Deepening the Jewish Marriage
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED?
You should get married at least 2,3,4 and even 5 times………to the same person! Marriage is often thought of as a “status” (or condition :)) The truth is, marriage is an ongoing process of 2 people sharing deeper and more vulnerable dimensions of themselves with each other. Discomfort and dissatisfaction in the relationship is often a sign that you have to take things to a deeper lever. Seize the opportunity.
ARGUE LIKE A PRO
All couples argue. Happy couples argue well. Research shows that satisfied couples have a ratio of 4:1 positive interactions DURING their conflicts. This means that even when they argue, they feel safe. They trust each other knowing that they can manage the issue without damaging the relationship. Where do they get this from? From the daily deposits of connection and friendship that are developed OUTSIDE of the conflict. Every day there are hundreds of opportunities to connect with your spouse (more on that next time). Consider what they might be and capitalize on some of them daily. The result will be that the health and vitality of your relationship will enable you to argue like pros.
MATCH THE BID
Feeling close, safe and connected to one’s partner does not require expensive trips to exotic locations (although that usually won’t hurt). It requires good daily relationship habits. A key habit is responding to your partner’s “bid” for attention. Daily bids for attention look like: “what do you think of this tie?” or “how are you feeling about your meeting today?” A one word distracted answer of “nice” or “ok” misses the opportunity to connect. Take the time to match the bid with something positive and energetic like: “that blue really brings out the color of your eyes. You really have lovely eyes.” Or “I’m feeling good but a bit nervous because I’m not sure I prepared enough..” thoughtful engaged responses to bids send the message: “We’re together in this and our relationship is my top priority.”
Try it today: match your spouses bid with love and enthusiasm 3 times. See how it works for you
FOR THE KIDS
When a couple is blessed with a child, the marital relationship is impacted. There is a tendency for the focus to shift to the child and his/her needs. Therefore, the couple needs to deliberately ensure that the closeness and intimacy of their bond continues to be nourished. This is not only for them, BUT FOR THE CHILD. The greatest gift you can give your child is the safety and security of growing up in a home where his parents are close, connected and truly enjoy each other. So for the kids’ sake, make sure to make time for the most important relationship in the family, the commitment that started it all – your marriage.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?!!
About 70% of marital issues are based on fundamental differences and irresolvable. To navigate these issues in a healthy way, there needs to be an understanding of what something MEANS to the other person. Money, for example, can mean safety and security to her, while to him, it’s something that comes and goes and nothing to worry about. In such a case, it is HIS job to understand and then respond to her need by recognizing that money is a crucial topic to her. To be dismissive: “what’s the big deal?” is to abandon her around a core issue. Food can be a means to fill your stomach for her and an expression of love and care for him. By Finding out the meaning behind your “hot” topics you can make deposits in the relationship by being there for your spouse in a way that shows you honor and respect his/her way of seeing the world.
Author is Elazar Bloom:
(Rabbi Elazar Bloom is a licensed psychotherapist that specializes in marriage counseling and parenting consultations. He is also a sought after public speaker and award winning educator. For the past 16 years, he has been teaching and counseling others to enhance their relationships, work toward their goals and lead lives of joy and purpose. www.ElazarBloom.com))