||WHAT IS HOLDING BACK MY ZIVUG [TRUE SOULMATE]? PART FOUR: CAN YOU BE AN "US?"
- Thursday, October 25, '01 - Parshas Lech Lecha 5762
A married couple is somewhat analogous to a baseball team. Each "player" covers the various "bases" or positions needed for the victory of the team in the "game of life," by playing together. Being ready to marry is being ready to give ego up to be a teammate, always ready to happily give of yourself for other people and for your responsibilities to the team.
To be ready to marry, you must be able to give of yourself for a spouse, children and the good of your marriage team. It is a measure of readiness to marry:
* when it makes you happy to give to other people;
* when you give unconditionally, graciously, respectfully and cheerfully;
* when you give without hesitation, grudge or nastiness.
If the needs of the team are in conflict with the needs of your ego, do you get upset or closed up or do you go beyond yourself and give what is objectively needed and for the most long-run good?
A serious relationship requires self-awareness in a wide variety of respects: personality, true and healthy needs, life mission and personal potential, what can I give to another and what needs in another would be healthy for me to give to, values, goals, what weaknesses can I live with, what is a realistic compatibility profile, etc.
One must have self-awareness (development of meaningful life mission, understanding of one's psychological reality, etc.) that is reasonably full, accurate, objective and clear. Otherwise, a person may be disadvantaged or downright handicapped by ineffective criteria or counterproductive definitions of "needs" in one's mate search. When a single does not have correct self-awareness, (s)he may need prodding by a caring, tactful and supportive friend, to become more clear, realistic and ready for the mate search and for marriage. Otherwise, it is like shooting a gun with no defined target, or driving with no destination defined. Whose fault is it that you didn't reach Wisconsin? Besides, if you don't have a clearly identified and defined destination or goal in life, how can you expect that someone else can share your journey to "there," when no "there" exists?
It is possible to have an elaborate, thorough "check-list," which could be worthless if you are not the person who would be wanted by - or compatible with - the mate you want. I have seen many people "know" what they want and never get along with the person who is "ideal on paper." There can be many possible reasons for this, ranging from psychological to lack of focus to immaturity to character flaws. When you devise your list, analyze whether you are the person who this person would want and would get along with.
Being married means ongoing responsibility to a spouse and children. Therefore, being marriageable means that you are able to unselfishly and steadily deliver what you are responsible for, even when life is stressful or painful. A good test in this is: when you are suffering or pressured, can you still be spontaneously concerned about another person? Even if you can't be your fully loving and giving self, you can say, with softness, control and consideration, "Right now I'm [upset, in pain, anxious, nervous, etc.] and I can't give you the [attention, courtesy, time, respect, answer, etc.] that you deserve. It is no fault of yours and I do not want to take my troubles out on you. I don't want to hurt or shortchange you. Give me some time to work myself out and I'll talk to you pleasantly later." When you're married, having problems is no excuse to withhold what you are responsible for...no excuse to ever stop being an "us."
When a farmer (in Eretz Yisroel, in the time of the Holy Temple) completes the work (g'mar malacha) of producing grain, he must give "truma (a donation)" to a cohen (who works in the Holy Temple, and who has no income except for donations). The farmer gives two and a half percent of the crop. The law says to estimate the donation, not to precisely calculate the donation. Why? Because, if the farmer measures exactly, this will bring out the characteristic of being tight or stingy. If he estimates, and knows that he has to give not less than two percent, this will ingrain in him the trait of ayin yofa (good-natured generosity). By practicing ayin yofa, the farmer will come to build generosity and a kind spirit within himself towards others, and he will learn to incline to give more to people than what is strictly due them. The Torah does not want people who give to do so in a technical, begrudging or strict way. In the Torah, giving means going beyond what one "has to." Giving is from the heart, with a kind spirit and for the good of recipients (Mishna Trumos, chapter four; and Rashi to Baitza 13b). Mutual ayin yafa is very important to making a marriage happy.