positive energy, their marriage moves to a level of Shalom Bayit that they never knew was possible.

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. 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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/something-hurts-and-i-dont-know/2006/08/30/

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