There are no rules in Shiduchim. Part 3

by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute

How to tell the shadchan that you do not want to pursue the suggestion?  Again, there are several things to consider.

  • You don’t have to say much – if you don’t want to. You can simply say, “We’ve heard nice things. We simply don’t think it is shayach.” Or “We’ve heard wonderful things, we don’t think it is a good fit.” You don’t have to explain further.  At best, do not use the phrase, “I just don’t see it.”

 

  • If you are working with a shadchan who has been looking out for shiduch ideas, it would be helpful to give an explanation of why you think it is not shayach. In this way, you can help them narrow their criteria; make it easier for them to help you.  “My daughter really wants someone who loves to be around people and have friends over.”, “My son needs someone who is strong and independent and can take care of the family when he is away on business.”

 

  • Another reason why it is important to share with the shadchan: Perhaps there is something that you found out that she didn’t know about the person. If you share that information, it will make her work easier.  She will not be suggesting that person to people who are not shayach. “We understood from you that he was still learning full time, we heard that he is working full time and barely has a shiur once a week.”

 

  • Lastly, sometimes, you might hear things that are not accurate. If you mention what you have heard to the shadchan, she can help clarify misunderstandings.

 

  • So why is it that people don’t share the reasons? Sometimes, it is that the shadchan will minimize or dismiss those concerns. So they’d just rather not share anything.  In that case, you can simply tell the shadchan, “I really appreciate your insights. Nonetheless, this isn’t something we want to pursue or discuss at this point. Thank you.”  Others may not share because they fear the shadchan will think less of them and prefer not to share. “We can’t get past her way of dressing.” Or they don’t think the shadchan will understand the rationale. “I can’t get my son to go out with her because he disliked her brother in camp 7 years ago.”  Or they simply have a gut feeling that just can’t be explained.

 

  • Bottom line, when should I say “not shayach” and when should I give a reason?
  1. It depends on the shadchan. Is it a random person, or someone who really is trying to help you find shiduch?
  2. Your personality. How forthcoming you generally are.
  3. What the reason is.
  4. If you feel confident / trust the shadchan won’t share the negatives that you say, for example, “I don’t like the family”.
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There are no rules in Shiduchim. Part 2

by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute

If you have an idea for a shiduch, who should you approach first – the family or advocate of the young man or woman? It depends.  There are some points to consider.

  • If you are closer or friendly with one side, you may know if it is better to approach the other family first and see if they are interested before bringing it up to your friend, or the other way.

 

  • You might tell both sides that it is just a suggestion and that they can each make 1-2 calls in the next day or so to see if it something they would like to pursue. Then touch base with both to see if they are interested in pursuing further. If they both are satisfied with what they found out during these first calls, they can do more research if they’d like and proceed from there. However, if one side is not interested in pursuing further, it is important to let the other family know that, in a tactful and gentle way.  In this way, neither side has expended too much energy in the research.

 

  • Some feel that is best to approach the family of the young man first. The thought is that they don’t want the young woman or her family to know that someone has investigated and is saying ‘no’; they are concerned about sensitive feelings.

 

  • Different families have different preferences if they’d like to be approached first or second, and at what point in the process. Ideally, you’d ask them what they’d like.  (Personally, our family doesn’t mind if others research about us and our children; we don’t want to research about others until the other family feels that there really may be something to talk about.)

 

  • To the family or advocate: If someone reaches out to you about a shiduch, you can tell them your preference. “Please come to us, once the other side has done some research first and thinks this might be a good idea.”, “We prefer that you approach us first before sharing about our child to others.”, “We think it is best to tell both sides at the same time and then we touch base with you if we think it is something we would like to pursue further.”
Posted in Anyone can be a Shadchen, Dating Insights | 1 Comment

There are no rules in Shiduchim. Part 1

by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute

“This whole shiduchim part of my life is so frustrating and stressful, I wish there was a manual of how to navigate through it.” “Indeed, what are the protocols; wouldn’t it be great if those were written and shared with all?”

