Deflecting Discord

From: David

Dear Rabbi,

I am involved in shidduch dating. Recently I went out with a girl who I thought was amazing and so talented and entertaining. This was a first for me since I am more on the serious side and this seemed like a really good match for me. Anyway, after a few dates, she called it off. I got really upset because I feel like I would have wanted to marry this person. Can you help me make sense of this?

Dear David,

Despite the adage that “opposites attract”, in the long-term such relationships often don’t remain intact.

Of course, when we meet someone new, it is usually interesting and appealing, if only because it is new. This is all the more so when the person is significantly different from us. For one, because of that difference, such a person is usually not the type that we’re used to having in our regular set of friends. In addition, the fact that the person is so different from us makes us see and experience things in a refreshing, novel way.

This is generally a good thing, and could be the basis for a long-lasting, mutually beneficial friendship – at a distance.

However, notwithstanding the centrality of love in a marriage, regarding the day to day practical aspect of marriage for a life-time, having fundamentally compatible personalities is more important than the often misleading, possibly short-lived, and usually impractical attraction of opposites.

While two people who have different personalities could certainly benefit and learn from each other’s differences as long as they are not bound together for life, spouses who are too different are likely to think, view, communicate and act in ways so divergent that the marriage might result in disharmony, paralysis, and contradiction regarding the smallest and largest aspects of their own lives, and those of their in-laws, children and friends. There are enough growth-stimulating differences between married people who are basically similar that one need not celebrate opposites and risk eternalizing opposition.

In your specific case, you describe yourself as being naturally serious. For that reason, you found it refreshing to be around this exciting girl. But eventually, being constantly around someone whose natural state is not like your own is likely to become frustrating and tedious. Furthermore, just as you were very attracted to her energetic, charismatic nature, so will other people (including other men). How would you feel if your wife was constantly in the lime-light of society while your more serious nature would tend to leave you on the side-lines?

So for all these reasons and more, you shouldn’t be upset that this shidduch didn’t work. Rather, realize that everything is from G‑d who does everything for the best. In fact, I know of a situation where a guy became enamored of a girl who also had a great personality. But in the end, the shidduch didn’t work out and he became very upset. However, eventually, he found out that he had been enthralled by her “manic” state, being unaware at the time that she was alternately deeply “depressive” as well. I don’t at all intend to suggest that this is the case here. I only bring it as an example to illustrate to you that, as great a person as the girl you met is, G‑d has in mind someone “better”, i.e. more compatible, for you.

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