I Could Have Done Better
After a while, most people come to the realization that their spouse isn’t perfect. A man may notice that there are women more attractive than his wife. A woman might see that there are men who make more money than her husband. Or it might be a particular behavior that becomes the issue. “Why can’t my wife be as organized as that woman?” “Why can’t my husband be as responsible as that man?”
And sometimes a husband or a wife will think back to when they were single. “So-and-so was so neat and organized.” “That person I went out with was so much kinder.” And the doubts start to surface. “Did I choose the right one? “Maybe I just settled?” And at times they reach the conclusion: “I could have done better.”
Interestingly, they may be right. It could be that if they had pursued “that person,” they might have married him or her. HASHEM doesn’t take away a person’s free will. The question, though, is this: if they had in fact married that other person, would they now be happier? To answer this, let’s use a parable.
Imagine you have a wedding coming up. It’s a big deal affair, and you want to look your best. So you go shopping and you find the perfect outfit. It’s affordable, it looks great — it’s even modest. Fantastic. You buy it. There’s only one thing missing: the right pair of shoes. “Not a problem,” you say to yourself. “It’s two weeks till the wedding, plenty of time.” And you start looking. This store, that store, but you just can’t find the right pair. You shop and you shop. Nothing. Your try Marshalls, TJ Max, DSW. Nothing. You start to get desperate. Finally, the day before the wedding, you stop into Macy’s, and in the clearance section you see the most gorgeous pair of shoes. “Oh, my goodness, they’re perfect! The leather is exquisite. The workmanship is outstanding. And the best part — it’s on clearance. 50% off. Wow!!!”
There’s only one problem — the shoes are two sizes too small. “But look, I can’t just leave them. They’re stunning!” So, you buy them, take them home, and wear them to the wedding. After the wedding (and two hours of dancing) you come home, take them off, and you realize that your feet are killing you! The leather can be great, and the workmanship fantastic, but if the shoe doesn’t fit, it’s going to hurt.
This is analogous to marriage. Before you were born, HASHEM chose the perfect counterpart for you – with his strengths balancing against your weaknesses, and your strengths balancing against his. But you don’t know if he’s tall or short, fat or skinny. You don’t know if he’s introverted or extroverted. He might have a great sense of humor or be just sort of bland. There’s only one thing that you know: that he is the one that HASHEM chose as the right fit for you. When you were going out and found someone smarter or taller, kinder or richer, if you had said to yourself, “Why should I settle? I don’t need second best. Look how good this other one is,” you might well have succeeded in marrying that other person. But you would have suffered. Because the best qualities in the world all put together into one person doesn’t mean that he’s a fit for you. And as the shoe has to fit for it to be comfortable, for you to have a happy marriage, you have to find the one that is the right fit.
A marriage is a complex weave of needs, emotions, and temperaments. Some personalities mesh; some clash. To find the right match of two individuals who come from different homes and have vastly different natures and dispositions requires the wisdom of . . . well, the wisdom of our Creator. And that’s the point. HASHEM chose the right one for you. You fit together like a hand in a glove. And while he may not be the best bochur in Lakewood, he is the best one for you. Could you have done better? Maybe — but better doesn’t mean a better marriage, and better doesn’t mean that you would be happy together.
7th Really Dumb Mistake
And this is the Seventh Really Dumb Mistake that Very Smart Couples Make. They look around and say, “I could have done better,” and they might be right. They might have been able to snare the person with more objectively positive qualities. But what they are missing is the realization that HASHEM has hand-chosen the ideal match for them.
Part of creating a happy marriage is knowing that HASHEM knows better than you do what you need and trusting that He brought you to the right person for you. Now you have to do the work to make your marriage as wonderful as it was meant to be.
The Marriage Seminar, a 12-part comprehensive guide to a successful marriage is now available at theShmuz.com. You can download it, listen online, or access it on the Shmuz APP – for Iphone and Android. CDs of the Marriage Seminar can be obtained by calling the Shmuz office at 866-613-TORAH (8672).