Though it may be easier to have a clear set of guidelines, there really are no rules when it comes to shiduchim. OK, there are just a few which I’ll mention soon. Every potential shiduch is unique – in so many ways that it would be difficult to state explicitly the way they should be done.

Some rules:

  • Take care of Dor Yesharim matching before even the first date. Your shadchan will probably ask both families for the information and share with both. If the shadchan doesn’t ask for it, you can offer the info to her/him.
  •  Be menchlich. Thank the shadchan for their efforts. If they have put time to helping you, some kind words or a small gift can really go a long way.
  • Be honest and forthcoming. When you don’t share all pertinent information, it just wastes the shadchan’s time when she makes suggestions to those who aren’t applicable for your single.
  • Communicate closely with the shachan while a shiduch is in process. Do not make the shadchan chase you.
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The Gentle Art of In Law Relationships

Deitsch.InLaws (5)“You don’t just marry your spouse, you marry the family.” For many this is a blessing. For others, the in-laws can be a point of contention. There’s an art to creating healthy and loving relationships with your in-laws (or at the very least, tolerable relationships).

Studies have shown that in-law relations are a key determinant of marital happiness, and sometimes a factor in divorces. Mother-in-law jokes aside, It is worthwhile to have a healthy relationship with your in-laws. After all, they are your spouse’s parents and your children’s grandparents; they genuinely love the people you love. And they’re going to be in your life forever. You don’t have to love them, but be kind and loving, and find ways to be at peace. All will be happier for it.

On Monday, November 13 2017 8:45PM Eastern, listen in as Devora Krasnianski of Adai Ad talks with Basya Deitsch, a noted relationship coach about this delicate relationship via a conference call The Gentle Art of In Law Relationships. This call will focus on what the children-in-law might do to foster a relationship with their parents-in-law. Basya will share important mindsets and tips for diffusing situations and building peaceful relationships.

Call in info
To join, call 641-552-9123. Access code: 256965
You can send in your questions anonymously before, during and after the call to http://www.adaiad.org/ask-anonymous-question

This call is brought to the community by Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, Adai Ad and Shalom Taskforce. It is part of a series of workshops and education organized by the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council under a grant by the New York City Council Domestic Violence Initiative awarded by Council Member Matthieu Eugene.

Check Adai Ad’s website for upcoming calls and events at http://www.adaiad.org/events or recordings of past events at www.adaiad.org/past-events.

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Do spouses have to share everything?

secrecy

by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
based on a conversation with Dr. Elka Pinson

Q:  I am asking this on behalf of my friend. She is annoyed that her husband tells her he is going out for a drive to relax and ends up at his friend’s house playing video games. He does this often. She claims, “We should be telling each other everything. Why won’t he just tell me that he is going to his friends; why does he lie to me?”

A: There is so much said, and perhaps even more unsaid in these few short words.  Therefore, I’ll talk about the topic of privacy and secrecy in marriage in general, and then add a few words to address what I read here in these words.

Should spouses tell each other everything?  In one word, no. While one spouse may be more comfortable disclosing than the other, she or he should not expect to hear every thought, action, urge or memory of their partner. We need different degrees of solitude to re-charge, regulate stress and nurture a sense of self – be it a solitary hobby or reading the paper alone.

In other words, some privacy.

In a trusting relationship, we have neither the need to check each other’s phone, emails, mail or daily moves, nor the obligation to disclose all. That is privacy.

And then there is secrecy. The distinction between privacy and secrecy is very important.  Privacy becomes secrecy when there is conscious motivation to keep something unknown, hidden or unseen from one’s partner—something that directly impacts that person and the bond shared, often something that can harm the relationship.

Secrets can be motivated by betrayal, shame, fear, or anger. Secrets disqualify intimacy because they prevent authenticity. When someone is holding a secret, a part of them is not available for connection.

 

Is it privacy or secrecy?

Having private conversations with others without your spouse knowing all the details. Privacy. Healthy.

Having a secret conversation with someone of the opposite gender. Secrecy. Not healthy.

Not sharing how you spent every last penny. Privacy.  Healthy.

Not sharing that you gambled away over ten thousand dollars.  Secrecy. Not healthy.

