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Frum Divorce Rate is Up

Op-Ed by By Rabbi Hanoch Hecht: Why is it considered a thing of embarrassment to get advice from a person with knowledge and experience in successfully dealing with marital issues? Full Article

In Memory of Little Shula

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When two choose to be one
November 4, 2009 11:38 am

When we transmit these eternal truths to our children their marriages will both survive and thrive.

Thank you Tzvi Freeman for formulating these thoughts so eloquently

“When Man and Woman were first formed, they were a single being. And then G-d divided them apart, so that they could achieve a higher union.

Why is it higher?

Because now it is through their own struggle. That is true oneness: When two choose to be one.”

She Made Him Good
November 3, 2009 6:52 am

How about this as a point of departure?

By Tzvi Freeman
All that G-d created, He said was good. Except for one: “It is not good that Man is alone.” And so He made Woman, and it was very good.

If so, how is it possible that a man could despise the woman who took him from “not good” to “very good”? End of quote.

Directing couples to focuson the true Jewish concept of marriage, the Holy union they are forming, the reassembling of two halves into one whole is the best form of premarital counselling!


Task Force.
November 2, 2009 2:28 pm

The idea of premarital counselling has been around now for some time within Jewish communities around the world. It is of course a very important fuction. However, counsellors need to be trained by proffesionals and even get a certificate that can be provided to ascertain that the counsellor is qualified. There are individuals that have led young couples up the garden path, and have given competely inappropriate directives. There also needs to be some well trained counsellors including rabbis to help couples and families already suffering different types of abuse. Couples need to know and be confident that there is… Read more »

premarital counselling
November 1, 2009 4:25 am

premarital counselling does one thing, and one thing only. when one of the marriage partners, which usually is the man,is abusive, the premarital counselling will help you detect it, which always is very well hidden and you would never discover it before you got married. On the contrary, the more abusive they are, the more they pretend to be the perfect gentleman when they are dating and engaged. So when you do counselling before marriage and you suspect and detect, and these suspicions are always right. Grab your life and run. Abuse only gets worse, it never diminishes.

validity of pre-marital councelling
November 1, 2009 4:09 am

AS someone who did pre-marital councelling with engaged couples ,I have to say that it,s value is very limited . No one at this stage is being very honest ,, they a re too starry eyed .. scared to upset the partner .. e. t. c. . There is also no Data even after many years of having this marriage prepare course being done by countless couples ,that it has in fact reduced the divorce rate.

Thank-you Rabbi Hecht!
November 1, 2009 3:33 am

Being a counselor myself, wife, and mother, I have respect that Rabbi Hecht has brought up this “hot” topic. Premarital counseling sets the tone in the relationship on the right foot making the statement that there will be issues to work on and that there are people available to help-mashpia, counselor, leaders, etc. For very few, their marriage comes easily and most marriages need work as in any valuable endeavor. Couples must know from day 1 that asking for help though may be humbling is a mature step and will lead to greater good, less suffering. Whether it be improved… Read more »

To all of you ! and specifically#4
October 31, 2009 6:18 pm

I went to premarital counciling and we thought everything would go well- he was so different than- I think by now we just brought out the worst in eachother- I didn;t marry an abusive husband just the more I live with him the more abusive he becomes- so was he abusive before I married him or I made him that way? sometimes a jewish woman feels that if she were to divorce it would be difficult for her to marry again, unfortunatly in this generation their is way too much lashon harah as well as alot of gossip- so if… Read more »

to #45 from #39 & 20
October 31, 2009 5:51 pm

Stupid, read the post again i didnt say he is a spokesman for lubavitch, i said till he is, he should not be addessing these issues as if hes a bonified specialist or someone experienced enough to be giving siloutions to things he has no idea on how to really deal with. Thats all Im saying.
Read it again and youll see how stupid your comment is.

TO #39
October 31, 2009 3:04 pm

\Where do u get the idea that Rabbi Hecht is speaking as ‘a spokesman for lubavitch’ ?

