Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am engaged to a wonderful girl and we are both looking forward to building a life together. I will be learning in kollel for the time being and we will be on a strict budget. We have been searching for an apartment and I don’t care what they look like at all. I’m a simple guy and a roof over our heads is all I need. My kallah, however, is looking for some fancier specifics – like a dishwasher, lots of sunlight, and enough closet space. I am getting worried that she will be unreasonable and picky not only in choosing where we live, but in general. Is this something I need to address now?


Simple Soul


Dear Soul,

My nephew is a superhero. Forget the Hulk, he’s the Heat. No matter the weather, he never feels cold. Bring on the snow, bring on the ice, and Mother Nature has nothing on him. He laughs at sweaters, he shuns a coat, and feels perfectly comfortable in a gusty gale. His family bundles up on cold days and are grateful for their mittens and the warmth of a thick scarf. The Heat might gamely suit up for the cold, but quickly sheds those layers like kryptonite. He often wonders why those around him must be bogged down by all that insulation. But not everyone can be a superhero, I guess.


We Make a Living…

Mazel tov on your engagement! The time leading up to a wedding can be both exciting and confusing. There are details to work out as you work on the concrete plans that you must set for your future. You need a place to live and that entails apartment hunting and learning even more about your individual needs. You suggest that since you have no specific needs other than a “roof over your head,” your kallah might be more high maintenance that you thought. You worry now that this might precipitate a life with someone who might be hard to please in other areas as well.


By What We Get…

Take a breath. It’s time to reevaluate your motivation and approach to your kallah and your entire future together. Your non-existent expectations for a home do not make her basic expectations unreasonable. To even hint that this makes her “choosy” or “difficult to please” only highlights your self-focus. Your position makes you unusual, as most people do have hopes and opinions for their homes. She seems to be asking for simple wants that most apartment hunters look for. She is not asking for imported tile, heated floors, or red knobs on her oven. She wants light, a sufficient place to put her clothes, and a dishwasher; all very uncomplicated and universally appreciated.


We Make a Life…

Instead, take a moment to reflect on your quick jump to judgment as soon as she made a request. This approach can hurt your relationship and marriage going forward. I humbly suggest that you work to change this mindset. You are not the benchmark for what is right, and all of her decisions cannot be measured by your viewpoint alone. The time to see past your own arbitrary opinion is now. It is vital that you reexamine your narrow-minded assessment and your inability to consider your kallah’s wants and needs.


By What We Give.

Going forward, if you are ever concerned about something your kallah says, ask her about it. Consider your tone and your language before speaking and her answer will likely alleviate your fears. Moreover, even if your future spouse would make a request for something “extravagant,” a conversation is always the way to go. Come from a place of generosity and respect in all of your future joint decisions to ensure a peaceful home, and leave the superhero costume in your walk-in closet.

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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.