Original content written for Aish.com
I would have appreciated a heads-up on a few things. What wisdom do you have to share?
I learned the ropes of dating on the fly, and somehow I made it to the chuppah. I sure would have appreciated a heads-up on a few things. To make your dating process a little sweeter, here are three concepts that I wish I’d known when I was dating.
My husband was given really great advice when he was dating: “Men and women are already different enough. Find someone you have something in common with.” After 11 years of marriage, I concur – men and women are different. And the more you have in common, the easier it will be to adapt to married life.
Yes opposites can attract, but they sometimes have a challenging time staying together. Don’t misunderstand me: there will be differences between you and your spouse. No matter how alike you are there will definitely be enough ways in which you are different. But different is not the same as opposite. Over time you will hopefully come to appreciate and value those differences. But don’t go looking for someone so different from yourself.
If you really want a super spouse, make sure you’re super too (inside and out). Like attracts like. Take a minute to look in the mirror. What positive traits and qualities do you see? In what ways are you great? Notice your greatness. Notice it not because you are egocentric, but rather because you are trying to identify your other half. By identifying the first half of the soul mate – yourself – you’ll be better equipped to search the world for your super spouse.
While you’ve been searching for your soul mate, your best friend has too. What happens when your best friend finds love before you? A client of mine shared the following: “When my friends got married it was pretty traumatic. I had no idea how to deal with it. Especially when my best friend got engaged. Her story is what we’ve been dreaming of and praying for – I’m getting married, moving to another city, YAY! But my story is saying goodbye to my roommate of five years and looking for a new roommate, a new best friend, and a husband.”
The girl getting married is probably not all-consumed with how her marriage will affect her best friend. And chances are the friend being “left behind” isn’t thinking all that much about how marriage will affect her best friend’s life. Both sides are consumed with the change in their own lives.
You can weather the changes with a balanced approach – keep both self and other in mind. Acknowledge what you’re thinking and how you are feeling. Take care of yourself first. But after you’ve taken good care of yourself, it’s time to think of your friend. Getting married is one of life’s big stressors. (This isn’t meant to scare you, but rather to prepare you.) Stay in touch with your friend. S/he will need the most support after the party is over. When the fun is done and the hum drum of life begins, your friend will need your ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and friendship more than ever. And I know you’ll need your friend too!
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If you believe that things are going to work out, handling your life moment to moment may not be as frustrating. You would be able to go through the dating process with greater ease and a stronger faith in God. You may even stop dreading the process because you know it will eventually end. It would be as if you watched the movie of your life, you know the outcome, but then you went back to the middle of your story to relive it moment by moment. You would experience this portion of your life with an inner peace and not be frustrated by the seemingly long and arduous journey.
If you could see the plans behind the scene, then your current experience of the world may be easier. You could even get to a point of feeling like this is “all for the best” (gam zu l’tova). At the end of this process, you will have your spouse! Even more than your spouse, you will have your best self! It’s who you are and who you become that matters. How did you act, and react in the moment? You will feel good or bad based on your actions. What will happen in life will happen. Acting your best self through it all will help you feel good about yourself, ease the process and make for the best possible outcome.
I’m sure there are dozens of things we could add to the “I wish I knew” list. What do you wish you would have known? What wisdom do you have to share? Please comment below and share your insights with us.