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  KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted on: December 19, 2005 -
יום שני, י"ח בכסלו, תשס"ו
 
 

CPR Part two of three articles on the topic of marriage.
                                      

Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

Some years ago I was coaching a young, newly minted Rabbi on how to counsel husbands and wives dealing with Sholom Bayis issues - restoring harmony between quarreling couples.
 
I advised the Rabbi that in difficult cases it’s best to speak with one half of the couple first and then the other to help untangle a marital mess.
 
When a couple came to him with a difficult marital issue, the Rabbi followed my advice. First he spoke to the wife to see what her concerns were. As soon as the woman left his office, the Rabbi called me up. He sounded flabbergasted.
 
He told me, “You can’t believe the complaints this woman has against her husband! She has to put up with so much!” I told him to hold counsel on the issue and speak to the husband before he passes judgment.
 
Once the Rabbi spoke to the husband, he once again called me and told me, “You must hear his complaints! You wouldn’t believe what he has to live with!”
 
To the inexperienced Rabbi, the marriage he was dealing with was effectively finished - which was far from the truth.
 
I told him, “Don’t be so impressed with their complaints. Did you hear the complaints the husband has? I could have many of the same complaints. Did you hear the complaints the wife has? My wife could have many of those same complaints. Most marriages have some tension. Couples that are looking to divorce can always find a reason. Those who want their marriage to work put in the effort to make that their reality.”
 
I then went on to explain to the young Rabbi that just as CPR can save a dying person, you need CPR to save a marriage that appears to be in the throes of death.
 
The “C” stands for commitment. A couple must be committed to doing whatever it takes to make the marriage work. The “P” stands for purpose. A couple must share a sense of purpose in building a home and raising children. The “R” stands for respect. Irrespective of the ups and downs of marriage a couple must show respect for one another.
 
Married couples start out with some level of attraction, common ground and shared interests. Once the wedding is over it takes work to make a marriage function to its maximum.
 
All the parts of CPR require dedication to keep a marriage alive, vibrant and moving forward. Marriages must be tended to, or they become stale, and CPR can help.
 
How can we establish CPR in our own homes?
 
One way to do that is by recognizing the blessings and success in our marriage - the home, family and even the spiritual aspect of our lives.
 
Another way to establish CPR in the home is by strengthening your purpose by creating common activity. Doing a joint project, reading and discussing the same book or taking a class together are some of the things a couple can do to strengthen their common purpose. These activities should be scheduled in just as with everything else in our hectic lives.
 
These activities don’t have to be long and difficult. Even small gestures, such as preparing a favorite food or leaving small inexpensive gifts tell your spouse, “I am thinking of you” will do the trick. Lending a hand to a spouse’s chores also goes a long way.
 
The little things are important because they show respect. Many times the things that are done have no value to the spouse doing it, but they’re doing it out of love and respect for their spouse. Asking your spouse’s opinion on different matters or showing concern for your spouse’s dignity also shows respect.
 
A man went to pick up his mother-in-law from the airport. When she got into the car she thanked him. The man said, “There’s no need for you to thank me. I didn’t do this for you. I did this out of respect for my wife.”
 
A couple that does small tasks with and for each other is a couple that will have a better bond. A couple that makes CPR - Commitment, common Purpose and Respect - the main focus of their marriage will still experience some of the normal bumps along the road of marriage, but the strength of their commitment will help the marriage flourish.

MARRIAGE - BY RABBI SHEA HECHT

  1. Why Marry? 
  2. CPR 
  3. CPR for Laymen 

Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht

 

 
     
 
 
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