By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
This week’s parashah states, “Vayishma Yisro . . . es kol asher asah Elokim l’Moshe v’ l’Yisrael amo . . .” (Sh’mos 18:1) . . . “vayavo Yisro . . . l hamidbar . . .” (Sh’mos 18:5). Yisro heard all that Hashem did to Moshe and to Yisrael his nation and Yisro came to the wilderness. Rashi explains that the reports that Yisro heard that affected him to such a degree that he left his whole life and came to the Jewish nation were the reports of Krias Yam Suf and the war with Amalek.
When Yisro heard about Krias Yam Suf he was awed by the miracle that occurred. But after hearing about the battle with Amalek, how so soon after a major miracle Amalek had the audacity to attack the Jewish nation, he decided to change his life. This episode with Amalek showed him clearly how if one doesn’t seize the moment of inspiration then the inspiration will die fast. Amalek also heard about Krias Yam Suf, and they were also awed by the miracle, but without action, the awe faded to such an extent that they were able to attack the Jewish nation.
The lesson of Yisro is a simple but a powerful one. If one doesn’t act on the inspiration within a very short time, its intensity will fade, the window of opportunity will close, and nothing will have changed. Many times in life we are presented with the inspiration to take action and change our marriage for the better. It could be we saw someone interact with their spouse in a way that inspired us to do the same, or we heard a lecture, or read an article and the idea resonated within us. If we leave it as just a beautiful idea, it will stay just that—a beautiful idea. If we seize the moment and make some sort of action to start implementing this idea, then we will be well on our way to changing our marriage.
Mr. Green attended a lecture and one point that the speaker made was that when we share with our spouse even just day to day events, we build closeness. Sitting there, Mr. Green typed a memo in his phone “Share daily events with wife tonight over tea” and set an alarm for 10:30 that evening. This is seizing the moment. The action that we choose doesn’t have to be life altering but it has to be a concrete start. It could be as simple as setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to try this idea at x point during the day, or calling your spouse and discussing it briefly. Any simple action turns this from an inspirational idea to a part of your life.
Let us try to integrate the lesson of Yisro into our daily life. May Hashem grant us the strength and creativity to act on the inspiration we receive and may we merit to have a marriage that is full of beauty and growth. v
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail firstname.lastname@example.org.