The #1 Reason for Marriage Problems

One rabbi’s opinion.

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Comments (94)

(80) Moshe, September 3, 2020 5:23 PM

Rabbi Salomon is a very smart person, but on this topic he is factually wrong to say that being spoiled is the vast majority of problematic marriages, because there are so many cases where one spouse is so problematic that dosent want to be helped or even if he/she does it can take a very long time to changed that's “if“ they change, there are so many cases when the spouse tried so hard to deal with the other for so many years and at the end get divorced with multiple children and they should of gotten divorced a long time ago. The right way to go about it is what multiple therapists and Rabbunim recommend is to go on birth control while trying to see if it can work out. He is probably basing it on his personal experience with treating a lot of spoiled couples, but its wrong to say that that's the number one problem.

(79) Anonymous, October 30, 2014 11:42 PM

Women's changing roles

I feel that putting ones self first maybe a contributing factor, however, I feel that women are exhausted , both from working outside the home, and also doing most of the daily chores. In addition, I feel that sometimes women become very independent, and rather than staying in a bad marriage, their finances are such, that they are able to leave. This is not always a bad thing, as long as children are made to know that it is not their fault, and that both parties love them very much.

(78) Josh S, October 30, 2014 4:29 PM

Realizing Our Problems

I think one of the main problems with marriage is that people don't want to admit they have problems. They want to believe they're perfect in every way like Marry Poppins. Living in a fantasy world stops you from seeing what's right under your nose. Some things may be obvious and others more challenging. Sometimes we have to take risk in life to improve ourselves. We may not want to or like to, but what do we have to lose. It may be hard to admit the truth about people's problems to a spouse or anyone. If you trust a person, you could assume they'll understand, but not always. We can't be hush hush around people we know and love. No matter how hard it is, we must never give in. Life at times can be stressful. There are somethings that are difficult and others a cinch. It really depends on the person. We need to help ourselves, if we have things on our minds. Everyone has problems. Not neccessarily that they're considered dumb. I'm saying that everyone has to face certain challenges in life. We'll all different, each and every one of us. We may have simularities, but no one is 100% identical. Holding yourself back, just creates more stress on youself. Try not to go astray from reality. I hope that this message helps people. This is just my opinion. It's alright if you disagree. Happy to share my opinions.

(77) Lisa, October 28, 2014 10:21 AM

Happy Wife ==== Happy Life

This little phrase goes a long way!!

(76) Anonymous, August 17, 2012 4:00 AM

Divorce and children

I cannot agree enough with Sarah K. I am a divorced woman and the father of my children gave them no boarders of behaviour. I was brought up with discipline and boarders. He ridiculed my boarders in front of the kids. When we divorced the kids choose him and I am left a victim of "Parental Alienation Syndrome" unheard of in Israel. I am enstranged from my children. I had to move overseas I was so emotionally battered and needed a break. But now I have to put humpty dumpty family back together again if I want any form of Nachas.

(75) LSC, June 24, 2012 6:48 AM

The central fallacy here is that more divorces = more failed marriages. When marriages failed before, when people were suffering and unhappy, divorce was often not a viable solution. Even if legally possible (and often it was not) there was no realistic way to maintain a livelihood and place in society after a divorce - especially for women. I have never been convinced that the rise in divorces actually reflects a rise in unhappy marriages, any more than the rise in reported rapes, child abuse cases and other domestic problems really reflect that there is more of it going on - it is just not hidden and quietly suffered any more.

(74) Anonymous, June 15, 2012 5:13 PM

Rabbi Salomon is RIGHT ON TARGET!

I wonder how many of you who are so free to criticize Rabbi Salomon have ever gone through divorce?? My selfish wife left me after 17 years of marriage (stealing everything in the process). Rabbi Salomon hit the nail right on the head--people are selfish, unwilling to change, unwilling to accept any blame; they just throw everything away without thinking. VERY FEW people are truly REAL abusers, mentally ill, etc. The other spouse is simply UNWILLING to accommodate him- or herself--OK, let's be honest, usually "herself"--to the needs and idiosyncrasies of the other. But it's all good--B"H I was able to marry a truly wonderful woman and we have children of our own. You can argue with me as much as you want--BUT I'VE BEEN THERE!!

(73) Sanford J. Goodman, June 4, 2012 2:56 AM

Each spouse MUST put the other first

In paraphrasing the late President John F. Kennedy there is an important axiom. Ask not what your spouse can do for you; ask what you can do for your spouse. Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, Rabbi of the Agudah of Staten Island compared getting a shidduch to buying a car. When it comes to buying a car it must be compatible with your needs. When it comes to a shidduch the candidate must be someone with whom you can relate. But here is something else. No matter how good of a car you buy, YOU MUST MAINTAIN IT! Likewise, no matter how compatible you and your spouse are, YOU MUST ALSO DO ROUTINE MAINTENANCE. When you are dating you are running for office (and you know what you have to win the election). When you are married you are a justice on bench of a federal court. The job is for life as long as you behave. Nevertheless, both spouses have to run for re-election every day. This means that you have do what you did when you wanted to be elected. Sanford J ("Sandy") and Chana Goodman Dallas Texas

(72) Anonymous, June 3, 2012 3:30 PM

Are we blaming the victim?

I was just wondering how many of the people who are wholeheartedly agreeing with the points made by the Rabbi have personally been though or have had a child go through a divorce. While children do seem to be spoiled i'm not sure i could agree that it is the number 1 reason for divorce. A reason for people being generally unhappy? Maybe. But primary reason for divorce? How hurtful this must be to all of the people who have gone through painful marriages with seriously dysfunctional and abusive spouses only to hear that the core of the problem is that THEY are spoiled. I think it is cruel to even suggest that - especially based on anecdotal data. Most divorces I have seen over the years in the orthodox community are due to one party being abusive, mentally ill, having some form of serious personality disorder that could not be overcome by counseling, or by plain old infidelity. To suggest otherwise risks causing more pain, guilt, and isolation of someone who has already been victimized. Anyone care to comment?

Sarah K., June 12, 2012 2:34 PM

I support you and also agree with the Rabbi!

