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Dating Advice # 173: The Future is Now
Dating Advice 17

Dating Advice # 173: The Future is Now

What degree of success in life is necessary for moving into marriage?

by

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I'm 25 and have a steady job, but am not so certain about my career future or about my life direction. I want to get married to the right person, but coming from a divorced (and dysfunctional) family I have some baggage. Besides for not having any savings, I have not finished paying off my loans, and don't really have any money to buy a house, a car, or even pay for the wedding.

Would you advise me to continue to figure things out about myself, improve my career prospects, and try to save money before dating seriously? Or, do you feel that with the right person, we can work together toward these goals?

Mark

Dear Mark,

You sound like a man who has a good perspective on his situation. That's very fortunate, both for you and for the woman who will someday be your wife. From our perspective, people who have to work to achieve their goals develop strengths that help them in life in general and in marriage in particular.

Even though you are concerned that you haven't achieved the level of material well-being and that you feel you need before getting married, we'd like to assure you that it isn't necessary for someone just starting out married life to have a comfortable salary, have paid off student loans, and have enough money to buy a house and a car. What's more important is that you have the desire to achieve all of this, and are taking realistic and positive steps to do so.

Most 25-year-olds are in a situation similar to yours. However, because our culture embraces the attitude of living for the moment and receiving instant gratification, too many young people who are at precisely this point in life think there is something wrong with their situation, and that it will be years before they can start building a life with someone else.

Frankly, we're dismayed at the high percentage of young adults who feel they have to be well on the road to career and financial success before thinking about marriage. This can often result in delaying marriage until their 30s, when both their life experience and demographics can make it more difficult to find the right person.

In addition, we've seen that financial comfort doesn't necessarily enable a couple to have a happier or more stable marriage. On the contrary, couples who work together to build their careers and finances often develop interpersonal skills that strengthen their relationship and their ability to productively deal with life's future challenges.

We agree with you that it is important to figure out your general direction in life and to have a realistic plan for moving forward in your career, repaying educational expenses, and saving for big-ticket items Someone who is not prepared to devote the time to figuring these items out doesn't have the maturity to get married.

Our book, Talking Tachlis, suggests a framework to help you sort out your personal goals. We suggest that you plan on devoting a number of hours to this process. The plan you ultimately develop should be flexible, to allow for changes along the way. Even if it takes you a few months to sort through your ideas, don't get discouraged -- it is time well spent.

Once you develop a plan, you'll need to put it into action. The small steps you take toward achieving your goals will encourage you further, and will make a favorable impression on your dating partners. In fact, one of the qualities to seek in a marriage partner is a willingness to work with you to achieve these goals -- and we're confident that you will find a number of lovely women with that quality.

We'd also like to address your concerns about your family background. Virtually everyone has some amount of baggage, and someone from a divorced and/or dysfunctional home may have a little more than other people. It is true that the baggage from your upbringing may hinder your ability to build and maintain a strong and healthy relationship. And it is very mature of you to want to address it at this point in your life.

There are many ways to lighten the load so that your baggage is manageable and doesn't interfere with your family life. Some ideas include: finding a well-functioning family to serve as a role model; taking a life skills course that can help you learn effective ways to communicate, show respect to a spouse, and resolve conflicts; and participating in group or individual therapy to help you address any bitterness or resentment you have over your upbringing.

Each of these suggestions have helped many people in similar situations. We hope this has been helpful, and wish you the best of success,

Rosie & Sherry

Published: February 26, 2005


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Visitor Comments: 9

(9) RC, March 22, 2005 12:00 AM

Don't wait

BS"D

Don't wait.
I had the same doubts when I was your age, 15 years ago. I decided to wait a few more years, until I was 32. Too late. Now I am 40, alone, bitter, and full of regrets.

Think at what Hashem would like from you. Progressing in your career before building a family? Is this what He expects from you and what would please Him?

You'll never regret you spent your young years raising your kids instead of making long office hours. You'll never regret it...

(8) dd, March 4, 2005 12:00 AM

ready or not

Mark:
I am older then you, and in same boat! I asked myself when will iknow for sure that i am ready? I think everybody has some sort of issues or baggages! The right women will love you, even though most women. like security and stability, does not mean you wil have to wait till right moment.I am working on my life, with the idea of right woman in mind, and take it from there. Nobody is 100% secure unless you are millionaire, then it is easy about money anyway. Do not pass the, the open door if the right woman comes. Please do not feel fear from your family past,
not fear anything.If God bring it together, nothing can separate it,unless you refuse because of fear of not being ready, not meaning wise, but not ready. Be wise, grow, establish, but do not turn your back either!!
I am not letting circumstances close the door or hinder my hopes. Neither should you.

(7) barak, March 4, 2005 12:00 AM

Go with the flow mate

Mark

Dont worry so much mate! I'm in a very similar position to you. Avoid the koogely (JAPy) girls like the plague! They only want all you cash (even if you only have a little) anyway.

I met a lovely beautiful girl friday afternoon and im taking her out this weekend.

The point im trying to make is simply this: Long term plans are great. In fact Im a big fan of them (I have lots). BUT, you need to balance them against one other factor - dont let opportunities that may only present themselves for a brief period of time pass you by. Grab them when theyre there - you wont regret it. It may require you to adjust your long term plans a little here and there but so what. The only other option is waiting around until youre 100% ready. Thats never going to happen, youll never be 100% 'ready', you can wait till the cows come home and it wont change a thing.

What will change if you dont seize your opportunities (as far a dating is concerned) is that a lot of great women will pass you by and that would be a great shame.

Good luck mate - keep your eyes open

(6) Anonymous, February 28, 2005 12:00 AM

don't rush

I think you should have told him to wait. He states that he is not certain of his career future. He sounds like he has alot of thinking to do. Suppose he wants to go back to school? Or start another career entirely? People do get married in school, of course, but they already know where they are headed. Also, in such situations help may come from an outside source (ie parents). This does not sound likely in his case. He seems to be a nice guy but he seems to be floundering. If he's this confused about his career, what makes you think he's going to be able to commit to another person which is alot more difficult than choosing a career? After much painful experience, I learned to avoid the "mixed up guys"

(5) RJ, February 28, 2005 12:00 AM

Find Someone Who Shares Your Goals

Mark,

Take this from a married guy. You have a lot of common sense. You should not ignore women until you feel "financially ready" because you are always going to be haunted by the feeling that you "never have enough."

I think this is a good opportunity to find a woman who shares your financial goals as well as a shared approach to savings and investing. It's true that finances put a lot of pressure on marriage, but differing approaches and lack of responsibility will tear couples apart. Anyway, you can filter out women who are too "high maintenance." (Note: don't be too much of a cheapskate, either!)

A previous poster (Annie, I think) recommended Ric Edelman, who has a web page, ricedelman.com. There should be a few books of his in the library. ("The Truth about Money" and its sequels come to mind.) You might also want to check out the Motley Fool, www.fool.com and other such webpages.

In the meantime, you can take a common-sense approach of living below your means, budget some money for savings and long-term investing, getting a retirement nest-egg going, and, of course, budgeting some money for a social/dating life. It takes some trial and error, but believe me, you're not the first.

As far as family "baggage" is concerned, I don't know your specifics, but no one has a "perfect" family. The important thing is to try to look ahead, and, again, find someone with whom you want to build a future. If you are stuck too much in the past, you will have a hard time breaking free. Love your family, but don't let them all control you.

Good luck!

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