Susan Barth
Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

The Ultimate Teams to Keep Track Of

For those who follow American professional baseball, this time of year and especially this week is dedicated to watching  the post season MLB baseball playoffs in anticipation of the World Series match offs. And for many olim from the states, almost nothing will interfere with following every movement of a favored team until total victory or elimination.

Field of Dreams

I must admit, a central theme of one of my favorite movies, A Field of Dreams, is America’s favorite pastime of Baseball.   In the movie, one of the main characters, played by actor James Earl Jones vociferously endorses the dream of the main character played by Kevin Costner of converting a cornfield into a baseball field, with the famous line “If You Build It, They will Come.”  There was no doubt that people would be filled with nostalgia and flock to a cornfield turned baseball field just for the pure pleasure of watching their favorite teams and enjoying the game.

Here is the link to the famous quote:

https://youtu.be/qwB7fRI-jp8

The Motto Also Applies to Marriages

Marriage is very much like that cornfield. Two people from different backgrounds and with very different personalities decide to build something together and they find reasons to make it work. They create a strong bond through positive communication and shared time and that empty field turns into a beautiful dream.

When I founded Amuta Together in Happiness, I also felt a little like Kevin Costner. Marriage education workshops are the field and my dream is to bring as many people as possible to watch the game – or rather, to learn the skills that will make marriage a dream come true.  Having said that, finding role models who typify what marriage offers is critical to the actualization of my dream.

The Ultimate Teammates of Choice

This time period also is especially noteworthy for the emphasis which the weekly Torah portions have on the theme of teams – and in the context of marriage. Ever since the cycle of Torah readings started anew, the topic of marriage and teams have come up weekly in the Torah portions of Bereishit, Noach, Lech Lecha, and this week’s portion of Vayeira, as we have been introduced to the pairs or teammates of Adam and Chava and Noah and Naamah and over the course of these two weeks – to Avraham and Sarah.

Character Traits to Emulate

In a prior blog entitled, Where is Sarah Thy Wife, I mention the traits of modesty which epitomized Sarah and in another blog, I Vote for Avraham and Sarah, I wrote the following:

Avraham and Sarah never wavered in their love for one another. They had a partnership founded on mutual trust, respect, and devotion.

In his bestselling book “Emotional Intelligence,” Daniel Goleman writes that the most important trait of emotional intelligence is the ability to be empathetic. And this empathy leads to altruism. Avraham and Sarah shared a very high level of emotional intelligence.”

The Critical Importance of the First Year of Marriage

Just like in the instance of the Field of Dreams, each of our Torah couples certainly had dreams and visions of what their lives would look like.

The Torah portions actually highlight for us what could be considered the engagement and marriage and first year of marriage of the couples of Adam and Chava, Noah and Naamah, and Avraham and Sarah and gives us glimpses into the challenges they faced as they embarked on their lives together.

Think about it, having to face as a new couple the trials of eviction from the Garden of Eden (Adam and Chava) , twelve exhausting months catering to animals in the Ark during the flood (Noah and Naamah),  and kidnapping in the home of Pharoah (Avraham and Sarah) are certainly trials to test any newlyweds! And in the case of Avraham and Sarah they also had to deal with infertility and childlessness issues.

The Playbook is the Bible

Going back to the Baseball playoffs that I began with, it is a good assumption that the teams that are in the playoffs have coaches who have assembled great coaching staffs and adhere to sound playbooks for executing plays under different scenarios.

Couples starting out marriage also could benefit from playbooks with well researched lessons.

In a prior blog “Can We Truly Inoculate our Love Life”, we reference “A Personal Letter to Every Chatan and Kallah” which is included  in the Wedding Guide, now in its 6th edition published by The Givat Sharett Chesed Committee Simcha Gemach in memory of Feigel bat Tuvia Nisan z”l.

The pertinent section states the following:

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.

If You Build It They WILL COME

The winner of the World Series will certainly represent a team that has invested thousands of hours of practice and defeated major opponents in the march to the Series. Likewise, marriages require an investment of effort to be successful.

As The Case for Marriage Education documents, the investment will yield major dividends as couples create foundations for a lifetime and carry out the legacy of our biblical ancestors and effectuate the blessing given to Jewish newly-weds, that they build a “Bayit neeman b’Yisrael,” a home faithful to the Traditions of Israel.

For details on current Free offerings exclusively for engaged and newlywed couples, please click on https://www.shemesh.co.il/en/deals/engaged-or-newlywed-or-know-someone-who-is/about

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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