#240 Mazel Tov to a couple that wishes to remain anonymous
Where are you from?
N: I am from Long Island and am 33. Mark is from Toronto and is 43. We were both living in New York when we met.
What was the first conversation like?
N: It was a nice conversation, it was easy but in my mind I always wanted the first conversation to be instant fireworks-this wasn’t like that. I'm so glad I gave it a chance!
Where was your first date?
N: We met at the corner of 72nd street and walked to Riverside Park. After we realized hours had passed and we were still enjoying ourselves, we decided to go for dinner.
When did you know that he was your bashert?
N: On the 4th date we both knew. But I'd like to stress that it's not important to know right away! Between our 1st and fourth date we must have spent over 20 hours on the phone. So even though it sounds fast, we had spent a lot of dedicated time with each other by then. I once learned that before you can say, "I love you", you have to know who the "I" and the "you" are in that sentence. We had both individually put in the effort of learning who we were separately and what values we were looking for in another. That made it much easier to recognize that we had found something special when we met.
Is your bashert everything you always thought you wanted in a man?
N: Thank God I was open minded because I would have missed out! He’s so much better and nothing like I ever thought I would end up with. We have different religious backgrounds. He has been observant his entire life, and I was observant for only a few months before we started dating. I’m so grateful that he even gave me a chance. If he hadn't, we would each still be searching, wondering where the other one was.
How long did you date before becoming engaged?
N: 3 months. At the time, some people were asking, "What are you waiting for already??", and others were asking, "What's the rush??" Everyone's perspective is different, and every relationship is different.
How did he propose?
He took me on a surprise trip to Israel. My mom had packed my bags for me he had found my passport. A few nights later we were enjoying dinner outside the old city and a phone rang from inside my cake - there was a text message on it that said "follow the flute". Mark excused himself, and two children dressed in biblical clothing entered. They took me on a scavenger hunt around the old city, where we found note cards with clues written in prose. The last stop was a private roof top with a view of the Kotel. The children left and Mark was there waiting for me. It's an amazing elaborate story!! But really, all you need is: two people who care for each other, the question, and the answer.
Aside from SawYouAtSinai, what other ways did you employ to meet people?
I constantly asked people if they could introduce me to someone suitable. I decided to take it very seriously. I'd only meet one person at at time, and only if he was an appropriate match. I decided to give each date a very serious consideration before I said no. I tried another dating website too, where we later discovered that Mark had tried to contact me there, and I wasn't interested! I feel like God gave us a second chance to meet.
How long would you say you were looking for someone?
N: I felt like I was looking my entire adult life. But in actuality, I started looking shortly before I met him. It was only then that I was serious about what values I was looking for.
N: What were the biggest challenges you feel you went through while dating each other?
Coming from different backgrounds was pretty hard, and making sure our families were on board. It was tough at first, but they couldn't be more thrilled now.
What did you find most helpful about your matchmaker?
N: She spoke to me on the phone and got an idea of who I was. Tova wanted to introduce me to Mark, but I said no! She didn't let me off the hook (thank God!!) She said, "This is your husband!" I figured, if he was my husband, I might as well meet him for a coffee.
Did you have any hesitation about using an online dating site or using a matchmaker?
N: How was I going to do it otherwise? I needed to do everything possible. He was actually my first match on SYAS, and the speed and personal attention from Tova made the difference. I also realize that I was lucky and that it doesn't usually happen that quickly.
Any words of encouragement for other singles?
N: It might feel uncomfortable to go "online", but the alternative is often that you don't meet anyone. Stay happy and fun on your dates! Especially after dating a lot, it’s important to remember to be happy and fun. Mark was searching for me for over 15 years. Yet, I was struck by how "fresh" he seemed, upbeat and with a sense of humor. If you’re looking, do whatever you can do-this is one way to do it, and it's more private. It’s important to be patient and have an open mind based on the quality and values the person.
Sometimes the problem is that you're not open minded enough, but you also don't want to be so open minded that your brains fall out! Here is a test my mother taught me. If your date has the right qualities and values that you are looking for, but you just "don't feel it", ask yourself this: "Does he make me nauseous?" If the answer is "No", then go out again! If the answer is "Yes", then you can end it with a clear conscious.
Nina and Mark were married in January 2008. They live in Manhattan.
*Names of Mark and Nina are aliases as the couple wishes to remain anonymous.