One way to discern if it privacy or secrecy is to determine if the information is harmful to the marriage relationship – gambling, clandestine friendships are detrimental to a marriage. That is secrecy and not fair to your spouse or to your marriage.

 

So why does the husband in the above question lie to his wife? It is hard to tell with so few details. Here are some possibilities.

Perhaps, his wife’s asking him where he is going triggers memories of his overbearing mom always needing to know where he is. And he feels that as an adult he should not have to get permission or report his comings and goings. It’s really not about his wife at all; it’s more about his sense of independence.

Or, it might be that his wife would not agree to his hanging out with the boys, so he prefers to say a little ‘white lie’.  She is OK with him being out of the house to unwind, just not being with the friends. So he thinks, “What’s the difference where I am if I am not home, I’ll just tell her that I’m going out alone and I’ll ‘end up’ at my friends.”  What is happening here is that he is lying to avoid a conflict. Again, it is not secrecy or privacy; it’s conflict avoidance.

Another possibility, is that she is annoyed at herself for not being more assertive about spending time with friends and unwinding outside of the house. Instead of recognizing that, she gets bothered by his going out to friends and her complaint is really about that.

Maybe it is the way he grew up. He never had to tell anyone where he is going; he loved the spontaneity of just ending up somewhere.  He isn’t withholding from her; he simply doesn’t know where he will end up going and then doesn’t call to let her know.  It’s not secrecy or lying; it’s more about what he is used to doing. But, if it affects the family schedule, or he is not around for the family – then it does impact the marriage, and he should be sharing his comings and goings. If he doesn’t, there are communication problems.

Is it OK for her to ask him to tell her where he is going and what he did and who was there and and and …?

She has every right to be curious.  She must also recognize that no one has the right to another’s thoughts and personal information.  Even if they are married. Everyone has the right to privacy. As long as it does not impact the marriage.  Of course, he could share if he thinks it will enhance their relationship, but he is entitled to privacy.

It might be worthwhile to view it like this: Start with the premise that you will know nothing unless your spouse chooses to share; be OK with that.  When both ‘own the information’ ie: the marriage, finances, children, the details should be shared and discussed.  Of course, this feels natural when both spouses have a healthy sense of self and deep trust in each other.  They are secure in who they are as individuals and in their marriage.

So what is reasonable to expect to know about each other and to ask?  It should be on a ‘need to know basis’. Think: What about that information is important for you to know?  What is the point of knowing? What about that information is important for your spouse to know?  What is the point of telling?

Lastly, if you are withholding information, think about why you are not telling. Is it a power struggle?  Do you not feel safe to share; do you feel that you will be judged, ridiculed? Are you trying to avoid a conflict? Are you afraid your spouse won’t allow it?  While it may not be in the category of secret, it still isn’t healthy. Examine the underlying dynamic and work through it.

Trust is key in marriage; and trust is not needing to know everything about each other, and being OK with that.

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Plan together for a meaningful and relaxed Yom Kippur

yomkippur

by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute

For adults, Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and davening. Obviously, this it is different with young children. Expect that your Yom Kippur will not be full of deep davening and introspection; right now your young children are your priority, a holy task.

It may not be the easiest day of the year; with advance planning and a ‘can do’ attitude, both the mother and father can have a meaningful and spiritual Yom  Kippur.  As a couple, work out how to get in some davening on behalf of the family, fasting and attending to the safety and well-being of your children.   

Planning and discussions in advance is key; when you are fasting, your creativity and patience fly right out the window. Additionally, you’ll have enough time to benefit from  insights from others or a conversation with your Rav about your particular situation.  And you can make orders or arrange for items that you might need.

With a few ideas worked out before Yom Kippur, your day and that of your children can be meaningful and relaxed. Here we provide some suggestions. You know yourself and your child best and the way you want to celebrate the yom tov.  Plan with your child in mind.

To husbands: Keep in mind that taking care of children is always hard work. Then add in the fasting, the messing up of the kids’ daily routine, no electronics to distract the children. And then, perhaps, your wife’s desire to daven a bit.  Yom Kippur is a very hard day with young children.  Do all you can to make the day as easy as possible for your wife and children.


