Apr 25, 2013
Clarity Needed in Shidduchim

A frum psychotherapist says spending more time with each other does not provide clarity in shidduchim. He also offers 3 tips for finding a bashert.

By Rabbi Shmuel Druin, LCSW

The questions are endless, the feelings of insecurity abound, and the fear of the unknown, overwhelming.

These and many others are the sentiments of dating and marriage. If we were to try and control all the variables we would render ourselves powerless to the overwhelming emotions.

I once heard Rabbi Manis Friedman say; men and women should never be together under the same roof unless they are married. This is due to the tremendous differences between them. The only reason they would come together to share a roof would be if they are married. This is because marriage adds one more partner to the equation, Hashem. So as long as Hashem is in our marriage then it is ok for a male and female to be under the same roof.

You see, marriage is an institution of G-d. When you are single, the most important person in your life is you. You look out for and protect your main interests. Once you are married, you are working to keep the institution of marriage whole. It is not solely about the individual anymore.

Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement. In business you give something and get something in return. When you don't give, usually, you don't get. Yet, marriage is different; it is about 100/100. You give whether you get a return or not. (Of course, human nature is that if I receive, I will reciprocate).

Now you may say; why should I be the only one giving, or how can I give if I am so mad at the other person? However, that is the beauty of marriage; you are giving to keep the institution whole. You are doing it for 'marriage' not for the other person per se. if you think of it this way it makes it easier to keep on giving. (There is a lot more on this matter that can be elaborated, but it is not in the scope of this article.)

Now, when it comes to dating and engagement, we must start by putting Hashem in the picture from the onset of dating. This means we trust that he will help us in our process of dating and then marriage. If we have our minds set at the right goal, then Hashem helps. This is not to say that if you have Emunah you are guaranteed success right away. Each of us has our struggles and I would be the last to say that dating is an easy and short process for all. But having Emunah definitely helps.

The big question is always, "Are we 'compatible'?" This is the hardest yet easiest question to answer. Simply, if you hold the same values, have views that each other can respect, enjoy spending time together, and are attracted both spiritually and physically (yes, I said physically,) then you are compatible. Once you start looking deeper, there can be no end.

In the secular world it has become commonplace for people to 'move in' while dating. This is intended to help the partners see what it's like living together so they can make a better choice when deciding on a lifelong partner. I can go on explaining and proving how this idea is foolish. However, the bottom line is that spending more time with each other does not provide clarity. We tend to get stuck in the details and the technicalities which create doubt. Even if you have every point of compatibility, it is never fool-proof.

In conclusion, we will never be 100% certain and spending more and more time will not provide the clarity we are looking for. Follow these three steps and hopefully Hashem will do the rest.

1. Go into dating with Emunah, knowing that Hashem is your partner in this process.

2. Don't get stuck on the in-depth details. You will have a lifetime of work to do even if you are perfect for each other. Marriage is a process not an end-game.

3. If you have the basic 'compatibles,' don't hesitate.

May Hashem bless all those who are looking for shidduchim a speedy and joyous resolution.

Rabbi Shmuel Druin is a licensed psychotherapist and educator. He can be contacted through his website www.miami-counseling.com.

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Opinions and Comments
What's the point of this article? Is the author actually saying anything?
(4/25/2013 11:03:51 PM)
Short, sweet
and to the point.
(4/25/2013 11:05:52 PM)
Doesn't always work
I know someone who married a girl based on those ideals and he now walks around not sure if he married the right girl...
as his friend I say that's pretty sad and there's no fix.
(4/25/2013 11:16:58 PM)
Very valid points. Thanks for the article
(4/25/2013 11:28:42 PM)
this is a terrible article. "3. If you have the basic 'compatibles,' don't hesitate"??
(4/25/2013 11:50:58 PM)
whats going on
great my daughter is yet to be set up on any date
(4/26/2013 12:19:30 AM)
the only thing is disagree with
" If you have the basic 'compatibles,' don't hesitate."
that should not be instant decision just hey i like her we share similar values tada! pop the question.
you should put a little more thought into it then that.
otherwise a very nice article
(4/26/2013 12:42:54 AM)
As one who is happily married, I don't get the part where you write that even if one is mad at their wife they can still be in love because of the 'institution of marriage'.

Loving a spouse doesn't have to be turned onto a whole chassidic discourse.

I can do things for my wife when I am 'mad' at her because even when we have a squabble I still love her. Therefore I never can really be mad at her.

I don't need to have some sort of belief in a magical institution of marriage to do things for her.

To those looking to get married: focus on the girl/guy, not the institution. It ain't magic!

