29 Aug DATING AND RELATIONSHIP ADVICE
Dear Rabbi and Shira
I’m engaged to a great young woman. We connect well, have similar life goals, and are excited to get married and spend the rest
of our lives together. One hiccup has happened in our preparations. My kallah’s parents own a building with three apartments
in it. My kallah was happy to announce that they will give us one of the apartments for a third of the mortgage, meaning: only
whatever it costs her parents. I could barely conceal my surprise; my parents, who are strapped for cash after having made two
other weddings last year, are giving us a car which they are paying for. Why aren’t her parents giving the apartment to us for free?
Moreover, why was she so happy about her parents’ decision?
– Muddled in Midwood
Dear Muddled in Midwood,
Mazal tov on your engagement! As with many
things in your relationship, you will find your
expectations will be colored by your family’s
experiences. Money is something which has many
expectations attached to it: who makes it, how is
it spent, what are expectations regarding repaying
loans, or assistance from parents. Her parents
might have taught her, “If you are old enough to
get married, you are old enough to pay for your
apartment”. A responsible adult pays their own
way, so she understands that she is an adult, needs
to pay, and is happy that she is getting a little break.
You might have grown up hearing people who
care for each other will do whatever is necessary to
help each other. So your parents said, “We’ll try to
give you whatever we can afford.
Family comes first!” Therefore, when you hear
that his parents will charge you money that sounds
Both approaches are valid. Both have merit. You
can understand a lot about your future spouse and
how she works, her expectations and values, by
observing her family.
It’s very important to unpack expectations. When
you reach a disagreement and your kallah’s point
of view is hard to understand, try to unpack
the expectations. What led her to develop this
expectation? Does family play a role in that
expectation? What are the benefits of her point of
view? Then consider how can you compromise or
practice acceptance of the situation
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack