July 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Respect Your Father and Mother, or Step Back From Them

After the creation of Adam and Chava, the To­rah says “Al Ken Yaazov Ish Es Oviv Ves Imo, Vdo­vak B’ishto Vhoyu L’vosor Echod”—therefore a man shall leave his moth­er and father and cleave unto his wife and they shall became as one flesh.” It might seem ap­propriate if the Torah would say that when he marries, a man will have to leave or at least minimize his nights out with the guys, or per­haps his obsession with basketball, baseball, football, etc., or certainly leave behind his for­mer girlfriends, but leave (or at least minimize) his interaction with his parents?

Marriage isn’t just a new roommate, or even a new best friend. It is qualitatively differ­ent from whatever came before. It is not just a new relationship, it is cleaving unto ones oth­er half and becoming as one flesh. It is unlike any connection that came before and hope­fully any that will come after. And that is where the difficulty (and ultimately, beauty) comes from. It isn’t just sharing a bank account or at least control over money. It isn’t just sharing a bed (or beds). It isn’t somehow just coming to terms with lessening ones connection with museums (or increasing it) or a million oth­er things, it is a bond unlike any other. And in some strange way, it is struggling with this new partner to overcome the annoying and sometimes crazy making struggles that are fre­quently a part of marriage.

One of the most difficult and often, impor­tant, things that marriage entails is forming a dif­ferent relationship with parents. And what that new connection will be like, is often determined by one’s spouse. Sometimes a spouse will love and become closer to his/her partner’s parents that he/she was with their own. Sometimes they will be able to overlook or at least tolerate the peccadillos of the partner’s relation with his/ her parents. But sometimes, that connection is so upsetting to the spouse, that it drives them crazy. And even though it is important that one attempt to maintain a respectful relation­ship with parents, sometimes that is impossible without seriously undercutting the marriage it­self. When that happens, the couple can try to work through such extreme difficulties with the help of a therapist or Rabbi. But in the final anal­ysis, THE MARRIAGE ALWAYS COMES FIRST! If that involves moving away from parents, end­ing a business relation with them or having only minimal contact with them, then regretful­ly, that is what must be done.

Please feel free to contact me regarding this (or any) topic. You can do so anonymously by writing to morde­[email protected]. Dr. Glick was a clinical psycholo­gist in private practice for 35 years as well as the rab­bi of Congregation Ahavat Yisrael in Montreal. If you would like to submit a question, or contact him for an appointment, he can be reached at mordechaiglick@ gmail.com or by calling him at 201-983-1532.

By Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Glick

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