Rav Chaim Lifshitz's Unique Approach to Pairing






The Science of Building Relationships


Research reveals that routine is the greatest enemy of the marriage relationship. No other factor seems to play as central a role in undermining interpersonal commitment, and in eroding the stability and the depth of feeling in a relationship. Marriage is undoubtedly the greatest proof for this claim: Routine is marriage enemy number one.

While universally acknowledged, this truth is rarely addressed. Routine still remains; it is the element that most fills the marriage framework. Though they strive to resolve this problem, most couples barely scratch the surface.  Only the most marginal spaces in the marriage are allocated to delightful experience.

There are couples who endlessly pursue novelty and the search for excitement, running an incessant anddesperate race to discover new sensation. What is the reason behind it?

It is the couple’s profound need to break free of (or at least reduce somewhat) routine's deadening effect on their relationship.

Why not admit to ourselves that this worthwhile goal is hardly ever attained? Routine does not budge. It grows more and more entrenched, it further consolidates its hold, until ultimately it commands center stage in the marriage.

Our study of the science of building relationships focuses on a systematic investigation of the dynamics of routine. We work to isolate its distinct components and to understand the specific processes by which it operates. Our goal has been to discover a way to regulate routine, to put it to good use, and to circumvent its hazards.

We gratefully acknowledge the role played by the nearly thirty thousand couples who have helped us to achieve our goals by allowing us to help them:

Meticulous research into the processes of their relationships and an in-depth analysis of every element that was successfully applied to every case has led us to discover and to further develop the methods that are able to effectively transform the formidable foe.

Manipulated correctly, routine can be turned into a positive and completing experience. By applying an individualized formula to every relationship, custom-tailored to every individual couple as explained below, routine can be put to work and taught to behave as an obliging friend.

The positive, conscious, deliberate manipulation of routine is a skill that can be learned. Learning this skill then renders the search for new sensation superfluous, and makes the compulsive quest for new stimulation irrelevant. The couple  may then arrive at their own individual path of natural, consistent self-renewal.  Routine is “dismantled” at last.

We go even beyond this, a step further: We have actually learned to exploit the day-to-day existential problems that life is constantly presenting - to the couple's advantage, in ways that reinforce the natural connections that bond the pair. What appear to be rough spots, when properly navigated, can be used to immunize the couple against future unpredictable sources of stress. This is a process that takes place automatically among couples who have had the good fortune to discover their compatibility naturally.

The critical element of spouse compatibility must also not be left to chance. We do not accept the notion that one must simply hope for good luck when choosing one's life's partner. A clear picture has evolved out of over forty years of research and experience in aiding the pairing process: A formula for success exists.

This is why Sadnat Enosh rejects certain solutions that are popular in the marketplace, for they offer only broadly sweeping compatibility guidelines. Popular wisdom prescribes ‘one-size-fits-all’ remedies, based on generalized theories of masculine/feminine tendencies, many of these being mere variations on the fundamentally impersonal “Venus versus Mars” theme.

We seek – and we find – a personalized formula to fit each couple, because no two couples are alike. Our methodology rests on this basic assumption of individual couple difference. We therefore scrupulously examine each side's specific characteristic tendencies and qualitative features. Levels of need compatibility between both sides are measured as well.

A couple's characteristic features fall into two distinct categories: The first category defines qualitative features. These are of a spiritual nature. In this category, similarity is absolutely essential. The second category defines personality-specific features, meaning personal and behavioral tendencies. In this category, it is not similarity that we seek, but rather complementarity.

Compatibility testing must therefore first verify similarity of qualitative features. Here as mentioned the level of fit needs to be quite high. As a second step, we test for complementarity of personality traits. Complementarity is what guarantees that the connection-forming process will actually take place, in a healthy and complete way, in which each side is able to compensate for the inadequacies of the other, enabling both to experience completeness.

Having understood the factors that comprise couple compatibility, let us gain insight into the actual dynamics of relating. For even with a compatible couple, there is the inevitable question of conflict: There is no such thing as a conflict-free couple. However, every couple has a formula attached to them. If the couple is taught to use their personalized formula in order to form the connections that will serve to attach them to one another, and in order to overcome the hazards of routine, they can then apply this formula to their conflicts as well. Aided by the specific guidelines of their individualized, personality-based formula, the couple uncovers the kernel of their conflict more readily. Misunderstanding clears up sooner, and conflict is briefer: Conflict very soon gives way to healing encounter.

Well then, the cat is out of the bag. Once fearfully shrouded in mystery and mysticism, the secret of pairing, of building the healthy, profound relationship, has been declassified. It is no longer a gamble if you do not wish it to be.

This perspective on marriage sheds new light on avodat hamidot. Self-betterment, personal character refinement - all of these efforts take on new meaning. The profound Jewish concept of the marriage partner as decreed by heaven can now be viewed differently, in light of what we propose: No longer the spouse as the heavy burden, the Divine decree to be borne and suffered. Instead, life with the spouse becomes a grippingly creative experience -- an investment that is highly lucrative and richly rewarding.