I recently received this email from a reader:
I find that nowadays (I’m 27), I don’t feel as much fireworks when I’m around girls as when I was a teenager. Even if I know a girl is a good fit for me (pretty, nice and frum), I’m just not as likely to be crazy about her. Unfortunately, most girls want to be romanced and to think that you’re in love with them. I wish I could just tell a girl that she checks off my requirements so lets get married, but I don’t think most would go for that. Any advice on how to get myself psyched?
I took my time responding to this question because it’s really a tough one that I think many men and women face. What do you do when you’re with someone who seems perfect on paper but you’re just not feeling excited about? I’ll break this down into two parts: why aren’t you excited and what do to about it.
Why Aren’t You Excited?
I think it’s safe to say that as we get older the way we react to and feel about things changes. My three year old son goes crazy with excitement every time he spots a train or a firetruck. It’s amazing! But when he’s 23 I’m pretty certain (I hope) that his reaction to trains and firetrucks will be much more subdued. For many people the way they experience love and romance also changes as they age. The excitement of a teenage crush just can’t be replicated in your thirties. I don’t know exactly why that is. Maybe it’s because the newness of love isn’t there anymore, or maybe we’re too distracted by our intellect and instincts to enjoy the carefree and all trusting feelings of youth?
But no matter how old you are you should still feel excited around the person you’re dating or hope to marry. That excitement can stem from physical attraction, emotional or intellectual connection, or hopefully a combination of them all. It might not compare to your first teenage crush, but it should still be there in a deeper and more mature form.
So What Should You Do?
If you’re not feeling excited about the woman (if you’re a woman reader just change the gender where appropriate) you’re with, she’s probably missing something you need to trigger that excitement. That “thing” might be based on your unrealistic expectations or it might be something that you truly feel you need in a partner.
In either case you need to do some serious thinking and analysis to determine what you really feel is important in a relationship partner or spouse and modify your expectations accordingly.
Now let’s say you do your analysis and decide that the woman you’re with does fulfill all of your requirements but you still aren’t as excited as you’d like to be. Should you let her know that you’d like to marry her despite the fact that you’re not feeling the “excitement”?
“Unfortunately, most girls want to be romanced and to think that you’re in love with them.”
Seems reasonable, right?
I wish I could just tell a girl that she checks off my requirements so lets get married, but I don’t think most would go for that. You’d like to enter into a business deal, leaving emotion out of the picture. We’ll, if that’s the way you’d like to view it I’m not going to bash you for it. I believe that two people who want to make a marriage work can do so, if there’s basic attraction, mutual respect, and shared life goals and values. So if you want to enter into a marriage with a great woman but you’re just not feeling too excited, I won’t stop you. You can make it work and build a wonderful relationship.
But most women (particularly in their twenties and early thirties) will not enter this kind of “business deal”. They want to feel the love and be romanced. They’ve earned that right. It’s you’re job to provide that romance. It’s really not that hard. You can figure it out. If you try hard enough you might even start to feel something yourself!
Part of your obligation as a Jewish man looking to get married is to show your potential partner that you are crazy about her. You must do that. And don’t think it ends at the Chupah. No sir, you need to keep doing things that you might not personally think are important throughout your marriage. Do you think flowers are a waste of money? Too Bad!! Take out your wallet and start shelling out the cash on stuff that will make your woman happy even though you can’t understand why. Hopefully, she’ll do the same for you.