I support you in your experience and cite my mother's divorce from my father. But I tthink you might think of the Rabbi as describing the abusive spouse. I did not understand this as a condemnation of every person of the generation, but rather as a general trend that is increasing the numbers of people who will bring narcissism to a marriage -- and certainly abuse can go with that! That's how I understood the point. Unfortunately, in my experience as a preschool music teacher who teaches hundreds of young children a year for a couple of decades now, I am watching the trends and worrying about who these children will become in a society where they are taught that their own desires are so important and they learn so few boundaries in the home., January 25, 2014 1:48 AM

I agree with you!

I agree with you in many ways. Until one experiences divorce one cannot say they understand or know all that it encompasses. Divorce effects everyone!!!! Family friends children simply, everyone!! After many many yrs of abuse my world came crashing to a hault. My husband is a NARCASSIST, was abused by his family and in turn decided to abuse me in every way possible. I became a recluse, terrified upon his arrival or miss his phone call. Then one Shabbat Hashem guided me to something horrible that was going on- cheating of all kinds!!! His defense- was due to self esteem issues and abuse from his childhood!!!! Lack of parental love and other BS! Since I outed him he's made changes. Hes taken me to hell and back over and over. Now he wants to give me this great life I missed out on but only if I take him back! NARCASSIST!!!!! There are divorces taking place for many many reasons. The rabbi should dig deeper for answers instead of skimmimg the surface!

(71) Henry, May 30, 2012 4:32 PM

Not the only reason.

There are many other factors that contribute to failed marriages. However one cause is the lengthening of our life expectancy. In 1960 the average world LE was 54, today it is 67. In the UK, Canada and Australia it is now 80 USA 77 . AND couples are getting married at younger ages than 50 years ago. This means that the average marriage (presuming no divorce) will be almost doubled in length and whereas a marriage could survive 25 years after a certiain time we all change and some of us cannot cope with that change. We divorce. Of course what I said is the consequence of a longer LE. The reasons though are multiple. Yes I do agree that we spoil our children or at least do not teach them true values and this certainly clouds our reasoning. I was married for 20 years with two children and divorced. I remarried and 20 years later (we now have a daughter), I am derliously happy. We try to teach her the value of what we have and she seems to react in a way that gives me hope for her. Is she spoilt? Perhaps, but she rarely asks. We give. We also talk and discuss, something I was too busy to do first time around. That is also a reason for divorce. Not enough "Family time".

Anonymous, May 31, 2012 6:07 PM

Lack of communication with your first wife sounds like the real problem..

It sounds like the main reason for the failure of your first marriage was lack of communication. As for your new daughter, time will tell whether giving and giving will not spoil her. Talking to her and explaining why she can' t have certain things will certainly have a positive effect.

(70) TMay, May 28, 2012 12:45 AM


I think this generation lives with more options on careers and education, and options of places to live, and roles, and birth control which means that everything has to be negotiated including whether to have children and when, which previous generations did not have to deal with. Previous generations generally stayed put and had family, friends and social relationships which could last them a lifetime. Previous generations had religion which gave them a value system which while valuing them also valued others, and which supported marriage, and which placed God as the center around which things revolved, not one's personal whim. All of this is breaking down. Other generations had anti-Semitism, and war and poverty to deal with, and that might have created the impetus to get up and move continents, but they generally thought that once married they would stay married. It is an odd situation where people are devalued in this society with its bottom line, human doing, everyone is replaceable approach to life, and at the same time with small families the parents hover around their small progeny whereas in the past with large families, everyone was expected to pitch in to make the family work. Therefore children are raised thinking they are the center of the universe only to meet other children who have the same attitude and then go into the workforce to find that the workforce is designed so as not to become dependent on any individual, and then that carries over into the marriage where there is a good chance that a spouse is considered replaceable. Then you have all the computer gadgets that replace face to face communication while simultaneously keeping people in contact more than they have ever been. We are in uncharted waters. People can be in the same room with a person, yet be choosing to communicate about business or otherwise with people not in the room, city state country. It is like children in a car watching TV. Their body is their but their mind is not.

(69) Rosen, May 27, 2012 8:35 AM

success and saturation

Rabbi Schmuley Boteach suggested that the reason for low self-esteem and short-lived relationships and marriage is because of success by the previous generation, followed by saturation by current and future generations...For some reason, those born in the 1970's, 1980's, and thereafter have a harder time giving into commitment since much is already provided for them by their parents. However, that is not always the case since there are some or many millenials and generation x-ers who are hard working, but many of them don't have solid careers coming out of either HS or college due to the economic downturn.

(68) Nette Slaby, May 26, 2012 1:31 AM

Hit the nail on the head!

I agree 100%. Proverbs 30:15 says: The Leech has two daughters: Give and Give. I have been thinking about how people become narcissists and my only answer was that they haven`t heard the word `no` often enough--or early enough. Just spoiled and want their way. To say they care that they care more about themselves than the other person is even far from the truth. The love themselves too much to care about others except in a superficial, self-serving way. Spoiling your children will only make it hard on anyone who has to deal with their over-inflated egos later on.

Nette Slaby, June 2, 2012 1:00 AM

Full of themselves

Hassidic proverb: There is no room for God in him that is full of himself. Spoiled spouses are full of themselves. They have a strong sense of ENTITLEMENT. (Embarrassed to see typing mistakes in the above!!)

(67) Michael, May 25, 2012 3:38 PM

Partly correct, although.....

Rabbi makes a cogent point that marriages today are shaky because of the overall immaturity of the participants. There's certainly truth to immaturity preventing compromise, yet further analysis indicates that immaturity also fails to temper expectations; more of a leading cause of failed marriages. The immature couple marry with wild expectations about how wonderful and easy marriage will be, and it is; is for the first 5 years. Then most marriages must successfully transform. The couple either mature their views or the marriage collapses. So I agree with Rabbi Salomon that immaturity explains the epidemic of failing marriages but not only because of the unwillingness to compromise but also because of the unrealistic expectations because of the immaturity. Bottom line, prevent failing marriages by educating starry-eyed engagements. Just my $0.02

Abigail, May 29, 2012 7:34 AM

100% agree

Excellent point.

