Posts

Not That Place...

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It's fascinating (and somewhat frustrating) that the vulnerable place within myself that I protect (and subsequently reject) is the most fertile ground for deep connection with my spouse. Our rejection of this common (human) ground makes us strangers to one another. Our embrace of this common (human) ground creates a bond of acceptance and safety that sustains us for a lifetime.

Still (and always) a Child

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My recent experience of the beautiful picture below brought this home in a real way. Witnessing my parents pre-yom kippur blessing and embrace, the joy was indescribable. Here I am a 45 year old, with a family of my own still deeply impacted by the safety and connection of my parents. More than ever, I am convinced that the greatest gift parents can give their children is the health and security…

What is Really at Stake in a Marriage

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"There's a darkness inside that is flooded in light and I'm frightened by those that don't see it" For me, this powerful line gets at what we really long for from our partners. We all have a beautiful place within us that has become darkened by our painful experiences, especially the hurts we endured from our closest people. It feels rejected and unwanted, but the light in it knows its not…

What if They Knew?

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"A relationship starts to become real when it's broken and begins to heal." This quote hangs in my office. A client entrenched in a troubled relationship recently took a picture of it and we began to talk. The essence of that conversation can be distilled to the following point: If only couples understood that moments of pain are ready to be mined for deep vulnerable connection.…

The Most Destructive Relationship Habit

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If I had to summarize the single most destructive habit of an intimate relationship I would describe it as   “The Habit of NOT”   NOT sharing my sadness NOT saying how you hurt me NOT acknowledging when I hurt you NOT sharing my gratitude NOT fully embracing joy NOT revealing my pain NOT exposing my struggle NOT trusting your love NOT believing I matter…

My Grandparents "Trauma Bond"

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My grandparents were married in a DP camp following WW2. They both had just endured unspeakable losses including the murder of my grandfather's first wife and children and my grandmother's time with Mengele in Auschwitz. She was 17, he closer to 30. They married to survive. They married to fight off the loneliness and the pain of devastating loss and trauma. They married because that's what Jews…

You Make it All Mean Something

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In a couples counseling session, the husband was challenged by his wife to name something that he frequently does to show his love for her.   He said: "What do you mean, everyday, I wake up, I work my a-- off to provide, to try and give you a life that feels good to you!"   And she, the perfect response:   "Yeah, but you would do that anyway...even if we weren't…

Broken Glass to Heal a Broken Heart

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At the very end of the marriage ceremony, the last thing a Jewish bride and groom do before becoming husband and wife is shatter a glass. The common explanation of this custom is to bring to mind the exile and destruction of the Temple even at the very height of one's joy. And perhaps there is something deeper as well. Perhaps the last message the fledgling couple is being sent is: Your…

Couples Break Up for the Same Reason they Get Together

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It all has to do with core fears and vulnerabilities. One of several variations: A young man, deeply fears that deep down he is really not important. He has learned to "get it right" and become worthy by focusing on pleasing those he cares about and catering to their needs. A young woman, deeply fears that in the end she will be neglected and alone. She has learned to draw attention…

Reflecting on My Parents' 50th Anniversary

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I spend many hours a week with loving, amazing, dedicated couples in pain. Why the heck did I choose this strange line of work? I used to think it was because of my own marriage. 18+ years of creating a relationship with my wife Rivkah that is so important to me that I want to help others experience the depth of meaning in that journey. I like to take credit for my accomplishments. Yesterday…