Peace in the Home
Shalom Bayit occurs when a couple enjoys a relationship based on kindness, gentleness, mutual respect, compassion, and understanding – all of which contribute to a loving relationship. “OK that’s the theory, but how do you get there?” is a question couples often ask. First and foremost, you need to accept the fact that marriage is not about ME. It is about WE. It is not just about having MY needs met, it is about what is good for US. Each partner needs to take responsibility for co-creating a “safe space” between them. A space in which each can openly share their innermost feelings - hopes and aspirations, fears and vulnerabilities. A space without fear of judgment or harsh criticism. A space where true emotional intimacy exists. It is not always easy to do. Our lives are pressurised, so we need to schedule time that is conducive to sitting down together and really connecting with each other. It requires listening to and really hearing what your partner is telling you. Active listening is a skill: no interrupting at the time, despite disagreeing with what your partner is saying; no “yes but......”; no multi-tasking (including tweets, WhatsApp, bbm). You need to be attentive to, and focused only on your partner, and be able to put aside your own feelings and thoughts at this time. When a person feels that their partner really sees them as they are, and still accepts and loves them, they feel heard, connected, validated and truly understood. That is Shalom Bayit. Etta Goldman is a social worker and Imago therapist in private practice.