Couples and Spirituality: A Jewish Perspective on Exile, Yearning, and Return

Deane H. Shapiro and Johanna F. Shapiro

This article examines, from the developmental perspective of midlife, the potential interconnection between the psychological construct of a healthy interpersonal relationship and spiritual teachings. To examine this interconnection, several universal themes of midlife are examined: Exile: the slumber of devotion; Yearning: the renewal of the search; and Return: transformation and reconciliation. Using Judaism as a metaphor, the article presents a spiritual map by which to guide the journey of relationship, and a framework within which to practice yearning, tolerance, forgiveness, healing, and return. The beneficial effects of a spiritual perspective on relationship is discussed, both in terms of individual and global healing. Finally, a cautionary note, warning against the limitations and pitfalls of integrating a spiritual perspective in therapy, is included.

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