Guidance before Marriage

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    You know how when your dating, things are great, but later certain challenges come up. I find that before marriage, it’s important to have someone like a life coach for guidance. Or it could be when you are newly married. The main thing is learning to communicate and be able to resolve things etc.


    Interesting you say this bec I strong believe that all couples should go to pre marital therapy. I usually get the “weirdo” look when I mention that.

    I think people are scared of “shterring the shidduch” & don’t want to unearth any issues….we all know how that can turn out.


    There are many who push for premarital counseling for any couple that gets engaged. I think it is a great idea, especially to work out how a couple plans on dealing with the practical aspects of marriage. It is not enough to have similar hashgafos, you will still need help dealing with finances, mortgages and bills.


    I think if more couples went for premarital counseling, they would know each other better, in a way that would be more meaningful.

    First of all, you’d have a birds eye view into whether the person you’re with is open to seeking guidance/help.

    Secondly, an observer can sometimes point out patterns in communication that can lead to bigger problems down the line (ie: one person being mevater too often, compromising on very meaningful values, elements of an abusive personality (hidden sarcasm about one’s mate, passive aggressive behavior, ridiculing in a subtle way, a controlling personality). These are things that might make a person feel the shidduch is a bit “off”, but may be hard to identify, and might lead one to compromise.

    People also walk away from a good shidduch out of fear. Though individual counseling might be called for in such a case, having a therapist meet and greet and get to know both parties can help them navigate through the challenges.


    Guidance is good, but is professional help really needed?

    Most new couples will find guidance from their parents and/or Rabbeyim. If it ain’t broke – why fix it?

    Therapists are for the small percentage that can’t handle their lives. Therapy is Not a good idea for e/o because 1. it’s still a stigma in our community and 2. it’s very costly. Most people in our day and age don’t have $ for luxuries. Pre-marital therapy for Most people is a luxury, since it’s not really needed.

    a mamin

    Health: Very interesting? Do you feel premarital therapy would not have helped save your marriage?


    pre marital therapy for sure. Also throw in some intimacy therapy to it would save so much heartahce. There is a huge gap between being a single girl/bachor in yeshiva/seminary and being a married couple living together and paying bills and budgeting ect.


    I think before marriage when dealing with hypotheticals it’s a waste of time and money. But an annual marriage checkup/tuning with more sessions if necessary would keep many marriages on track and resolve issues before they escalate. The only advantage of pre marital therapy is that the connection is built beforehand for those that encounter difficulties sooner. So maybe have the first checkup at 3 months, and annually thereafter. Since theres no easy way to enforce this, were still dealing with hypotheticals…



    The word is not hashgafos it is hashkafos. Shekef (shin, kuf, fei) means perspective or view.


    @working harder Everyone always told me before i got married that it’s completely different and u have a ton more responsibilities and so on and so forth…and after i got married, my life didn’t really change a whole lot. So i had to wash dishes more often….take out the garbage more often…wooopty doo…nothing really hard or drammatically different.


    I actually think shadchanim, parents, rabbis and just well meaning people need training in how to set people up (particularly, who is really ready/and how to help people “be ready”). I think people enter the shidduch world unprepared and we just assume when we “come of age” then that’s that.

    Ben Levi

    I find the concept of pre-marital therepy funny.

    Those giving these “sessions generally have been trained by a system whose “products” have a divorce rate of roughly 50% and that is even taking into consideration that a good portion of secularists never get married.

    Now I would want someone trained by them to instruct me (now my kids B”h) on how to be married?

    Thats like turning to someone who has bankrupted every buisness that he has ever run for advice in how to run a buisness.

    You want to know what the results of those who teach “marriage counseling” is take a look at the Divorce rate in secular society.

    For me to listen to you you actually have to have shown you know what you are doing.


    funny we seem to have been surviving for the past 3000 years without pre-marital therapy


    funny we seem to have been surviving for the past 3000 years without pre-marital therapy

    I know! Also without penicillin.


    a mamin -“Health: Very interesting? Do you feel premarital therapy would not have helped save your marriage?”

    If I would have been privy to some info -there wouldn’t have been a marriage.

    And I feel Marital therapy would have saved my marriage -there was no need for Pre-marital therapy.

    Please keep my personal situation out of your comments because even if you were right, I posted above “Therapists are for the small percentage that can’t handle their lives.”

    So I don’t disagree that some people could benefit from pre-marital therapy, just it’s not needed for most people.


