Sunday, December 10, 2006

chanukah Vayeshev 5767

Torah Portion: Vayeshev
by Rabbi Kalman Packouz


Who doesn't want a fabulous marriage? It takes wisdom not just to make a marriage work, but to make it filled with happiness. My friend, David LeVine, brought together some of the wisest, most experienced counselors and lecturers and created Keep The Ring - How to Make Your Marriage Sparkle Forever (available at Keep The Ring - How to Make Your Marriage Sparkle Forever(available at (David previously published Get the Ring: How to Find and Keep the Right One for Life - available at

Within it are the tools to build a deep, last relationship and to help your marriage grow. Included are:

How to stop fighting ... and start arguing your way to harmony.

The 13 ways to get and stay connected.

How to cope with - and grow from - the bad times.

How to get pleasure by giving pleasure.

How a spiritual connection helps the marital connection.

How your differences can bring you together.

To give you a taste of the practical wisdom that can benefit your marriage, I share with you some excerpts from Rebbitzen Tziporah Heller, internationally renowned scholar, writer and lecturer. Rebbetzin Heller shares the pages of Keep the Ring with Rabbi Aryeh Pamensky (, Rabbi Mordecai Rottman, Rabbi Dov Heller, Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen and Rabbi Shimon Green. Here is a very small portion of what Rebbetzin Heller writes on "What Makes a Great Marriage?":

"When people marry, they want it to work. Their commitment is always real. Nobody walks down the aisle saying, 'Well, if it works it works and if it doesn't, that's the way it goes.' We want it to work. Yet we see that many marriages fail. They fail bitterly and end in divorce, and the ones that don't end in divorce are not always successful.

"A good marriage and a great marriage have nothing to do with two perfect people being bonded to each other. A great marriage is one in which two people build each other.

"The easiest way to delude yourself into thinking that you're building something is by destroying it. For instance, if a woman would like her husband to be more sensitive, the easiest way to go about it, not the way that works the best, just the easiest way, is to say, 'You're so insensitive. You live for yourself. You act like there's nobody else who's here other than you.'

"Is that going to make him more sensitive? No. That's going to make him either retreat into defense or to retreat from the unpleasantness of emotional encounter. The way to build is to show your trust and belief in the other person. We all know this in ourselves, the way we felt in our early lives as somebody said to us, 'That's a great picture.'

"In order for a marriage to be great, for each one to build the other and to build themselves in the process, each partner must at least see the other person. We are often so consumed with our own needs and desires that we think the other person doesn't love us because they aren't focused on us. They're focused exclusively on their own needs. Loving means going beyond having a magnified picture of self. It means including the other person in the picture, so that when you say 'me' it includes the other person as well."

There is a story of Rabbi Aryeh Levine who accompanied his wife to the doctor. When the doctor asked, "What is the problem?" Reb Aryeh responded, "My wife's foot hurts us." If we can make our spouse's needs as real to ourselves as our own needs - and then focus on meeting those needs, there is hope for happiness. When two people devote themselves to giving to each other, it is a recipe for happiness. When two people fixate on themselves and what they can take or receive from the relationship, it is a recipe for misery. If you want happiness, you might consider getting a copy of Keep The Ring - How to Make Your Marriage Sparkle Forever.