Get The Ring: How to Find & Keep the Right One for Life.
Dov Heller - Part 6
grandfather in Israel at the time. His grandfather was a very saintly old man, long beard, full of wisdom. And his grandfather wanted to give him some advice on marriage. Now the person was a teenager, wasn’t too interested in marriage at that time. But he figured, this is my saintly, holy grandfather; I should probably find out what he has to say because someday I do want to get married and it might be very important advice. So this is what his grandfather told him as his advice for how to find the right person. He said, “Make sure she’s beautiful.” Now you can imagine what he must have felt, that this was the piece of advice he got from his grandfather. But his grandfather, being a very wise person, understood that, yes, of course, one must find the person beautiful. Yet not objectively, do they have to be a 10 on the charts. But to you they have to be, as a total package, inwardly and outwardly beautiful to you.
The Rabbis have another way of measuring how much attraction needs to be there, and they put it in a rather sobering way. They suggest that the person cannot be disgusting. Now what does it mean that a person cannot be disgusting to you? It means that if you find a physical blemish, and I think this is a very important insight, if there’s something physical, no matter how small, don’t dismiss it. People come to me for counseling, they come to me for advice, and often I’ll hear people say — You know, everything is great except I just can’t get over her nose. It’s just a little bit too big. Everything else, you know, I find attractive, but it really bothers me. And I feel so superficial for being concerned about that. Should I just overlook it? And based on this insight that I shared with you earlier from Judaism, the correct advice, I believe would be, is no. You cannot overlook it. You should continue to go out with the person. I think the more we go out with someone, we can learn to adjust our feelings and our level of attraction to them can increase. Yet you can’t dismiss something that you actually do find disgusting and that you really feel that you can’t live with. So in the end, you have to ask yourself, can I live with it. And if you can’t, then you really should not consider that person as marriageable material because, again, our tradition says that if you do marry someone who has something that you find disgusting, then you may come to hate them. So attraction is, needless to say, an important dimension. But quite a bit less important than, perhaps, it is placed by people in the secular world.
To finish off the second point, let me give you a shorthand way of evaluating character. There are three questions you could ask yourself:
Would I like to have a child with this person, would I want to have a child with this person? Would I want my child to be like this person? And do I want to be more like this person?
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