    I’ve heard my roshei yeshivas say “everyone should go to therapy.” It’s not just for people with severe emotional or mental problems. Everyone has conflicts and problems in life, and we gain tremendously by having someone who understands the workings of the human mind to discuss it with. They even said if they could afford it that they would go to therapists. I also heard a very big Rosh Yeshiva (yes, with capitals) of a prominent Yeshiva in NY say that: before dating, guys should work out their issues. He was talking to the talmidim so he said guys, but I’m sure he means girls too. Psychology is a science and it has results. Whoever thinks therapists are just for crazies doesn’t know much about psychology and kochos hanefesh.

    YW Moderator-42

    Ben Levi, I assume a frum couple would go to frum therapists who understand frum marriages. And part of the reason that divorce rate of people going to therapy is so high is because only those with serious issues to begin with are going to therapy in the 1st place.


    Exactly, it might or might Not work if the couple’s relationship is already at a criticle stage. While some can be saved, it’s best to have guidance Before that happens, so you can prevent heartache and frustration. And when challenges come up, the guidance you received helps you know how to deal with things productively and positively.


    Ben Levi, what is the divorce rate amongst frum Jews? Unfortunately I know such a large number of divorced couples. I am almost in the mod twenties and I know atleast 10-15 people who are around my age maybe a little older that we’re divorced within 2 years of marriage. My sister in-law for one would have benefited greatly from pre-marital counseling. Often when you date for 4 weeks you are just in the blissfully excited ” I’m getting married!” state that you don’t realize if someone is emptionally immature, hiding things from their past, etc. as much as we want to believe that shiduch system works, and many times it does, you do not know someone on that short of a time period, and many challenged arise once you are married so it could in many, not ALL, situations be helpful to get some things out on the table first and discuss them with an impartial 3rd party.


    @Curiosity most likely the rosh yeshiva was saying to work out your issues like not learning daily, not davening, etc.


    @ Repharim – nope. He was talking about emotional, psychological, relationship issues, and the like. One of his lines was, “Get the help you need!” Whether it be through talking with a rebbe, counselor, or therapist – whatever helps. It was very clear. There is no reason not to speak with people that can give us guidance. The only factor that we have to look out for is how qualified that person is to give us guidance. Sadly, the average guy with “rabbi” in front of his name isn’t qualified for non-halachic eitza, if only that.


    Can someone please explain to me the stigma in the Orthodox Jewish community in regard to an individual receiving therapy? As a student clinician I’m having a hard (understatement) time processing this…


    Can someone please explain to me the stigma in the Orthodox Jewish community in regard to an individual receiving therapy?

    Well, the stigma isn’t really therapy per se, but associating with a therapist. The idea is that since therapists are all weirdos, someone who associates with them must be a weirdo also.

    I myself don’t believe this though. I think that even though someone associates with the therapist weirdos, they could still themselves not be a weirdo.

    ☕️coffee addict

    I think the biggest problem couples (most of them at least) is respecting their spouse and apreciating what they do in the marraige


    NOMTW – When the mussar movement first started those who opposed it used to say that since mussar fixes middos, the only people who should learn mussar are those with broken middos. They also claimed you could get your mussar out of learning chumash and agadatah in the gemara, which is true, but today we aren’t wise enough to derive these lessons from these texts on our own. I assume that the stigma here is similar. Someone who goes to a therapist – who fixes psychological problems – must be someone with psychological problems.

    The flaw in both of these ways of thought is that we need to realize EVERYONE has psychological problems. Not that everyone is loco, but that everyone has flaws in their way of thinking that cause relationship issues, anger issues, happiness issues, social issues, etc. These can be straightened out by mussar and guidance – assuming the person is open to growth. This is a short compilation of what I have learned from my rabbeim over the years when they spoke hashkafa on this issue.



    “Can someone please explain to me the stigma in the Orthodox Jewish community in regard to an individual receiving therapy?”

    By going to therapy, you are admitting you have an emotional/psychological problem, and it’s extremely difficult for an outsider to know how adequately this problem has been addressed. Therefore, many choose to do shidduchim only with those who have no obvious signs of emotional/psychological problem



    2nd time you called me a weirdo 😉 When do I start taking it as a compliment?


    Ok then, so since we’ve established that everyone has some sort of problem to deal with….the stigma should be that much smaller, no?