Look to love your spouse as yourself. Marriage ain't hocus pocus!
(4/26/2013 1:11:46 AM)
What about the one
I'm not marrying any girl that fits the compatibility test, I'm waiting to meet a girl and think "it's you that I've been looking for" le something that I lost and just rediscovered".. Maybe that theory is too Australian but I'm pretty sure the rebbe mentions that aspect in many of his letters
(4/26/2013 1:29:59 AM)
This hits the issues facing the contemporary dating scene spot on! When you take emunah and bitachon out of the equation and endlessly rationalize our potential relationships we enter the world of our non religious brethren bereft of life long commitment and true love.
(4/26/2013 1:30:52 AM)
Right to the point
On my third shidduch I decided within 15 minutes on the first meeting. We are happely married for nearly 25 years. The big problem today is that people have to many goishe idea's and questions. That blurs their view for a match where Hashem is he real partner.
(4/26/2013 5:47:03 AM)
thank u
the point is perfect, dating more does not bring clarity
thank u for bringing this up. sadly the dating in lubavitch must change, boys & girls r being forced into "romantic" dates, doing "something different", which leads to things that are totally not appropriate for chasidishe singles
(4/26/2013 6:34:39 AM)
to 8
I totally agree with you.
The article is quite foolish.
True one should go into it with emunah, but when there is love is a different ball game, and love doesn't have to be for the wrong reasons.
It's funny how you can listen manis and get a deep hashkofah in loving your spouse or you can stay stuck with the surface of his words.
(4/26/2013 7:40:29 AM)
sounds so simple
Sounds very magical.
But very unreal too
(4/26/2013 8:01:23 AM)
So we need to have emuna that this psycotherapist knows what he is saying and take our chances relying on what he believes?

Who is going to pick up the pieces?

I agree that

"men and women should never be together under the same roof unless they are married"

This is not a Manis Friedman original, it is a rule that comes in
a yiddish expresson " Nisht zayin chossin un kalla in ain shtub"
This expression is used in chassidic circles
(4/26/2013 8:45:08 AM)
married 30 years....
I am married 30 years B"H and i can totally understand what he is saying. read between the lines , people! he didn't say you should not fall in love ( although he could have included that) he is just saying once yiou make up your mind it's work work work - not magic!
(4/26/2013 9:40:09 AM)
well written and so true!
as someone who knows about dating secularly and also dating the "frum" way, i TOTALLY agree with the author.
(4/26/2013 9:50:18 AM)
Great article!
This is a well written article! To the point and clear...Yes it is a generalized thing but it definitely makes a lot of sense. yasher koach!
(4/26/2013 10:08:50 AM)
Great point!
The author makes a great point...marriage is based on giving and faith.... Thank you for writing it in such a clear way!
(4/26/2013 10:22:52 AM)
Rabbi Shmuli is awesome, please keep writing more articles!!!!!
(4/26/2013 10:31:32 AM)
very well said
i see form some of the comments that they really dont have the rite attitude towards getting married. if you say he is foolish then you got to do some basic learning chasidus as YES ITS ALL HASHEM once hashem is in the picture everything becomes clear. i am married over 20 years and i see what he is saying. he is so on the ball. for all you who are frustrated young and parents. do some ruchious work on your self and many issues will be clear to you. i once heard from Rabbi Heller that a yunger man came to him with many sholom bais issues. he said to him have a chasidus shiur every morning and nigla at night and i promise you all your problems will resolve. in other words the issues are all shdusim and you need to have some hashem in your life
(4/26/2013 10:55:43 AM)
This author is right on! all the nay sayers responding are unfortunately not yet able to grasp what he is saying and will hopefully get there - I am involved with shidduchim and know that everything he said is TOTALLY true....and to #15 vast art ess dir that he gave Manis Friedman credit in his quote.. Manis will be the first to admit that he teaches Torah not something he invented......why was it necessary to pick on this/him?

I bring this up merely to prove that if we want to find things to pick on we always can and we can even make them seem important and even valid....
Let's all get on with REAL life - there's much to be done!!
I feel bad for those that insist on getting stuck on issues that are really unimportant but have been made the ikur.........if only they could learn to clear their "list" of what they must have and create a new one - one based on reality, one based on Torah then the whole "crisis" would begin to dissolve.
(4/26/2013 11:32:36 AM)
thanks for an important article, that tackles a relevant issue in a clear, concise way
(4/26/2013 12:01:06 PM)
Writing in..
This used to be the ONLY way we all got engaged and then married. While the Rebbe of Blessed Memory was still with us B'guf Gashmi, We all would write in for the Haskama and Bracha of the Rebbe. It was a central premise and defining decision that all chassidim lived by... Unfortunately now we don't have that option / ability to, may I say - "Have the Rebbe help us make (or make) the decision for us"
Therefore the need to bring BACK that very essential componment of Emuna & Bitachon etc etc as elaborated in this article, ONLY re-establishes that by which we all had lived and governed our lives.
(4/26/2013 12:07:25 PM)
Thank you !
Honest article.

