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July 03, 1987 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-07-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

MARGUERITE'S
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Fashions For The Fuller Figure Woman

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Henry Moore
Max Ernst

Works on paper

Special showing
from the

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Thursday, July 9
4:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
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*Refreshments will be served
626-5810

44

FRIDAY, JULY 3, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Marital Gridlock

Continued from preceding page

make connections between these examples
and their own experiences. "Is you hus-
band like Marc?" they ask. "Are you like
Linda? Is this your husband's past? Is this
your past?"
Always, they are poking and prodding,
drawing out the reader in the same way
that the psychiatrist draws out the client
in one-on-one therapy.
"This insight doesn't mean that things
will automatically change," Maslin says.
"But once you have it, you have a chance
to see things differently, to talk about
things a little differently. You can reflect
instead of accuse. And these are important
parts of the process."
Once these destructive patterns of
behavior are understood, the next step is
to-change them. Maslin and Nir begin with
another short quiz designed to cut through
to the most basic issue of all — can the
marriage be saved? Is there enough feel-
ing left to work with? Enough trust? Self
esteem?
Finally, they lead readers into the realm
of "negotiating a loving relationship." Love
may be the heart and soul of marriage, but
the day-to-day things couples need to do
to maintain that love sound more like what
you'd hear in a lawyer's office than in a
bedroom.
Maslin and Nir suggest setting aside
special times to meet and negotiate the
critical areas of a marriage, away from the
demands of everyday life. They list some
basic rules for these bargaining sessions:
no third parties, no emotional blackmal,
no talk just after arguments. "No suc-
cessful negotiation can begin in the heat
of battle," they write.
They also suggest a moratorium on
negotiations during major life crises.
Thrashing out the issue of better com-
munications isn't going to work if you were
just fired that morning, or the dog died.
Another useful step, they say, is to re-
mind each other of the strengths of the
marriage — an important bit of reinforce-
ment often forgotten in the wake of
discord. Couples also need to help each
other clarify their expectations — the
hopes and dreams that tend to go unsaid,
especially when the channels of com-
munication have been clogged for some
time.
Finally, they urge readers to develop a
"new language of love." They offer a
number of specific suggestions that boil
down to one bigc principle: marriage part-
ners need to express their own feelings, but
in a sensitive, empathetic way that short-
circuits the destructive cycle of accusation
and defensiveness. This is not something
that comes naturally to most people; it
must be learned and practiced.
"None of these ideas is particularly
earthshaking," Maslin says. "But they're
essential. Just a simple thing like using 'I
feel' instead of 'you are' when you're

discussing problems can make a real im-
provement in the quality of communica-
tion within a marriage."
Inevitably, the question comes up about
how Maslin and Nir's own marriage in-
fluenced the strategies they write about in
Not Quite Paradise. "lb a degree, the book
represented a setting down of some of the
things that we have done in our own mar-
riage but hadn't really articulated," Maslin
says.
"At the same time, some of it filtered
back into our marriage. When we would sit
down and talk about the ways people can
communicate with insight, there's no ques-
tion that some of this seeped back into the
way I communicate with Yehuda. It helped
me become more articulate in expressing
my feelings, and I think it did the same for
Yehuda.

Bonnie Maslin is one of a
new breed of public
figure: the
therapist-as-celebrity.

In one respect, it is clear that their mar-
riage is a liberated one: Maslin is the one
doing the book tour, while Nir — a
Holocaust survivor — remains at home
with the children. "And quite frankly," she
says, "I'm better at it."
Maslin declines to speculate about the
special problems faced by Jewish couples,
except to suggest that the most obvious
problems are those posed by intermarriage.
"I do find it interesting that we're seeing
a lot of anxiety associated with the mikva,
in the sense that going to the mikva is a
very clear signal in marriage that the
woman is ready for intercourse. And my
husband sees quite a few Hasidic Jews in
his practice. One of the big issues for them

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