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Bringing Serenity into Engagement

Shaya Ostrov, LCSW

It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. The period of engagement can set the foundation for a happy, stable marriage. Yet it may also sow seeds of anxiety that can later cause havoc. A seasoned therapist offers us invaluable tools for navigating the rocky waters of engagement.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Engagement is a stepping stone to marriage, but it’s also a critically important period in a couple’s life. It should be filled with the idealistic and pure dreams of two young people preparing to begin life’s most important journey — building a bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael.

However, in recent years there’s been a significant shift in the engagement experience. We’ve seen an increase in the number of engaged couples and their families experiencing engagement as a period of stress and anxiety. Worse, too many of these troubled engagements end when the chassan or kallah feel they need to part ways, resulting in the painful trauma of a broken engagement.

Over the past decade I have devoted the lion’s share of my professional efforts to helping couples and their families regain and maintain their balance throughout the dating and engagement period. Whereas we once thought that during engagement one could relax from the challenges of dating, we’re seeing instead that it’s a period during which different challenges are encountered. Couples and their families need even more effective tools and skills to successfully navigate these rough patches.

I’ve learned that the element most crucial to success in both engagement and married life is menuchas hanefesh, serenity. With menuchas hanefesh, one can remain centered despites the stresses of engagement, and utilize that time to the utmost. Let’s explore the goals of engagement, discuss the possible challenges, and discover the principles of menuchas hanefesh.


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