R.E.L.A.T.E - Part 1 Introduction
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
There is a story about the people of Chelm (a small town which apparently had a community who were not blessed with great intelligence). Chelm had a bridge that was damaged and was becoming dangerous. Some community members had already fallen off the bridge and injured themselves. So the elders of the town met for seven days and seven nights to resolve this crisis.
At the end of this intense discussion the following resolution was reached: A new hospital would be built to accommodate all those that fell off the bridge. Relationships are central to human experience. At any given time we are in many relationships; children/parents, students/teachers, employees/employers, siblings, friends and of course marriage.
It is no secret that many relationships are in trouble. A staggering average of 50% marriages end, family disputes are common, parenting is becoming increasingly difficult and so on. Part of the challenge is the failure to realise that relationships (on any level) don't just flourish. They need constant maintenance work and effort to nurture and cultivate them so they get stronger rather than deteriorating.
Sadly however, so often we wait until the bridge breaks so that we can build the hospital. We wait for an explosion so that we can engage in crisis- response strategies. These strategies are often band aid solutions that are short lived or they come too late when there is no hope. The time to explore and reflect of the building blocks of healthy relationships is when they are going well. It is then that we have the time and head space to cultivate and strengthen our relationships in a healthy way.
If we give the bridge proper maintenance and fix the small things it won't break in the first place.
In the R.E.L.A.T.E series we will explore the critical elements of all healthy relationships and study their practical application. Although marriage will often be used as an example, most relationship components are generic and can be applied to all situations albeit in a different way.