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The Cure for Marriage Blues

The Cure for Marriage Blues

Do you believe it's possible to achieve marital bliss?


No one ever said, "I am not getting anything out of this relationship anymore!"

That is, no parent ever said it!

Why is it that we "need" a return on investment from a spouse, yet are quite happy just giving and giving and giving to a child?

Rebbetzen Ester Jungreis puts it well when she says that couples today don't need marriage counselors to keep track of who is more indebted to whom; they need accountants!

If you have children, then you should be able to answer this question: What is the worst thing your son/daughter could ever say to you?

No, it's not, "Hi Mom, I know you don't like me calling you at work, but did you know that if you light a match after leaving the gas stove on for half an hour, it really does make a big bang? Not to worry, I'm ok, although I haven't seen the dog in a while."

The answer is: "Don't help me anymore."

If you have a relationship based on anything other than your need to give, then you are treating the other person like an employee.

Strange as it seems, one of your parents' saddest days was the day you moved out. Yes, I am sure it was bitter sweet, you have grown up (hopefully), but bitter in as much as parents need to give.

The truth is -- and this is a tough lesson -- if you have a relationship based on anything other than your need to give, then you are treating the other person like an employee.

Real relationships are giving, everything else is obviously a taking relationship, which makes them like servants; their purpose is to serve us!


In the early 1950's Roger Banister announced to the world that he would run the mile in under four minutes.

Everyone thought he had lost it! The sports "experts," the medical establishment, everyone!

In 1954 he did it. It has been reported that within one year, over 30 people ran faster than Banister himself.

When asked how it was possible for so many people to run that fast so soon, Banister said: "It was never a physical boundary, only a mental one."

The Talmud tells a very similar story. When we meet God in the Next World, the Almighty will ask why we didn't study Torah more. The poor will answer, "It wasn't our fault! We were poor, we didn't have time."

To this answer The Almighty will present the great Torah Scholar, Hillel, upon whom it was said, no one was poorer.

The rich will also be asked, and they will give a similar answer: "We had to take care of our money." The Almighty will then bring the great scholar, Rabbi Elazar ben Harsum, upon whom it was said no one was richer.

Each will come with his or her own excuse, and the Almighty will present someone with that same handicap who overcame it.

The question is, why does God need to present anyone? Doesn't God know us, and know that we could have done it?

Why didn't God say something like, "Oh grow up and stop whining! We both know you could have done it!"

I would like to answer with Roger Banister.

We need to know we can do it!

It isn't enough that God knows; we need to know. When we see someone else achieve something, then we know we can do it too!

Roger Banister is telling us that human beings will only strive for something they think they can achieve.

The Talmud is saying something even deeper: if you know you can achieve it, you are liable for not trying!

Many people today don't believe it is possible to achieve bliss in a marriage, so they don't try!

But when we, too, will encounter our day of truth, and the Almighty asks us why weren't we as loving, giving and in Bliss with our spouses as we should have been, then we will all answer, "It wasn't my fault! I wasn't getting anything out of the relationship anymore!"

The Almighty won't call Hillel, nor Rabbi Elazar, nor even Roger Banister to show we could have achieved more. He will only show us our children, and simply ask, "How did you manage to love, care and give so much to them when they gave you so little?"

"Couldn't you have done the same for your spouse?"

Get the Bliss movie at:

This is Part One of a Two-Part series.

April 26, 2003

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Visitor Comments: 8

(7) kristen, June 17, 2004 12:00 AM

giving is important - but so is receiving

I can offer that sometimes a spouse can fill the role of unconditional love giver and role-model as a parent would do for a child. However to express that the marriage relationship should be based on the only one’s own need to give is the recipe for abuse and neglect. This is not satifactory and I don’t understand why anyone would suggest G-d would expect this, or recommend that a marriage should be only based on the desire to give. The desire and NEED to receive is equally important in a marriage.

The analogy the author uses is inspiring but naively put forth. The analogy is also unrealistic if it is not coupled with the recognition of the intense need of every married person to receive. When two people marry they form a partnership. That partnership has responsibilities and expectations that are far different from the parent-child relationship.

The love you give and receive from a child is not the same as the love you give and should receive from a spouse. If G-d asked me "How did you manage to love, care and give so much to (your children) when they gave you so little?" . . . . "Couldn't you have done the same for your spouse?"

My answer would be . . “First of all, children give a lot and second, the expectations of receiving from my child are completely different than the expectations of receiving from my spouse. So the answer to Your question is NO I could not have done the same for my spouse and why would you expect me to? The only way I could have done the same for my spouse is if I expected my spouse to act like a child and treat me like a parent then I could have given him/her the same type of love and care."

The goals of raising a child are completely different from the goals of taking a spouse. The goals of having a spouse include mutual love, honor and respect, and building a life based on those principles. MUTUAL – that means both doing it and that means giving and receiving. These goals carry great responsibilities toward and by each spouse and are far different than toward or by a child. The marriage is a choice to commit and work with a particular person. The parent-child relationship is an act of responsibility ON THE PARENT ALONE. Additionally there are responsibilities of receiving FROM your spouse and they are completely different than what one should expect from their child.

Additionally, the author states “The truth is -- and this is a tough lesson -- if you have a relationship based on anything other than your need to give, then you are treating the other person like an employee.” This does not make any sense in the context of a marriage, and is completely untrue. Everyone, EVERYONE, needs to receive and not just give. I have never met a married person than can or ever should just give. This would be completely unhealthy and unfair to expect a happy healthy mutual marriage to be based solely on the need to give. For one not to acknowledge their own need to receive from those who are in a relationship with them, is a form of emotional disconnect. Both partners in a marriage should place a high priority on giving and equally they should place a high priority on receiving. These expectations are healthy to have and they are healthy for those on whom the expectations are placed.

If someone is not receiving what one needs from a relationship and all sincere effort has been given. It is important to know that one SHOULD place a demand on the need to receive in a marriage. It is an unfair burden to ask people to think that G-d would expect them to be a lifetime giver while not placing an equal importance on receiving, especially in the context of a marriage.

Anonymous, September 14, 2011 6:14 PM

Wow! This is the best explaination I have read.

(6) Shaurice, July 30, 2003 12:00 AM

This was great!!

(5) Manuel, May 3, 2003 12:00 AM

Dreams and reality

The thing is how you reconcile your dreams of your life as an adult when you were a child with your reality

It is not easy task

(4) Miriam Greene, April 29, 2003 12:00 AM

I have seen the seminar and it has opened my eyes about how to treat my husband. It has made our marriage stronger than ever A must see for anyone who wants to make their marriage GREAT!

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