Davening

Generally, the father goes to shul to daven on behalf of the family, and the mother stays home with the children.  As such, the next tips are directed to the mother.

  • Expect that you will not be able to daven the full davening. In this way you will not be disappointed when you actually cannot daven all that much, and happily surprised if you can.
  • You might plan to daven after putting the kids to sleep – Kol Nidrei/Maariv and Neilah.
  • Just as every morning, at least get in your morning brachos before starting your day with your child(ren).
  • You might sing aloud a few Yom Kippur songs with your child on your lap or sitting near you.

Going to Shul

If your child is old enough to walk to shul (and back).

It is good chinuch for your child to spend some time in shul – just soaking in the atmosphere and hearing some of the davening and singing.  The father or mother can take the child to shul.

  • Help your child create memories. Point out and talk about the various nuances of the Yom Kippur service. Point out the kittel, white peroches, and the non leather shoes.
  • Prepare in advance a few key Tefillos or lines from the davening or songs that you want to say with your child.  You might mark those in your machzor.
  • Find out if your shul has a program for preschoolers and if you will have to join them the whole time or for part of the time.
  • Before yom tov, bring a bag of food and small toys and books to keep your child occupied while you are in shul. Small cars, quiet travel games, fidgets, repositionable ‘stickers’.   If you are bringing a new toy, make sure it is something he knows how to use, so he doesn’t have to keep asking you or get frustrated.
  • Most preschool age children cannot sit quietly for that long, even with a bag of snacks and a stack of books. Be prepared to leave shul when your child begins to become antsy.
  • If your child has made his own machzor, bring that with you so your child can remember and talk whisper about what he learned in school about Yom Kippur.
  • It always helps to have a few special treats for the occasion – something to occupy him; these can also be used as an incentive for proper decorum. Perhaps, you can choose these treats together and pack them together. You can include some neat, quiet snacks – not too crumby or crunchy or sticky (winkies work well). Bring hand (Shabbos) wipes just in case, and extra tissues, empty (quiet, non-rustling) bags for your trash. Bring more of everything than you think you’ll need. Also bring a water bottle or two.

Keep them well fed

  • Plan for hungry, somewhat bored children. Have lots of snacks on hand – precut fruit, pretzels, or the like, prepared in portion size containers or baggies.  Prepare before yom tov.
  • You can also prepare food so that they can make their own sandwiches (for example, peanut butter on rice cakes with a spreader). This becomes an activity for them and a meal – a twofer.
  • Prepare sandwiches before Yom  Tov.  Or put some food on the blech or in a crock pot.

Keeping them occupied while you fast

  • Expect a mess; a more peaceful Yom Kippur is worth it. It might take you an hour at the end of the day or the next morning to clean up. You can enlist the help of others in the house too.
  • Pull out different toys throughout the day.  (Someone suggested a box of tissues and let their creativity soar. Post its are also fun for kids.)
  • Bring out some toys your child will be excited to play. You may want to do a toy swap with a friend – to bring a new toy to your child.
  • You know your child; what toys will (most likely) keep him occupied for a while – puzzles, magnatiles, legos, cliks, trains.  You might add a new element to their old toys – a new car for their legos, a station for the trains.
  • You might also inspire their playing with some pictures of things they can possibly build or patterns they might copy. Here are a few you might print out or show your child before Yom Tov.  clics building ideas lego building ideas  magnatile abcs  magnatiles numbers 
  • Throw some sheets over your dining room chairs to make a tent. Fill it with books and pillows,  or favorite toys. Or let the kids use their imagination about how they can use the space.
  • Get some new books – that they can ‘read’ themselves. You can borrow from a library or swap with friends.

Alternate with another adult

  • Perhaps you can get a babysitter for a few hours to watch the kids when you go to shul, or rest.  Perhaps your neighbor* can bring her kids to you for a few hours, and then you bring your kids to her.  *sister, friend, etc.

Yeah, bribe them.