(66) Anonymous, May 25, 2012 8:16 AM

What to do?

What should be done by "2nd generation" parents raising young kids to avoid perpetuating the cycle?

(65) Nancy, May 24, 2012 11:48 PM

We learn more by failing.

I always told my classes that they will learn more from the negative things that happen to them, than they will from the positive.

(64) Nancy, May 24, 2012 11:45 PM

I agree 100%.

While I was teaching elementary school, I had witnessed many "helicopter" parents who wouldn't allow their children any failures at all.....Even more upsetting, are the parents who call professors at their off springs' colleges to complain about grades. This is a recipe for very unhappy future adults.

(63) Esther, May 24, 2012 9:54 PM


First off, Thank you for all your fabulous videos- You're absolutely right-It says that The correction of the world is to be grateful and to give thanks to G-D at all time for what He provides for us. In other words the world is at the state it's in because of a great lack of Gratitude Thanks for giving me the chance to speak Love Esther

(62) Pinchas Johnson, May 24, 2012 5:35 PM

Respect IS the bottom line

After looking at many of the comments and your own answer, I think the bottom line is respect. We don't teach our children to respect ourselves or others enough. You can't blame this situation solely on the home environment, kids learn it all over, even in school. Parents disrespect teachers, and vice versa, teachers that don't respect each other or the kids. We teach our kids that if someone doesn't agree with you, they're stupid, or bad, or uneducated... We don't teach our kids to listen and hear others out, and try to understand other's point of view. We also allow way to many outside influences into our lives, not just tv and internet, but people. Sometimes those outside influences can be good, sometimes they aren't. They can cause major damage to our homes before we even realize it's a problem. We start trusting that the outside world knows better and it's okay to be exposed to a world that degrades personal and family values, it's okay to make fun of someone to get a good laugh...Also friends that sometimes mean well and sometimes don't, can interfere with someone's marriage, because they think it's the right thing to do. Right for whom? People have to learn that in order to have a good marriage, you have to be able to trust each other, and that means respect. Sometimes, we have to make sacrifices for it. I have a problem with carpenter bees and ants in my house. I am very "pro-life", I hate killing anything unnecessarily. For Shalom Bayis, I had to call the exterminator or the bugs would have destroyed my house. Friends can do the same thing. I recently gave $36 to charity, because of this, in gratitude for saving my family. Sometimes you have to let go of friendships if they're not healthy. They can be the tools for enriching or destroying your house. People should be very careful about inadvertently causing marital issues, because your skating on very thin ice when you do. G-d is a partner in EVERY marriage. Respect IS, the bottom line.

Nancy, May 26, 2012 8:07 PM


Pinchas, you are a wise fellow. I hope you have a spouse who appreciates you.

(61) David, May 24, 2012 3:49 PM

Why marriages fail.

Loved the video Rabbi Solomon, and couldn't agree more. I'd like to add my thoughts. People wonder why marriages fail. I wonder why marriages don't fail. Why should they work? Men are from mars women are from venus. We're so different by our very natures. On top of that, we come from different lives, different families, different histories, different opinions and philosophies, different habits, different likes and dislikes. Why in the world would 2 such different people be able to live together peacefully? It's unnatural. Logically, every marriage should be a failure. The answer is that there are instructions and guidelines on how to make these two opposites co-exist, get along and actually come together in mutual love and respect. And here lies the problem. People are getting married without reading the instructions and guidelines. Clueless kids are getting married thinking it'll just work out. Where is the training? The instruction? Where are the courses that young men and women can attend BEFORE getting married to learn the secrets of making it work? Why aren't we teaching them skills before they need them?

(60) Shaloam, May 24, 2012 2:49 PM


I keep forgetting, it is always the woman's fault, especially when we choose petualant little boys for husbands.

(59) Yisroel, May 24, 2012 12:41 PM

Another Diagnosis

Another source of the problem may be the influence of things like Women’s Liberation, feminism, and women’s equal rights. Women seem to have forgotten their subordination to their counterparts. They appear to have lost sight of their popper place. They have abandoned or twisted their true natures. Increasingly, this attitude has infiltrated our society as well. Traces can all too easily be picked up all over. Men have, as a result, become alienated from their spouses and disengaged. They have ceased to treat them with the respect that subordinates are due. When it comes to letting alien influences affect us, we can’t be too cautious.

Anonymous, May 24, 2012 3:23 PM

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in Judaism subordinating women to men

The problem is that men are spoiled and don't feel responsible for anyone besides themselves. They were raised to be the center of the universe, and no longer feel any responsibility to put their wife and children ahead of themselves.

Rachel, May 24, 2012 11:27 PM

please go back under your rock

I really hope you are not Jewish, just masquerading as such. Women's equal rights and equal value are Torah principles; which any informed Jew would know.

nancy, May 24, 2012 11:32 PM

I hope you are kidding.

Are you about a misogynist...why do you hate woman so much and think we are subordinates and not on a level with men. I hope for the sake of all women that you are single and remain so.....Shame on you! By the way, Mr. Superior, you might want to correct your spelling.




(57) Anonymous, May 24, 2012 6:15 AM

100% !!!!!!

Parents today forget that children build their character through not always getting their way. I see some of my nieces and nephews and am appalled at how self centered and spoiled they are, "no" is not even part of their vocabulary and I always tell my children (who tend to get jealous when they see how "easy" life looks for their cousins) one day life for their cousins will be almost impossible because they have never experienced not getting their way which, in the real world, is a fantasy

(56) Annie, May 24, 2012 6:05 AM

think you do have a valid point

but I do believe the main reason we are having problems in most relationships is we refuse to undertake the work it takes to shed our baggage, instead we blame others for not compensating for our stupidities... as if!; therefore we deny ourselves the ability to attain a level where we can live with gratitude (which is when we shed our arrogance and learn to be gratefully submissive to G-d and to our loved one, where we get to live with humitly) therefore never being able to validate our partners - husband/wife, kids, family members, friends, etc.,... when we validate others we automatically just accept the other person, with absolutely no need to fix or change them. Try that one on for size.

(55) David, May 24, 2012 12:46 AM

Yes. I think you are absolutely 100% accurate!!!!

Rabbi, I think you are dead spot on this one! It seems that each generation has become more spoiled than the one before it. I see it with my parents, my friends, and my friend's children, who are pre-teens and teenagers. You are absolutely right!

(54) ellie, May 23, 2012 7:19 PM

children learn what they live...

there are unfortunately many family systems that do not foster and sustain healthy relationships. Lack of uncondirtinal love and acceptance, poor or ineffectual communication styles; weak, inappropriate or unnecessarily over bearing/authoritarian child discipline, and mostly poopr insight on the part of many parents. all of these will get passed forward into the adult relationships of the children unless there is some kind of insight realized or intervention when either good things fail to materialize or when bad things start/continue to happen

(53) Daniela, May 23, 2012 6:50 PM

Some other reasons

Dear Rabbi Salomon, i definitely agree with what you said. I would like to add one more thing that I think harms a marriage. It is the fact that one always needs to find a "culprit"...there's always someone else to blame. If one lives his marriage like that, it's not very healthy.

(52) aliza, May 23, 2012 3:07 PM

Wise and worthy remarks, but too broad

It is a broad stroke statement with a great oversite to say that this entitlement issue is responsible.There are also huge factors in the family of origin of every person that set them up for good and healthy relationships, mediocre ones, or relationships that are possibly doomed for failure because the partners have deeply engrained personality and behavior issues of which they are unaware as problematic. It is pandemic. but true is that because of this "high entitlement" perspective, many young adults also have poor or lacking problem -solving skills and give up instead.

(51) Maria, May 23, 2012 2:31 PM

I agree

but also, communication has been left in the back burner in marriages today. We have two ears to hear and one mouth to be silent. Most married couples today have forgotten that in the beginning of their relationship they talked and listened to each other's like and dislike. Today's problematic marriages is that communication as been neglected in their relationship. making their daily communication as "silence of the lamb" a stale like marriage or silent movie presentation. How sad, when a spouse does not honor the Almighty for given him or her their spouse? Your spouse a gift from Him to us, making the two become one. How can two walk together if they are not in agreement with each other? Marriage is a covenant contract made with a husband and wife is to learn from each other's weaknesses and strengths, to work together, communicate together, to solve problems together and make it work. (when the roof is leaking you do not say, "let us buy another house" instead you say, "let us fix it" why problematic marriages today don't say the same thing, let us fix it? because communication as been neglected.

(50) batya yehudit, May 23, 2012 10:11 AM

I agree

You are so right. Today"s generation believe they are the center of the world and "no" is not a word that applies to them.

(49) Frank Adam, May 23, 2012 9:41 AM

WE are more nationally public than erstwhile village society

Take a careful look through the people in Genesis and Kings (inc Samuel) as subjects for TV soap opera if modernisedin setting and fashion; then regardless of the US being The Great Republic, look over European and other royal families' good and detailed personal records over generations even in the primary schoool cartoon strip of good and bad kings. They are the nearest to guinea pigs we have for studying human behaviour. You will note that leaving aside nostalgic and romantic memories and expectations human (mis)behaviour has not changed overmuch. You could equally ask why certain royal couples "succeeded" in that they "fell in love" over and above the diplomatic deal that was a royal marriage as much as any village marriage was a dowry deal. Interestingly such private successes were not always public political successes. George III and Charles I had successful marriages but did not succeed as kings. Wm I - the Conqueror - and Phillip II of Spain succceeded in both spheres and Louis XIV - the Sun King of France swashbuckled succesfully through his private and public lives but lacked tact and wisdom and left some very big problems to his successors. What is different in our time is that things are no longer swept under the carpet as used to be by lack of universal literacy, press and censuses; and modern women being educated and capable of making a living outside a wedding ring are no longer putting up with boorish husbands - which is not to turn a blind eye to some husbands are no longer putting up with razor tongues, even if wandering eyes have always been given short shrift.

(48) Dennis, May 23, 2012 7:40 AM


People just don't talk with each other. They watch tv or listen to radio and just are distracted from communicating with people in the same family.

tom, May 24, 2012 12:46 PM

limit this media garbage

once in 2004 we lost power from hurricanes in Florida, were without power for 10 days, and let me tell you, you go through electricity withdawls for about 3.99 days, and on the 5 day you really, really, feel free.

(47) Anonymous, May 23, 2012 6:47 AM

Selfishness and entitlement

I agree that the sense of entittlement is the main cause of marraige problems. This leads to selfishness and leads to the situation where, if the partner is not doing what you want then, throw in the towel, and find someone who will pamper to all your whims. The fact that your partner has needs is not considered as all as long as your needs are being met and you are the centre of attention. The other problem is materialism and having the "best" of everything. They expect to be married and immediately to start living in the same economic circumstances as they grew up. This is not just possible unless the parents keep on assisting. It takes years of hard work and commitment to build up a strong economic family base and spoiling your kids does them no favour and just perpetuates the circle

(46) Leah, May 23, 2012 1:49 AM

In it for the long haul....

I think the main problem in marriage is that many people don't understand that it's normal to argue and have disagreements and when things don't go our way it's not a signal to throw in the towel. The other part is that I think many people think that because there are are other "potential" spouses they don't have to give their current marriage their all. You have a marriage- not a disposable temporary partner. Work on your marriage.

(45) MichaelV, May 23, 2012 1:48 AM

Lack of permanent obligation & intentional commitment.

I heartily endorse Rabbi Yaacov and many of the various comments , but not seeing one major aspect addressed , add my pennies. worth. If we get into it with good intentions , but with no consideration of permanence , we approach it like a good job.. So if the job disenchantment comes we can get a better job, if we like the remuneration and the environment we stay, if not we try another job. A marriage is supposed to be closer to a weld , a permanent bond . Both parties need to have this commitment , or we get an example like I've seen, she had parents that saw it that way and stuck through thick and thin , but she became the sixth job that he quit. With their smart handsome son she was welded , for him it was deja vu , this job is now not sarusying , like the others before it. His parents had been divorced , unlike hers so there was less of a stigma.