October 31, 2009 2:36 pm

You are sooo funny! and so right!!!
Keep up the good advice!!!

akeres ha bayis
October 31, 2009 2:13 pm

we need to be taught 🙂 dah

also, ppl are saying you have to respect each other –
well, one needs to respect oneself first,
if you didnt get it during your childhood,
you’re in trouble – takes a lot of work to self manufacture it

to 40
October 31, 2009 2:05 pm

so everything is on her head? what about the husband if he is not a GOOD HUSBAND AND GOOD FATHER …. hope it wont take you another 10 years ….

medical/ emotional issues hidden
October 31, 2009 1:12 pm

I, B”H, was saved from getting into a marriage where the boy had emotional & medical issues. Before I dated him, I had checked solid references – they didn’t know of any issues. HOWEVER, I “did” only call the references he gave me. Had I asked around, and done some behind-the-scenes investigating, I may have found out the issues. We dated about 6 times (now I wouldn’t do under 10). He was very charming (can be/ often is a red flag), he made me feel extra special, and in short – we got engaged. Once we were engaged, after about… Read more »

Peaceful marriage
October 30, 2009 9:01 am

ALL MEN ARE THE SAME!!!!!! It is how the woman responds and reacts to him that will make or break the marriage. If she is an EISHES CHAYIL, and an AKERES HABAYIS , well then, there will be PEACE on earth.If not, there will usually be WORLD WAR III. It took me just about 10 years to figure that out. I am married for 40 years, and the last 30 years have been GREAT.

To #29 from #20
October 30, 2009 5:12 am

I am telling you that this mashpia told this girl to get engaged to this guy and you see what happened, you cant just rely on your mashpia because they dont have all the information, and maybe they should have all the information but they usually don’t. And in that case the mashpia didnt and you see what happened after that. So the answer is not just going to your mashpia, which yes is important, but for you to date untill you know for sure that this is the person you care for and share the same values as, and… Read more »

Better a broken engagement than a broken marriage r"l
October 30, 2009 4:47 am

I remember over thirty years ago if you broke an engagement it was considered a terrible thing.The astracizing was terrible. It wasn’t divorce R”L, but, people held it against you . I say better a broken engagement, than a broken marriage. R”l I was one of those who got pushed into an engagement, let myself get pushed when I felt something wasn’t right, and then when I did ask for advice from various people in the community , no one really wanted to help or give their time or patience. I was told that ” this is the best you’ll… Read more »

October 30, 2009 4:14 am

I think from reading the posts from different people regarding Rabbi Hecht’s article that most of the readers have missed the point. Pre marital courses or advise are not about the councillor advising as to whether the shidduch is a good one or not or whether one party is likely to be abusive. This is a totally separate issue. It is learning about how to live with a member of the opposite sex who thinks totally differently from the way he or she thinks. It may be ok to say something to another man; but it may be an absolute… Read more »

From someone who is in a wonderful marriage
October 30, 2009 3:08 am

Is it possible for premarital counseling to work reverse damage? I was one who ‘fell in love on first sight’ married 2 months later, and am happily married many many years later. I am wondering if I would have heard speeches ‘if you notice this, do that’, ‘if he says this, he means that’ etc. would it perhaps have awakened situations that in a loving marriage can be easily overlooked? 2 good people can usually work out their differences. However, the problem is that pointing out negativity – in all areas of life – awakens the negativity. So pointing out… Read more »

Rebbetzin Altein said...
October 30, 2009 3:07 am

A long time ago, when she was the ONLY kallah teacher in CH, she also spoke to Junior N’Shei. She said that the emes is that many people do not have happy marriages (the reasons are endless). But, you can always make your situation better. For some women, that might even mean getting a career or some focus to satisfy you other than your husband. A great marriage is a tremendous brocha from HaShem. Like wealth, beauty, brains and other gifts, we get what we get and must use our own energies to improve on the raw material. Young people… Read more »

