This is my blog for topics of general, Jewish interest, named for the magazine I launched in 2005. I have additional blogs for other areas. Follow on Twitter or on Google+ under Ariella Brown. Please note that comment moderation is on, which could keep your comment from appearing right away.
Soul Mate Search
Men often say that they are mystified by what women think, but sometimes women may wonder what men think -- at least what they think of marriage. In VoiceMale, Neil Chethik explores what husbands think through surveys and individual anecdotes. The book contains insight, as well as practical advice.
Among the subjects it touches on is the ideal of marrying a soul mate and the ramifications of that expectation. Chethik refers to The National Marriage Project's 2001 report, State of Our Unions. Among its finding is that nearly all agree on is the ideal of the One: An overwhelming majority (94%) of never married singles agree that "when you marry you want your spouse to be your soul mate, first and foremost."
The "Someday my prince will come" idea popularized by Disney movies also extends to men's expectation of their own soul mates, as 88% "think that there is a special person, a soul mate, waiting for you somewhere out there." .
On p. 216 of the book Chethik points to the potential problems that can arise from a fixation on soul mates: "There's nothing wrong with high hopes. But unrealistic expectations can kill a marriage." He quotes one man as saying: "'Your wife may be your soul mate, but not every minute of every day. There are going to be hard times, down times.'"
This is important to remember for Jewish singles who have absorbed society's obsession with "the One" into their spin on finding their "bashert." Both reflect a belief that they will find a person who is a perfect match, meaning that they will "just know" they are right, feel they are right, and have everything proceed smoothly from there.
Expecting everything to work out on its own just because you've married Mr. or Ms. Right is not the way tobuild a successful marriage. As Popenoe, one of the authors of the Marriage Project study, says, marriages would be better if men and women "focused 'less on finding the right mate than on being the right mate.'" (p. 25)
There is, indeed a perception that Jewish men are good husband material. It certainly seems to be assumed by nonJewish women who actually seek out romantic attachment to Jewish men. What do they have to say for themselves?
In her autobiography, Crossing Ocean Parkway, Marianna De Marco Torgovnick, an Italian-American who became an English professor identifies her selecting a Jewish husband as one of the keys out of the locked environment she found in her own ethnic group. That is not to say that she married for money or even status, but for someone from a culture that would foster her academic aspirations. I am not sure if a WASP would have been perceived as beyond reach, while the Jewish man -- still rooted in an ethnic group -- was considered more attainable. But she clearly found a Jewish husband to be more compatible with where she wanted to go than a fellow Italian-American.
But, on the flip side, my husband recently declared that his coworkers put him to shame (just don…
At the end of her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain puts in "A Note on the Dedication" that explains why she selected her grandfather for that honor because he "spoke so eloquently the language of quiet." She doesn't identify him by name but drops a number of hints, like "Brooklyn neighborhood where he served as a rabbi," "as a widower he'd lived alone for decades," "when she spoke the congregation swelled to standing- room-only," and "he died at the age of ninety-four, after sixty-two years at the pulpit."
She also gives a couple of clues to her family by identifying her father as "a dedicated physician" and the size of her family, which included one sister and one brother. So these were what I had to go on to make the connection. Well, actually my husband took over the Google search when he arrived at http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/18/nyregion/rabbi-is…
If I were giving the advice, I''d keep it much simpler: Be a mensch. As Hillel told the prospective convert who wanted to know all of Torah on one foot -- what is hateful to you, don't do to another.(see http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2012/02/all-you-need-is.html) The rest is all commentary. The same holds true in this case. For example, isn't it obvious, if a guy gives you options, that he wants you to respond with what you would prefer?
Anyway here's the list of tips.
Preparing for the Date: If the male has called twice with no response and left a voicemail, then at that point the female should be courteous, and either return the call, or text the male to let them know when they will be available to speak. If th…