Dating for Success: Your Future Lifestyle

One of the common fallacies made by those entering the shidduch scene soon after high school and seminary is that material matters in life are relatively unimportant. Spiritual growth, for themselves and their prospective spouse, is held in highest regard and the material side to their lives is devalued and diminished. While leading a Torah life is, without question, the purpose of our existence and is to be held in highest esteem, it is critical to accurately attend to your personal needs and character.

While a girl may come home from seminary prepared to live the rest of her life in a small apartment in Israel, it is important to ensure that this is an accurate assessment of what she wants and needs. Exploring as to whether that is a realistic way of life is an essential step before beginning to date.

Moreover, it is important to ascertain the boy’s future goals in life. What are his long-terms goals for learning, if that is what you are looking for. What does he plan to do after that? How does he anticipate earning a living and providing for a family? While your entire married life need not be figured out, it is not too early to discuss such matters. Be aware of where your life is headed. Many marriages suffer on account of financial issues. Aiming for lofty goals is wonderful, but ensure that you are ready for them, it matches your character, and there is some type of plan set in place.

Consider the following example.

After returning home from seminary, Dena seemed to have changed tremendously from the girl she had been a year earlier. She davened with greater fervor, her circle of friends were much more simplistic and spiritual and she dressed more modestly. When it came time to approach shadchanim, Dena said that she only wanted
to date boys who planned on learning indefinitely and would be supported exclusively by her. While Dena’s parents were proud of her, they began wondering if she had thought these criteria out as carefully and closely as needed. She had in fact grown up with all the luxuries a girl living in American could ask for, and still enjoyed and relied on these comforts. She had never been exposed to the lifestyle she supposedly craved.

After four years of dating the type of boy she described, she met David. He was an extremely devoted learner, but intended to join his father’s accounting business in a few years. He had grown up in a home very similar to Dena’s, and after meeting for some time and finding compatibility, the two of them became engaged.

It is critically important to come to grips with who you are and be wary about fantasizing of a life that you realistically would not lead. Take the time to learn yourself, understand your true needs, and from there, work to determine who can partner with you on that journey.