(44) malka barsing, May 23, 2012 12:43 AM

yes, i agree, we are raising a ME generation, selfish, selfcentered narcicistic generation with no boundaries and no disipline, in fact here in australia at the childcare centres staff are not allowed to say no to the children, they must give them an alternative toy, command etc. and we wonder why our children have no respect for human kind.

(43) Steve, May 23, 2012 12:38 AM

If its broken, throw it out

Rabbi Salomon, I respectfully submit to you that I see the divorce problem stemming from the fact that young couples know when they get married that it's just as easy to get divorced if things don't go well. If the toaster breaks it's not worth fixing. You can get a shiny newer model, why fix the old one?? Sadly, our legal system promotes this mentality. Lawyers stand by drewling at the prospect. Marriage is not viewed as a life long commitment, but rather the trendy thing to do until it gets old and boring. With the exception of the obvious cases of abuse, alcoholism, gambling, drugs or infidelity, the legal system should make it a little tougher for couples to get divorced simply because either partner is just not happy, especially when there are children involved. Thank you.

(42) Anonymous, May 23, 2012 12:32 AM

Successful marriage

I totally agree with your comments. I have been happily married for 37 years. I believe that the key is to try to put your spouse first.

(41) Chris, May 23, 2012 12:04 AM

Godlessness, Instant Gratification and Disappointment

While I do agree with Rabbi Salomon that we have a generation of spoiled children, I believe that is only one aspect of a much larger, multifaceted cause for marriage to be failing at such an alarming rate. For years now, the world as a whole has been letting God slip out of our daily lives. We have more things to occupy our attention, busier lifestyles, larger social circles, and more global awareness. Because we have become so busy living, the need for instant gratification has become more prevalent in our lives; wants and desires are fulfilled easily, quickly and cheaply. We have instant entertainment, instant food, instant access to information, but all these instant conveniences end up consuming our entire lives. We have forgotten how to work for the things we want and need. We have forgotten how to be patient and how to discover truths and pleasure on our own. We have forgotten to set aside time each day dedicated to the Most High. We see the artificial sex symbols in media, TV, and movies, and that becomes what we expect to have and become addicted to those images. But they are very hard if not impossible to have in real life for most people, so we settle and become increasingly disatisfied because the person we married does not measure up to the expectations that have been programmed into us by the world. Sadly we also have instant access to porn and adultery to achieve instant gratification. These traps end up destrying countless marriages. As a whole, the world has forgotten how to love God. Instead we love instant gratification. If we cannot love God, then we cannot love ourselves, and if we cannot love ourselves then we cannot know how to love others the way He intended us to love; we can never judge our mates according to the expectations God set before us so that we might enjoy the greatest gratification of all...real love, joy and happiness.

(40) Madeleine Green, May 22, 2012 11:37 PM

You are so right. And the #2 reason is the lack of communication. Many kids today don't know how to communicate without four letter words, which explains nothing. Husbands and Wives don't communicate either.

(39) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 10:27 PM

People marry for the wrong reasons and then wonder why it isn't working out like THEY want it to. Where are the shared values and the shared goals? Communication is the biggest problem. All their dreams and wants should be discussed before they make a commitment. If they can discuss these things before they commit, they might realize that marriage is NOT ALL ABOUT THEM. Also, they don't see marriage as our Creator meant it to be - a lifetime thing where you share, learn and grow older and wiser together. It is hard to develop communication skills sitting in front of a computer all day. It is hard to communicate when you don't take the time to know a person. Marriage is about two people not all about YOU.

(38) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 9:27 PM

Not following Rabbi Hillel's Law of the Torah.

People do not think "I should not do what is not hateful for me to another" Instead most people think what should someone do for me. This entitlement is due to parents not making kids responsible. When there were large families with each kid helping each other and helping at home people felt responsible to their family and when they married they felt responsible to making their spouse and children as well as their family happy by thinking what they should do for them. Now parents do not realize that by spoiling heir kids they are depribing them of what they need. A need to serve their spouse.

(37) Henry Wiltschek, May 22, 2012 8:59 PM

Right On !

A truer comment could not have been spoken. Apart from the fact, once the honeymoon is over and two people being individuals, may have a hard time to compromise.

(36) JBDestiny, May 22, 2012 8:31 PM

Some other factors

I would add that there is also a skewed idea of how much time and effort needs to be invested to get to a point where you and your spouse are able to "be of one mind." There is an illusion that two become one immediately under the chuppah, and any hiccup or speed bump means "he doesn't love me" or "she doesn't care about me." The wedding is the beginning, not a culmination. Most children are not around or aware of the intense negotiating or outright fights that take place in the early years of marriage but that are resolved and therefore no longer come up when you stick it out. I will also say that secular values really are beginning to invade the Orthodox community in a big way and causing great dissonance within marriage.

(35) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 8:14 PM

Internet is running a very close second to problems in marriages.

Hello, Pornograpy, internet dating sites etc. are always available 24/7. I am one of those who believes that there is no such thing as sex addiction. It is merely practised by those who have brain that never matured or just an excuse to have extra- marital affairs. I strongly believe that the men who are not viewing porn or not emailing other women(pretending to be single when really they're married) should be speaking out more against this. This is also true with violence against women. I'm asking men out there to speak up and say NO to this immoral, degrading behaviour. It has really hurt my realtionship of 4 years. I remember my feelings when I first stumbled upon his secret life. Being a Christian, I felt more pain for him, not myself because I knew that God was watching his every picture he clicked on and every word that he wrote. He now claims that activity is over. I want to believe him, howevver I can't help wondering is it really? Thank you for your time

(34) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 8:03 PM

middos, in-laws, immaturity

I am in my mid 20s and divorced for a few months now. From my own personal experience, meddling in-laws cause major havoc. If that is coupled with immaturity, or someone not having fully developed in his/her middos it can be a disaster. Another major problem is that people are being rushed and pushed into marriage, or agreeing to a shidduch before they are ready. If someone is pushed into a shidduch, be it by parents or well meaning friends, shadchanim, or Rabbanim then there is a very good chance that the marriage will end in divorce. Marraige takes work ,and it's not supposed to be easy. Before deciding to marry someone a person should discuss all issues and concerns with the other side, and then when both parties feel comfortable and on the same page they can move forward. It's a decision that can affect you for the rest of your life so you should try to get it right. I was lucky that I had not kids and I could start fresh, but not everyone in my situation is as lucky.

