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Why People Divorce

Why People Divorce

What makes a good marriage?

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Rabbi Yacov Barber, Chabad emissary in Melbourne, Australia, is rabbi of the South Caulfield Shul, and is senior Dayan at the Melbourne Beth Din.
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Wamuwi Mongu July 15, 2017

Marriage works if the two parties are mature enough to learn how to resolve changes in their view of life as their relationship grows. Intolerance, indifference, etc are the slow poison of most collapsed marriages. In my case, by the time we were twenty years into it, we did not even remember where our differences began, and we therefore could not resolve them. The unfortunate part is attempts to manipulate some of the children to hate their father or mother. Narcissistic tendencies are the worst enemy of any marriage. All hurting marriages can be mended, if several conditions are present. It's the absence of these conditions in the two individuals that make marriages that fail, fail. Remarrying is usually seen as a way out but still poses similar risks in most cases, and eventually the remarried spouse simply surrenders to a low quality life for the sake of fear of ridicule. Marrying,remarrying and divorcing several times may be perceived as a weakness on ones part, no matter what. Reply

Alicia Madrid September 19, 2016

Inner peace Perhaps to be ok with someone else in a happy marriage and family, one has first to be ok with him/herself. That is why religion is so important to give advices and orientation to faithfully people who wants to explore good options to become the best option of oneself, to be ok with him/herself and the other people. Then marriage will success inside religion. Thanks. Reply

Alicia Madrid September 17, 2016

Marriage with no divorce I guess one marriage is sacrifice but also rewarding. One has to be sure what is left in the way is worthless compared with the common future and letting the past passing by without looking back. Reply

Esther BC, Canada September 16, 2016

This is the result of a very bad divorce, 10 years later... Thank You Rabbi for your great word, unfortunately, I got divorced 10 years ago because my X was very verbally, emotionally abusive, he broke my heart and almost my spirit. I still feel his paws on me and on my grown up children. I may never be able to mend my relationship with them because of his harm. What does the Torah say about the person who commits such harm? I wanted to grow old with him, I loved him and I did sacrifice for him, until I felt I wasn't able to be broken by him anymore.... It was the right decision for me. I am a happy woman today. I wish I could mend the damage with my children, but they are all grown up, and I can't fix it for them.This is the saddest part. My daughter is continuing her father's work with her children. This is how bad it can get.... yes, very sad. Reply

Eli T New Jersey September 16, 2016

Continued And the abused party cannot trust their abuser.

Trust is, fundamentally, the reason all relationships fail.

Until the fundamental issue of trust is addressed, the marriage cannot succeed. Reply

Eli T. New Jersey September 16, 2016

True... but not deep enough Rabbi Barber speaks very well and every single word he said was true. But he doesn't go far enough in his analysis. Why are so few people willing to sacrifice in their relationships? Why do they not subsume the I of soil for the U of soul?

In my opinion, based on personal experience in a divorce, the reason is a lack of trust between the parties. One or both of the parties does not trust the other... and it is hard to sacrifice... perhaps impossible... for someone you do not trust.

This fundamental issue is the reason that ALL relationships fail... whether it is a marriage, a friendship, or a contractual relationship. All relationships require trust and all failed relationships occur when there is a lack of trust.

Several people mentioned abusive relationships... and I believe that such relationships also lack trust. The abuser, for whatever reason, does not trust their partner and therefore attempts to control their partner's actions through abuse.
to be continued... Reply

TeddyBear Brooklyn September 16, 2016

👞👞
The gemara says that one should sell everything he has, if necessary, in order to marry the daughter of a Torah scholar. In a different place, the gemara says that one should sell everything he has in order to buy shoes to wear. What do shoes have in common with a shidduch?

👞👞
1. No matter how expensive shoes are they are worth nothing unless you have two together. A right or left shoe alone is nothing.
👞👞
2. Two right or two left shoes are also worthless, you need two different shoes to complement each other.
👞👞
3. Sometimes new shoes are a little bit uncomfortable at first, but with time and patience you adjust and they become more comfortable.
👞👞
4. If it's hard to get the shoe on, sometimes you need to bend and help it along.
👞👞
5. For the shoe to fit properly, make sure to keep the tongue tucked inside. Reply

Anonymous CA September 15, 2016

So true, one was unwilling or unable (or both) to sacrifice. It takes maturity and/or humility. A narcissist can't. Reply

Anonymous September 15, 2016

A nice video and sound advice , but I agree with anonymous (September 15)and Mr Rosenfeld (September 15). Reply

Eve September 15, 2016

And divorce is necessary in some cases Thank you to anonymous USA who commented on the fact that some people live in abusive marriages and divorce is a necessary option.

