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Is This Quy More Open Minded Then Me?

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#1 danceInTheRain



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Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:21 PM

I feel like I need some advice about this.
I am going out with this guy and I am really enjoying it. I find that he communicates well, is very self aware and likes understanding people and what make them tick, is determent to succeed in life, does not stereo type people, is a happy person, a person who seeks fulfillment for his neshama, seeks knowledge and more.
suffice it to say that he has many traits I admire and have been looking for.
But there is one thing. But it might be a big one. I don't know if he is on my level ruchniyus wise.
both of us have gone through a proccess of changing our vision of who we want to be. And we both have gone through a growing process. The thing is I have been on that journey for a bit longer. I decided when I was 17 that I was leaving the trash behind and really starting growing about a year and a half ago. But he has found himself really enjoying his learning in a tough halacha program and growing that way since around Chanuka last year.
I am terrified that perhaps I should be looking for someone on a higher level. Maybe I should go for someone who is learning and happy for years and set in his path and will for sure stay in learning for a long time. I could almost hear the teachers I admire from school saying "You deserve better, don't sell yourself short, he isn't good enough for you"
on the other hand, quite recently I dated someone who will for sure be a huge talmid chacham in the future and this totally freaked me out. I was able to admire him as a Rabbi but not relate to him as someone I could share my life with.
basically I have two question, one theoretical and two specifically about this guy
1) I know the highest value is learning the Torah, And when I die I want to know I did the best I could with my life. So maybe I should push myself to marry someone who will stay in learning even though I freak out just thinking about living such a lifestyle. But that's how I feel today, maybe it is worth the push so that I don't regret my decisions when I am 80.
2) this is the specific question: I guess I will never be able to find someone who is exactly on my level. not more and not less. So am I selling myself short if I Marry somobody who is a bit further down the line than me?
3) I scared that one day(maybe in a few years when the program is over and he gets his semicha, or maybe sooner) He will lose interest in this track of life and fall back to who he thought he would become. I fear this since his change of ways is only a year old. Should I be worried about this? Should I judge him only by what he is now? How can I come to trust him?
I am sorry this is so long. It took me and hour to write since I had to sort all my thought into questions. I would really appreciate advice from xperienced folks...
Thanks a mil.

#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 08:39 PM

1) It depends - why do you "freak out" when you think about such a lifestyle?

2) It depends - how much "further down the line" is he? Also, if never gets further "up the line," would you be able to live with that? If you could see the future and you see that he never changes, would you have this question? Important rule: Never marry someone on the assumption that he will change. Everyone grows as life goes on (hopefully) but that is a natural process, and change is not required. Growth comes normally. But if the natural pace of growth that normal decent people experience in life is insufficient in this case and you need some kind accelerated rate of growth or for him to be on a different trajectory, then the answer is no. he may change, but it is unwise to take the chance.

3) I don't know the person you are specifically talking about, but in general, yes, it is a valid concern. You should not judge him only by what he is now if we are talking about someone of marriageable age who is only "what he is now" for a year, before which he had different plans.

How can you come to trust him? You mean how can you know whether you can be confident that he is in fact stable in his new lifestyle and values. That takes a lot of insight and time. You don't have that kind of time now and the insight, well, you can assess that better than me. It may boil down to whether you want to take the risk.

All that having been said, ideally, you do want to marry someone on your level, not lower. As to your claim that no two people can be on exactly the same level, that is true,but the closer two things are to each other the harder it becomes to tell which one is on the higher level, even though you know the two cannot be equal. If the inequality is so pronounced that his being on a lower level than you is so conspicuous - that is a different thing entirely.