(33) Zamira Rajchgod, May 22, 2012 7:52 PM

Agree with you other reasons right behind it

Rabbi Salomon: You are right on - I agree and have a couple more reasons. Children are very rarely taught values such as sharing, saying thank-you & please, and meaning it! Not like we were. Not at home or at school as we were - we, as in grandparents. Thank you for your many insights & wisdom.

(32) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 7:46 PM

Love,respect,and trust is the best to keep the marriage or relationship work out and if theres a problem to each of them they need to talk about it in a matured way,and be open to each other trust me your mariage will last

(31) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 7:10 PM

We need to do a better job at being an example of givers, and raise more giving and caring children.

I think the problem is about coming from a family that does not think more about each other, and what's best for their family, than about what they think is most pleasure-able for their immediate personal wants. A selfishness that's foolish. It's about not being mature before marriage. And not understanding that marriage is about giving (even when you don't feel like it), 100%. Not keeping track of 50/50, etc...who did what, and when, and how much. I think when we are young and get married, that marriage itself is the goal, an achievement, and then think of it as done, once we're married. Then we just live our lives, trying to think of and do lots, with our spouse. What's on our mind may be more about what we're getting (or our personal dreams), then what we ought/need to feel honored to be able to begin to give and contribute toward supporting our partner/marriage/family and community. We need to do a better job at being an example of givers, and raise more giving and caring children.

(30) Jacob, May 22, 2012 6:27 PM

more reasons for marriage problems

Yes I agree....spoiled children growing up may be part of it. But I think it also has to do with the foods we eat. My parents always eat their meals together, they share the same foods, They are about to have their 60th wedding anniversary this september. But most people I know not only eat junk food, but they rarely share meals with their family. They're too busy on gigs, or traveling for work. Yes and they often just stop at some fast food place for a quick meal. Family meals are disappearing. When we all share a meal , we have something we had in common, and it helps us relate. At least I think it does. One other reason marriages are not working out is because noone wants to work on a marriage. They just expect it to be perfect like a honeymoon, 100% of the time. Well that is unrealistic and impossible. All relationships take work. I guess this is similar to what you said about people being spoiled. But noone will get everything for nothing. But I bet if people at healthy diets and shared meals they wouldn't need as much work on the relationships anyhow.

(29) chaim horowitz, May 22, 2012 6:25 PM

part of general issue, lack of "normalcy"

Rabbi Solomon's observations are accurate, but there is a much more serious societal issue that has corroded and corrupted our daily lives, namely the lack of appreciation of the greatness and purity of a "normal" Jewish life. Society demands that we distinguish ourselves in a recognizable and public way, and this has seeped into the expectations of many married couples; they would like their spouse to confer a certain "social standing" on the family; they are not satisfied to live in a "normal" manner. Indeed, I think this problem needs to be addressed in the entire spectrum of Jewish life, especially in the larger Orthodox communities, where the Jewish media engenders feelings of jealously and inadequacy. We need a redefinition and reinvigoration of the beauty of a "normal" life.

(28) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 5:54 PM


I have to agree. As someone who is married almost 40 years, I can attest to the fact that marriage is compromise. If the same spouse is always doing the compromising, it ceases to be a marriage of equals, clearly there is one dominant spouse. Might work for some, not for us. Admittedly, we have our ups and downs and sometimes I wonder what i was thinking so many years ago. Should I have held out for the "perfect" man? No, I married someone with enough wonderful qualities to make him a "keeper," even during those times when we don't even want to look at each other. We always come back to the strengths of our relationship, and move forward. Neither of us has ever "run away" in lieu of working it out. Perhaps today's generation is so used to instant gratification that they never learned those skills. Think a fast-food burger vs. cholent. Instant gratification or slow-simmered - which warms the heart?

(27) menucha, May 22, 2012 5:37 PM

we have conflicting opinions!!

Rabbi Salomon, my husband and I come from very different background and in our 20 years of marriage had to cope with many challenging issues. the fact that we have lasted so far, is an indication that we had some tools to cope with them. today I work as a counselor and for the first time came in contact with a couple that their problem was exactly as you mentioned. she can not cope with the aliyah they made two years ago from South Africa, because she is missing the ease of life as she knows it. this is by their own admition. My husband differs with you. one should have to stretch too far to accommodate the other person's unreasonable demands. because this can descend into abuse. so how would you define the boundaries?!!! Thank you

(26) Rachel, May 22, 2012 5:35 PM

unrealistic expectations

Without getting into whether kids are mostly "spoiled brats" (my kids are far from perfect, but we simply couldn't afford to give in to their every whim and we told them that; same for my parents and in-laws) I would phrase it differently -- that the younger generations have unrealistic expectations. My daughter sometimes complains that my husband and I think "you're supposed to not be happy". That's not true at all -- but we do understand and want our children to understand that many times in life, decisions are made not based on whether it will make one happy at that moment, but because it's the responsible and moral thing to do. Incidentally, I wouldn't say I have a "happy" marriage in the way that I envisioned when I got engaged. However, sticking out the tough times has gotten us both to the point where we understand that the important things are respect, trust, kindness, responsibility (there's that word again). We'll celebrate 30 years together soon. We must be doing something right.

(25) Donna Lee Schillinger, May 22, 2012 5:18 PM

Living Alone Doesn't Help

I agree this is a major problem and the root of THIS problem is individualism. In fact, I think it's the difference in ours and other developed nations full of kids who have plenty and in other ways fit your description of spoiled. They have a better sense of community, which starts with sleeping with Mom and Dad, sharing rooms with siblings, living with people (versus living alone, which is the hallmark of independence for Americans). Both my husband and I were in our 30s when we got married and I can say from experience that so many years of living just as I liked, without compromise required in having a roommate and such, has been a factor in my ability to "become one" with another.