I think the Rabbi was referring to otherwise healthy marriages that people are not willing to put the effort into which is so sad. My parents have been married for 43 years and their marriage has had its ups and downs but they've been willing to make sacrifices and grow together.

But, like Anonymous USA I too have been living in an abusive marriage and my husband not only psychologically, emotionally, financially and physically abused me but he has done unspeakable things to our young child. This is why we are in the process of getting a divorce. I need to protect my child first and foremost and then myself.

I'd love to see a video or article on moving on after divorce and how to start again with a new spouse.

Thank you for a well done and inspiring video today! Reply

Anonymous West Chester September 15, 2016

No point in lecturing if only one person is listening. Reply

Anonymous Yorktown, VA September 15, 2016

Abusive Spouse As someone who is just ending an abusive relationship I can give an insight of this topic. I have been involved in an abusive relationship for more than 20 years. I put up with is at first because the good times were very good. I also have Progressive MS and thought no one else would have me. I am retired military and get decent pay and benefits. My wife took total control of our finances and I paid little attention. But one of her issues was always threatening me with financial ruin and/or taking our children away. I have known for many years that I needed out but stuck it out for our children. Now they are old enough, but my wife has turned my 17 year old daughter against me. She tells me it is not Jewish to get a divorce. I have told my story to several Rabbis though and none of them disagree. There are often these situations in life where divorce is a requirement for any happiness. I did try talking to her,counseling and still had to take out protection orders. We are done. Reply

Kinshasa September 15, 2016

Thanks for the video Rabbi How nice it would've been to hear a song sung (even if out of tune) by a husband confessing his love for his wife. A scene from the musical Fiddler on the Roof; comes to mind. With that said, I remain hopeful to marry again. Tough to leave after 20 years of knowing someone but after 20 years I think both parties are pretty much set in their ways. I still remain hopeful for new. Reply

Chaia NY September 15, 2016

Divorce To be honest, sometimes people just grow apart. Interests change, passion leaves, difference in opinions or choices. It's no one's fault and if you fall out of love it's better to divorce than stay in a marriage where the feelings are not there. Sadly some divorces are because of abuse or a cheating spouse. We are human and make mistakes. We should rectify those mistakes and forge ahead. It would be wonderful if marriage and that initial love lasted , but once it's gone the marriage is finished. I've seen it time and again . There are successful marriages and successful divorces. Sometimes you need a second chance at happiness. Reply

Martin Rosenfeld (Atty/Mediator) Fair Lawn,NJ September 15, 2016

From a NJ Divorce Divorce Mediator: Anonymous makes an important point It is difficult to discuss a happy marriage in less than 6 minutes. Rabbi Barber speaks beautifully and elegantly. But Anonymous makes a very important point. It takes 2 to make a relationship work. Sometimes one person does all the work. The relationship fails. Did it fail because of 2 people or because of one? Rabbi Barber should consider adding this caveat, as divorce is traumatic. Why make the wrong party feel guilty for the dissolution of the marriage? S/he may well have sacrificed much but there may have been no reciprocity.

Best wishes to Anonymous as she begins her next chapter. Reply

Jane de Vries Paramus September 15, 2016

Yes, but both people have to work on making a marriage work. I am the one doing all the work, but my husband is into the "I". (Himself). Reply

Anonymous USA September 15, 2016

Soil vs Soul yoffie Beautiful and poignant sermon, Rabbi; if only many of us were raised within more observant homes, rather than "reform-secular"– we might have understood the U of being a SoUl-mates, rather than the I of being I-centered in our "friendly" "sparkless" marriages. Todah Rabah Reply

Anonymous USA September 15, 2016

Abusive Marriage Yes, abusive marriage, you must get out. I'm so sorry for your pain. For most, as the Rabbi says, not in abusive relationships, marriage takes work and sacrifice. I hope you are blessed to find a good husband who will treat you well.

Jacob Gold Reply

Anonymous Israel September 15, 2016

What a shame that a serious talk was railroaded by that hokey music towards the end! I imagine your audience is sophisticated and will find that music, which was supposed to uplift, only serves to make people feel manipulated. Reply

Anonymous September 15, 2016

Too simplistic I agree with the above comment and thank you for articulating your points so well. I was divorced after learning things about my partner that made our marriage untenable. It was very painful to deal with the fallout. I wish it could be as simple as thinking about the other but sometimes the I has to come first. While doing everything we can to foster healthy ways of relating so that marriages, which at the foundation are healthy, can be supported, the Torah recognises that divorce is sometimes necessary. Reply

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