Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am engaged! I am so happy to have found the right person for me. Finally, I met someone who really sees me and makes me want to always be at my best. He makes me feel so comfortable and yet also gives me butterflies when I think that we get to spend our lives together. I feel really good about this. Excited and peaceful, happy and sure and so so blessed. BUT. We do have a problem and we are both not sure what to do about it. We have easily connected with each other’s parents, but our parents have clashed from the day that they met. Any discussion about the wedding, future plans, or hashkafa leads to heated disagreements that leave us horribly in the middle. We don’t want this to come between us as we learn to be a couple, but already we have struggled to remain neutral. We can’t help but to “take sides” and this has caused a lot of tears already. Please help us to navigate this difficult development.


Taking Sides

Dear Sides,

Last year, the news classified a major rain storm we had that caused terrible flooding as the, “Hundred Year Storm,” declaring that this was a storm that we would not experience again for at least one hundred years. A little over a year later, on Shavuos, the rain storm came back. Either our news anchors can’t count or someone wasn’t telling the truth. It rained, and rained, and rained some more. We walked to shul through a drizzle and maybe a small puddle or two. But when davening was over, the rain covered every sidewalk and turned cars into boats. Adventurers paddled through the streets on kayaks and we walked home from Aseres HaDibros in water that came to our waists. We held small children tightly above us and commanded our older children to wade in pairs. We made them promise to walk side by side, offering support and safety to each other through the flood. Hold hands! Stay together! Watch your sister! In pairs, we made our way home, bolstered and comforted by our partners.



Mazel tov on your engagement! You found your match! You sound so happy and everything about your chosson makes your feel the way that a kallah should. Yet, you have encountered a huge obstacle in your parents’ inability to agree. Of course, you both feel torn when faced with their concerns. They are your parents and you are conditioned to agree with them. At the same time, their disagreements are not yours, and are creating painful conflict between a couple that otherwise feels just right. You envision a lifetime of this, being torn between the two, always challenged to pick a side that inevitably will affect and damage your shalom bayis regardless of your beautiful connection. So, you are both torn, literally, in two.



Side One, are your parents, Side Two, are his parents, and you are caught in the middle. Yet, you have neglected to acknowledge the most important side. The THIRD side. The third side is you and your partner’s side and that is the side you must ALWAYS be on. Your respective parents may disagree but when they learn that you refuse to chose either set of parents, when you resolutely pick each other, they will quickly lose their bargaining chips. The Third Side is the most powerful side in any marriage. You are a team, you are partners, and that side cannot be broken. This doesn’t mean that you never disagree or that you don’t sympathize with your parent’s positions. Your side is not always right, but it is always YOURS. You and your chosson, and soon, you and your husband, will be the pairing that diminishes your parents’ disagreements from becoming your own. The THIRD side makes choices and decisions that benefit THEM. The Third Side lives according to the rights and wrongs that THEY decide. And the Third Side will always stay afloat together.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleIsrael Hails Canada’s Decision to List IRGC as Terrorist Entity
Next articleNew Louisiana Law Mandates Ten Commandments in Public Classrooms
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.