October 30, 2009 2:55 am

to the young,know it all, kids who do the references themselves. You definitly don’t realize yet what are the most important things to find out, so you end up focusing on the TAFEL and not the IKAR. And second of all, a mother has intuition, she can read between the lines, feel if there was a split second hesitating before the reference went on to say how marvelous the person is,has more experience etc. etc. but no, it goes thru the mother,usually, and then thru the kids. And yes, I say kids, even though he or she might be 30… Read more »

everyone's different
October 30, 2009 2:33 am

Everyone’s different and it is impossible to no whether a good candidate for divvorce would truly benefit from it. it must be well stutied before deciding to go aheah with divorce that the couple would truly be better off ‘liberated’. As complex and difficult abusive relationships may be, some people handle much better with picking up the broken pieces and moving on than others. the last thing you want to do is advise or coax someone into divorce. the depression, the loneliness etc. can be more traumatizing to many than a less than perfect marriage. MUCH thought has to go… Read more »

Harav HaMachshir
October 30, 2009 1:24 am

#23 continued
One more point. A professional counselor has certain limitations to adhere to in order remain a counselor (and certified etc.) They cannot be decisive. They can only gently try (try) to bring out the problems and discuss how to overcome them. A smart mashpia (Huh?, but I mentioned one above in #23) can be “involved”. If the couple don’t listen to a warning. He can call the parents and tell them beware. Take more time.

You cannot change someone else; you can only change your reaction to the other person.
October 29, 2009 7:27 pm

Talking from experience – Once a control freak, always a control freak. You can learn how to react to the other person’s controlling nature and once they see that you are no longer vulnerable it is not “fun” for them any more and they find someone else to control i.e. their secretary, their employees, etc… Believe it or not, I am married to a controlling person and generally happily married B”H because after counseling I learned how to react and to show that I am not vulnerable and will not be a korbon. Most controlling people had someone in their… Read more »

parents of the boy and the girl & shadchanim need to be honest
October 29, 2009 6:15 pm

there are unfortunately too many situations where an individual has mental health issues, or has been living a life contrary to what they seem like on the outside or that the individual is on drugs-of whatever type…and no one bothers to tell the person that this individual is going out with…and this can lead to terrible problems!!!

TO 28
October 29, 2009 5:42 pm

the final decision should be made in consulting with YOUR mashpia/h.

to #25 from #20
October 29, 2009 5:13 pm

I can tell for you for one thing that this girl seeked good advice from mashpiim and they advised her to get engaged so alot of times mashpiim are not 100% accurate and aware of all the details of everything that maybe going on in ones mind or their spouses mind for that matter

wow. very impressive
October 29, 2009 5:12 pm

a good, thoughtful and -most impressive for the internet: mature, respectful and constructive discussion of this most important matter.

to #21 from #20
October 29, 2009 5:02 pm

My opinion is: 1. You dont get engaged after a few dates unless you are so sure that everything is good like you know that youre breathing right now, you have to really feel it and intellectually be holding there as well. 2. Everyone youre going to call is going to say he/she is msart, hopefully you’re mart enough to pick up whether he/she is smart enough for you, for some people they are more intellectually inclined and therefre some of those people are looking for someone who is smarter than them or a rocket scientist. For some others it’s… Read more »

October 29, 2009 4:56 pm

re: the following paragraph in your post: “Singles listen up: You dont need pre-marital counselling if you are both normal people, yes there are disagreements etc. in any marriage but if you respect one another and share the same values that will go a long way in determining how you will deal with issues and when times of crisis come along you will have the foundation of a good and caring marriage that will be able to withstand a few bumps.” I’d like to inform you, that many times one of the couple was assured before marriage, of their definite… Read more »

stop the lying
October 29, 2009 4:40 pm

i think one solution would be if all the “shidduch references” would actually start telling the truth about people.