(24) Elizabeth, May 22, 2012 5:17 PM

Lack of Honor

Our generation has not been taught about honor. Honoring G-d and honoring another person above ourselves. The system of honor has been lost on our generation and we MUST teach it to our children to break the cycle.

(23) shimon k., May 22, 2012 5:17 PM

my mother a'h used to say:" Marriage is a 51% proposition each partner has to give the spouse more than than their share." Doing just 50% is not enough. Unfortunately this generation is into itself ,the 'me' generation. Their parents have given them everything. and now they say "What can I get out of this marriage." or you have to give me this or you have to do thus. They no longer say: How can we solve this problem,how can we build together a family, a bayis ne'emon. So sad.

(22) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 4:31 PM

I agree

After 30 years of medical practice and many years of providing therapy to couples, I have to agree. Our sense of entitlement seems to be increasing with each generation and it does not serve our children well. We need to re think both the lived example that we show our young people, and the societal messages they get, so that we can teach them what they need to know to have sucessful marriages and lives.

(21) R.P, May 22, 2012 4:30 PM

he is sooo right in my case

my husband's dad grew up poor and although he himself was far from rich they did raise my husband to be very spolied. It is so bad you don't even know the 1/2 of it. He does not know how to deal with life when it's not all to his likings and not just in marriage. He just gets angry and blames everyone ( just like I saw little spoiled kids do...) very difficult to live with this V E R Y. I don't know about others in our generation but he displays a behavior of someone very spoiled who is not ready for life and definitely not for marriage.

(20) Leibel ben Shmuel, May 22, 2012 4:29 PM


Often, help is found in counseling. Unfortunately, some therapists, social workers, etc., create psycho-babbling robots who demand THEIR rights, THEIR desires and THEIR fulfillment at the cost of everyone around them. It is probably harder to find the right therapist than it is to achieve and maintain psychological health. P.S. Not everyone requires therapy. ANY practitioner who insists that EVERYONE needs THEIR system to be healthy, should be avoided at all costs!

(19) Rich, May 22, 2012 4:27 PM

Could not Agree more

Rabbi That was excellent! Looking at the end of my twenty year marriage has provided additional hindsight: Trying to meet the needs of your spouse is very important but it can not be at the price of your identity. Discuss issues head on in a loving way but stand strong on topics of beliefs and family values. Avoiding an argument today may cost everything tomorrow. Respectfully Richard

(18) DeSafan, May 22, 2012 4:12 PM

Lack of communication

Communication skills are import in every aspect of life and relationships. Getting along is not about one issue or one cause it is about figuring out common goals and then finding the best shared journey to them. Sadly some of the letter writers above illustrate a need for better communications -- i.e. spelling counts.

(17) Dan, May 22, 2012 3:57 PM

Better expressed as

I have trouble with "spoiled generation" because every generation could (and probably has) said that about the younger generation. I think the problem is just plain self-centeredness; that is, people are less willing to sacrifice their needs and desires for something outside themselves (such as a marriage, a child, etc.).

(16) Rhonda, May 22, 2012 3:50 PM


Those spoiled children are also being raised without moral values making them not care about anyone or anything. As soon as the next best thing (or so they think) comes along, they're out the door. Our children need to be disciplined and taught respect and responsibility.

(15) Keith Trantow, May 22, 2012 3:43 PM

Selfishness getting in the way of selflessness

Rabbi Salomon clearly, succinctly and wisely has described and defined the root cause of divorce: Selfishness rather than sharing, egocentricity rather than empathy.

(14) hinda leah, May 22, 2012 2:44 PM


rabbi you are right on the mark. i would also like to add a few additional remarks. having had two girls in shudduchim...after hearing some of the questions being asked (yes i wanted to know what was being asked--it told me a bit about the boy and/or his family) some of these kids are getting married for the wrong reasons. point#2 some 30 years ago while doing my student preschool..boy hits girl. girl cries. i approach girl to see if she is okay then instruct boy to apologize. teacher pulls me aside and tells me:"we don't do that here. we dont make children apologize because chances are he is NOT sorry" at the risk of being chutzpadik there i was a 21show year old student viamently disagreeing with a seasoned teacher! "BUT HE SHOULD BE SORRY...BUT HE SHOULD BE TAUGHT TO SAY THE EORDS..WHAT IF HE IS NEVER SORRY FOR HURTING OTHERS? WHEN WILL HE EVER LEARN TO ROLL THOSE CRUCIAL WORDS OFF OF HIS LIPS?? i still disagree and this teacher still holds her ground ( i saw her last week). this is another form of entitlement that is damaging in any relationship. kids are not learning proper social skills. especially with the use of technical devices today. JMHO (just my humble opinion.

(13) ej martin, May 22, 2012 2:40 PM


there is a lot of stress in raising children & running the home, my theory is it comes down to the ability to forgive your spouse. Those marital parties that can not forgive the daily infractions that take place between a couple, opt for divorce.

(12) Anonymous, May 22, 2012 2:23 PM

Some times are just hard

I am not a young person, but I still find times that are difficult in my marriage. I can be very upset as things change and he feels that a certain attitude is right. It affects myself and my children and I feel upset. But I know that if I give it some time I will calm down. And I can accept his attitude and even forget this issue even existed. It's hard to do. But giving in is not only crucial to your marriage , but helps to teach you to give in to H' s will. And then once again, we can feel happy.

(11) AN, May 22, 2012 7:42 AM

dont know if its #1, but its definently a problem

I am in my late 20's, and about to get married. This is not my field of expertise, so I don't know what the leading problem is, but I definently agree that many people in my generation grow up with this sense of entitlement. The truth is that everything we have is a gift from Hashem. If we realize this, than it will be easier to deal with things not going your way

(10) smb, May 21, 2012 7:30 PM

some people today are two much into themself and have difficulty caring about others. What they want is more important than what others want. I use to want certain things that my friend didn't want and I would disappointed if I didn't have it. But now, I feel that i should be considerate of others. The person I'm with and I should pick something we both like.

