Dear Dating Coach,
I have been dating a guy and everything is ok. That’s it. Ok. He is nice and seems kind and good. He has a stable job and is well-liked. When we go out, I have a good time, but it’s not like I walk home on a cloud. Everyone else feels like we are working towards an engagement, but I’m not feeling it. There is nothing wrong with him, but it’s not like I think he is Prince Charming either. I feel like I should probably break it off right? Since I am not that excited?
This has been a devastating week, with our hearts shattered by the painful losses mourned across Israel. We are untethered by the brutality and horror. We cling both desperately and resolutely to prayer and our emunah, and we remind ourselves to stand proud, to stand strong, even when we feel like sinking to the ground.
We work hard to focus, to continue living; and of course, that includes work, grocery shopping, and even dating. With Israel in turmoil, I am reminded of my grandmother talking about her “dating days” after the war. There were no resumes or promotional Instagram pages. Daters did not have a list of “must haves” before agreeing to meet someone. My grandmother did not tell her mother, her friends, or the shadchan “what she was looking for” so they could narrow their search accordingly. Her requirements were decency, stability, and generosity. Her dream was to marry someone good-hearted and kind. She hoped to meet someone who would be good to her family, someone who believed in Hashem, and wanted to be a good Jew. Maybe this doesn’t sound sophisticated or chic. Perhaps her needs sound simplistic or even basic today. But I know that her mindset allowed her to meet my grandfather with whom she lived a magical fairytale life.
When we face hardship, we often refocus on what is necessary and right and leave pettiness behind. Perhaps now we can take to heart the objective that dating has always had- to get married and to build a bayit ne’eman b’yisrael. We must remind ourselves that we often get lost in the minutiae, and in the arbitrary standards we allow others to set for us. Instead let us redirect our attention to what matters most – building a life with a good partner and bringing healthy G-d fearing children into the world. This is never to suggest that love and passion are not necessary. Only to realign our views to what is meaningful to make a successful marriage and what is not. Let go of your search for that extra inch in height, a dress size up or a dress size down. It is not necessary to dissect his level of sophistication or his clever proposal ideas. A marriage does not flourish if it comes with a house upstate, or a fancy name. We do not need a specific degree or even a specific background to love a husband. Let’s us become determined to look openly and directly for a match that is based on common values versus common interests. This change in mindset will bring all of our daters closer to finding a person with whom they can build a beautiful life that reflects our real needs – a life built on the foundation of Torah and mitzvos and beautiful Yiddishe nachas from our children.
Go on your next date filled with possibility and positivity. Open up your heart. Open up your mind. Look for good and you will see that good will find you.