HaRav HaMachshir
October 29, 2009 3:49 pm

Experience in this arena has taught me that a major proportion of divorces would not have happened had the Mesader Kiddushin done a little more than just ask the names at the last moment (sometimes even on the telephone.) It boggles the mind that a Rov con make 2 brochos besheym umalchus on a marriage he has no idea about. Counselling – nu. Alpi taharas hakodesh, in a chassidishe way. But if every parent and rov would require that the shidduch be approved by a kluger rov, then it would be less daunting and time consuming and would be a… Read more »

2 points:
October 29, 2009 2:04 pm

1. Even abusive situations can be resolved if the abuser can somehow be shlepped to a counselor ( I know from experience with a close relative)
2. Everyone thinks they are “normal”. You can’t say “normal people don’t need therapy”. In our fast-paced, disposable society, everyone can use additional communication and getting-along skills.

to #20
October 29, 2009 1:51 pm

How do you know if someone is “normal” after a few dates? I married into a very normal family, but my husband turned out to be the black sheep. No, he is not abusive B:”H and he helps me with the kids all the time, but he suffers from depression and has other psychological issues. Would I have married him if I would have known all of this? of course not!! What is the solution? if everyone is lying about your chosson and saying that he is from, when he really is not, and saying he is smart, when he… Read more »

Something smart!!!
October 29, 2009 12:27 pm

FROM A GIRL IN SHIDDUCHIM: I have a friend who got married, and after a few months being married to the guy, she realized that he’s a control freak and wants everything to be his way. In addition he suddenly decided he doesnt want to go on shlichus, and he decided that a hat & jacket is not for him anymore and i will not go further or get graphic. She had a rebellious husband, and the problem was simple, they had no communication and mutual respect and love for each other. She wanted to be more frum he wanted… Read more »

October 29, 2009 12:09 pm

Dear Chaim, Your attitude only explains why people divorce. When you buy a new product like a car, you need to read the instruction manual before you drive. Young men and women in the frum communities who most likely have rarely spoken and mixed with members of the opposite sex are suddenly thrown into a totally new environment. The fact is that men and women are very different from each other and having pre-marital courses for chasonim and kallas can only increase the chances of a successful marriage. Number 13 gave a very simple example of how learning new communication… Read more »

Another opinion
October 29, 2009 11:35 am

I’m glad we didn’t go for premarital counseling. They would probably have advised us not to get married – with my immaturity and my husband’s history, we had the odds stacked against us. No we don’t have perfect shalom bayis, but it’s a whole lot better than none! (Anyway, who has perfect shalom bayis?) Rabbonim and rebbetzins with life experience and Torah and chassidus ideals might be able to give pre-chasuna Shalom Bayis classes in a way that would not in any way help weed out the potential abusers, but give the boost to the other 80% of well-meaning couples… Read more »

gittel g.
October 29, 2009 11:19 am

as wonderful as premarital sounds, i think it is also of utmost importance that a couple GET HELP!!! when they need, in order not to disband a household, or raise neurotic children bec. of conflict in the home..each couple needs to have an older couple ( as per Mrs. Chana Epsteins advice) to go to to iron out differences, or just clarify issues. so many things are discussedd propr to marriage.. all couples MUST have mashpiim, relatives,etc. to sit down with them, and objectivley listen to complaints,etc. there is nothing more imp. than shalom bayis!!

The 'D' word is out in the open!
October 29, 2009 10:18 am

So, now will someone tie it in to the “T” word – the utter chaos of the Tznius situation in our community, where boys and girls have no respect for the boundries which the Holy Torah put into place for the specific purpose of ensuring that young people become mentchen and learn to act with kabolas ol and within boundaries!

Well Said. If I would've of taken Rabbi Chaiken's subtle advice, I would never have married her
October 29, 2009 10:18 am

Rabbi Chaikin gave me (too) subtle advice that my ex wife’s pre-marital behavior was a strong sign to reconsider the upcoming wedding. Years later and after a lot of hardship and hard work to try to make the impossible work, we finally got divorced… thank G-d

October 29, 2009 9:48 am

stop tp mix to your kids life and don’t ever leave cross the street from your in-laws

Learning how to deal with conflicts.
October 29, 2009 9:28 am

When I was 1 year married and having regular conflicts with my wife (which I think is normal, I don’t see it possible for 2 people to live together and agree on everything – the question is how you deal with it) I realized that when I was upset at my wife, I was not getting the response that I was looking for (and vice versa). When I had any problem (not with her) and I would share it with her, she would give me advice and I would say I don’t need advice, she would respond: “so what do… Read more »

October 29, 2009 9:09 am

Pre-marital counseling is a joke. Do you really know the person after your 6 dates and the shadchan is pressing you to move forward? How will pre-marital counseling help out?

