by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
When meeting someone for shiduchim purposes, it is important to know what you ought to know about each other and the relationship before you commit to marriage and a life time together.
‘Research’ does not tell you enough. The way you feel about who each other is and in each other’s company is also very important. Trust your feelings. They they tell you so much, much more than your thoughts. And certainly more than ‘everything we checked out is wonderful’.
Here are just some things to consider. There may be others that are specific to your unique self.
It is important to really be honest with yourself, and not delude yourself, or be hopeful, make assumptions, infer, ‘I just know’. It is worthwhile to confirm. Meet again, if necessary. It is also quite valuable to discuss with an objective third party who can help you think clearly.
Caveat: This is not a checklist, and should not be used as such. You might use this a a rough guide of areas to discuss together. And what to look out for during the dating period. Ideally, you’d be clear in these areas before committing to marriage.
Note this is written about ‘what a woman should know about the man she is dating’; these are equally applicable to both men and women. (version for men)
His values should be compatible with yours. They do not have to be identical.
- How does he envision his family life to be? His role? His wife’s role?
- What drives him? What does he see as his purpose in life?
- How does his Yiddishkeit affect who he is?
- What are his priorities? How important is materialism to him? Is it compatible with your hopes for your life?
His goals and aspirations
- What are his goals and aspirations? How do you fit into those? What would be your role?
- What are his strengths? What are his limitations? Can you live with those?
- How does he interact with others? (How do you know that – from your own observations? From your experience with him? From research? From what he says?)
- Is he controlling in any way? (What is evidence of his controlling behavior or attitude?) How do you feel about that?
- How does he act when he does not agree with another’s opinions or actions? (How do you know that – from your own observations? From your experience with him? From research? From what he says?)
- Do you know about any health issues? Do you know how they will affect his future life?
His family and influences
- How does he get along with his family? His mother? His father?
- Does he spend a healthy amount of time with his family – not overly dependent, or too independent?
- Who does he spend most of his time with? Who are his friends? How do they influence him?
- Where does he get his inspiration and understanding of the world – family, friends, media, working with mashpia, learning? (How do you know that – from your own observations? From your experience with him? From research? From what he says?)
Is he good marriage material for you?
- Is there anything about him that you thought ’you’d never marry’? How do you feel about that now?
- What are his ‘human flaws’ (we are all human; nobody is perfect)? How do you feel about them?
- What baggage (past experiences, attitudes, etc.) is he bringing into the marriage?
- What does he bring into the marriage that can really make a marriage and a life with him be successful? Is there anything that concerns you?
- Are you sure he is a good friend to you? What are examples?
- Do you deeply care about him? Are you ready to give to him? What are examples?
- Do you feel emotionally safe (safe to be and express who you really are) with him? What are some examples?
- Do you feel comfortable to make requests of him, or to share your perspective? How has he responded to your requests/ perspective?
- Are you sure he feels emotionally safe with you? What are some examples?
Admiration & respect
- What about him do you admire and respect? What are some examples.
- What about you does he admire and respect? (How do you know that – from your own observations? From your experience with him? From research? From what he says?)
- Is he making any concessions just to make this work? Have you discussed it? Does he really think he can maintain it? Do you really think he can?
- Are you making any concessions just to make this work? Have you discussed it? Do you really think you can maintain it? Does he really think you can?