  • It’s one day a year, it’s OK.  Promise them something wonderful if Mommy has a peaceful day.
  • Tell them about the plan before. You might print a picture of the ‘prize’ as a visual reminder.
  • Before Yom Tov, talk about what Mommy is hoping for (“Mommy can daven while kids are playing quietly with toys”) and what the day schedule will look like (naps, reading, playing).  Together, come up with what they will read and play; and then always be flexible during the day of Yom Kippur. You might print the schedule so your child can follow along; in this way, it is the schedule, not you, who is telling them what they should be doing.
  • Be careful to not count the negatives that they might do (nagging, interrupting). If that number gets too high, the child will feel discouraged about getting the prize and might give up in middle of the day.
  • It is hard to keep up with tracking points for behavior. Instead, you might give them a status of how Mommy is feeling right now. “Mommy is very happy with how you are playing so quietly; I am able to daven.”  “Mommy is beginning to feel frustrated with the noise here; what can we do to keep the noise level down so Mommy can be in a relaxed mood?”

Note: This article does not address extenuating circumstances (difficult or late pregnancy, newborns, special needs children, difficult fasting, etc.)  In such situations, you might speak to others in similar circumstances, your mashpia or a Rav.

Wishing you a most meaningful and relaxed Yom Kippur

 

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Your shiduch ‘wishlist’

wishlist

by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute

This very comprehensive list from lubavitchsingles.com lays out 20+ qualities and attributes that people often include on their shiduch ‘wish list’. The author purports that you have to choose which are the 5 major ones that you most desire in your spouse, those that are absolutely not compromisable.  This is an in-depth inventory with elaboration of each quality, and is worth reviewing.

There are those qualities that everyone wants in a spouse: kind and caring, respectful and respectable, honest, emotionally healthy, put together.  And then, there are those that are crucial to some people and less important to others.

Here, I share another perspective to add to that thorough list and article. As you work through a list of qualities that you absolutely must have in a spouse, it is also important to state to yourself WHY that is so crucial to you for a successful marriage.

 

  • What about a particular physical attribute [taller than 5’10”/ smaller than size 4/ curly hair/ straight hair/ petite/ long beard/ short beard/ fit] is so important to a successful marriage? Is it that you feel that you can only respect someone who you feel good standing next to?
  • What about his/ her schooling is so important to a successful marriage? Perhaps, you are using the schools that they attended as a shortcut to guesstimate what the person is probably all about?
  • Family background? Do you feel that you would be more comfortable joining a family that is similar to yours? Or perhaps that a person who grew up in a particular type of home has certain values that you really want in a spouse? Or that it would be prestigious to be part of a particular family?
  • Sense of humor? First, let’s narrow down what type of humor you are talking about: tells good jokes and is the life of the party, ability to laugh at oneself and not take life too seriously, witty and lighthearted, tells good one-liners. And then, how would that enrich a marriage and one’s life? Do you feel that being with someone who doesn’t take everything too seriously will make for a more calm home? Do you want someone who can lighten any mood with a great joke?
  • Type of clothing – how often he wears his hat and jacket, what color shirts and pants he generally wears. Are you making some inferences about his chasidishkeit and values based on the way he or she dresses?
  • Smart, intellectual, curious? Do you need someone with whom you can have interesting and deep conversation? Is it that you feel you can only respect someone who pursues lots of interests and can have conversations about lots of different topics? Do you feel that you need someone whom your friends and colleagues can respect for their contributions to conversations?
  • Gets along with lots of different types of people.
  • A real baalbuste.
  • Makes good money.
  • A real chevreman.
  • etc.

Of course, you realize that no one person has perfect traits and qualities, or personality; you know you have to prioritize. As you go through the rest of the list, articulate to yourself what about that is so important to you for your marriage and life. If it is not that important, move it lower on your wish list or remove it altogether.

You might create a chart similar to this one as you work on this.

Trait/ Quality What aspect of marriage
would this serve
How important
(1= not important <-> 5 = must have)

 

Lastly, be honest with yourself: are you the type of person that the person on your wish list would want to live with?

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