What’s My Part In It?

by: Anan Amos

After reading the article titled “What Happens to the Children”  by Dr. Hindie M. Klein that was printed in the Jewish Press ; I was somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand I was agreeing with what was being said; yet on the other hand I was disturbed that to a certain degree many experts in the Mental Health Sector are missing some very big points.

divorceLet me elaborate:

This article focused on the children of divorcing and divorced homes. I think what the article was missing, and a little misleading to a certain degree, is the fact that these children will be affected for the rest of their lives no matter what. Furthermore, children that are from homes that have both parents there, nor necessarily will be any more mentally healthy than those from these broken homes. I feel that this article is misleading because I felt after reading, that we now have a solution to these children’s emotional feelings in these unfortunate cases. This is very not true, and as I started saying, I know many children personally who are emotionally unstable and their parents stayed married to each other.

The only way to have children emotionally stable – is by being emotionally stable oneself. If that requires going on medication, so be it; if it requires intensive therapy or even if it requires joining a Twelve Step Addiction Program; whatever it may be, that is one way to assure a healthy child. If you are sick, those that are around you and those who are influenced by you, will be sick too! Mental Illness is highly contagious.

An individual that does these steps for getting better; firstly is highly courageous and praiseworthy; secondly, this person is taking a huge step in changing his/her entire personality. A person that takes these steps of recovery becomes a completely new person that is not recognized. This gives hope to the actual marriage in itself.

I have been blessed to be around people who have done insane things in their pasts. There were more than enough reasons to divorce and in fact – it would have only been the right thing. Against all odds, and with some incredible effort and hard work from both spouses in the marriage, as well as intensive personal, couples, and family counseling, including the use of medications for people in the family who needed it. The marriage and relationship were saved and is better than ever. The children are now growing up with a loving and caring parent body that is unified, understanding and respectful of one another. One side sees the huge effort being taken of the other side and they both appreciate each other for sticking it through. They also have a better self-confidence, since they feel that they have rectified something that seemingly was impossible to! That is an incredible feeling!

loving puzzleThis is what bothers me most by all these articles. They start talking about the high divorce rates and how it affects our society, however they miss the most crucial points which should encourage people to work on themselves to change and be different. Encourage people, that indeed, it is possible to change, and encourage them to work harder on their relationships. If one divorces this spouse, what do they think will be the case with the next? Will it be better?

Remember “The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side” and “The Definition of Insanity, is Doing the Same Mistake Over and Over Again, Expecting Different Results”.

If one cares about their children, truly, the only way to assure that they will grow up to being moral, ethical, and mentally healthy children; is simply by being one yourself! No matter what relationship you will be in, no matter whether or not you end up divorcing, it all boils down to one thing…. What is my part in it? How am I being a healthy role-model to my surroundings (not only my children). This to me is the epidemic of this generation! I personally think that more Mental Health Professionals should focus on these points.

Just my simple and humble opinion.

Personal Thoughts of Shiduchim (Matchmaking) and Relationships

By: Anan Amos

6a00fad6af22a9000501101666bd4e860d-500piLet me preface a little before talking about what I am looking for in a relationship and what I am looking for in a wife to be.

I got married at the age of nineteen to a girl who at the time was seventeen. We were very much in love and we had our ambitions set high to achieve great things together in life. However, since we both came from unstable homes, our motives and our value system was a little flawed. We were both looking to run away from our homes, run away from our problems and from our pasts. We were hoping to get a better future for ourselves. This is not a wrong thing, it is not a bad thing, but we were doing it all wrong. Being immature and coming from the type of background we were coming from; it was very challenging to see the right path despite however much we tried.

Our relationship was starting to deteriorate even before we got married, but we thought to stick it through and get married non-the-less. Five years and three beautiful children later, we found ourselves separated. Less than a year later, divorced.

