I would like to share my personal story in the hope that I can bring some clarity to others who are going through a similar experience.
When I was going out with my wife, the process seemed completely smooth and straightforward. I was thrilled with everything I saw, enjoyed spending time with her, and felt whatever I thought I was supposed to feel. Everything was perfect.
Then things got a little more serious. We began speaking about the future. And I started getting nervous!
I thought it was just a passing thing but each time we tried speaking about commitment I became overwhelmed with anxiety and nerves.
I was overtaken by doubt.
How do I know for sure that she is the right one?
How do I know that I won’t change my mind later?
Time didn’t help me. Neither did speaking to parents, friends or my Mashpia. Feelings come and go and the whole thing was very confusing.
I was a basket case. I could not eat or sleep or breathe and I didn’t think I had any feelings left for this girl.
Someone I spoke to suggested that if I am feeling so anxious about this, perhaps she is not the right one after all.
I thank Hashem every day that I had enough self-awareness to realize that the problem was in me. I was paralyzed by fear from the prospect of making such a big decision on my own. It had nothing to do with the girl I was going out with. I realized that this was something I had to work out. And fast!
I made an appointment with a frum therapist who came highly recommended. We spoke for an hour. He asked me if I had any fears associated with marriage. I did not.
He nailed it down to anxiety. Plain and simple. You are afraid of making such a huge decision and are feeling anxiety as a result. And you are allowing this anxiety to grow and overtake you until you feel nothing else.
He helped me realized that everything was OK with the shidduch. That it was right and good and healthy. That all my feelings were normal. And that getting engaged would be the right and responsible thing to do right now.
He helped me understand that it’s OK to be nervous and that doesn’t mean that this is not the right one for me. Also, I had had a misconception that feelings would keep building up and climax with an engagement. I learned that for many this is not the case, as feelings fluctuate, but this does not mean there is something wrong.
Another point is that when one is very busy feeling anxious, or overwhelmed with indecision, one probably won’t have much emotional space left to have feelings for someone else.
Don’t get me wrong. I was still feeling nervous. But I had the clarity and understanding I needed to make the right decision and get engaged.
After getting engaged, and then married, I came across other friends and acquaintances who shared their engagement stories. I was shocked to hear how many people there are who are frozen in anxiety and indecision when there is in fact nothing wrong with the shidduch. These friends were lucky that they were led to a skilled or professional mentor or therapist who was able to help them take the plunge and make the right choice.
All of us are happily married and do not regret out choice for even a second.
What pains me is that there are too many who cannot get passed this hurdle. Who get frozen in the doubt/anxiety/fear and although they keep going out and meeting many people who could make wonderful spouses, they cannot bring themselves to take the plunge.
Parents and mentors,
Did your child or mushpa seem very happy with someone they met and then get stuck on the decision part?
Did a wonderful positive shidduch suddenly fall apart once there was talk of making a decision?
Please don’t just drop the shidduch! This problem will not probably not go away by itself! It will very likely reappear the next time your child is faced with making this decision.
Firstly, please don’t forget to be parents. Many parents are so overtaken by the fear of pushing their children that they refrain from advising them and reassuring them when everything is ok. Please help your children make this huge decision.
And if that doesn’t work, please get your children help!
There are experts out there who have helped bring countless young people to the chuppah!
We live in very confusing times but there are many people whose lives have been forever altered for the better because they got the right guidance at the right time.
Making the right choice is not always easy. But the outcome is well worth it!
Wishing everyone simchas only and always!