Is My Gut Instinct Right or Wrong?

November 30th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 15 comments

Question:

I have a question about dating.  I am a old fashioned kind of guy in a modern world.  I am a millennial, but I like the old fashioned way of doing things.  I am at conflict a lot in relationships because of this.  

One of the more recent conflicts involves whether or not me and my girlfriend should be at each others places, alone.  We each live alone, and could visit each other whenever, but I wonder if that is a good idea, or if we should keep the dating in the public space, as that might be more appropriate for Christian dating.  I need to know what is proper, and what might be overdoing it on my part and being too restrictive.  I appreciate your help.  

Justin

Answer: 

Dear Justin,

Thank you for being an old-fashioned guy; we don’t see ‘old-fashioned’ as pejorative. Au contraire it is a tribute and our daughters along with countless Godly young women also see it this way.  This country needs more old fashioned gentlemen. 

By proactively thinking about how you and your girlfriend should behave now, you are setting the foundation for a successful relationship in the future, or alternatively for ending a relationship without unnecessary hardship and regrets. Either of these are satisfactory outcomes.

Ancient Jewish wisdom includes a timeless truth known as yichud. That Hebrew word derives from the root of togetherness. Yichud stipulates that men and women who aren’t immediate family members should not be secluded together. 

Because our society is so clueless when it comes to male/female relationships, we published Gila Manolson’s book on the topic. She makes the point in Hands Off: This May Be Love! that there are many psychological and physiological benefits to understanding the power of touch and confining touch to marriage.  One point she makes, convincingly in our  opinion, is that training oneself to desexualize attraction has its own dangers. Yet, what else can a couple do if they commit to not sleeping together but put themselves in isolated circumstances where that would be a natural urge?  You are training your beings not to react to one another—hardly a good idea. That is exactly what you and your girlfriend would be doing by visiting each other’s apartments. You would lose if you betray your standards, but you also lose by living up to them. In other words, we think that your concern is extremely valid and believe that you are showing intuitive wisdom.

On behalf of all old-fashioned gentleman,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

 

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15 comments

Connie Devadoss says:

Hi Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin, 11/30/16
I really like your answer to this young man’s question. It is so nice that he is a gentleman. There would be a lot less problems and heartaches if people thought this way. I really like your program also.
Connie

rdlapin says:

Dear Connie-
You’re certainly correct. Following instincts works beautifully for all creatures but not for humans. Paradoxically, following instincts is exactly what produces problems and heartaches. This is because God gave us a system of morality rather than a system of instinct. This gentleman was basically saying, “Look my instinct is to be alone with my girlfriend as much as possible–will this work out well?” And since he asked us, we suspect he already knew the answer.
Nice to hear from you. When you say ‘program’ do you mean the podcast show? https://soundcloud.com/rabbi-daniel-lapin-show
Cordially
RDL

Connie Devadoss says:

Hi Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin, 12/21/16
I watch your program on TCT, but it is good to know now about the podcasts as well. I really enjoy it and have learned a lot.
Connie

Susan Lapin says:

Thanks for watching TCT and we hope you enjoy the podcasts.

Connie Devadoss says:

Thank you Susan!
Connie

Maria Kosatschkow says:

I agree , BUT, Ruth did as Naomi suggested or do I miss-understand Naomi’s intention ?

rdlapin says:

Dear Maria–
Thanks for writing with such a thoughtful query. Precisely because it was so highly unusual, Naomi had to insist that Ruth follow her direction. There is so much ancient Jewish wisdom on this section of Ruth. What played out was exactly Naomi’s intent, and the proof of how closely it synchronized with God’s intent is the last phrase in the Book of Ruth–and Yishai (Jesse) gave birth to David.
May we all be so blessed to act in accordance with the wishes of our Creator
Cordially
RDL

Morna Gilbert says:

Thank you to BOTH of you! The question and the answer – both refreshing!!!

rdlapin says:

Yes, Morna-
We found the question very refreshing and we enjoyed answering it.
Thanks for writing. I hope you occasionally catch our tv show on which we frequently answer these kinds of questions: http://www.tct.tv/watch-tct/on-demand-ajw
Cordially
RDL

Timothy Mauch says:

When I was a teenager (I’m 58 now) my girlfriend once called me an “old fuddy-duddy.” She married somebody else 10 years later. (Oh, well) 10 years after that, her grandmother told me that she had used my behavior as a guide while finding a husband. I continued being that way until now, I didn’t even kiss my wife until after we said “I do” (34 years ago, and still married).

I recommend the same thing to everyone.

rdlapin says:

Dear Timothy–
Thanks for sharing–Your words carry extra veracity when you casually drop that you have been married for 34 years. i remain baffled as to why people pay good money for marriage counseling from people without any successful marriage experience. Would you take financial guidance from someone who is broke? Wishing you many more years of happiness in marriage.
Cordially
RDL

Miller says:

Justin,

I was thinking about a story (paraphrasing here) of the knights boasting about who could carry the queen closest to the edge of a cliff without dropping her, the wisest knight was the one who stayed far away from the edge of the cliff. Coming from somebody who put far too much, unearned faith in his own willpower, you will never regret setting guard rails far from the edge, even if they result in the termination of this (or more) relationships, especially since these guard rails do align with biblical virtues.

Furthermore, creating these habits will give security to your future bride and act as guard rails around your marriage, as you apply them to all relationships of the opposite sex.

Keep the Fight!

zojan says:

Ah, good old-fashioned proactive thinking, ancient wisdom, truthful outcomes in any event. To beginnings and endings. The circle of life. A win-win! To the ultimate lifetime marriage of a man and a woman!

Mike says:

If I may add a comment of a different flavor. It was said by a very wise man that you should treat any woman as you would want your future wife’s present boyfriend to treat her. There should be no question as to God’s wishes in our relationships; but also any man should wish that his actions would not bring resentment or regret to another.

Susan Lapin says:

Very true.

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