Dating is a great way to get married… unless you are doing it wrong. Here is the Jewish Thinking Man’s Guide To Dating as I learnt it from my father, with additional pieces thrown in on which he has not been consulted.
Every Jewish match is the right one. There is a specific match for you predetermined before your birth and this person you marry. End of discussion.
However as you are wondering and questioning, yes its not that simple. You need to do some qualifying. Why? Because that is what Eliezer did in the Torah. When Eliezer was sent by Avraham to find a match for Yitzchak, prior to entering the village he was instructed to go to he made a deal with God. The deal was, the woman who offers to give water to him and his camels is the match for Yitzchak.
Eliezer made a qualifying condition so he would know who was the person God intended Yitzchak to marry. We learn that we are also to make qualifications for a potential spouse. Therefore do not say “I will know the right one”, or worse “I will feel when I have met the right one”.
How do you do this?
Make a list for yourself of at least ten qualifying conditions for a match. These are specific, and discovered by inner questioning.
Here are some questions to ask yourself should you find it difficult to create this list:
- How tall?
- What language must she speak?
- Must she have a similar culture to you?
- Must she be organised?
- What expectations should she have of income?
- Halachik observance?
- Desire to have a large family?
- What community does she want to live in?
- Where will your kids go to school?
Important note: Being attractive should not be on this list. Why not? A woman is attractive to her husband when he is thinking positively about her, when he is not she does not appear attractive to him. Therefore attraction is not dependent on the woman, but on the man and is not for this list.
Now that you have your list break the list down into two lists. One list are Deal-Breakers, i.e if one of the items on the list was not present the match is off, and the other list are Important-Preferences. Deal-Breakers should have at least five and no more than ten entries, and Important-Preferences can have another ten.
After getting to know a woman on a few dates consult the list to determine whether she matches your Deal-Breaker list, if she matches the entire list then you may be ready to propose.
1. You never want to edit the list after meeting a date, this is too prone to bias, and ruins the agreement you are making with God (as per Eliezer).
2. Poeple are complex and this is a simple set of instructions. Seek personal guidance.