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    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