I’ve been dating a guy for several months. I really think he’s THE ONE. We enjoy easy communication, see eye-to-eye on important issues, and everything feels great. Not to demean a potential husband, but you know that feeling when you walk into a store, and a certain outfit has your name on it? You put it on, and a slow tinge of hope bubbles as you fasten the enclosures. And then, your eyes stare at the mirror, and EUREKA! This is it! This dress was made for you; the two of you are meant to be together.
You casually sling the dress over your shoulder, aware of a wave of contentment surrounding you, and head to the cashier. And for the rest of the day, you find yourself humming for no apparent reason.
So, back to Jim and me. Yes, we do seem compatible. My excitement is mounting, and the finish line is in sight. Yet, something is holding me back, and I’m afraid to make that final commitment.
You see, a year ago, I endured the agony of a broken engagement. Yes, there were some warning signals along the way that, in my ignorance, I chose to ignore. But overall, Barry was a super nice person and seemed like great husband material. Honestly, I think he will be a great husband for someone; he was just not my “bashert.”
To lay it on the line, I’m scared. I don’t want to go through that loss and heartbreak again. So, I ask myself: How does anyone ever really know that they are meant for another? As long and as often as a couple dates, until they experience life together with its little stresses and larger challenges, can anyone really be sure?
Afraid To Tie The Knot
Taking a huge step in life is like scaling a mountain peak that looks – and is – impossibly high. It takes a certain amount of courage, endurance and at a certain point, a leap of faith. You stare at that crest, and you know that there is simply no way you can propel yourself up to that point. You are physically drained and feel incapable of coaxing your feet to move another inch. Yet, you want to finish the climb. You know it’s worth it. And so, you grit your teeth and forge on, one step at a time, your muscles screaming as you whisper a prayer.
I believe this analogy can be applied to marriage and to any life-changing endeavor we face. How does anyone really know that s\he is THE ONE? I think the answer is – we don’t. We do our best, we get to know the person, share hopes, dreams and goals, and view him or her in different situations. After a certain amount of time, once everything checks out and you both feel ready, all that remains is to take that leap of faith.
Unlike the stuff of blissful fairy tales, marriage takes work. If each side goes in thinking only of fulfilling his or her own needs, it is a recipe for disaster. When each “I” transforms into a “we,” and the couple truly invests in attending to the other’s needs, the primary ingredients are present for success.
A famous anecdote has been told about Rabbi Aryeh Levin, a great rabbi who lived in Israel in our generation. He once accompanied his wife to the doctor.
“What seems to be the problem?” the doctor asked.
“Our foot hurts,” the rabbi replied, pointing to his wife.
And so, it is. The picture you present is rosy and wonderful, and the only thing impeding you is your fear from your prior painful experience. So, I humbly suggest that you climb to the summit – together. With consistent effort, love and warmth on both of your parts, may you be blessed with a rich and wonderful life together.
All the best,