Underlying Inhibitors to Commitment in a Relationship

It is common knowledge that in the State of Israel neither a man nor a woman can exit a marriage without the spouse’s agreement to a divorce. The get –Jewish writ of divorce – must be given by the man and must be accepted by the woman. This fact can cause problems with commitment when developing a relationship between two singles.

In fact, both men and women can be affected by the fear of being trapped since either one would need his or her partner’s consent to end a marriage. However, there is a halakhic solution which can prevent the untenable situation of an agunah or agun – victims of get-refusal. That solution comes in the form of a prenuptial agreement called the “Agreement for Mutual Respect”.

The “Agreement for Mutual Respect” protects both the woman and the man from future get-refusal via two mechanisms: On the one hand a monetary incentive to arrange a get within six to nine months and on the other hand an incentive to attend couple’s therapy sessions. Both these mechanisms, in an elegant manner, bring two warring spouses to communicate and reach an agreement—either to reconcile or to divorce in a quiet and dignified manner. In that manner, both the man and the woman will be able to move forward and develop a new relationship and hopefully build a new family unit.

With that knowledge in hand, a couple in a serious relationship can establish their bonds on a foundation of trust – which in turn can contribute to a stronger marriage.

In fact, Micki Lavin-Pell, Director of “Beineinu” – Singles Programming at the International Young Israel Movement, advises:

“When a man signs a halachic prenup he is sending his wife a message that he is committed to all women feeling safe in marriage. This is because no person wants to believe that they are ever going to need to use this document, but rather they are sending a message to the world that they care about the rights and protection of all Jewish women. Men who sign the prenup are making a positive statement that they hope will influence all of Jewish society at large.”

I will add: the same goes for women as well.

Micki Lavin-Pell, who is a marriage and family therapist who has been enthusiastically helping singles to find new and meaningful ways to meet for more than 15 years, together with this writer who is one of the authors of the “Agreement for Mutual Respect”, will be speaking at an event for singles sponsored by IYIM and the Jewish Agency at Matan, Rashbag 30 in Jerusalem on Thursday Oct. 23rd at 7:00 PM. It is worthwhile to find out about what one should be aware before committing to a partner in order to build a great relationship.

About the Author
Rachel Levmore, PhD in Talmud and Jewish Law from Bar Ilan University, is the director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the International Young Israel Movement in Israel and the Jewish Agency; one of the authors of the prenuptial "Agreement for Mutual Respect"; author of "Min'ee Einayich Medim'a" on prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get-refusal; and the first female Rabbinical Court Advocate to serve on the Israel Commission for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges.
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