If you’re serious about getting married and find that your dating experiences aren’t taking you to Chuppahland, perhaps it’s a good idea to pause, reflect, and correct course as needed. I dated a very long time before I finally met my bashert. Looking back, (hindsight is always 20/20) I can see that I wasn’t ready to receive the gift of my wife for a combination of the following reasons (see if any of these apply to you):

1. I had several different jobs over the years and couldn’t find a career that was a “right fit”

I was never settled in my career. Once I found a stable job that I excelled at, I was settled enough to focus seriously on getting married. Besides, most women are not attracted to job instability and they can easily sniff it out.

2. My career was the most important thing to me.

It’s hard to get married when you’re married to your job. Your career is important, but it’s not everything. You need to have time and energy for dating.

3. I kept attracting the same type of person.

I was naturally attracted to the wrong kind of person. I wasn’t attracted to bad people, but people to whom I could not feel true happiness or satisfaction with. I had to examine my thought process that was leading me to this type of person and do some serious rewiring (see next point).

4. My parents’ unhappy marriage was affecting me.

I was attracted to the wrong type of person because of things I saw in my parents’ marriage that were not so good. Many older singles that I know come from homes where they witnessed things that don’t lead to marital bliss. I worked through a lot of stuff in this area to be ready to get married.

5. I didn’t want a “shadchan” or “middle person” involved. I wanted to “go it alone.”

A good friend of mine recently got engaged and from the very beginning of his relationship, he got a trusted rabbi involved. He probably would not have gotten engaged had it not been for the help of this rabbi. The same was true for me. I saw that my own decisions in dating were leading me nowhere, and I relented and let myself be guided by a rabbi from my shul who eventually set me up with my wife. God bless him.

6. I was too busy doing other things to arrange dates.

Life can be very busy for most of us, but setting time aside for dates and phone calls is crucial. You can’t get married without doing this. Dating is priority; schedule it in.

7. I was in the middle of a major life transition.

This is usually beyond your control. In my case, I lost both of my parents when I was 23 years old. I tried dating for a few years after this happened. It wasn’t a good idea. Sometimes life events are so big that they need your undivided attention until they are processed. Don’t avoid going through this process; it will save you heartache and trouble down the road.

8. Was I prepared to commit and pop the question?

Some people enjoy the safety and comfort of being in a relationship without completely giving themselves to it. They don’t mind taking their time (I’m talking a year) and waiting around because deep down there is a fear of taking it to the next level – engagement and marriage. Dating for marriage means you have clarity that you do want to get married. If you’re not sure, sort out the obstacles that are holding you back.

It was hard and downright scary to admit that I might be holding myself back from getting married. Thankfully, I got the help and support I needed to find my bashert. You are not alone. There are many people out there who have the skills and desire to help you resolve whatever obstacles you may have in getting married. Getting the help you need is worth it.