Showing posts with label Broken Marriages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Broken Marriages. Show all posts

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Shalom Bayis - Stop Broken Marriages

Shalom Bayis is one of the pillars of life, for the husband and wife, for the children, for the family, and for the community. When I was younger I never heard of anyone divorcing. In high school I heard of an English teacher who was not religious and whose husband was caught in a bad scandal and they divorced. But today we have people from the finest Torah families with many children who fight with hate and fury in and out of Beth Din and secular court, and hate takes over.

Things are so bad today that some children from the finest Torah families simply refuse to consider shidduchim. I have heard from reliable people that in Torah communities there are groups of people who celebrate when somebody decides to have a divorce. Some people seek divorce, and some people simply ignore their broken marriage and take up with foreign women.

A rabbi was asked what to do by a husband who was not with his wife for over a decade but did not want to divorce so as not to harm the prospects of his children in shidduchim. The rabbi had nothing to say, and the man continued, "My friend took up with a prostitute and she blackmailed him. So I have figured out that if I can't live like this, I will have to find a Torah woman who is married who will not blackmail me. Rabbi, please help me."

And things will be worse if we don't find the key to Shalom Bayis. There are so many singles out there that one shul in Brookllyn is mostly older men who never married. What will be in the next generation?

I spoke to somebody who is a senior therapist and for decades has worked with very hard cases in broken marriages. He told me he can help everyone and has done so for over thirty years. He ridiculed the idea that so many people have today that just because there is a problem in the marriage divorce is the solution. I heard also from other people who work in general therapy that most broken marriages could be saved. I once saved a marriage at their divorce. I don't know if the Beth Din was happy to lose its fee, but I am sure they were pleased that Shalom was made in their Beth Din.

 If things keep up like this, we will just see things sinking lower and lower. There is now is a war among rabbis. Some say that a woman who wants a divorce in a broken marriage must be given one even if we have to coerce the husband. And other rabbis, the senior ones who quote the Shulchan Aruch and Poskim say that in most cases, to force a husband to give a GET makes an invalid GET and the children born from the GET are mamzerim. In the coming generation, the Orthodox community will be divided by the mamzer issue. Those who follow the lenient rabbis will have children that the disciples of the senior rabbis will consider as possible mamzerim. In fact, we are close coming to a general suspicion that a GET given by a Beth Din that is not known to be from the few that are completely in line with the poskim, will not be recognized. HaShem Yerachem.

I suggested making today a Shalom Bayis Beth Din, so that people, prior to marriage, enter an educational program on how to behave in marriage. Upon marriage, the Beth Din handles any problems. And if the couple wants to, they can sign up for Beth Din to fine anyone who is disturbing the marriage. This would promote Shalom Bayis and if someone was obnoxious the Beth Din could fine them until they gave up and divorced. But the Beth Din will never mention the word divorce. It is there only to promote and protect the marriage, not to end it. Gedolei HaDor have told me that this is an excellent idea. Even though today there is no widely accepted prenuptial, this is accepted by everyone, because nobody forces a GET. The fineis only  to sustain the marriage.

What is wrong? Why do people from the best Torah families and the best Yeshivas and Bais Yaacovs tear their children and their families apart with the hate of a broken marriage? What is so horrible that the only solution is a mighty war?

Gedolim from this and the past generation have pointed the blame at the Yeshiva system. We have to look into this some more and see what can be done to improve the Yeshiva experiences, and we do want to talk about that on this blog. But here we mention it quickly as it deserves its own post.

Let us get to the point somewhat by saying that marriage exists in two phases that the experts call "in the bedroom and outside of the bedroom." A senior therapist told me that everything that happens in the bedroom happens or doesn't happen because of what happens or doesn't happen "outside of the bedroom." He told me that every family needs a "date" between husband and wife once a week. The husband can take his wife out somewhere to have some time together, or they can play some kind of game together. Somebody I told this to tried and and he said that  it works.

Rambam tells us that a husband must honor his wife more than he honors himself, meaning he spends more on her than he spends on himself. Rambam says that the wife must respect the husband as if he was a great officer who deserves obedience. Obviously, we are not talking about a partnership. We are talking about two people who sacrifce all for the other one. Partnerships don't work, and if they do, they often eventually break down. If a wife helps in the marriage because she expects the husband to do his share, that is the end of the marriage. If she gives all and the husband gives all, this is self-abnegation. I wrote a book about this sold on Amazon called "Secret of the Scale". The ancient scales were two plates help by strings. When something was put in one plate it went down and the other plate rose. But both plates never rose or declined simultaneously. Marriage is one person giving, or going down, and the other person being raised. The raised person then  reciprocates by going down and raising the other person.

The Torah commands the husband "and he shall make his wife rejoice." Rashi and Zohar teach, "He makes her happy, not himself." That is, the husband comes to the wife to make her happy and when she is aroused, of course, he will be happy. But if he comes to use her out to please himself, she may just hate him.

A Jew once did something so terrible that nobody could figure out how a Jew could do something so awful. A senior rabbi was asked and he replied "I don't know how a Jew could so such an evil thing. But one thing I do know. He did it leshaim shomayim." That is, he sinned because he felt he was doing a good deed.

A person who knows that stealing is forbidden may, in desperate times, do some stealing. But he knows it is wrong and he knows that he has to minimize his sin. But when somebody convinces himself that it is a mitsvah to steal, where does it end?

If a husband makes  his wife and children suffer because he wants to learn, and this ends up in a divorce, what kind of Torah is that? It is Torah built by evil. There were and there are families that are happy to suffer because they love Torah so much that the suffering is ignored. This is how the Jews in old Jerusalem lived. And this is how people lived when I learned in Lakewood under Reb Aharon zt'l. But toda when there are husbands who want to get paid up front so they can learn with comfort and everyone has to suffer for it, what kind of Torah is that?

Today, we have people going around encouraging men and women to divorce. They think they are doing a good deed. But the children and the family and broken spouses know that this is a terrible crime and sin.

It is time for people to go around and encourage marriage. We have little time left.