You are not at the End
You might think that the end of your relationship is near. I can assure you, it is not. You know how I know? Because you are still in your relationship and you picked up this blog. That means there is hope for you. People give up very easily when it comes to relationships because they think they’ve tried everything, like we thought.
The common misbelief is that we would do a better job in our NEXT relationship, that just having a clean slate means you can do it better with someone else than with the ex.
But the opposite is true. Since our problems have to do with our behavior, we would face the same obstacle again and again. If you get out of your current relationship, you will hit that same wall again with a future partner till that issue is resolved. Just changing to a new partner won’t suddenly fix the problem. Why? Let’s say it together now. The problem is YOU.
If you get divorce (shhhh… we don’t say that word around these parts) and you get remarried, I promise you will face the same issues that you are facing right now. My father has done it four times. How sad. If he could have fixed it just with one of the four women he would be a lucky man.
My wife likes to say, “The only way out is through.” And I think this is very true. But how the heck do you get through?
1. The first step is accepting that your partner is your soulmate. Judaism says that if a couple made it to the chuppah (the wedding canopy), it’s meant to be. So, don’t question the choice you made – it was divinely inspired.
2. What does this mess want to teach you? The word “mess” is actually short for “message.” There is a message for you. What does God want to teach you through your partner? I’m not talking about how to close the toothpaste or to be more clean. I mean on a soul level.
Judaism teaches that we are meant to be mirrors for each other. For the good and for the bad. Write down 5 possible things that could be a higher message that keeps coming up for you. For example, in my marriage, speaking nicely is really really a challenge for me. Not that I like to be mean. I’m a task-driven person. Its more important for me to get the task done and to be efficient than to be nice or polite. I’m still working on this everyday and its not easy. But since my wife is constantly confronting me with this side of myself, I’m forced to change that. And hey, doesn’t that make me a better communicator with others and helps me in my business when I put in efforts to be a nicer person?
3. Believe that your marriage can be saved.
Yes, there are unsalvageable marriages. Unfortunately. But that applies to a small percentage.
There are three circumstances I can think of where a marriage can’t be really saved. First, when you are married to someone who comes out of the closet while you are married. There is no way of changing this, so you have to just let it go. That was already doomed before you guys got together.
The second occasion is if one person already is too far into the decision of getting separated from and they can’t make up their mind anymore. They can’t move in any direction other then just getting out of the mess the hard way – D. One of these circumstances is cheating. Judaism takes a very strong and clear stance on this issue. When you are cheating on your spouse you’ve made the decision to separate already. You gave up your right to be married to this person.
“But Shmuel,” you might say, “one thing just led to another…” No, it didn’t. You know how many borders you have to cross in order to get into bed with another partner? Talking to her, going out, meeting her in her apartment, long talks and hugs and finally the best indication is when you had to lie to your spouse. According to Judaism there is no solution other then getting separated from each other because the basic trust, dignity and respect is broken and can’t be restored.
The third, of course, is an abusive situation. If you think you’re in an abusive situation, consider getting out. But sometimes the lines are too fine, especially when it comes to emotional abuse. If you are the kind of person who feels like a victim in every situation, you might just be applying that to your partner when it’s not true.
95% of people can get a long with each other
One of my favorite marriage gurus, Rabbi Moshe Harizy, says that 95% of all people fit together one way or another. Once they are married they are destined to do their soul correction. I know, this sounds totally ludicrous. But the point is that we make it work. With a lot of work and the right strategy.
More on that strategy coming up in future blog posts.