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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rav Herbst’

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.

Paper Cuts

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

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!

* * * * *

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/paper-cuts/2006/05/10/

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