Thursday, July 25, 2013

Are Doubts Normal During Engagement?

Question of the Week:  


Is it normal to have doubts during an engagement? My friends tell me I should be 100% certain that I have made the right decision, but I would be lying if I said I had no doubts. Is it a bad sign if I am just not sure?




There are two types of doubting. One is an alarm bell that should not be ignored. The other is a sign that you have made the right choice.


The great Kabbalist Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneersohn wrote a letter to his recently engaged son, explaining that engagement and doubt go hand in hand. The union of soulmates is such a lofty and super-rational event that the mind cannot possibly grasp it. Something is at work that is beyond our understanding and therefore there is always an element of doubt.


This doubt is not an indication that you have done something stupid. On the contrary, it means that you have touched a level that lies beyond the confines of the human mind. Finding your soulmate is such a miracle, our logic cannot process that it is really possible, that it is really true, that I have found the one for me. This wonder is a kind of positive uncertainty - Is this for real? I don't believe this is happening to me!


So the fact that you feel unsure may be a good sign, indicating that you have been touched by the hand of G-d, and are left in wonder that it could really be so good.


However this only applies when the doubts are vague and general, doubts that anyone could have. Will I be happy in twenty years from now? How can I know for sure? Maybe there's someone else better suited to me? What if we change? These questions are normal. They would be there no matter who you were engaged to, and so there's no reason to be alarmed. In time these doubts will disappear in a puff of smoke.


But if your doubts have strong base to them, like you are questioning your partner's good character, or you suspect that your feelings have not developed to the extent that they should have, then you need to seek advice whether you are doing the right thing.


Here's a good way of testing whether the doubts are cause for concern or not. Are the doubts stronger when you are with your fiancé or when you are apart? Normal doubts come when you are lying awake late at night or when you are alone and your mind is churning. Ignore them. But doubts that arise from actual interactions and real conversations need to be closely examined.


Engagement can be an emotional roller coaster. And when we are emotional, we are rarely able to see clearly. Seek the advice of a wise and experienced outsider, who will be able to tell you whether your doubts have foundation to them, or you are experiencing the humble disbelief of finding your true soulmate.


Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Moss 


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