Susan Barth
Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

Can we truly inoculate our love life?

One of the by-products of this elongated Corona period and the march to the next election is the opportunity that is afforded to Israelis to perform a kind of stocktaking on our own equivalent of a State of the Union.

On the one hand, Israel has become the envy of the world in its aggressive acquisition and country-wide inoculation drive against Corona. The speed at which the inoculation drive was implemented is extraordinary and we can take pride as a country that indeed we are the proverbial light unto the nations.

On the other hand, there seems to be a rising sentiment of uncertainty as we start questioning the inner voices which challenge our preparedness for the topics which dominate the news.

How do we in Israel stack up on addressing such issues as the following:

  • Will there be another Outbreak of the Virus from Purim partying?
  • Will the upcoming elections result in another stalemate?
  • Will Israel find itself on a collision course with the  US following the US and/or Israel Election?
  • Will Iran continue to rattle the saber or actually carry out some threat?

And the list can continue.., but at the heart of the uncertainty should be the confidence that with proper faith “in the guardian who never sleeps or slumbers” and the resilience of Israelis, we can start taking the necessary precautions to inoculate ourselves in all the spheres which are under our control.

The Less than Enviable Statistics

However, there is a sphere where the implementation of corrective measures has not been as enviable and that is in preparation for the oldest and most biblically ordained institution of all — that of marriage.

Statistics from the Central Bureau document the marriage rate in 2017 was 42.1% lower than the rate in 1970.[1] This decrease is in contrast to the 11,604 divorces documented in 2017 which were double the rate of divorce in 1970. Likewise, the age of the grooms and brides is increasing for first-time marriages from 25 in 1970 to 27.8 in 2016 and 21.8 in 2016 for brides to 25.9 in 2015.

Ramifications of these Trends

The ramifications for these trends have been researched extensively and documented in The Case for Marriage Education published by our nonprofit Together in Happiness/B’Yachad B’Osher along with five White Papers.

In a prior blog Preventable Casualties – our Precious Children, I outlined the greatest impact of the statistics especially related to divorce on children. The context of the blog was the contrast in the children who are impacted from divorced homes which are preventable against the real tragedy of the number of soldiers who were killed during the Yom Kippur war.

Preparation is Key

There is an irony in that with the advent of Corona weddings that generally absorb months of planning time in their intricate detail have been downgraded to outdoor gardens and guests numbering less than twenty at times. What that means is that the couple should have more time to concentrate on the preparation for the marriage having been relieved of so many of the usual tasks involved in the wedding!

And this is why all attention should be given to the topic of Preparation and not in the above sense of matters completely better left to Hashem to work out the details, but exactly in the area that couples do have almost full control – to agree to take a marriage preparation course.

Research-proven success formula for inoculation against divorce

The exciting news is that there is a research-proven success formula for inoculation against divorce and relationship and family breakdown. And the vaccine can save your life.

What if I can show you that two shots of a scientifically acclaimed marriage preparation course — administered in just two dosages can save your love life?[2]

A Personal Letter to every Chatan and Kallah

As I wrote  in “A Personal Letter to every Chatan and Kallah” in The Wedding Guide — Fifth Edition published by The Givat Sharett Chesed Committee Simcha Gemach in memory of Feigel Bat Tuvia Nisan z”l:

Many couples just assume that they will know what to do once they get married, but most of what goes wrong inside a marriage comes down to never having learned the skills and principles associated with successful relationships.”

How can you, as a couple or as individuals, learn the ins and outs of these secrets to making your marriage a success?

  • Start by spending a few hours together discussing your vision for what you want your life to be like. This makes a huge difference in the success of your marriage.
  • Learn the communication and conflict management skills that will strengthen your relationship and prevent negative behaviors that can cause problems and breakdown.
  • Decide to Do Your Part and each commit to participating in a marriage education workshop.

The Inoculation Formula — Saving your Love Life:

FREE Online ePREP course for Engaged and Newlyweds

Our nonprofit Together in Happiness is the exclusive partner for offering a FREE online pre and newly married marriage education online course for engaged and newlywed couples for up to one year living in Israel.

The course ePREP (based on the worldwide acclaimed curriculum known as PREP – Prevention Relationship Education Program) provides for communication and problem-solving techniques with self-paced sets of videos and interactive exercises.

In this course the engaged and newlywed couples will learn:

  • How to listen to one another, using the proven speaker-listener technique
  • The escalation danger signs and best ways to avoid conflict
  • Scientifically proven problem-solving techniques
  • How to engage positively
  • How to nurture and sustain a loving relationship

Registration details can be accessed using the link.

https://yes.shemesh.co.il/onlinefreecourse/

 The Key to Our Survival

The days ahead are filled with complete unknowns in some respect and the list at the beginning of this blog provides an enumeration of some of those areas of uncertainty. But for those matters where we can inoculate ourselves to save the lives of our national existence in terms of preserving the family — we have no excuses!

Israel can be the beacon and lead the world in the number of two family marriages and reduction of divorce. But it has to commit itself to offer to take initiatives such as those outlined in Project Chayei Sarah and to encourage especially our most vulnerable population starting homes — the engaged and newly married couples that the best investment they can make is in their marriage if not for themselves — for the sake of our survival.

Birthday Dedication

This blog is dedicated to my beloved mother, Feigel bat Tuvia Nisan z”l who suffered from Alzheimer disease for 18 years and whose English birthday is today March 11. She would be 101 years old. All of my work is dedicated to her memory as well as my father. The Givat Sharett Chesed Committee Simcha Gemach is also in her memory and it produces an array of wedding-related items including its flagship product – The Wedding Guide – Fifth Edition. The website of The Givat Sharett Chesed Committee displays the items available for weddings is https://www.gscc.org.il/the-simcha-gemach/. The contact information is simchagemach@gmail.com

[1] https://www.cbs.gov.il/he/publications/DocLib/2019/Shnaton70_mun.pdf, page 30

[2] This idea was offered by Diane Sollee, MSW, who founded and directed Smart Marriages® and the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, (CMFCE) as detailed on  www.smartmarriages.com.

About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum. On November 8, 2017, Together in Happiness co-hosted with MK Yehudah Glick a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education
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