Taking Stock Of Ourselves
While many singles have expectations of a marriage partner, they can be totally oblivious to their own shortcomings. For example, Abe insisted that matchmakers set him up with slim, attractive women, despite his being 5’11” and weighing 270 pounds. Laura continually sought warm, emotionally available men, yet was aloof and cold herself. Diana was attracted to men who were stable, yet she was perpetually disorganized and unable to make a commitment. Dean kept hoping to meet a career woman who earned a lot of money, yet he didn’t realize that such women would not respect him since he barely earned enough to support himself.
The Talmud says that a man may not marry a woman whom he finds unattractive because he will violate the obligation to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Yet singles should not hold others to higher standards than they hold themselves, especially in terms of character traits or appearance. While people often think that they deserve someone who has every quality on their wish list, that kind of person may not want to compromise his or her standards, either. Their standards may include someone who is more appealing than we are!
When singles create a ‘shopping list” of spouse-to-be qualities, they should wonder if that person would want them! They should also wonder if some of their qualities they seek might be mutually exclusive. For example, a person seeking an intellectual, socially-concerned, well-dressed and meticulously groomed mate may find that people who are very concerned about looks are likely to be superficial and self-centered. A woman who wants a stereotypically masculine husband who also writes poetry and likes opera may find that combination hard to find. Those who seek a mate who is very successful in his or her career are likely to find someone with little free time for nurturing a marriage.
Singles who are serious about getting married should make the most of their appearance. They shouldn’t rationalize staying unattractive by saying that their soulmate will accept them for who they are unless they really don’t want to find an appropriate partner.