With Rosh Hashana behind us, it’s a new year, and everyone gets to start anew with the dating process. I recommend that you buy a notebook to record your shidduch activities this year. Hopefully, you won’t need to use more than the first page or 2. But for those who are designated by Hashem to have a longer process, I’ll be guiding you throughout the year with ideas and activities to bring you closer to marriage, and it will be helpful for you to have a shidduch notebook to use.

If you are determined to make it your year of getting married, I suggest you re-boot your dating process and approach it from a completely new start. Pretend you have never gone on a date in your life. Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be walking you through a successful dating process. One thing you should definitely do this year, if you haven’t done in the past: keep a detailed list of everyone you date, who set you up, how many dates you went on, and why it did not continue. After each date, write down your concerns and thoughts, even if you continue with another date. I’ll explain more about this in a future blog, but as you start the new year of dating, it’s an important part of the process to do. (Note: use the back of the shidduch notebook for this, to separate it from other activities you’ll be doing at the front of the notebook.)

Okay, let’s get started with the process to get you married. First, make a list of all the things you are looking for in a partner. I don’t care if you’ve done this in the past and you have an existing list. Throw that one away – remember, you are starting from scratch. On a blank sheet of paper, write down everything that comes to mind that you dream about in a spouse. How important are educational background and a degree? Jewish learning/education background? Family background? Religious observance? Which key character traits are vital? Sense of humor? Laid back? Responsible with finances? This is your “wish list”, and there is no right or wrong. Height requirements. Age requirements. Marital status that’s acceptable to you. Physical or mental health requirements. Anything and everything.

Put it aside for a few days. Come back and review. What did you forget? Add it. Make the list as long as you want. It doesn’t have to be in any specific order.

Put it aside for a few days. Review it again. Now you have your list of every qualification you want in a spouse.

Keep that list on page 1. Now, on the next page in your notebook, you are going to make a new list. From your long list of qualifications on page 1, copy the three most important things to you onto page 2. Yes, only three.

From this point on, when a shidduch is suggested to you, if they have all three of your “must haves”, you should give it a first date. No one is saying to marry the person, but to go on a first date.

Wow, that is a lot to deal with. I know you will have a hard time accepting this idea. But remember, Hashem is making your shidduch and you don’t really have control. So don’t try to micro-manage the process…

In the next blog, we will start exploring some of the specific issues that you should or should not consider for your list. And, of course, we’ll start with my favorite topic – age.

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