Dating for Marriage, Finally

I grew up in a very safe and secure suburb in the Midwest. My home was as normal as one can be; we had dinner together and watched the annual airing of movies like The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music. My mom hosted extended family during Passover, Thanksgiving, and Rosh Hashanah. I can still smell the brisket and matzo balls, followed by a strong percolator of caffeinated Maxwell house coffee. Me and my cousins would go down to the basement and giggle about everything from boys to bras. What I would do for those times now. I would appreciate them so much more; spend more time with my grandparents, aunts, and uncles that have since left this world. Isn’t that always the case? Why is it that once something is gone we appreciate it so much more? In my own heart, I feel that once we have children of our own, we understand a lot more about life, especially the importance family. Once we learn about family and children, we have the opportunity to experience true love. I was so blessed to have had such a family that actually spent time together, as we still do. However, I have since moved away and getting together requires a flight and all the headaches that go with it (sitting on the runway with three kids, enough said). Why would I leave such a support system? It was one of the hardest things I have done (except when I was 9 cm dilated without an epidural) and I felt in my heart that my beshert (husband) was living in the East. It was a inherit feeling combined with excessive discussions with people I trust. Besides, there is a term in Hebrew, Mshaneh Makom Mshaneh Mazal – Change your place, change your mazel. So, that’s what I did. Once I was settled in my new apartment on the Upper West Side, I networked with Rabbis, Rebbetzins, Matchmakers, Online Dating, and friends. I let these resources know that I was available to be set-up, not just to hang out, for marriage. Usually, such a statement would send a guy running the other way; however, I wanted to know who was in this for real. After all, I had finally decided on what I was really looking for in my beshert (attractive, career, and emotional stability). How did I narrow my huge list down to these three? Well, I actually recruited a close friend as a dating coach. She knew me and my friends, and she was married with children. She could give her extra insight on what really mattered once all the wedding celebrations have concluded. I had never looked at marriage that way in my early 20s and mid 30s. In other words, I wasn’t spiritually or emotionally ready. No wonder I hadn’t met him yet, I still had to endure several life experiences to grow into who I am today. After 72 dates in 16 months (yes, I kept a log) I finally was introduced to my beshert. I didn’t really know it until our fifth date (these were marathon dates since I lived in New Jersey and he lived in Massachusetts) that he was the one. Besides the fact that we had many quirky similarities (our dads both played trumpet, we had sisters with the same name, our moms names began with J, our fathers names rhymed, etc.) he was a true mensch. He always opened the door for me and discounted my lack of sense of direction (even after he had driven 5 hours to meet me I got him lost on the way to lunch) oops. He hadn’t had a bite to eat since he left Boston at 6:00 am. Okay, so how did I know on that fifth date? He surprised me and took me to the beach near his parent’s home. Not only was it near his parents home, he actually drove me over there to meet them. He later told me that he hadn’t warned them about our visit either. I didn’t know what to expect. Would they be judgmental and cold or warm and inviting? Before I had much time to really think about this, I was in their driveway. Once the introductions had been made, a huge ton of doubt lifted from my soul. I felt as if I was with my own parents. They were so easy going and hospitable. I had to pinch myself, twice. Could this be it? I had never been so close to being engaged, and here I was. So, it took a move from my family to meet my beshert. Because I wanted to get married and have children (before I was 40)I went to an area where the possibilities were unlimited. I am so thankful for my friend and rebbetzin that helped me to focus on what was important, not the trivial, insignificant things that derail many a trip to the Chupah. Yes, I did find my three most important things in this man, and so much more. I am so thankful for the foundation my family had provided for me, even though it wasn’t until several years and many headaches later that I appreciated them. As my husband and I approach our 5th Wedding Anniversary, I hope that anybody actively searching for their husband, beshert, whatever you want to call him, find him in the right time. If you’ve become frustrated and ready to give up, call a good married friend that you trust. Ask them to be your dating coach. As we all know, dating is a lot of work full of heaps and valleys. Why go through this marathon alone. How did you meet your significant other? Share your experience to inspire others to do the same.

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