Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I grew up typically frum, but recently met a girl at a Shabbos meal who grew up with Judaism, but a lot more modern than I did. (My mother covers her, hair her mother wears pants; my father wears a white shirt on Shabbos; her father plays golf on Shabbos afternoons, etc.). I really like her and have spent a lot of time getting to know her. I am very interested in marrying her even though we are not exactly on the same hashkafa page. She says she does not want to cover her hair, intends to send her kids to Jewish co-ed schools, and does not want to keep strict kosher outside the home. I believe that she will change her mind once we get married and have children, but my family is concerned. How do I tell them not to worry, that time will bring her to my side?

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Marriage Transformation

 

Dear Transformation,

Dress up is an art form in our house. One day you can be a bride, another day a queen, and another day, a buzzing bee, antennas included. You can be a baseball player, a princess, or a princess who plays baseball. Just put on the costume of your choice and you are magically transformed. Sadly, when the costume comes off (yes, a bath is necessary!) you are back to being you, a single, non-royal non-bee, who can’t throw a fastball in a tiara. Thankfully you are fabulous as you are, so we will keep you as is.

 

Simple It’s Not…

I appreciate your position. You have been doing your due diligence to meet new potential dates and found someone that you connected with. Sure, you have some differences that you noticed, but you have chemistry and have many shared interests in common. Of course, you know that your hashkafa is not the same as hers, but you believe that with love and marriage, she will agree to the changes that are important to you. Let’s take the risk, you think, because this is someone I really like.

 

I’m Afraid You Will Find…

This is not an ideal situation. While it is very special to meet someone that you get along with so well, we must remember that the goal is marriage, always. That being said, the focus of your dating will always revolve on the ability for your relationship to thrive and grow in a marriage. One of the most basic tenets of a couple’s success is their commitment to a foundation of a shared hashkafa.

 

For A Mind-Maker-Upper…

Being on the same page on hair covering, schooling, and kosher observance matters today, before you could even contemplate an engagement. These are not items that simply change with “time.” To additionally assume that your shared “love” will induce her to change her core beliefs is both presumptuous and dangerous to your future relationship. Marriage brings two different people together to form a harmonious life. A lack of cohesion on things that matter so much cannot be overlooked or disregarded.

 

To Make Up His Mind.

This does not mean that your future is completely untenable and is not meant to discount the spiritual growth we can all have in our futures. This does mean however, that you cannot move forward if you do not agree on core hashkafa beliefs. The risk is too great, and not fair to either of you. You are both important, your personal choices matter, and are not something we can simply costume to fit.

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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 hennihalberstam@gmail.com to schedule a phone session.