by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
The date went well. You shared about yourself. You learned a little more about him. But you’re still not sure about a couple of things. You don’t know him all that well to commit to marriage.
So you come home. And then what?
Here’s what not to do. Don’t analyze and antagonize over details. And definitely don’t start making inferences. “If she said that she loves to travel and adventure, then she isn’t going to want to stay home with the kids.” “If he gets mad at someone who cuts him off in traffic, then he’ll be abusive.” “If she likes to be with family, then she is clingy and will always want to go to Mommy for everything.” Assumptions. Assumptions.
And sometimes the assumptions and inferences go the other way – assuming someone is something she is not. People might want to see something in their date. He really wants to have a life of shlichus and community work. He hopes she does too. She says that she really enjoyed her summers at day camps because she enjoyed working with the community. And he reads that to mean that she wants to do community work. She just meant that it was fun meeting new people, in a nice place like California. She never said she wants to do that all her life.
Clarify. Don’t infer.
Be sure. Don’t guess.
- Just make sure that she really wants what you hope she wants. He should talk about shlichus and how he sees it as an important part of who he is. And confirm that it is important to her too.
- If you are concerned about something, prepare how you might bring it up next time you meet. “Last time you mentioned you love to travel. How do you see that working with married life and a family?” “I can tell you really love hanging out with family. That’s great. What do you think is a healthy balance of your family and your new family?”
- You may want to speak to an unbiased person about your concern. Someone who is not so close to you or attached to the outcome of the shiduch. That might mean speaking to someone who is not a close family member or friend. And not the shadchen. Nor someone who just wants to see you get married. Rather, someone who will ask you good questions to help you get to the core of the issue. Not tell you what to do. (That clarity is worth paying to work with a coach or therapist. As necessary.)
Too many shiduchim are prematurely stopped because of assumptions, inferences and inappropriate advice. Get clarity first.