Family Council: A Discussion By Candlelight

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Should a person share their feelings regarding family life with their spouse?

Answer: Yes, there must be no inner divide between a husband and a wife. At times, we feel embarrassed, and sometimes we do not even want to admit something to ourselves. However, we must speak with one another like psychologists. We bare ourselves completely and face one another the way nature made us.

Everyone must regard himself and his partner from the side. Like at a lab bench, we reveal our inner world and discuss everything to the end without any shame, without thinking about the past or the future.

After all, we wish to turn everything into unity. So, let us put all the problems out on the table:

  • What is bad about us? Which qualities do we not want to use in their current form? We make a mutual critical analysis.
  • What is good about us? What do we want to share with one another? What do we want to develop?

Together, we figure out what is wrong with our ugly nature, and, simultaneously, we show that we are prepared to rise above it, and unite once and for all. We hate one another when it comes to mutual criticism, and we barely manage to live with one another out of hopelessness. We are held by children, debt, and responsibilities, and we tolerate family life. However, at the same time, we look for a way to improve it.

When we talk, we must understand human nature, desires for food, sex and family, as well as money, respect, power, and knowledge. We must understand that everyone has envy and lust, and ambition and love for power burning within them.

We discuss each other’s inner world and then our mutual, shared world that we must build between us. At first, we speak about human nature as a whole in a psychological manner. Then, we examine which of these common things are inherent in each one of us.

We talk about our qualities, suspicions, impulses, passions, habits, and other things, without shame or fear. I do not even realize that I have some of these qualities, but I must know about them. At least, I must know how they appear in the eyes of my life partner.

So, I say everything out loud: how I disagree with the things that exist inside me, what are the things that I lack, and what I would like to conceal instead of displaying. It is as if I were on a lab bench when talking about myself, and together with my partner, we examine my qualities, and then we discuss my partner in the exact same way.

This allows us to open ourselves without remaining confined to our boundaries. We neither praise nor blame. We state facts objectively the way a doctor does, not performing esthetic evaluations during an examination. He defines a problem and solves it. Roughly speaking, he regards me as a “piece of flesh” that needs to be corrected, and we also impartially note good and bad qualities in one another without getting personal.

For example, my wife tells me, “You are so cheap. I did not know I was marrying such a tightwad. This really bothers me. You ordered one salad for both of us when celebrating my birthday at the restaurant. It has been ten years since then, and you have not once taken me out to a restaurant. You wake me every time you get out of bed at night even though you could be more careful. In the morning, you get up five minutes before you need to leave the house, and I must get all your things together in five minutes.”

We discuss problems. My wife helps me realize the things that are bad in me, and this is a great thing. However, this conversation is not in the form of a squabble or hurtful demands. It is objective. It is done with love or, at least, from the point of view of a doctor examining a patient.

For example, a psychologist listens to you while having a cup of coffee with a pastry, and then, in a similar manner, he explains to you the things that are bad in you. You leave him with a broken heart while he makes final comments in a notebook and pours another cup of coffee for himself. This is objectivity. I rise above personal interest and simply tell my partner what I see in him.

I will make the following example to better understand this approach. I am starting a new position where I have a one-week probation. I am very worried about this testing period because whether I will get the job depends on it, and now my wife who knows me inside out tells me about all my faults that I must watch out for at work with love and no personal offense.

Even though I do not like hearing about it or seeing her while she is listing facts, I rise above my ego and accept her words very seriously. I do not disregard them. I am grateful to my wife for this preparation as I comprehend my faults.

My wife tells me, “Do not forget to throw away the empty bag when you make yourself coffee. Do not blow your nose loudly. Do not ask for clarification…” All the points of her “diagnosis” benefit me. She is more than a doctor; she participates in my problems with love and care.

In the end, we both want to achieve unity, and this is why we make an evening of diagnosing. For example, when I get back home from work, we open a bottle of wine and put some toast and my favorite Greek salad with feta on the table. We even light a candle for atmosphere and have a peaceful discussion
From a “Talk about New Life” 7/12/12

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Homework For Two

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