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Dating Maze #228 - Work it Out Later?
Dating Advice 228

Dating Maze #228 - Work it Out Later?

They can't reach a basic lifestyle agreement. Will love solve everything?


Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I have been dating a man for four years. When we started dating, we were both in Israel exploring Judaism. After we got back to America, our relationship grew and flourished. We were very happy together. Over time, I became more observant, and he became less so.

His dream job, from the time he was a child, is to be a hockey coach. He thinks that fulfilling this dream is more important than keeping Shabbat every week. He has no problem keeping Shabbat as long as it does not conflict with his hockey. This is difficult for me to handle because if we get married, I will be left alone on Shabbat when he goes to coach hockey. Furthermore, it will cause major issues when raising children.

I think we should trust our love and respect for each other and take the risk.

We have been together for four years and love each other very much. He feels we should not get married until all our issues are worked out. However, I think this is just an excuse on his part for not wanting to get married. We both agree that our love and respect for each other will allow us to overcome any challenge once we are faced with them. Unfortunately, we will not be faced with these challenges until we are married. So there is no way of knowing for sure how they will be worked out.

I think we should trust our love and respect for each other and take the risk. He thinks we should give it more time. I am not sure what time will do because we cannot work out the issues until we are faced with them. Furthermore, every time we try to hypothetically work out the situations, the conversation goes in circles and ends negatively.

What should we do?


Dear Daisy,

You describe a fairly common phenomenon: Two people who are relatively young and growing, but are not quite ready for marriage, develop a strong emotional connection while dating. They find that they have common values and goals and feel that they are developing in the same direction. However, at some point their paths begin to diverge, and over time the direction each takes becomes very different than the other. Meanwhile, they still care for each other a great deal and want to recapture the original promise of their courtship. The couple grows increasingly frustrated as they try to compromise their differences, but often these differences are not compromisable because they have become core values to each individual.

Sometimes, in spite of their different life goals and values, such a couple decides to get married and hopes that the love and respect between them will enable them to work out their differences as time goes on. In our experience, this is usually a mistake, because the differences don't get worked out and they become a source of constant disappointment and friction.

The man you are dating is right that you should reach an agreement about the major differences in your value systems and lifestyle goals before you consider marriage. We think that there is even more to what he is telling you. He cares very much for you but realizes that in the long run your different perspectives will be very difficult to address without either: 1) his pressuring you to lower your level of religious commitment, or 2) him giving up his dream, or 3) you having a distant lifestyle [minimally] during hockey season.

Couples must agree on basic parameters of how their home will be run.

Right now, you're both in limbo, reluctant to make a hard decision that might mean breaking up and moving on with your lives. However, we believe that you must make that hard decision now, not later. Couples who marry should be on the same page in terms of their expectations for the future, and should agree on basic parameters of how their home will be run and how they would like to raise their children.

If you cannot come to an agreement about this after a few serious, long discussions, we do not believe you will be able to do so, no matter how much longer you try. More time spinning your wheels is only going to add to your frustration and prolong your pain.

Further, hoping that the marriage will "work out as you experience it" is also a recipe for frustration, because each of you will secretly hope that the other will eventually accept your point of view, and will be angry, disappointed and resentful when this does not happen.

We know that this will be a difficult and possibly painful process, but we hope that you will address these crucial issues sooner rather than later.

Rosie & Sherry

March 24, 2007

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 7

(7) anonymous, February 24, 2008 12:04 AM

If you love someone so much and not being with them makes you more depressed than not being with them, and you have tried to get over this person for about 2 in a half years it just isn't working; then what do you do?

(6) Mikhail, April 3, 2007 7:19 PM

disagree with Sherry and Rosie

I disagree with this recommendations. I strongly believe that in married life you need to compromise. That guy is ok to keep shabbath if it is not interfere with the hockey-so, let him compromise and the girl need to compromise in something else. If he doesnt want to compromise-its different story-either he is stubborn freak or indeed is looking for excuse not to marry that girl. Favorite job or family-if you'll tell me someone is choosing favorite job over family-I know the name for that person

(5) Keren, March 29, 2007 5:24 PM

He may be looking out for you....

Dear Daisy, a noticed that his comment that you should give it more time shows that he is more aware of the problems that you might deal with in the future than you are at this time. Byt saying this he may mean that he doesn't see the way to reconcile the differences and wants you to see it yourself too.
When you say you should "trust our love," I want to say love is what you should not trust. Love does not keep marriage. Common values, belifs and goals do. You often hear that people grew apart. Love was there but it did not prevent distancing between the two.
It is antural that at some point two developing individuals may go in the separate directions. Love will follow. It may be very painful to struggle through many arguments that don't have solutions. It seems to me that although this is very painful for you, try to put love aside and realize that marriage is not all about love. It is more about respect and commonalities in views and values. Talking to married men and women who are happy in their marriages would be helpful to you.

(4) Joe, March 28, 2007 12:11 PM

Wow guys, these comments are harsh.

Excuse me, but let's not slander this fellow's level of commitment. He seems to be very clear that this is a thing that needs to be worked out before marriage. That is the correct and honorable view. If he cared less about the woman, he would aquiese to her demands and "try to work it out later." So no, he really is commited to her in his way.

As to what his dreams and goals are, they are not for you to judge.
I've been BT for a little while and I have seen both sides of the larger issue underlying these comments. While, I certainly feel that people should be observant about their Judaism, there is a meanspirited flaw here that needs to be adressed. Being honest about where you are and at peace internally is more in line with Judaism then being ritually observant, when it doesn't make sense to you, and miserable.
Perhaps, as observant Jews, we should remember the Avos about not judging others untill we have been in their shoes. He is not weak willed. He is not confused - at least about trying to make certain that their long term lifestyle preferences are in accordance before marriage.

As to, the well just dump him now impulse, and "why don't you just marry a frum guy?" Perhaps, this fellow has good things to recommend him. Perhaps he has qualities that you have decided to ignore because his level of observance doesn't meet your standards. News Flash - Observant should, but unfortunately does *not* always equal mensch. We all know that this is true. Yet, why write with vitriol as if it were?

(3) Roo, March 26, 2007 5:06 PM

sign it

If you get married to this one, make him sign the GET before the marriage papers.
Why don't you marry a frum guy? Don't you want your kids to be orthodox too?


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