How to Get Dates
Finding Good People to Date Takes More Than Waiting for
The Phone to Ring
There’s no magical prescription for getting dates. Talk to a dozen couples who got married recently, and they'll each have a different story about how they met. However, you'll find a common thread in their stories - someone involved was proactive. It could have been the wife, the husband, a friend, a parent, a matchmaker, or all of them. No one waited for the telephone to ring.
Marriage-minded men and women and the people who care about them are often their own best agents for finding appropriate people to date for marriage. Here are four points to keep in mind as you search for a future spouse for yourself, your child, or your friend:
Davening and Hishtadlus
1. Even though Hashem spends His time in Heaven making shidduchim, we can’t wait patiently for Him to send our bashert to us. We have to daven and do hishtadlus. You’d be surprised how many of us neglect to do one or the other.
There are many different nusachim of Tefillos for finding one’s own zivug, or a match for a friend - Artscroll’s sefer, Aneini, contains two tefillos. We can also enlist others to daven for us, such as by asking our mothers and married friends to do so before they light Shabbos candles.
When it comes to hishtadlus, try approaching the search for a husband or a wife with the same energy and determination as one would search for a job. That often means setting aside a number of hours each week to network. You may think this approach is unnecessary, that what should be the most natural thing in the world shouldn't take so much time and effort. Yet, today's reality is that dating and finding the right person to marry doesn't happen as easily as it did in the past.
Exploring All Venues
2. We never know when, where, or how the right person will come into our lives. That’s why it’s important to explore as many avenues as possible, and to not rely on any one resource. You may meet at a friend’s Shabbos table or get-together, or have to network on multiple levels. You might see your future spouse’s profile on an Internet dating site after three minutes…or three years. You might marry the man who stopped to help when you car broke down, or your brother’s college roommate 6 years after their graduation. Your seatmate on an El Al flight may convince you to call his granddaughter, or you may finally, finally give in to the butcher’s insistence that you go out with his nephew.
Since none of us can ever know who will be the shliach to help us meet our future spouse, it's a good idea for every marriage-minded man or woman consider themselves always “on display”. The idea may make some people uncomfortable, but it’s the truth – every human being we have contact with is a potential shliach. This is how it happened for Ella, who met her husband because of a suggestion from “the little old lady down the street,” whom Ella would chat with from time to time at shul, on line at the supermarket,or when they met on the sidewalk.
It Only Takes One
3. Remember that your search is for the right person, not for the biggest number of people to go out with or the widest range of choices. The person who has little trouble getting dates is in the same position as someone who only receives a suggestion every few months. They each need to find the right person.
It may be flattering to be one of those people who receive a lot of suggestions. However, as you review the information about each prospective date, you may learn that only a few of them are really in the ballpark. Be selective - it’s demoralizing to go out with a number of people who are very far from what you're looking for, no matter how "nice" they may be. If you screen potential dating partners and only say yes to people who have most of the qualities you're looking for, it’s easier to believe that it is just a matter of time before you find someone whose personality jells with yours.
New daters sometimes view their first few dates as time to gain “experience” with the dating process and might be persuaded to accept suggestions just to "get their feet wet". That's a disservice to both daters. It's unfair to waste your dating partner's time, and possibly money, if you have no intention of even giving the two of you a chance. It's unfair to the novice dater, who can quickly lose any enthusiasm for dating after a few dates with clearly unsuitable partners. It's a better idea to date with the attitude that the very first person you date may be the one you marry.
It's All From Above
4. Remember that Hashem rules the world. No one knows why some people marry the first person they go out with, while others date for a few years, and still other people experience a tremendous amount of difficulty with dating. We have to understand that if we daven and do our hishtadlus and don’t see the results we hope for, there is a reason for this that is beyond our control.
Perhaps he hasn't started to date yet, or isn't in our locale, or her life circumstances have to change. We may need to experience on our own spiritual, moral, or emotional growth so that we can become the right person for our future spouse to marry. We may have to become more proactive, or address something blocking our ability to move forward in a relationship. Hopefully, with our prayer and personal efforts, Hashem will resolve the reason for the delay very soon.