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Match Made In Heaven

Match Made In Heaven

Forget about the proverbial fireworks. The best matches are made right here on earth -- through knowing yourself and old-fashioned hard work.


How many people are still holding out for their "match-made-in-heaven"? Are you waiting for the proverbial "fireworks" or "swept off my feet" feeling? How about "the bells" or the "stars in your eyes" sensation that is the telltale sign of guaranteed marital bliss and happiness?

Would you consider that you've already met and rejected your "match-made-in-heaven" because you didn't recognize them? The Jewish tradition warns that we are capable of doing exactly this.

Joe is a wonderful guy with a lot of talent and drive. He works hard at developing his personal and business life. He has spent hours grappling with what he wants to achieve and how to get there. Having spent his 20s and early 30s executing the earlier stages of his life plan, he is now ready to settle down and marry. In spite of coming from a lower middle class family, Joe decides that he deserves better. Over the years, he has seen that he has what it takes to hobnob with the jet-setters. So, having worked hard to get to where he is today, he feels he's "paid his dues" and has earned something better. In other words, he wants to marry into money.
He meets a wonderful young woman at a party. They hit it off. They share many important things - values, life aspirations and marital expectations. And to top it off, they've got chemistry. But despite seven exciting and meaningful dates, Joe is still uneasy about the woman's financial standing. After more investigative dating, Joe discovers that she is not a woman of means, so he ends what seemed to be a promising relationship.

Imagine if at the critical moment of choice, God informs Joe: "She's for you, she's really your 'better half.'"

If you think you don't know yourself, you'll head towards a relationship for the "fake you."

What would Joe say? "But she doesn't have the money I'm looking for."

The Almighty would then press him. "Who said marrying into money is in your best self interest? The woman of your dreams is all wrong! You need exactly what I've sent you, no more, no less."

The problem is that Joe is shopping for a "made-in-heaven" match with inappropriate expectations. Unfortunately, many of us desperately cling to relationship aspirations that are not intrinsically good for us. They might be exciting, enticing and superficially desirable - but not healthy in the long run.


The key to finding and recognizing your "better half" is to have an accurate assessment about yourself. If you think you're someone other than you really are, you'll gravitate towards a relationship that fits the "fake you." If you can shelve your bias and search for your objective good, you'll see that a "perfect fit" may not be a fit at all! The man or woman of our dreams might seem right because of lust. Or perhaps we are drawn to a relationship that allows each partner to continue, unhindered in their bad habits. In the end, this is a relationship of convenience, not a relationship of love.

For most people the yardstick for the "made-in-heaven" component of their relationship is chemistry. How do we get along? Do we feel good together? Do we always have something to say to one another? If it's easy, and we're always in sync and conflict free, they must be the one! But, in truth, the standard should be categorically different.

Jewish tradition says that even if you hit the gold mine and date your bashert, expect to hit some snags. No matter who you date, there will always be some rocky spots in developing the relationship. "Match made in heaven" does not mean wrinkle-free. The perfect fit will never happen automatically and without effort, but rather with great investments of goodwill and energy.

Our primary concern should be: Is the relationship good for me? Does this relationship help me actualize, in its fullest expression, all the humanity that is imbedded within me? Ideally, it should empower me to transcend what I could never achieve on my own.

The best relationship operates in a heavenly way: soulful, thoughtful, wholesome, honest, other-centered, deep, meaningful, fun and nurturing. This type of living never comes easy, but it is the trademark of a couple who actually achieves a "match made in heaven."


1. If you were to meet your "match made in heaven," how would you expect to feel at the end of the first date?

2. Ask three couples who are happily married: Did you experience "bells" or "fireworks" when you first dated, or was your affection something that grew over time?

3. Looking back over past relationships, do you think you have dated someone you could have married - but chose not to? If yes, was your course of action perhaps because you were expecting too much? Could the issues have been worked out over time?

January 16, 2000

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Visitor Comments: 7

(7) Anonymous, February 5, 2013 6:08 AM

Your article is very true but . . . . .

I enjoyed reading it because I can relate to it only at this point of my life, after going through a lot of pain, difficulties, trials. I now know what "chemistry" means, the natural chemistry that should spark the first time the couple met. But sad to say, there are many reasons why we failed to recognize our "match made in heaven" not only for the reasons that you cited but more on the Divine intervention which dictates our destiny. There are lessons in life which should be learned and some of these may be learned through our imperfect partners. However, your article still is highly commendable plus practice the basic; love, hope, faith, charity and do not judge others because everyone is fighting its own unique battle.

(6) Ralph Lane, June 23, 2008 4:13 AM

romance is a bust

The myth of romantic love is the greatest cultural disaster in the west. 50% of western marriages break up, an appalling statistic, because westerners still perversely require that their marriages be based on what is in fact the greatest enemy of a lasting relationship, namely, romantic love. Romantic love is a perfect basis for a romance, but not for marriage. Don''t let the romance go out of your marriage, chase it out, with vigour.

(5) Anonymous, October 9, 2002 12:00 AM

Even when there are "bells", love still has to grow.

I read this column, even though I'm married, and it made me think of my own experiences when I first met my spouse. There were definitely some "bells" and "fireworks" - I was excited I'd met such a nice person! But looking back over the few years we've been together, that excitement is nothing compared to how I now feel about my spouse. Living together, making a commitment to eachother, experiencing difficult times together, raising children - these all fundamentally shape a relationship.

To tell the truth, the things that we talked about when we first met - movies, books, music - are things we talk about very little now. We needed to know if we were compatible back then, and our initial attraction and enjoyment of eachother's company showed us that we were. (So the bells and fireworks were useful when we first met.) But this article is right in pointing out that close marriages require mutual commitment and even hard work, much more than initial attraction and fireworks.

For what it's worth, from a happily-married reader, I'd say that bells and fireworks have their place, but 99% of what makes a good marriage is having mutual goals and ideals and treating eachother well. I'd also point out that even if you have a lot of fun at the beginning of a relationship, going out on lots of dates and having the fireworks, the stuff that comes later is much more fulfilling.

(4) Alex, October 8, 2002 12:00 AM

A refreshing dosage of the truth in a world filled with lies

Thank you for this wonderfull article, I am in college now and i could relate well.

(3) Dawn, July 1, 2002 12:00 AM

I never thought about not looking for chemistry.

I loved the two work out questions! I am going to ask long time married couples how they felt about each other when they first met.

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