22 Av 5781 / Saturday, July 31, 2021 | Torah Reading: Eikev
 
dot  Add to favorites   dot  Set as homepage  
 
   
    Create an account    |    Sign in
  
    My Account     Orders History     Help
 
 
  My Country:  
  United States   
 
   Language:  
  English   
 
   My Currency:  
  US Dollar   
 
   
Home Page Torah Portion Spirituality and Faith Foundations of Judaism Inspirational Stories Family & Daily Life Holidays and Fast Days Israel and Society
   Dating     Marital Harmony     Good Income     Children and Education             
 
  More  
 
 
 
Marital Harmony  
 
HomeFamily & Daily LifeMarital HarmonyThe Good Listener
 
  Advanced Search
   Articles
 
   Search
 
            
 

The Good Listener    

The Good Listener



I couldn't help but overhear two of my rabbinical students reviewing a point in Talmudic Law: The first student pounded the table with his fist...

 



I couldn't help but overhear two of my rabbinical students reviewing a point in Talmudic Law:
 
The first student pounded the table with his fist. "The Rambam states that such an action is permissible!"
 
"Wrong," yelled his chevruta (learning partner), "Rashi expressly forbids such an act!"
 
"Are you daft?" shouted the first student.
 
"At least I'm not blind," sneered his chevruta.
 
In reality, both were correct, except that Rashi and the Rambam were talking about two different cases. If the two learning partners would have made a little more effort in listening to one another, then they could have channeled the energy that they wasted on shouting into better understanding their studies and each other.
 
Not surprisingly, both of the abovementioned students came to me with marital difficulties during the same year that they learned in our kollel (married students' rabbinical seminary). Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says (Sefer HaMidot, Arrogance, 14) that arrogance seals a person's heart. In other words, self-centered people aren't aware of other people's feelings, for a self-centered person's heart is closed to the words of his or her fellow human.
 
An arrogant person is a poor listener. A poor listener can't possibly enjoy a happy marriage and a gratifying home.
 
* * *
 
In counseling married couples with shalom bayit (marital harmony) issues, I always insisted on rigid ground rules to prevent the counseling session from turning into a free-for-all brawl. If simple games like tennis or golf require a set of guidelines, then intricate relations between two people that are inherent opposites certainly need a basic set of rules. If the players or partners ignore the rules, then the game stops.
 
A productive and effective counseling session must assure that the couple breaks the vicious cycle of misunderstanding, the public enemy number-one to shalom bayit. The following six stages constitute a solid and orderly framework for a counseling session that will teach a husband and wife to listen to one another (once they learn to listen to each other, eighty percent of their problems fall by the wayside):
 
1. "Ladies first": The wife states her grievances for approximately fifteen minutes. During the time she speaks, the husband is not allowed to interrupt.
 
2. The counselor summarizes what the wife has to say (usually about three minutes). The session continues only after the wife agrees that the counselor properly understands her.
 
3. The Husband speaks: The husband now states his grievances for approximately fifteen minutes. During the time he speaks, the wife is not allowed to interrupt.
 
4. The counselor now summarizes what the husband has to say (usually about three minutes). The session continues only after the husband confirms that the counselor properly understands him.
 
5. The husband must now restate his wife's grievances. During the time he speaks, she is not allowed to interrupt. When he's finished speaking, she must verify that he understands her correctly. If not, then stages 1 and 5 must be repeated.
 
6. The wife must now restate her husband's complaints. During the time she speaks, the husband is not allowed to interrupt. When she's finished speaking, the husband must verify that she understands him correctly. If not, then stages 3 and 6 must be repeated.
 
The counselor's role is to facilitate good listening and effective understanding. He or she must be helpful, but not judgmental. An initial counseling session based on the above six stages is neither short nor easy; it usually requires between 90 – 120 minutes. But, in most cases, where the husband and wife are emotionally sound and well-meaning, one session suffices in making a dramatic improvement in family communication. The first and foremost role of counseling is to teach the couple to listen to one another.
 
Rav Shalom Arush says that a husband and wife resemble the Cherubim, the two angelic figures made of solid gold that were placed on top of the holy ark of the covenant. In effect, the Cherubim were the barometer as to whether HaShem was pleased with the actions of the Children of Israel or not: When the Cherubim miraculously faced each other, then all knew that HaShem was pleased, and that His Divine Presence was in our midst. On the other hand, whenever the Cherubim appeared with their backs to each other, then all knew that HaShem was displeased. When HaShem is displeased, He takes away His Divine Presence from our midst. In like manner, when a husband and wife "face each other," in other words, when they're listening to one another, then the Divine Presence is surely in their midst. Without the Divine Presence, there can't be peace in the home. So, when a husband and wife turn their backs on each other by refusing to listen to one another, both peace and the Divine Presence fly out the nearest window.
 
In spirituality, there is no void. If the Divine Presence exits, then the evil inclination quickly steps in, and the home becomes a war zone.
 
Scores of times, I've heard wives complain during counseling that their husbands never talk to them enough. The husbands then respond, "What is she talking about? I hear her for at least an hour a day!" Hearing doesn't necessarily mean listening.
 
A good listener will always know how his or her mate feels. A good listener understands his or her mate and therefore benefits from shalom bayit. When a husband and wife are good listeners, they can have a more effective exchange of ideas in 30 minutes of conversation than what others can accomplish in three hours of talking.
 
A home that radiates with peace and understanding is a home of good listeners. To be good listeners, we must learn humility. Humility is therefore the prerequisite for shalom bayit. The humble person will not only attain peace in the home, but a complete tikkun, or soul correction, which will lead to a satisfying life in this world and in the next.
 
  




New Comment    New Comment
   See More Articles By Rabbi Lazer Brody
   Read more about Marital Harmony




Top of article    Top of article       Email This Article    Email This Article          Share to Facebook       Print version    Print version


 Join the distribution list Join the distribution list
 
 
  
If you would like to receive other related articles or Breslev.co.il features via e-mail, please enter your e-mail address here:

   

 Related Articles Related Articles
 
 

 
MMS               Looking for Luster               Gently Assertive
 
 MMS  Looking for Luster  Gently Assertive


  0 Talkbacks for this article     

Add Your CommentAdd Your Comment    Add Your Comment    

 
 
  
In Honor of:    In Memory of:
  
 
Like What You Read?
 
Help Breslev Israel spread the light of Rebbe Nachman
across the globe, and be a partner in making a better world.
 
Click here to support Breslev.co.il
  
 
 
 Products of the Day Products of the Day
 
 
 
 
Back  1 2 3  Next
 
 
 
 
  •  
     
  •  
     
  •  
     
  •  
     
  •  
     
 
Back  1 2 3  Next
 
 
 Most talked about Most talked about
 
 
 
 
Up  1 2 3  Down
 
 
 Most read Most read
 
 
 
 
Up  1 2 3  Down
 
 
 Facebook Facebook
 
 
 
 Mailing List Mailing List
 
 
 
Subscribe Here:   
 
   
 

 
 



  
 
 
open toolbar