It has been two years now since my divorce. I believe it has come time for me to start looking for a new match. This time, however, it is VERY different. In the past two years, I have taken several online psychology classes, have taken therapy sessions and have explored many different avenues that all combined have helped me discover my true self, get over my past, and set myself straight for my future.

Today, I know exactly where I am headed. I am twenty-seven and I am more or less stable with my life. I am going back to school in Canada to finish off my degree in Commerce and Marketing; the government will pay for most of my schooling and there are various resources that are available to me that will assist me financially and physically. Therefore, going back to school will not affect my relationship life in any way. Once I complete my degree, I hope with the help of God to move to Los Angeles, which has been my dream town since I was a child. I have greater ambitions and dreams; I know that I am a great person, a great father and a great relationship partner. Today, in comparison to ten years ago, all is more feasible and reasonable. No one says you cannot dream, however one should know that there is a process to get to your end goal, and sometime it takes time, patience and perseverance.

With that being said, I know I am special, and I am looking for that special someone. Yes, ONE! My job is to find that needle in a haystack, that one in a million, that special someone who I want to give myself entirely with no expectations of anything in return; complete selflessness toward my life partner. I hope and pray that this time around it will be a long lasting and forever lasting long term loving relationship.

Let me elaborate.

In today’s society and with our social conditioning in our generation, we are taught that we are to marry a certain criteria and look for certain so-called values. I strongly and utterly believe that our belief system and value system is flawed and skewed by what is known as Modern Social Conditioning. These Social Conditioning tactics marketers are using via all sorts of media channels and outlets are in order to essentially hypnotize us to purchase the item they are selling. The advertisers bombard us with over a thousand images and messages per second, up until the point that we no longer have mental control over what we are consuming mentally. Just take Facebook as a simple example. People have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook. Who are these friends? What makes this person our “friend”? We now have to go back to the fundamentals of what initially defines friendship. Therefore in today’s Modern Social Conditioning, we are forced to ask, “What kind of ‘friend’ are you?” in which we are implying “a ‘Facebook Friend” or a “Realistic Friend”? This is unfortunately the sad realistic truth of what we are exposed to in the twenty-first century.

Going back to relationships, in our modern Socially Conditioned religious communities. Girls are led to believe that if they were never married, they are to marry someone who was never married or has no kids. If you come from a certain financial or social class, you cannot marry someone from another class. If your family history brings you from a certain demographic in the world, you cannot marry someone from a different demographic due to illusionary stereotypical criteria set by I don’t know whom. Finally with all that being said, people are crying that there is some form of Shiduch (Matchmaking) Crisis! The only crisis, in my opinion, is that as religious and Hassidic Jews, we are conforming to society’s conditioning that is influenced by all the media that is out there.

I can go on and on about trying to prove my point; however I don’t find it necessary to waste precious Megabytes and each of our times. We all know (maybe too frightened to admit it) that this is pretty much the situation.

I would like to drive home a point and somewhat share what I am doing to look for my Shiduch (Match). Maybe, just maybe, some may have the courage to look past their denial and learn from the examples I am about to share. If not, well, let’s just leave it at that…

(Note: Everyone is different with different situations and points of view, which we are all entitled to. However, I believe that we can all share our experiences and maybe pick up one or two things that resonate with us as individuals. I believe in the expression “What is true, rings true”.)

partnershipHere’s what I did.

I wrote up a long list of ALL the things (values, criteria etc.) that I am looking for in a potential match. I also wrote a list of all my values and strengths/weaknesses I have (look at it as something similar to a SWOT Analysis just for relationships). My initial list has summed up to a total of something like forty-five characteristics. That is a long list.

I then took a new page, and drew a table. In this table I categorized certain characteristics that were similar one to another. For example (from my list): Adventurous, Free Spirited, Spontaneous, and Likes Trying New Things – all are essentially one characteristic. Another example is; Emotionally Stable, Good Values, Good Family, Large Family – pretty much all fall into the same category. Get the point?

