Monday, May 10, 2010

Why God is M'Zaveg Zevugim--Part #1

Have you ever looked at a particular married couple and wondered how or why they ever got married? Being honest, sure you have. Sometimes you wonder about just the outward appearances--one partner so much more obviously "attractive" than the other. Sometimes you look at the personalities, seemingly total opposites of each other. Sometimes you look at the whole package and you just plain can't figure out how this particular match up ever got out of the starting gate, never mind actually getting married and staying happily married for some time.

And if you are being really honest, sometimes you have looked at your parents or grandparents or aunts and uncles and wondered the same thing. Who, back then, looked at these people and decided they were "perfect" for each other when all you can really see is how different they are one from the other? Yes, you will concede, the match up works, but how is this not just one great cosmic fluke? Were you to have two friends, male and female, who were duplicates of your parents, as you see them, you would never think of pairing them up. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why God is m'zaveg zevugim.

Go ahead and fill out every shidduch questionnaire possible to be devised by the mind of a human being. Sit for hours, days, weeks, months and come up with just the perfect list of attributes that you feel will be necessary in your future spouse. Spend sufficient time in checking out the "facts" about someone to qualify for senior FBI agent status. Consult all the "experts" and then consult them again and yet again. And then finally walk out the door with this "perfect" match and watch the consternation grow as perfect doesn't turn out to be so perfect after all. And then back you go to your list of "must haves" and "absolutely may not haves" and start the process all over again.

When people ask me what my children are looking for in a shidduch I reply as follows: I'll let you know when I see them under the chupah. Until then it's all a blind guessing game. One young lady in the neighborhood was absolutely adamant about what she wanted in a husband and in a marriage. She refused to accept a date with anyone who did not fit exactly into the parameters she had established. And then she got stuck having to accept a date with someone who didn't fit those parameters, and she sure wasn't happy about having been pressured to accept the date. Three children later even she laughs about it. Someone else in the neighborhood was a bit miffed when he heard what type of person this young lady had chosen. He said, "If I would have known this was what she really wanted, I could have redt her this type of guy years ago." Well no, he couldn't have. It's not just being able to see the right zivug when he or she is standing in front of you; it's also about its being the right time for that shidduch to come to fruition.

So go ahead, do your hishtadlus as they say. But keep this in mind as you do so--"Mann tracht undt Gott lacht"--man tries and God laughs. Look at all those couples around you where the partners seem to be so different from each other in so many ways and learn something. The make or break in a marriage doesn't seem to be if the kipoh is the right color or material. It isn't about what yeshiva or seminary was attended. It's not whether the centimeters align right, horizontally or vertically. It isn't about an exact congruence of interests. It isn't about scintillating conversation of just the right type either. It just may be about opening your eyes truly wide and actually seeing the person in front of you, not the one you've fantasized about seeing. And it surely is about respect. You don't have to be the same as your significant other but you need to respect the person he or she is, and he or she needs to respect the person you are. If that respect is present a whole lot of other things don't have to be.


Trudy said...

I remember when I told a couple of friends that I had accepted a date with my husband. One of them said she figured that he was the last person on earth that I would consider dating. She got part of that right--he was the last person I dated because we got married. She was also right in a slightly different way. If I had met my husband just a few years before I wouldn't have thought of him as just perfect for me. I was still trying to work out what that perfect meant to me and he wouldn't have fit. By the time we met I was a lot smarter about what I needed. So yes, God definitely took a hand in the arrangements. He gave me time to get smart (and yeah, my hubby too)and he sent my husband when I would be able to recognize that he was the one.

efrex said...

Hear, hear!

The Lovely Wife(tm) and I had approximately 4,732 friends in common before we started dating, without a single one of them thinking about setting us up, and the vast majority of whom did a "I could've had a V-8" style forehead-smack when we got engaged. I've known "yeshivish" to marry "modernish" with excellent results, and the vast majority of the couples that we're friends with have significant personality/ hashkafic differences that would immediately disqualify them from being set up with each other in a contemporary shidduch system. As the bard said, "Love reasons without reason," and there's no bad way to end up with a good marriage.