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Rabbi: Western Culture Raising Divorce Rates

Rabbi warns that focus on self-fulfillment leaves marriages in trouble.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/30/2013, 11:52 AM

Rabbinic Court in Jerusalem
Rabbinic Court in Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Data on Jewish divorce in Israel in 2012 released Tuesday showed a 5% increase in the divorce rate. According to Rabbi Zev Mendelson, a marriage counselor, the figures show that Western culture is damaging Israeli family life.

“These numbers are not surprising,” he told Arutz Sheva. “We’re keeping track of the reports and we see an increase.

“The cultural behavior in the Western world is around self-fulfillment,” he continued. “We look for what is easy and feels right for ourselves. In a relationship, you need to mold yourself to the other’s needs – and the two do not go together.”

People search for a sense of fulfillment outside marriage, he explained. “It could be work, study, writing on Facebook or meeting other people,” he said. The common factor is that people “look for ways to fill that emotional need, and it hurts the relationship,” he said.

The best way to immediately boost a relationship is simply to listen, he said. “People talk without listening to the other side. We need to learn to listen to what our spouse is saying, that renews the connection,” he explained.

Another problem is rushed marriages, he added. “People meet today through Facebook, and that’s a trend particularly after an emotional shake-up,” he related. “They meet and marry quickly. We see a lot of weddings that happened, for example, after Gush Katif, and some did not turn out well. People need wisdom and guidance before getting into a hasty marriage.”