Our approach is different because it starts with the assumption that if you chose your spouse, you are in the right relationship. The question is only to discover what has gone wrong and how to make it right but we are already going in with the hope that the relationship can be repaired.
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist. After working with couples in his private practice TheMarriageRestorationProject.com for over a decade, he noticed that the added strain and investment of owning a business was affecting marriages, and decided to create additional resources for the married business owner and CEO, most notably 2 day “No Blame, No Shame” Marriage Restoration Project Retreat.
Rabbi Slatkin is also the founder of Slatkin Communications, providing training in effective communication to corporations needing to enhance their corporate culture through communication training.
Thanks so much for doing this! What is your backstory?
I got into this field due to the problems I had in my own marriage. Rivka and I were struggling to the point where sought the assistance of a skilled Imago Relationship Therapist. It was love at first sight! We walked away from the first session seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and this began the process where I eventually pursued certification in the field.
What makes your approach to marriage therapy different than what else is out there?
Our approach is different because it starts with the assumption that if you chose your spouse, you are in the right relationship. The question is only to discover what has gone wrong and how to make it right but we are already going in with the hope that the relationship can be repaired. We then discover the underlying reasons that attracted the couple together and how the conflict they are experiencing is exactly what they both need as individuals to grow and heal from their past. We explore the root causes of the discord instead of just treating symptoms and provide couples with a safe setting through a very structured process that enables them to be vulnerable, feel deeply heard, and reconnect.
To what extent does your home life and marriage affect your general life, meaning, does it ever work to focus on work if your marriage isn’t going well?
Home life has a major impact on all areas of life and can affect your productivity at work. Some people can compartmentalize and put all of their focus on work but this will not help in the long run. It is a way of exiting the relationship and avoiding the problem. If focus could be put on the marriage to make it healthier, all areas of life would be affected in a positive way.
How important is work/life balance when it comes to a marriage?
Some say that work/life balance is a thing of the past. It is not always possible to have a balanced life, especially if you are running your own business or have a demanding job. What is even more important is to make sure you have regular time to focus on your relationship and be fully present at that time. You could have a lot of family time but if you are constantly on your phone, the quantity is meaningless. Have quality time where there is no other focus but your spouse. That will fuel your relationship even if your work schedule is irregular.
Does family life and its importance in the role of the CEO or entrepreneur differ for men and women, and if so, how?
Yes, it can differ for men and women based on societal messages. Some women may feel guilty about being out of the home so much and may try to overcompensate when home. Some men may feel that they are only needed on the weekends and their sole responsibility is to work. This has changed over the years but some of these stereotypes still remain. You will also find women who are more comfortable out in the workforce and men who are more about family. It is a combination of nature and nurture, based on the messages they receive growing up about work and parenting.
Is the idea of a passionate marriage a realistic goal?
It is a realistic goal and it takes effort. It does not happen on autopilot. Working through frustrations and attaining deep emotional connection, coupled with positive activities to keep the spark alive including dates, traveling, etc… can help bring the goal to fruition.
When a marriage in in crises, what are the first steps to addressing them?
First, stay calm and don’t make any rash reactive decisions. Realize that your conflict is normal and that this is an opportunity to make your relationship stronger. Get help from a skilled professional who will help you deal with the underlying causes of your conflict and not just put a bandaid on them. With the help of a third party, learn how to have safe conversations where you can explore your hurt in a productive and connected way, bringing you closer together and helping you heal. As you experience being in relationship with each other in an entirely different way, you’ll gain the hope and motivation you need to get out of this crisis and build a successful relationship.
What should we know before we get married? Does that change if its a second marriage?
Before you get married, you should know that every relationship has stages. While the romantic stage is obvious, the inevitable power struggle is not what you may be expecting. Realize that you will experience conflict and the good news is that conflict is an opportunity for growth and healing. That is what you discover as you become more conscious and work towards achieving the third and final stage, the conscious marriage. So, expect conflict but know that it is for your benefit and not a liability. That will help deal with a lot of potential disappointment.
For a second marriage, you will need to know the same thing because you may be thinking that you made a mistake the first time. Don’t expect the second time to be any easier unless you are willing to work on your own baggage. More likely than not, once you hit the power struggle in marriage #2, you’ll have similar triggers to what you experienced in marriage #1, that’s because the common denominator, you, is present in both relationships. While it is tempting to blame your partner, if you don’t deal with your “stuff”, you’ll keep encountering it regardless of what relationship you enter.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Having a family
How can people follow you?
To find out more about how you can fix your marriage in 2 days, visit: https://www.themarriagerestorationproject.com/marriage-intensives/
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Medium magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live
Can Marriage Be That Easy to Fix? An interview with Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin and Rabbi Jacob Rupp was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.