Posts tagged " courtship "

As a single mom, should I be thinking about marriage?

November 15th, 2017 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 4 comments

What’s the biblical instruction for a single mother who met the Lord during pregnancy? I feel I’m not called to be single, but have not dated for over 11 years, as I was dedicated to mothering.

From a biblical perspective, should I seek marriage or seek singleness?

Thank you!

Mka

Dear Mka,

There’s a phrase, Kol HaKavod, used in Israel when someone has done something exceptional. It literally means “all the honor [to you],” and is a way of acknowledging actions that go above and beyond the norm. We say to you: Kol HaKavod.

Firstly, you changed the path of your life, and that of your child, by findng the Lord during your pregnancy. Since then, you devoted yourself to being a mother and, we assume, making a fulfilling life for yourself. By not dating, you focused on the relationship already in your life, with your child. When a single mother dates it frequently introduces emotional, psychological and often physical, instability into a child’s life.

In our view, the question you are asking, suggests that you are ready, not to date, but to court. The difference is that dating is an activity in itself while courting is purposeful. In your case, marriage means a commitment to both you and your child, and will strengthen the foundation you have already built. Since you are not looking for a spouse out of desperation, we feel you have every chance of meeting a man worthy of you.

Courting, and then marriage, will be a major upheaval in your lives. Upheaval is challenging, but it can also lead to a better future. Becoming a wife and providing your child with a father can make the coming years richer and healthier.

We couldn’t help noticing that you phrased your question in terms of ‘seeking’ singleness or marriage.  We don’t think that’s really the choice you face.  You are not at a crossroads at which, in order to proceed, you must now make a decision to choose A or B.   Your real choice is between doing nothing; just continuing down the road you’ve been on, and embarking on a major challenge—deliberately and purposefully seeking marriage.  The first choice would be the easier though the latter would be more fulfilling. But not easy.

We would recommend beginning the process by letting trusted friends and mentors know of your decision. Rather than going out with someone randomly, you should only meet those men who clearly share your faith, values and outlook.

A delicate balance is needed between being honest and open with your child and not burdening him or her with too much information. It might be helpful to talk to others who have preceded you on this path.

We have three resources on dating/courtship and marriage and hope they might prove helpful to you (Madam, I’m Adam; Hands Off: This May Be Love, and I Only Want to Get Married Once). You can see them here. Look in the Family, Friendship and Society section.

Wishing you a bright future,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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Of Fridges and Men – originally posted Feb. 26, 2009

January 30th, 2011 Posted by Susan's Musings No Comment yet

I have spent the last few days befuddled, bewildered and basically overwhelmed while shopping for a refrigerator to replace the one in my garage that whimpered its way to warming last week.

I have many reasons to be grateful. While deciding whether to call a repairman or not, an online search revealed that my old fridge had been a good and faithful servant for about twenty years. Even in its demise, it chose a relatively good time to die, when it wasn’t packed to the gills in pre-holiday mode.

Once replacement rather than repair seemed to be the issue, the search began. In the olden days, say ten or fifteen years ago, I would have gone to one or two local appliance stores and compared features and prices on what was in stock. In today’s time of Internet largesse, I instead researched brands and models on-line, which I quickly discovered could be a full time job. I remember hearing how immigrants from the old Soviet Union would sometimes become depressed by American supermarkets. Used to a system where you stood on line for hours and bought whatever was available, the dazzling array of thirty types of breakfast cereals and twelve varieties of apples paralyzed them.

I could empathize. Not only did I need to choose between top freezer, bottom freezer, side by side and French door as well as between stainless steel, black or white, I needed to make a guesstimate as to which brand was most likely to be reliable along with a slew of other issues.

The option that isn’t available to me is the “build your own.” I can’t take brand A with two features from brand B and the size and design from model number C. And the one feature that I crave, a built in odometer that will tell me when it’s about to break down isn’t an option I could find anywhere. All in all, refrigerator shopping is strikingly similar to the dilemma my daughter and her friends face as they navigate the dating world.

If they could only build their own future spouse they would be able to take the character of boy A and pair it with the hard working persona of boy B and top it all off with boy C’s height and boy D’s sense of humor. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t work that way. As they meet young men they are faced with a package deal. And while I might if I’m lucky spend the next twenty years with my fridge, they not only yearn for more than that with their spouse but the entire world of their future will be affected by their choice. Getting a lemon of a fridge is expensive and annoying; getting a lemon of a husband is devastating.

I made my refrigerator choice with the guidance and support of one of our four outstanding sons-in-law who happens to be in the building industry and who guided me. My single daughter and her friends are finding that their decisions might best be made in a similar fashion. After doing initial research on their own, they turn to people who love them, and whose input they respect, who have way more experience in the field than they do. There is a Jewish saying that if all your friends call you a duck, you should start quacking. In other words, listen to your parents, your (especially married) siblings, and trusted and tried friends. You don’t really want to invest in an expensive appliance, let alone a man, relying only on your own, limited vision.

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