Av 5761 – Choosing a Spouse More Or Less Frum?

1 Av 5761

Dear Chana,

When looking for your bashert, is it better to look for someone more frum or less frum than you? For example – if I was looking for a boy that would be learning one or two years and all of the sudden someone is suggested that will be in kollel for five years. Or maybe I didn’t want a guy that was learning at all – and someone is suggested that will be learning several years. Or if I don’t go to the theatre, and the boy cannot possibly understand why.

How important is all of this? Do these things really matter?

Thank you,

Name & seminary withheld upon request

There is a general rule in shidduchim that it is important to go out with people that share the same Torah values and level of observance as you do. This makes for a much better compatibility between the 2 of you. The questions that you are basically asking are ones that deal with lifegoals and hashkafa. They are very important and matter a great deal! I preface my remarks with the concept that you certainly should be well thought out about who you are and what type of home you want to have. This is why we say that the pre- dating time in a person’s life is one of self analization. You have to know where you are headed in life so you won’t hitch up with someone and go in circles!

Also, people tend to think in more black and white terms of what is more frum or less frum. It is really a relative issue and cannot be measured. He may be very shtark in his desire to learn for several years and she may have really worked on her T’filla. There are many different indications of ‘frumkeit’. Together – with him being heightened in certain areas and her having devoted energy in other areas – they can find that balance – that hashlama. This realization can better open up someone’s eyes to seeing the things that she could be looking for.

As for your first question. It would not be fair to go out with a boy who is interested in learning for any amount of time if you do not value the concept of him learning. You really do need to be on the same page here. Your second question concerning the amount of time in Kollel…. The important thing here is if you in fact are looking for a boy to be learning during the first few years. Specifically as to the amount of time that he would be learning really depends on so many factors that play themselves out once you are married. [I.e.: money issues, his sipuk in his learning etc.]

The point is that if you want a boy that is learning at first – you should go out with a boy who says he wants to learn for some period of time, and not go out with boys who are already working, or someone who says he wants to be learning for 10 to 15 years. There are many boys who fall into the category of wanting to learn for some amount of time during the first few years of the marriage. There are some boys who want to learn much, much longer than this – but these would be the exceptions. Again, the idea is to know if you want someone learning or not – this is part of your lifegoals.

Concerning your third question about the theater – This raises a bunch of other issues. Do you want a TV or VCR in your home? Would you be willing for both of you to go to a movie? What about English music? What kinds of things do you want to bring into your home? What do you definitely not want you your spouse and your children exposed to? Again, be well thought out here and know what is acceptable to you and what is not. You have to know yourself and honestly know where you are holding in these areas before you go out. These issues have a lot to do with how your home will be set up, and what kind of a guy you will be looking for.

Every marriage is very individual and a mixture of many factors. As you date and get to know the person, you will see lifegoal- and hashkafa-wise if he is in your ballpark. As to the specifics and minute details of who you each are, the more you get to know each other the more you will be able to tell if this can be a mesh or not. If you both bring to the marriage strengths in some of the same areas as well as strengths in different areas, this can be a very great thing.

Keep all this in mind as you date – May Hashem send you your Bashert soon!!!