week I wrote about the importance of CPR -
Commitment, Purpose, and Respect - in a marriage.
told many couples of the importance of CPR in their
marriage, and quite a few responded by asking me, “What if
our marriage doesn’t have those three key ingredients? How
can we attain them?”
it or not, the key to gaining CPR in a marriage is
simple and methodical.
we must understand what commitment means. Other than in cases
where abuse exists, a couple must be committed to reignite
their original attraction and work out all their marital
snags. If it’s fight or flight, then a couple should stay
and fight to work out their marriage.
good way to strengthen commitment is by taking an
inventory of the investment, success and blessings within a
marriage. A person has to recognize how important their
investment is in their children, their home, and their
a person must recognize that if they don’t work on their
marriage the strain will drain their energy, money, and time
in all areas - such as family, social life and business. A
person who has a house but no home is lacking in important
areas of life. He is lacking in things as important as strong
family bonds and support and in things as mundane as a lack of
home made meals. This diminishes self esteem and could lead to
failure in all areas of life.
things go from bad to worse and end in divorce, the
picture isn’t necessarily much better. Statistically, second
marriages are a lot more strained. Aside from the pressure
from ex-spouses and children from different families, there is
greater financial strain due to increased financial
obligations. Due to the greater strain, there is a higher rate
of divorce in second marriages.
couple I know (actually quite a few couples I know)
got into an argument shortly after their marriage. For a few
days they gave each other the silent treatment. Though they
soon forgot what the argument was about, they found no way out
of their deadlock. Finally the husband went into the bathroom
and wrote on the mirror, with lipstick “I’m sorry! I love
smart husband took a stalemate in the start of his
marriage that has led to divorce in other fledgling marriages,
and instead of allowing it to lead down the road of divorce,
he used his commitment to his marriage to find a way to make
peace in his home.
second way to bring CPR into a marriage is to
highlight your common purpose. When a couple meets and gets
married there’s an attraction and love and they share common
goals. Couples should communicate that purpose to each other
at intervals so they stay on track.
understand that in business it’s important to
communicate purpose and goals. Marriage is the most important
business we are in. If a marriage is faltering, it’s
important to go back to drawing board and see what physical,
emotional and spiritual things attracted us originally and to
work to strengthen those ties.
are times that a crisis reminds a couple of common
purpose. There was a couple that was on the verge of divorce.
When they learnt that their child was seriously ill they once
again found the glue that kept them together and stopped the
divorce proceedings. Though stress from sickness can break a
marriage apart, many times a stressful event can pull a
way to create the R of CPR is by actively looking
for things in our spouse that deserve our respect. The Talmud
tells a husband, he should love his wife as he loves himself,
but regarding respect, he should respect her more than
people envision what the perfect spouse and perfect
marriage are like. Unfortunately many of those dreams don’t
include the normal ups and downs of marriage or a
flesh-and-blood spouse with human foibles. When a real life
spouse in a very normal marriage doesn’t measure up to the
dreams, it can be difficult to find something positive to say.
However, even if your spouse doesn’t fit your dream of what
you thought they would be like there must be something to
can think, “My wife cares about our finances,”
or “my husband cares about his mother,” or “my wife
cares about my health,” or “my husband cares about my
enjoyment,” or “my wife takes care of our children,” or
“my husband brings in money for our family.”
are times that we may see other couples doing
bigger and more glamorous things for one another and think
that’s because they respect each other more. However, one
shouldn’t confuse those who go overboard because they are
overdrawn in their marriage accounts with those couples who do
small everyday things for and with each other.
man told me, “Whenever I come home and my wife
cooked a special supper I know it’s because she’s
overdrawn in the marriage bank.” An outsider who walks into
this man’s house and sees the glamorous meal might think
that this woman respects her husband so much and she went all
out for him, when in truth this woman has taught her husband
that he’s not worth that special supper unless she’s done
something to displease him.
that recognize the size of the investment in their
marriage and what is at stake should it fail, understand that
it shouldn’t be wasted. Despite the effort needed to perform
CPR it’s worth the time and effort.
BY RABBI SHEA HECHT