I see many couples getting divorced these days, and even many family members not speaking with each other. Why does there seem to be much strife in relationships these days?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
A lifelong marriage (“till death do us part”) and any other enduring relationship is founded on commitment. The commitment to work things out whenever they get rough (and every relationship had its moments of “rough”).
Today, our lives are plagued by a disease called "Disposability." We have forgotten the principle that "everything has value." When a toaster breaks, we buy a new one. When a shirt tears, we get a new one. How do we carry this into our relationships? When a marriage is dull, do we get a new one?
We've all heard of the term "tzaddik" – a perfectly righteous person. But what defines a tzaddik? Good deeds? Pious behavior? Yes, those are attributes of a tzaddik. But what truly defines the tzaddik is that he looks at every possession and situation as a special gift from God. In that way, all of life is meaningful.
This attitude carries into marriage and our other relationships as well. A challenging situation is not a nuisance to be discarded. It is something to be worked through, and to gain from. But if we treat it with no more respect than we would a broken toaster, then life may end up very bitter lonely.