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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Balancing Respect And Reality


Respler-022412

Although I will always love and respect my in-laws, I do not think that we will ever have a close relationship because I will never feel totally loved by them. Maybe my feelings are unfounded, but we were never given anything in a generous manner. It is also very painful to feel like you are an obligation.

My message is two-fold. First, when seeking a prospective shidduch, make sure you prioritize the right things – namely a family that is caring and generous, be it with their time, praise, and/or money. And second, if you are in a position to help your children financially, try to assist in a way that makes them feel loved – not guilty. A Matured Kollel Wife

Dear Matured: Thank you for your interesting letter. While you make some good points, it would be prudent to continue maturing and trying to change your perspective of your in-laws. Perhaps you are correct that your in-laws do not really want to give resources to you and your husband, but instead do so out of obligation. However, maybe they are uncomfortable in social situations or they do not know how to act toward a daughter-in-law. A shy person or an individual who is feeling uncomfortable can often be mistaken for a snob or a cold person.

Changing our perspective can frequently change the way we feel about people. If your expectations are appropriate, you will not feel badly when your in-laws do not meet them. Maybe your parents are able to show you their love and generosity because they feel loved by you. Perhaps your in-laws are afraid to insult you, so they act more distant. There can be a myriad of possibilities, but the important thing is to keep an open mind and open heart. Don’t judge others until you stand in their shoes. Make an effort to be loving and giving to your in-laws. Who knows, you may be in for a nice surprise.

As for looking for the right things in a prospective shidduch, I could not agree more with your view. Time and again individuals are blinded by money, falling into negative and destructive situations. While being wealthy is nice, it is not what is important in this world. We are here to serve Hashem and to be good to others, while having money is just a perk and can sometimes even be a nisayon. Thus, to all single men and women: please look for spouses who will hopefully meet your needs, not just your wants. Hatzlachah!

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