Passover begins this Monday night. It is
the commemoration of Jewish liberation from slavery in ancient
Egypt. Some call it the season of freedom; many believe that, with
the thawing of winter and transition into spring, it is a time to
reevaluate the direction of our lives and have our own personal
exodus from those people or experiences that are no longer healthy
For many readers of the blog, that means transitioning from
marriage to single life; from stability to shaky footing; and from
loving your partner to...well...not.
However, just as you may take a page out of the Jewish tradition
in this season of rebirth to finally shed those unwanted
relationships, you may want to plod a little further on in history
to learn another thing or two from traditional populations:
A study conducted by the Harvard-educated Senior Research
Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and
Technology, Dr. Robert Epstein (no relation to our very own
colleague and blogger), found that feelings of love in arranged
marriages tend to gradually increase as time goes on in the
relationship, surpassing in intensity at the five year mark.
This is compared to the typical modern-day "love
marriage" where attraction is based on passionate emotions,
and a couple's feelings of affection diminish by as much as 50%
after only 18-24 months of marriage. In fact, arranged
marriages are twice as strong as "love marriages" after
Epstein attributed this almost counter-intuitive (by modern
standards) phenomenon, to unrealistic media portrayals that present
love as an uncontrollable, spur of the moment force. "We grow
up on fairy tales and movies in which magical forces help people
find their soul mates, with whom they effortlessly live happily
ever after," Epstein stated in an article in a 2010 edition of
Scientific American MIND. "The fairy
tales leave us powerless, putting our love lives into the hands of
the Fates." Epstein theorizes that this unrealistic concept of
marriage cause many "love marriages" to eventually
But not all hope is lost. Epstein theorizes that
relationships are organic. They can be infused at will with
positive and loving feelings. This can simply be accomplished
by mimicking the concept of the arranged marriage, shedding the
fairytale notions of riding off into the sunset and developing a
more realistic concept of a lasting relationship.
"But what do warm feelings have to do with my
divorce?" you may ask. Well, in many situations, you can
become lost in a concept of what you think that their feelings are
supposed to be for your former partner. You can
forget all the good times and experiences you once shared together
or the deep loving commitment you may have had. This could be
the result of the modern portrayal of divorce: a contentious, awful
experience that leaves one party downtrodden and the other
But it does not have to be that way. Epstein says
relationships are organic. Positive feelings can be created
and learned. People need not adopt an unrealistic and,
frankly, incorrect concept of divorce. I've seen it.
It is in fact possible for both parties to behave amicably,
settle their differences and move on; all while keeping their
somewhat positive relationship intact.
So perhaps the lesson from the Jewish season of redemption is to
redefine your exodus. Note the positive action
required. YOU need to be the one to shift your paradigm, to
redefine your own notions of your divorce and your relationship
with your former partner. According to Epstein, you are the
key to your own success.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Trustees are often granted the power to distribute trust property "in the Trustee’s discretion" for a beneficiary’s "general well-being," "best interests," "comfort," or, most commonly, "health, education, maintenance and support."
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