Now finally in a third page I have two columns. One column is titled; “Can Live Without” and the second titled; “Cannot Live Without”. In which I will list six characteristics in each column. Therefore my columns look something like this:

Can Live without:

  • Outgoing
  • Easy going
  • Professional
  • Sense of Humor
  • Intelligent
  • Talented

Cannot Live without:

  • Emotionally Stable
  • Affectionate
  • Achiever
  • Spiritual
  • Confident
  • Healthy

If you can look at the first column, you would see some very important characteristics that I would love to have in a partner; however, they are not deal breakers. I really see them as bonuses. If you analyze my list you will also come to realize that the characteristics I have listed are very much intrinsic and on a deeper level. In other words: If I were to put in my list “Good Looking” or “Slim” or “Attractive” it will show that I am shallow. Why? Because, how long will the looks last for? How long will s/he stay slim for? What is truly the real definition of “attraction”? You see, I don’t put strong emphasis on these so-called and superficial characteristics, simply because they are not long-term characteristics. I am one-hundred-percent serious about getting into a relationship and getting married. I believe that I have my priorities straight. I am looking for someone who is as special as I am and has similar values as I do, because this time around I am looking for a longer term and long-ever-lasting relationship. If I were to look for those external and superficial characteristics, what will happen when they will expire? So will my relationship?

I would finally like to end off with some statistics from a study conducted by the University of Washington in 2011 on relationships. I found it quite interesting.

  • Divorce rate in the US: 64%
  • Those who are from divorced homes have a 74% chance of getting divorced. (Or not lasting in a long-term relationship)
  • Amongst divorcees, 94% will get divorced a second time
  • (Not from the study) Jewish Religious divorce rate in the US is around 17%

The study concluded, what can be derived from these numbers?

  • We are all conditioned to be selfish in our relationships, we looking for something in return. That is not what relationships are about. It is one hundred percent about giving to the other without expecting or waiting for anything in return. If you cannot accept this, you might be better off marrying yourself, because only you can please yourself and get along with yourself.
  • The reason why children of divorcees and broken homes have such a high percentage is because they had no role models on what a true and healthy relationship looks like. Therefore they will subconsciously relive and re-experience what they have been conditioned to at home.
  • Finally, the reason why divorcees get divorce a second time. Is because they keep doing their mistakes over and over again. Like Albert Einstein’s definition to insanity “Insanity is when one keeps trying over and over again the same exact thing, expecting different results each time”.

What is the answer to these issues? What is the solution to these problems?

  • We need to go back to the basics and re-learn what are relationships and what it’s all about? What were our parents and grandparents doing right?
  • Children from divorced homes should inquire and find out what were the real reasons of the divorce; if they cannot find it, let them make it up. But whatever the case is; they need to ask themselves, if they were in the same situations, how would they fix those problems? Once they find the answers, they should get to work and fix the problems. After they have rectified those issues, they should look for a mentor and/or a person that will show them an example of what a good relationship looks like. Whether it is a grandparent, sibling, uncle/aunt or friend. Whatever the case may be this person needs to look for examples of what healthy and good relationships look like. The child must mimic, learn, observe, ask and do whatever it takes. This is pretty much their only guarantee to a better or lower chance of divorce in their own relationship.
  • People that got divorced once must take responsibility over their actions, their parts and their role in the failed relationship. They need to ask themselves three things. What was my part in all of this? What attracted me to my spouse in the first place? Why didn’t my relationship work? What needed to be done to save the marriage? Then the person needs to get to work on those things before they get into another relationship. Once again this will lower their risk of divorce significantly.

I hope this article has helped you in a way or another. In either case, I would like to wish all my readers a happy and long-lasting relationship with your spouses, and for those readers who are searching for your spouses; I wish you all the luck in the world.

Please share your comments below. I would love to hear some feedback from you whether have anything to add or challenge anything I have said, in either case I would love to hear back. I can also be reached by email glaminglamor@gmail.com