Dating Life Issues: What To Factor In – What To Filter Out – Part 1
by Mrs. Chana Silver
I have heard so many differing and confusing opinions about family issues/ divorce/ shalom bayis problems / physchological conditions/ and physical illness concerning shidduchim. In your opinion how should one go about it all? It seems so daunting when there are issues! Can you break down some of the ideas and the how tos involved and give some advice about them? How important do you think these things are?
Jemsem is so full of great info! Thank you!
Dear Jemsem Reader,
Wow what a whopping important question! There are many issues that transpire in the dating world and a myriad of questions that arise about how to travel the highways of shidduchim.
It’s important to know that seldom does a person find a ‘storybook’ situation to marry into. There is always something in one area or another, a skeleton here, a predicament there.
I have found that in the shidduch world people are too quick to reject, abandon, and discard a potential idea because of these situations, and this should not necessarily be so.
FAMILY ISSUES (DIVORCE, SHALOM BAYIS PROBLEMS)
Unfortunately, in today’s world there are divorces, families with much discord, dysfunctional relationships within the clan, and problems that take on many different shapes and forms in the household.
For some, these kind of family issues are not what they want; others can make peace with them.
Here are some steps to take:
1] DO MORE CHECKING INTO THE SITUATION
Ask about it from all angles. Speak to the Rabbanim who have been involved with the family. Find out the particulars and what exactly has gone on and what is currently going on. Make sure you speak with people who truly know the facts. Talk specifically with the boy’s Rebbi who knows him well. Find out about their emotional history and if the Rebbi feels that the boy is emotionally stable. Ask them if they see any manifestations of deeper issues going on, in general, and based on the particular family issue that you are checking into.
2] SPEAK TO A RAV
Tell him the details of the situation and hear what he has to say. Listen carefully to the advice that he has for you. Rabbanim have much experience in these matters, and they are certainly there to guide us.
You have to figure out if you feel you can handle a circumstance like this. Think about the future. Whatever the nature of the problem, what will Shabbos, Yom Tov, family simchas be like? Will you be able to be supportive of your spouse? How will this issue possibly affect your children? Obviously, you can’t fully know the answers to these questions, but how do you feel about it now?
What if someone went to therapy to help them iron out family difficulties and life events? That’s a terrific thing! After all, think of the alternative! These people were trying to help themselves and move past their issues. It really shouldn’t be such a stigma.
Tamar* grew up in a highly dysfunctional family. When she was fifteen, her parents got divorced and she had to face the additional difficulties and stresses that came with that. When she was eighteen and in seminary in Israel, Tamar decided that not only did she want to get her hashkafic and Jewsh self together, but that she needed to complete the circle and deal with her emotional and personal self. She was in therapy for awhile and she made great headway. Today she is an emotionally healthy and stable young woman who is married and functionally raising a beautiful family. Where would she be without the therapy?
Perhaps you can reframe that fairytale image that you had conjured up and decide that this will work for you, or you may feel that this situation is just not what you want to be part of.
If you have thought this all out and done your checking etc – and you are already dating the person, one of the most important concepts is to analyze deeply about this person and your budding relationship with him. If he is stable, and you are building a great foundation and connection, and if you respect him and are communicating well with him – well, these things count a lot.
Thanks for allowing me to bring out these very important ideas!
NEXT MONTH: PART 2: PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS AND PHYSICAL ILLNESS
With Warmest Wishes,