Hope for Change
As we approach Rosh Hashana, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts about my trip last month to Latin America for a 2 day Save Your Marriage Intensive. It was quite an amazing experience and it taught me a lot about the potential for healing in even the most difficult situations.
Besides the practical skills and deeper understanding of the dynamics of relationships, what may have been more crucial overall was the hope that this couple gained that they could repair their marriage. One of the biggest impediments to change in relationships is the often false belief that nothing will change. There is no way for the marriage to get better.
As you may have read in my new book Is Your Marriage Over: The Five Step Action Plan to Improving Your Marriage, the first step to improving any relationship is commitment. Being committed to making a marriage work inherently means that there is hope that the relationship can get better. Commitment alone can help turn the tide and begin the healing process. Those two days gave them hope because they saw that their relationship could be different.
The beauty of the Imago process is that couples are able to experience “being in relationship” in an entirely new way. It is absolutely mind blowing when couples who have been married for over 20 or 30 years can walk away from a session commenting that they have never experienced such safety and connection in their relationship. Regardless of whether all of their problems were resolved, they have hope that things can be better because they experienced a healthier way of being in the time we worked together.
This hope for change is also one of the most powerful components of Rosh Hashana. The Hebrew word shana, meaning year, is also related to the word shinui, change. Rosh Hashana is the beginning of change. It is a microcosm of the coming year and the way we behave during the 48 plus hours of Rosh Hashana affects our future year. Every hour corresponds to a different week. We behave on Rosh Hashana the way we envision our new life to be for the coming year.
Many of us are familiar with the Talmudic passage that there are three books open on Rosh Hashana, one for righteous, one for the wicked, and one for those in between. The first Chassidic work, the Toldos Yaakov Yosef explains that these three books are open and it is our job to choose which book in which we would like to be inscribed. Ultimately, we can choose the type of person we want to be this year. As we greet Rosh Hashana, we can be hopeful that our lives can change for the better. Choose the type of year, the type of relationships, and the type of life you want this year!