By Shimona Tzukernik – thekabbalahcoach.com
Have you noticed that more people are dating more often – yet marrying less and less often? And even when they do tie the knot they’re divorcing sooner and more frequently? What’s driving this phenomenon – one which has reached such proportions to have garnered the term “singles crisis” in some circles?
True story: I have a friend who was approaching the age of 35 way faster than she preferred. When she met someone, she’d call it off after the first or second date.
In listening to her, I strongly felt this was because she was comparing whomever she was with to an imaginary Prince Facebook!
I advised her to take a “Social Media Time Out” and let others know she was seriously looking to get married and to only date men who were also looking to marry suggested to her by friends or matchmakers.
She met her soul mate within 4 months.
I’m not saying this is a miracle solution that will deliver you to the marriage canopy in under half a year.
I am saying that our problem today is an overabundance of choice. We’re overwhelmed with too many options, comparing a prospect to a figment of our imagination and are convinced that the perfect partner is just a click away.
The Virtual Reality Problem
Not so very long ago, the average person encountered far fewer potential soul mates in their lifetime. Today our pool of potential partners spans not only the village but across continents. In some way, the internet has made any person with a cellphone accessible.
Evidence declares that the huge pool of availability which comes to us through the web and specifically social media is not only not improving dating but is detrimental to it. More significantly it is detrimental to moving dating forward to marriage.
At the risk of appearing to commercialize marriage, here’s an analogy from the world of sales. I have a friend who recently sold a multi-million dollar company. Over dinner she shared something on how she and her husband had displayed their wares.
“People want to feel that they’re making an intelligent decision. So you have to give them a choice. But if you give them too much choice, they think, ‘Um, not sure. I’ll come back tomorrow.’ And they walk out. No sale.
Imagine you walk into a Dollar Store to buy a new tube of toothpaste and there are three different brands. You read the labels, weigh the options, make your choice and walk out feeling good about your decision. You’re walking out as every ‘informed consumer should.’
Now picture the same scenario, except this time when you walk into the store there are twenty different kinds of toothpaste. With tooth whitener and without, cinnamon, mint, fluoride enhanced… You know what I’m talking about. You stare at the options for a couple minutes. Without realizing it, you’re overwhelmed by the choices. You look at your watch, decide you don’t have time for this right now and that you’ll come back later. You walk out of the store dazed – and sans toothpaste.
Albeit buying a tube of toothpaste is about as far a cry from choosing a soul mate as East from West, I do think this sales principle can be applied to dating and marriage. It touches on how Social Media is ruining our relationships. Surfing the web renders individuals cheaper by the dozen. They’re one of not hundreds or thousands but of millions. There is always the next person, always the potential of the more exotic woman, the more thrilling man. And as a result of so much choice we’re paralyzed. We walk out of the dating arena without a mate intending to come back next time.
The tragedy of this is that we’re buying in to is that because of the unspoken promise that social media intimates, everyone is available to us whereas in truth they are not.
Furthermore, were we to actually meet them, in all likelihood we’d dismiss a future with them. We think there are many more partners available to us than there actually are or we’d actually be interested in them had we met them in real life.
We’re rejecting a real possible relationship driven by magical thinking that keeps us holding out for a virtual panacea. And then given the superficiality of the gossamer web, even when we do meet up with someone in real time and real life, they’re not necessarily aligned with the kind of person we’re looking to marry and partner with in living our purpose. And we default back to our consumer overload magical thinking.
The Solution: Work Backwards
I recommend beginning with the end in mind. Take a step back from the problem and think about why we get married in the first place. Go ahead, ask yourself right now: Why do I want to get married? Is it financial support? To have a partner with whom to share the ups and downs of life? Is it to have kids? Remember, your marriage will only be as deeply rooted as the reasons you have for going into it.
According to Kabbalah, marriage is not “just” about having a partner and it’s not even “just” about having children. Marriage is the “space” in our lives where our higher purpose becomes manifest. It is the context through which we create meaning – not just self-defined goals but meaning that is in alignment with our Creator’s desires for humanity.
Once you redefine your goal and remember what marriage truly is, your pool of potential soul mates naturally and dramatically narrows. The cold and refreshing truth is that there aren’t that many people with whom you want to create a family or live your higher purpose.
With this in mind, sit back and look at the big picture. Ask yourself a couple of important questions: What am I creating and why am I creating it? When I look back on my life what do I want to have created by the time I’m eighty? Your answers are a guide to the kind of person you’re looking for.
Envy aside, taking a “Social Media Time Out” will open you up to your life on the ground. It’s the only one you have to live. Consciously work on not only refining your definition of whom you’re looking for in a soul mate but on removing yourself from an overstocked Walmart shelf mentality.
I suggested to the 35-year-old gal I mentioned earlier that as long as she insisted on a large number of men to choose from, not even one could fit through her front door. You don’t need everyone. You only need your one.
For over twenty years Shimona has shared her wisdom on a range of topics with tens of thousands of people across the globe. People consistently thank her for “the lecture of a lifetime.” When asked what’s motivated her to travel and meet with audiences across America, Canada, England, South Africa, France, Israel, Australia, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and beyond for over twenty years, she smiles and says, “A passionate desire to give each person access to the innermost wellspring of wisdom. To reveal the map of who they truly are! So that each individual can flourish beyond what they’ve dared dream for themselves and manifest the wondrous joy, beauty and light of our world.”