    You are fooling yourself if you think that there is a single individual in this world that has no emotional problems. IMO, the problem stems from the fact that the general opinion is that people who go to therapy have massive emotional issues that can only be addressed by mental health professionals. Since these professionals have extensive training in deals with “crazies”, problem solved- everyone in therapy is crazy, right?

    WRONG! Many people put themselves into therapy because they are dealing with a temporary issue that they need a fresh/unbiased viewpoint on. Others are just there to talk (hey, you pay me- I’ll listen to you plan your shabbos menu!)

    I guess what I’m trying to convey is that yes, many individuals who are in therapy have deep seeded emotional issues that are unpleasant to uncover, but some are just there for moral support/guidance and do not deserve to be stigmatized, but rather commended.

    End of rant.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    NOMTW – Some people have an aversion to getting therapy, and some people seem to think that because it is such a stigma where they live, it must be one in all the Jewish communities. Not everyone has objections to getting help or getting help for their kids. I know many (more than 4) therapists who are booked solid with frum people. But I am also in the healthcare field and I am very leery of recommending psychological help or even MSW’s unless I REALLY know them and many of their clients.

    The reason for this is because there are many who are not effective but will not admit they are going nowhere. This can be damaging to an already stressed relationship. There are also those who have very specific outlooks and treat through that lens. I work with troubled kids and see lots of parenting I disapprove of, but it is out of my hands to change it. If a therapist believes your path is unhealthy, he will push you toward his view of health. This can be a big problem when stringent lifestyles are brought before him. I do know therapists who encouraged some clients to “be true to themselves” even though it involved pursuing lifestyles that were not Torahdik.

    I am NOT discouraging therapy by any means. I push for professional help when needed. I do know many people, however, who see therapists and DO NOT KNOW that they have the right to change therapists if they feel they are getting nowhere (legitimately). I am just trying to explain MY experiences with why many are leery, cautious or distrustful. This is meant as a GENERAL overview from my vantage point only. (But I hope it helps)


    Nomtw – for the coffee room members who’ve read this discussion, yes, to some extent, there should be less stigma. Though mw13 raises a good point that I haven’t really considered. You don’t know the extent of someone’s problems and the extent to which they’ve been resolved by therapy. So, if you only know that someone has been to therapy, without knowing the details, you could be taking a risk. That’s not a guaranteed risk because it could have been a minor issue, and even if it was a big issue it could have been resolved. But it’s a risk nonetheless.

    The little I know

    There a few misconceptions that are repeated in the above comments.

    1. Therapists – weirdos. There are weirdos who are electricians, insurance brokers, journalists, doctors, any other career, even rabbonim. And there are plenty of each of those categories who are nice, ethical, moral people who are extremely conscious of what they know (and can practice) and their limitations.

    2. Therapy for who, for what. True, everyone can benefit from therapy. But let’s ask the first question that any therapist should ask a newcomer client. “What problem brings you here?” If one cannot specify an issue they wish to resolve, nothing will occur in that therapy besides, perhaps, learning to use insight, and some character improvement. These are wonderful, but are luxuries. Here is the cost factor.

    3. Premarital therapy. I have not a doubt that some people need this. I suggest an alternative. Premarital education. I do not refer to the needed chosson and kallah classes. Those halachos are crucial to living as a shomer Torah umitzvos. I refer specifically to learning how to communicate, how to disagree respectfully, how to grow into a bond of safety, spirituality, and true love. Despite the denial I heard from those who do such teaching, it is rare to find this being done properly. And maybe the time and place is much before engagement, even dating. Do our yeshivos, schools, and seminaries do any of this? Don’t all answer at once. What difference should it make if the one offering this guidance and teaching possesses letters after their names or the titles of Rabbi or Rebbetzin before their names?

    There is a sefer from Reb Klonymous Kalman of Piescecznia (author of Chovas Hatalmidim) called ??? ????? ???? in which he describes a proposed self help mussar group with rules and guidelines. This idealogically resembles what was initally suggested by Reb Yisroel Salanter. It proposed a lifestyle that involved a heavy amount of introspection that was brutally honest, where others were permitted to offer their help and suggestion to overcome the challenges of midos we face all the time. This is an example of an idea that can be implemented into our educational system which would obviate the need for professional intervention later. Sadly, nothing of this sort goes on, and we are left to our own guess of what midos are worth emulating and fixing into our characters.


    Shalom Task Force offers workshops (premarital education)for engaged couples (and newly marrieds that realize they should have done it before they got married)that cover topics such as finances,communication, understanding the viewpoint of the other etc.

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