Often I am asked during or towards the end of the dating process, how does one know if the issues one may be wrestling with in deciding whether they should commit should be legitimized or disregarded?
The key is not to make minor issues major, and likewise major issues minor.
Understand if the issue is a deal breaker or not. If it is, then that it most probably indicative that one cannot commit and shouldn’t proceed unless it can be resolved.
- Expectations are too overwhelming and demanding.
- Parents are too controlling.
- It all seems compatible on paper. Just difficult connecting emotionally.
- Personality too secretive and introverted.
- Hashkafa and halachic standards are too compromised, or too extreme.
On the other hand, if it’s only a minor issue that is not a deal breaker, then it will have to be addressed but it should not obstruct one from committing.
- He loves the outdoors. Hiking. Boating. She doesn’t really know. Never did it.
- He doesn’t know yet what profession or shlichus he wishes to pursue.
- She is very responsible with any task given to her but has no specific aspirations.
- He’s not as outgoing as she envisioned her husband would be.
To address the above minor issues one must ask:
- Maybe she will like the outdoors, hiking, boating etc once she’s experienced them. And if she doesn’t, how often and important is it that she must do those activities? After all, he can do them with other friends or with his own children as well?!
- With regard to his future and her aspirations, maybe they are too young to know what options and opportunities will be afforded them. It may be too premature to be making those decisions. With the right guidance and advice, they will both find their calling.
- Not being outgoing is very relative. He may be perfect for her in a one-on-one relationship.
In Eternal Joy, the Rebbe addresses this exact dilemma.
“First Things First”
With regard to shidduchim: Your emphasis should be on the most important factors of the person that you are meeting. When you do so, then as a matter of course, the secondary aspects — and most surely those matters that are but “secondary of the secondary” and “minor of the minor” — will cease to be of any import.