I assume that if you are reading this section of my blog, you are either looking to get married or have someone in your life who is looking to get married. The following points are what I feel are the bare essentials for any single person to keep in mind before setting out on their quest for the appropriate partner. I will continue to post more articles in this column, but this piece will provide singles with the appropriate building blocks before moving forward.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have seen single people make the same mistakes over and over again when looking to get married. By the way, I include myself in this statement, because I made the same mistakes as everyone else. After living through my own crazy life experience followed by many painful observations of others making the same mistakes I did, I was finally able to sort out much of what was driving everyone in the wrong direction when it came to dating and looking for a spouse. Although some of the following pieces of advice may sound like they require a lot of work, and you may even find them discouraging, they are extremely important for singles who want to steer themselves in the right direction.
1) Get to know yourself before getting to know someone else.
Many singles start on their quest to find their other half before they are truly ready. This has nothing to do with age. We live in an era where our lives are a lot more complicated than our grandparents’ lives were back in the shtetl. Because there are so many different ways to live nowadays, and so many different choices out there, one should really get to know him or herself well before trying to find the appropriate partner. If a couple gets married while one or both of them are still growing and developing their life goals or religious/philosophical outlooks, they could easily end up growing apart very quickly, or even butting heads on serious issues. Problems such as these can result in a home full of tension, turmoil and resentment; not a pleasant environment to raise a family in. If you feel like there are a lot of things about yourself that you are still figuring out, whether it is life goals, religious/spiritual outlook or just plain self-image, you might want to think about taking some time to get to know yourself better before bringing someone else into the picture.
2) Quality people enjoy being around other quality people. AKA The law of attraction.
The law of attraction is essentially a belief or theory, that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results.
Many singles that I come across are sad, bitter and just plain frustrated with their single lives. This is somewhat understandable, considering the dating process can be frustrating and single life can get lonely. However, what many singles fail to realize is that there are some really great things about the single life just as there are some difficult things about married life. Don’t get me wrong. Being married to the right person is wonderful and amazing, but it is never the same as when you are single and free as a bird to do whatever you want every day. Singles who allow themselves to become depressed and bitter about being single, enter a vicious cycle. What many singles fail to realize, is that happy, fun, successful people enjoy being around other happy, fun successful people. In other words, singles that walk around bitter and depressed about their single lives are probably not going to attract the kinds of happy and positive people they desire to date. This concept is what is known as the law of attraction. Some of you may be familiar with this idea if you have read or watched the documentary “The Secret.” Whatever energy that you put out into the world, will, essentially, be spit back into your face.
If a single girl, who is frustrated with dating, walks around saying, “I’m never getting married; there are no good guys out there. I’m just going to be single forever!” what are the chances that a bunch of really great guys are going to start flocking around her, fighting for a chance at a date?
So the lesson here is, make a happy, fulfilling life for yourself, full of people and things that you love, and picture yourself every day with the right spouse and a happy marriage. G-d-willing, the right spouse will come along in the right time and fall into this picture.
P.S. If the right spouse seems to be taking a long time to show up, at least you can enjoy your single life in the meantime.
3) Being realistic is not settling.
Many singles have a picture in their mind of exactly the kind of person they feel they need to marry. They feel that if they compromise on this picture and marry someone who is missing one or more of the qualities they had envisioned in a spouse, they will be compromising.
Let’s face it: this picture-perfect spouse doesn’t exist. But let me take this even further. Not only does this picture-perfect spouse not exist, but often many of the qualities that singles decide they must have in a spouse, are unimportant, even irrelevant when it comes to having a long-lasting, fulfilling life together.
I apologize in advance for the next point I am about to make, as I know it may offend some singles out there, but I feel it must be said. As a single, what makes you think that you deserve to be with such a perfect partner? Are you perfect?
As a shadchan, I have had several singles come to me, requesting to be set up with people who, shall we say, are completely out of their league. For example, take the overweight girl in her mid-thirties who wants to be set up with the tall, dark handsome guy several years her junior, or the narcissistic medical student from a divorced home who will only date a girl of super-model quality from a religious family whose parents are NOT divorced. Not only are these singles being completely unrealistic about the kind of people they think they can date, but they are also passing up other excellent opportunities with far more potential, simply because they do not fit the images they have created in their minds.
When I was a single girl living in New York, there was a special class arranged in one of the communities, to teach single girls how to dress and put themselves together nicely in order to look flattering and attractive for dates. When the night of the class arrived, only 3 or 4 girls showed up and these girls already knew how to dress well and make themselves look good. In other words, none of the girls who could have actually benefited from a class like this bothered to show up, most-likely because they felt they didn’t need that kind of guidance.
The moral of the story is, be realistic! None of us are perfect. If a single person waits around for that picture-perfect spouse, he or she may very well be waiting for the rest of his or her life, all the while passing up other excellent opportunities for a chance at a great relationship with someone whom doesn’t fit exactly into his or her mold. The right person isn’t always who you would expect him or her to be.
Just to prove my point a little further, the minute I laid eyes on my husband when I opened the door for our first date, I decided instantaneously that he was NOT the guy for me because I recognized him from when he used to date another girl who I knew from high school and she is absolutely nothing like me. I walked out of the door having already decided that the next hour or two with this guy would be a complete waste of my time. 3 years later we are now happily married with two cute kids.
So being realistic is not settling! Being realistic is allowing yourself the freedom to be OPEN. What do I mean by open? Give yourself a chance to find the right person in a form or context you wouldn’t normally have expected or planned.
You never know; you may end up pleasantly surprised or even married!