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
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.
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
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.
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!”
inexperienced Rabbi, the marriage he was dealing
with was effectively finished - which was far from the
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.”
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.
“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
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.
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.
can we establish CPR in our own homes?
to do that is by recognizing the blessings and success in
our marriage - the home, family and even the spiritual
aspect of our lives.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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
BY RABBI SHEA HECHT