Dear Rachel,

I am a male who is finding the whole dating scene very tiring. I’ve dated for many years, but am still looking for my soulmate. Thank G‑d, I’m a nice guy with many good attributes, so I’m not short for suggestions from friends, matchmakers and online sites. I have a list of things that I am looking for, but I’m not overly picky. I’m flexible with things like age and weight and background. I’m making efforts and praying to G‑d to send me my wife. What more can I do?

Lonely and Confused

Dear Prince Charming,

Forty days before a child is created in the womb, a heavenly voice calls out the name of who his or her soulmate will be.1 So, you have a soulmate destined for you, but you need to look for her and recognize her. Unfortunately, women don’t come with labels.

The Talmud teaches: “Matchmaking is difficult before the Holy One, blessed be He, like the splitting of the Red Sea.”2

There are many interpretations offered, but I’d like to focus on one.

When the Jews crossed the Red Sea, G‑d told Moshe and Israel to move forward, and still the waters didn’t split. The only one who literally took the plunge was Nachshon, the son of Aminadav, and even then, according to the Midrash, the sea didn’t split until it had almost reached his nose.

What can we learn from this? G‑d decreed that the sea would split, as He decrees that two people are destined for each other. But it also involved the efforts of others: Moses raising the staff, the Jewish people, and specifically, Nachshon taking the plunge.

So you’re doing everything right:

  • Prayer. You said you’re praying, and prayer is very important in expressing to G‑d your heartfelt desires, and that you very much want something and know He’s the only One who can get it for you.
  • Effort. You’re making efforts to network with friends, professionals and online, to make yourself open to meeting a large number of women.
  • Clarity. You have a clear picture of the kind of woman you’re looking for, and with whom you will feel comfortable as a married couple.
  • Flexibility. While you hold a certain picture in your head, you do leave room for a variation of details.

It’s quite understandable that after doing this for a long time, you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and disillusioned. So let me make some suggestions to help tweak the areas that might need a bit of refining in terms of your search.

Narrow your list down to four things. They can be any four you deem important, though I would strongly suggest you look for the following:

  1. Attraction: There will always be more beautiful women, but she has to be attractive to you. There are many types of beauty, and some types make themselves visible only after you get to know a person a little bit.
  2. Common Goals: You must have the same general goals for your life in terms of what type of home you want to build, where you want to live and the type of family you envision having.
  3. Good Communication: Being able to talk comfortably with one another, problem-solve together, understand each other and, most importantly, laugh and be playful with each other is extremely important. Your children will grow up and leave home, your looks will fade, but the basic need to feel content in each other’s company is the element of your marriage that will be the most relevant for the longest.
  4. Kindness: Is this the woman you want raising your children? Is she kind and patient, warm and loving, easygoing and giving? No woman is going to be all these all the time, but you want someone who displays these characteristics often, even when no one is looking.

The fact that you’ve met so many women means that perhaps you have to be more picky, not less, at least before you agree to go out. It’s very overwhelming to choose between a myriad of eligible women. And you shouldn’t be wasting your time and energies (or theirs) on women who, to begin with, you know are not for you.

Each date should help you to further refine what it is you want and don’t want in a spouse, and bring you closer to “the one.” Look at the reasons for nixing it, and make sure the next time this isn’t an issue. Once you have checked out all the important points, be more flexible with the details and give her a chance. Also, make sure that you meet the criteria she’s looking for as well.

And finally, you have to take the plunge and show your earnestness. Then G‑d will part the sea for you, and a heavenly voice will call out “This woman is for this man.”

May you stand under the chuppah with your bashert in a good hour very soon!