Is your Relationship ready for Aliyah?

So you’ve sold your toaster, enrolled the kids in school, donated a bunch of old books, arranged the lift and now all that’s left to do is jump on the plane to fly off into the land of milk of honey. Ahh the Romance of a new life in Eretz Yisrael. A lifelong dream come true…That is unless you don’t strangle each other first…

Making Aliya can be more stressful than planning a wedding and it can truly test your relationship. For starters, there is an often an imbalance of excitement, with one partner decidedly less thrilled about the prospects of starting life from scratch. 

When this is the case, it can be the unraveling of an otherwise solid relationship- IF you don’t learn to shore it up well before disembarkment. 

Seeing the support of a qualified marriage therapist prior to Aliyah is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure a successful transition. 

For most, making Aliyah isn’t just a physical change but also an emotional adjustment. While anxiety about the kids and their transition is often center stage, we forget that our relationship’s well being will either nurture the family’s adjustment or hinder it. 

Throwing yourselves in a situation where you are no longer confident in doing even the simplest tasks can be incredibly stressful. Your dream of a tuition free lifestyle can begin to shatter when the frustrations of opening up an Israeli bank account leads to an argument about finances.  Leaving the dud on overnight can set off a heated discussion on responsibilities and 5 minute shower requirements . The strongest of marriages can be tested over a debate of Macabi vs Meuchedet health insurance policies.  

Seeking out therapy to strengthen your marriage is not on everyone’s Aliyah To Do list but doing so can help transition towards a more successful Aliya – one of both practicalities and romance.

Here are some steps you can take well before departure so you can ensure a smooth landing ….

  1. Learn about the different school systems in the potential neighborhoods. Their strengths and their weaknesses. What are you ready to supplement for at home?
  2. Understand that there are varying hashkafic differences between where you come from and Israel. This can vastly impact where you choose to live. Speaking to people who live here can prepare you better for these differences and help you navigate where you live and school choices.
  3. Unlike Anglo countries, where people largely mind their own business, in Israel it is more common for people to give their two cents about everything…. From telling you off for not clothing your child warmly enough in winter to asking about your monthly wages. This will seem confrontational, and it is. Keeping to boundaries that you are used to is important. Just being aware that this quite likely will happen will prepare you for inevitable unpleasantries.
  4. Be sure to make time to check in with your spouse/partner regularly to share your daily challenges. Having a healthy sense of humor is essential at helping you make it through as you will no doubt encounter many bizarre situations that challenge your values and even your sense of self.
  5. Expect the unexpected: knowing that there is a vast difference between visiting Israel and living here is key. There are many things that you simply can’t know about or prepare for as things are constantly changing in Israel. Knowing that it takes time to adjust is crucial.
  6. Know that your children may have a hard time and will need more of a listening ear and compassion. They will probably miss their friends and creature comforts. While you can’t give them everything, you can provide them with a feeling of stability. You will be there to see them through this, and you’ll do it together.  
  7. If you are having a hard time with the adjustment and providing the stable base your child needs, reach out for help. Reach out to one of our Loving Wisely therapists to receive the support you need.

Embarking on Aliyah is a significant step that brings both excitement and challenges. By preparing emotionally and seeking the right professional support, you can strengthen your relationship and ensure a smoother transition for your entire family. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help; doing so can make all the difference in turning your dream of life in Israel into a fulfilling reality.