(9) Anonymous, May 21, 2012 7:08 PM

I agree with you a lessening social stigma of divorce, greater economic oppt'y for women and a societal safety net also contribute

I'm guessing that you are speaking about the increasing divorce rate in the Orthodox community where marriage and raising children are still almost universally pursued goals. What you said reminded me of a lecture by Rabbi Akiva Tatz who was explaining why societies fail to function properly. It can also be applied to marriage. If children are raised with the idea that marriage is all about focusing on one's obligations towards their spouse, then I suspect that the growing trend in Orthodox Jewish circles to divorce rate will reverse itself. Currently, too many people focus on their own "rights" and on their spouses obligations. [That is also the relationship many unsatisfied folks have with gov't and employers] It leads to an unfullfiling marriage, which not surprisingly often results in a decision to divorce when the opportunity presents itself. According to my understanding Judaism teaches that freedom means being able to choose what obligations to be a slave to properly fulfill.

miriam, May 22, 2012 3:45 PM

i agree!

here is the link to the speech by rabbi Tatz. he speaks about this topic in numerous speeches, but this one focuses on obligation specifically. very worthwhile to listen to: also check out his speeches on marriage. Thank you Rabbi Solomon, good point

(8) Chavy, May 21, 2012 5:36 PM

My thoughts exactly. If you're unspoiled and know that things don't always go your way or they don't always work out the way you thought they would, you can deal with the challenges of relationships. That's because you can switch gears and rethink instead of just "running away.' Right on, Rabbi Solomon!

Zvika, May 22, 2012 7:39 PM

You named the #1 problem IMO

I often dont agree with such opinions/advice, but this really hits the mark. I said to myself, "unrealistic expectations" - and I think that's another way to say the same thing, but the Rabbi mentioned the root cause !

Richard, May 22, 2012 9:50 PM

Agree with you Rabbi. Blessing on you.

(7) Anonymous, May 21, 2012 5:25 AM

No familie values , no respect, no stronghand upbringing egoism

Children are raisd by nanys or daycareC cariere mothers chieting and laying just lyck they husbands.And all is acceptebel Lliving grandparents are "old burdening peapel You get the picture ??? Evrybody is texting emailing or have on IMPORTEND at the dinner tabel ZERO communication. JUST TO MENTION A FEW !! Iff you need moor just contact me itt would be a plesure and an honor to try seving the next generation. Maybe is stil NOT TO LATE

(6) SusanE, May 20, 2012 6:56 PM


We all get lost in the details. The #1 reason for failed marriages and failed relationships can be condensed into men and women who feel entitled to anything they want.

Yisroel, May 22, 2012 11:25 PM

Registering My Concurrence

Right you are! And to that I would add that the important thing for us Jews is to dedicate ourselves to the upkeep of the holy Torah and to enter into marriage with the mission of bringing about honor to Heaven’s name uppermost in our mind.

(5) Yisroel, May 20, 2012 5:41 PM

The Importance of Deference

You forgot to mention how your rabbi reacted to your suggestion. This is the most important part of the story...don't you think? Did he accept your analysis tout court? Did he express reservations? Did he qualify it in some way? It would really be nice to know.

(4) Lois Homer, May 20, 2012 5:03 PM


Couples shouldn't be given a marriage license unless they undergo marriage counseling with their rabbi, minister, priest. A friend of ours went through a divorce that he didn't expect then years later he met a wonderful woman. His clergyman insisted on marriage counseling before performing the ceremony and now they've been happily married for years. We've been happily married 46 years. Stop, listen and think before you say something in angert. Are you being unreasonable? Think of how you contributed to the discord and how you can make it better before blaming your spouse. Don't be selfish. Think of your spouse's wants, needs. It really works. By the way my husband is a sweet guy and I am very lucky.

(3) Ben, May 20, 2012 4:12 PM

Media & Entertainment

All that the Rabbi says is true, but I don't think that's the root cause of the problem. The Media and Entertainment industries have an incredibly powerful influence on the minds of people in our modern societies. They have been trying to devalue and destroy our concepts of the family unit for over fifty years, and have constantly presented us with images of the inept, lazy father, the nerve-wracked, superficial mom, the dysfunctional family as a norm, and the independent, successful woman who has no room for motherhood (this latter image selling extremely well with the latest generation). Repeated incessantly and on a very large scale, these attacks have been very effective, and the latest generations have no ideas of the roles and values involved in building a successful family. Why have these industries been doing this in the first place? One complex question. I think they have decided a long time ago that morality was not their business, only profits were, and they have exploited the Yetzer Hara in the average man and have filled the void left by the gradual crumbling of the Biblical moral framework that used to be the foundation of our societies. I don't have solutions, I'm just trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem as Rabbi Salomon is.

(2) chavi, May 20, 2012 4:08 PM

The root of the Hebrew word for love- ahava - is 'hav', which means 'to give'. Being invested in giving to another person is what causes us to love him/her. Parents love their children unconditionally because they are so invested in giving to them, not because they are getting anything from them. At the same time, parents have an obligation to train their children to be givers, too, and be able to give up things they might really want, and focus on feeling for others, making others happy, and helping others when needed.

(1) Anonymous, May 20, 2012 1:56 PM

This is true for the latest generation of young adults but I think it is not THE Problem. The lack of divorces in earlier generations doesn't mean they had good marriages, it's only that they didn't separate because of social and/or economical pressure and because they had a strong sense of commitment. Despite that I believe the majority had never had a harmonious and happy relationship. Very few people alive today (excluding orthodox Jews maybe) would claim that they were brought up in an ideal home and observed their parents as examples of respectful, caring and supportive spouses with exceptionally high EQ. Parents had been passing down their own wrong unhealthy behavior patterns from times immemorial, until this last generation, which was finally free to admit that it doesn't work. (Although this last one did add a few more problems on its own to something which had already been fundamentally wrong.)


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