Dating Advice #163 - Childhood Friends
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Dating Advice #163 - Childhood Friends
Dating Advice 163

Dating Advice #163 - Childhood Friends

Trying to sort out the comfort of a long-term friendship with the stuff that marriage is built on.

by

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I'm 26 years old and have a bit of a dilemma that I hope you can help me sort out.

How do I know if I love someone because we have a history together -- because I have known him for almost 15 years, because our families are interconnected, because I enjoy his company and because we are good friends -- or if he is truly the one for me?

Thank you,

Julie

Dear Julie,

We know that a lot of people are hung up on the distinction between I love you and I'm in love with you, but from the perspective of two women who have been happily married a long time, and who work with singles on a daily basis, we think that focus is misplaced.

First of all, love is only one of the ingredients that a couple needs in order to be right for each other. We don't even like to use the word love, because it means different things to different people; we think affection is a more appropriate term. If two people care a great deal for each other and have all the other ingredients for a good marriage, then they are right for each other and have the foundation for a loving, enduring life together.

The other ingredients are as important in the mix as love. Popular culture has influenced us to think that all you need is love, but we know that is not the case. In order for a marriage to work, a couple should have similar value systems and compatible goals in life. Similar and compatible doesn't mean the same; it means that their overall view of life are harmonious and they are moving in the same direction in terms of expectations for the future. Two people can feel love for each other, but if their values or goals are on a collision course, or if they are very far apart, the relationship will be troubled and will ultimately not endure.

Further, two people must also are admire certain qualities in each other; accept each other's personalities, quirks, and background without expecting to change the other person; have developed emotional intimacy (feeling an emotional bond, liking each other as good friends, trusting each other and wanting to give of themselves to each other); and respect each other.

And finally, the two must also be physically attracted to each other. (Don't confuse this with the unbridled passion that contemporary culture conditions us to expect; that rarely happens and when it does it fizzles out pretty quickly.)

You're not the first person who believes that someone they've known for much of their lives may be right for them. They may have been friends since childhood, teenage confidents, college buddies, or their families have always been close. Gradually, it may dawn on them that they are very comfortable with someone they've grown up with, really care for that person, and think this person would be a good spouse for them. If the two have all the qualities we've described, and you both feel the same way about each other, then they are certainly right for each other.

We hope this helps you determine if the important elements are present, and whether this life-long friendship should move on to the wedding canopy.

All the best,

Sherry and Rosie

..

Published: August 28, 2004

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Anonymous, June 30, 2011 1:42 AM

take a break

I once had a very deep and close relationship with a guy, built up over a number of years, and all of the criteria mentioned in this article were definitely present. Being religious, the relationship never crossed any physical boundaries - we both thought we were headed for marriage when the time was right. Following the advice of our individual mentors/rabbis, we "took a break" from the relationship, and did not even speak or email for a few months. When we met again, it was clear that we had both started to grow in very different directions, and though it was painful to admit, we were no longer suited for each other. We agreed to move on, to date other people. Today, we are both happily married to other people and have beautiful families - it is very obvious that we have each merited to marry our true bashert. I think that what happened before, is that our friendship was so close, and we regularly conversed on such a deep level, that it caused us to grow in complementary ways. Only when we stopped communicating did we really see what direction our INDIVIDUAL growth would naturally take. PS. I fully support Rosie & Sherry's position NOT to spend time with other guys once you are married... the only reason I am still in touch is because he is good friends with my husband. It can be awkward, but it also REALLY brings home the point of how incompatible we truly were, and how wonderfully compatible we each are with our own spouses.

(3) Denise, September 26, 2004 12:00 AM

I was impressed with the article.

I've never read or heard love termed quite like this or agreed with someone else's idea of what love/marriage is as much as I do with this. Now, I can understand why my marriage did not work out. We were going in different directions. I finally understand what is important and what is not, to me. Next time, if there is one, nothing less will do. The only thing I can give now is, "Thank you for helping me to see the light."

(2) Jeffrey G Mikres, September 16, 2004 12:00 AM

marriage advice.

I sent my neice to view your web page about finding the right one. U did not mention the spiritual aspects of life. Afte 36 years I know it is important to be on the same page spiritually. U did not mention it.
JM

(1) orah, September 8, 2004 12:00 AM

B'SD
I THINK THE SECRET TO KNOW IF HE'S THE RIGHT FOR YOU OR NOT IS SIMPLY
YOU ADMIRE HIM/HE ADMIRE YOU?
YOU FEEL RESPECT TOWARD HIM/HOW ABOUT HIM TOWARD YOU?,FOR MY EXPERIENCE I SAY THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT THE WAY HE TRAITS YOU,WHEN ALONE,WHEN IN COMPANY ..HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT,HE'LL STAND ALWAYS FOR YOU?OR VICEVERSA.
IF YOUR ANSWER TO ALL THIS IS POSITIVE,JUST GO AHEAD,IT DOESN'T MATTER YOU KNEW EACH OTHER LONG AGO..
GOOD LUCK!

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