Thursday, October 27, 2011

Waiting for love

I recently re-tweeted an article by Gila Manolson published by 
I feel that especially in our days it is extremely relevant and apropos.  

I've heard too often of a couple who did not get engaged or broke an engagement, because they felt they did not have “feelings” for the other. “Feelings” being used as a euphemism for the word “Love” which, in the community I live in, would not be accepted as a valid excuse for breaking an engagement or for not going forward with a match.
 Our young people are expecting the euphoria and infatuation so common in the Hollywood firmament, forgetting that Astrology (stars in your eyes) is not a component of this Life 101 class.
As the author rightfully says, love is a choice we make. 
We can choose to see the special traits the other person has, his or her qualities and behavior that will make us appreciate that person and grow our feelings (of love).
We are so influenced by the world at large; by the instant gratification syndrome that we live with today that we do not want to give a relationship the proper time to develop from an embryonic like and appreciation to something lasting.
To clarify, I am not proposing that couples go out longer, which will not help and in fact will definitely hinder. A relationship will grow into true feelings of regard and love only after the couple is married, with equal effort on both partners to build a truly everlasting edifice, a binyan adei ad.
This brings us to the all-important question: if going out more times will not serve, how do we know the choice is the right choice?
The answer of course is not simple. One important component is emuna. Emuna (faith) that if we do our part the Aibishter will send us our match.
What is not often understood is that finding our match, our zivug, is no guarantee of living happily ever after, (as mentioned before: Astrology is not a factor). Furthermore whoever we marry IS the person we were supposed to marry. The future of Klal Yisroel depends on yiddishe families and Hakadosh Baruch Hu (as the medrash tells us) is busy with making matches (Mezaveg Zivugim); no matter how unlikely we may think a shidduch is, if it is meant to be it will be. Therefore whoever we finally marry is the right one for us at that moment. But we do not, really deep inside us, believe it.
Another factor is the belief that although we lack experience, and we are not objective when it comes to ourselves (as the old lawyers' saying that a man who represents himself will have a fool for a client) we still believe we know best. 
It is imperative for parents or other supportive adults to do proper research into suggestions. Not obsessive just thorough. If the suggestion passes muster then all the couple has to do, is decide if they like each other, admire each other’s qualities and can respect each other, then in marriage, love will grow through the daily giving one to the other. Unless of course, there is indifference or dislike of the other person, in which case it is obviously not going to work.  
Another reason we have so many young and not so young singles is that our expectations have spiraled out of control.
We are not looking for marriage partners we are looking for custom made fantasies: sometimes the list of qualities wanted cannot coexist, sometimes parents are looking for the diametrical opposite of what their kids want, and sometimes no one is good enough for their kids. 
We surely see how previous generations were not as particular and exacting as we have become.
So as Gila Manolson says in the article “By focusing on the good, you can love almost anyone.” If we kept this in mind there would be a lot more engagements and happy marriages around.


Si said...

I'm *still* in dating, and my thoughts are that most folks
1) Do not have the necessary skill set for dating and evaluating what they should do or look for while they are dating. Sure some people read some " books" but that doesnt teach them how to think, or prepare someone to give of themselves (ahava) (which is req'd in dating and forsure throughout the marriage). We live in a me generation..what can s/he do for me? I see it in both guys and girls who expect to be taken care of during the date rather than ensuring the other person has a good time (giving of themselves).
2) Maturity.
3) The community at large has changed. How many different areas of orthodoxy are there these days? How many schools of thought (one with tv, one without internet etc) 4)The roles of Men and Women have changed.