Unfortunately today, people really like to shoot the messenger. Good message. I am married for 20 plus years, and yes, this, and everything is in the hands of Hashem.

Lets get back to basics, and well be ok
(4/26/2013 2:15:41 PM)
Emunah emunah emunah.… Dude. I have to be happy and confident in my decision. Otherwise I'll always be doubting myself.
I personally heard from Leibel Groner that when he was dating the Rebbe held out his four fingers and told him , while counting each one "it won't be your father who will make the decision,, it won't be mother, it won't be me, and won't be your seichel." The Rebbe then pointed to his own heart and said while pointing with his finger up and down "Only your heart can make the decision".
(4/26/2013 2:38:07 PM)
I don't know
It seems to me that the many people giving advice regarding shidduchim think that singles are to choosy and therefore thats why they have yet to be married. And so the advice given is like this; if you have basic compatibility get married. Well, I have news for you, this is a highly personal, feeling and thinking, spiritual type of choice and two people may be compatible but not necessarily for marriage. And I believe people know what's important to them and they should trust themselves more. (Not less!) Guidance is always useful and a must from the right person but its not a three step fits all solution all as suggested here.

P.S not all professional agree with this type of advice, so make sure you find the right person for you to guide you, be wary of these website article even if its written by a physcologist
(4/26/2013 3:37:09 PM)
(4/26/2013 4:45:45 PM)
to #24
not true,the rebbe is here and l can say he answers my thoughts
(4/26/2013 5:09:28 PM)
great article
the whole point of the shidduch system (in its ideal format) is to check for compatibility before you actually go on a date. you should already know going in some basic values and goals of the other person. that way, you don't get tricked by your emotions and fall for someone who is wrong for you. if you share what is most important, and if you have the right attitude towards marriage, then why not get married?

think to yourself, "why do i want to get married?"
is it because i'm lonely, or is it because getting married is a mitsvah, a vital part of my mission in life, and G-d wants me to?

The only way to have a happy marriage is if your spouse is happy. marriage is about giving of yourself COMPLETELY. its about both parties giving of themselves, and focusing on the Marriage, and not what is going to make them happy.
before you do anything, make sure to ask yourself, "is this going to contribute to the marriage in a positive way?" if the answer is yes, do it. if the answer is no, don't do it

and that's why the author says , "If you have the basic 'compatibles,' don't hesitate." because theoretically, if you have the right attitude, you can marry anybody! simple things don't matter like you don't like avocados, and your partner loves them. all that matters it that you both have the right mindset going in.

a value is something that is non-negotiable. if you share the same basic values, and you're comfortable with each other. then get married. If you think to yourself, there might be someone better waiting just around the corner, then what exactly do you want? do u want to get married or not?

trust in the fact that G-d runs the whole world, and your true partner was already picked out for you before you were born, if you go about dating in the proper way, you can rest assured G-d will help you make the right decision.

to understand what marriage is all about, and the mindset a frum jew should have going in to dating, do yourself a huge favor and check out this video series. about 20 videos none longer than 10 minutes. it will change your life. you owe it to your future (or current) spouse to watch this. http://11213.org/tag/mashpia-mekabel/
(4/26/2013 5:17:46 PM)
To 26
I actually think you and the author are on the same side. The point is that too often people let their seichel get carried away which leads to doubting and confusion. Follow your heart and have faith in Hashem and in yourself; simple.
(4/26/2013 5:25:50 PM)
Author Define Basic...
(4/28/2013 6:26:28 AM)
In short this article was addressing the issue of clarity. Many people feel the need to have perfect clarity before dropping the question. When I say ‘compatibility’, of course there needs to be love; as I mentioned in the article “there needs to be a spiritual and physical attraction”. If you have these basic points in place you shouldn’t start doubting yourself, rather put your trust in Hashem knowing that you did your part. We will never know if we married our true bashert. Couples grow together if they understand what marriage is about.
The dating period is actually the easiest. The real work begins once you are married. 2 people can be perfect for each other but if they don’t cultivate the relationship it will not end up well.
(4/29/2013 12:43:13 PM)
I agree with you,
but if it is so simple why are there so many singles?
Again, I agree with you. But maybe I have no right to really say anything, since B"H I married the second guy I dated, when the first wanted to live on a different continent and therefore was not really an option. (I was my husband's first date.)
So if I don't understand what these people are going through...maybe I shouldn't say anything?
Just a thought....
(10/25/2013 5:48:15 AM)
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