Now getting better counseling once you’ve been married for a few months is something that should be discussed.

To #4
October 29, 2009 8:47 am

if you would have gone to pre marital counseling with him, you would have probably gotten some kind of hint into his abusive nature Not neccesarily, you would have payed attention to it, but Hashem always sends us signals before.

Dear Rabbi Hanoch Hecht
October 29, 2009 8:41 am

It is clear to me that you deeply care about the rising divorce rate in Lubavitch otherwide you wouldn’t have written this op-ed. I will list below a number of reasons I can think of why couples divorce: 1. Incompatibilty – the young couple cannot learn to get on together. 2. Physical abuse – usually by the husband, however, there are cases where the woman is the abuser. 3. Emotional abuse – The abusive spouse constantly critisizes, berates, puts down, intimidates and has no respect towards the other spouse. 4. Financial Abuse – when the abusive spouse insists on controling… Read more »

To #4
October 29, 2009 8:09 am

Sorry about your difficulties but Rabbi Hecht’s suggestion has great merit. No system is perfect (until Moshiach finally gets here) but something positive and real needs to be done to educate our kids. No, we’ll never weed out all of the cheats and sickos, but we need to try.

October 29, 2009 8:08 am

I think marriage advice should be given by people who are married for much longer than Hanoch Hecht and who have much more experience

October 29, 2009 7:33 am

Agreed. Children need to learn about the rules and sanctity of marriage. Bring your teens to family court room to sit in for one morning where I am now!

i could not agree more.
October 29, 2009 7:12 am
Very well
October 29, 2009 7:10 am

Please be aware also on the lightness that people regard marriage these days. Unfortunately, I am going through a divorce myself right now. Without, of course, going into details, I was amazed on how lightly people take the whole thing. Many people in Crown Heights simply did not want to get involved in helping resolve any differences including rabonim….. Secondly, many people without basic knowledge of the problems we had in our marriage, “advised” my wife and encouraged her to go for the divorce…….. There is simply no regard to the value of the Yidishe Heim and the affects a… Read more »

October 29, 2009 6:57 am

Brilliant article, I couldnt agree more!
Heres a q for you Rabbi Hecht…..does pre-maritial counseling help when one day your husband wakes up and decides to be abusive?…..yeah, didn’t think so. I am one of the many ‘young’ divorcees, mother of one. Unfortunatly, pre-martial counseling can only help so much, it can’t help abuse, cheaters etc
I’m not for divorce, its hard, its horrible, but one thing I can tell you….I’ve never been happier being freed from an abusers chain.

Someone who was there
October 29, 2009 6:33 am

Oh – Rabbi Hecht – you have opened the Pandora’s box! It is so good to see someone in Chabad address this issue – of ‘Divorce’ – dare I say the word?!! I was one of those young, starry-eyed girls who could have greatly benefited by pre-marital counseling – even by someone in the Crown Heights community who observed how these two young people were interacting – and maybe the engagement/marriage would not have taken place. Fast forward – we had the Rebbe’s bracha, we were married for 20 some years – and B”H we had the children – for… Read more »

So true!
October 29, 2009 6:31 am

This couldn’t said better, thank you! Even two good chassidishe people from good homes need to learn how to deal with the opposite gender and having a constant other person in their life.

Boruch N. Hoffinger BS"D
October 29, 2009 6:26 am

Unfortunately/Fortunately this seems like a very wholesome thing.
My daughter has a female friend who, being close to 30, eager to wed, married w/o checking a young Chabadnicks background or personality. Their marriage, sadly, ended in divorce.
He, supposedly, tried to control her in unusual and strong ways.
Initially, she, and those around her, were not aware of this tendency.
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