Futile Prayers to Find a Mate?
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: I have been praying to Hashem every day for about 18 years, to find a spouse. I don't see that I have ever met the right person, and I have come to the conclusion that praying is irrelevant, since G-d does not really answer. At the same time, I am expected to live like a monk, which is is the opposite of Torah values. So isn't this life entirely absurd, damned if you do, damned if you don't!
Mesora: Because your situation is not going as you wish, you wrongly find the system at fault, and not yourself. Are you ignoring all of God's kindness to our patriarchs and matriarchs? All is in God's control. He hears all peoples' prayers.
Perhaps God wishes you to reflect and make internal changes. His will might be that you should not find what you seek, as it is not the best thing for you. The Talmud asks, (Yevamos 64a) "Why were our forefathers barren?" The answer, "God desires the prayers of the righteous." This means that God desires righteous people be placed in situations where they can further perfect themselves via prayer. God does not need their prayer, but He wishes they pray, as prayer allows one to verbalize their needs, and reflect on why they may not have received those needs. Such reflection has the potential that the person will observe a negative character trait, and work on himself to remove such a defect. Even for those like us, not on the patriarch's level, the Talmud says we should examine our ways when things are not well.
God's goal for man includes not only intellectual pursuits, but the follow-through, the perfection of his nature, his emotions, and his ethics. All these must follow his wisdom. At times we find intelligent persons with horrible traits. This dichotomy displays an imperfection in his convictions. It is natural that when one sees an idea clearly, he acts on it. Only one who has conviction of his ideas will follow through in action. But one who does not have clear ideas, lacks conviction in his values and his knowledge, and will not abide by the Torah's code of morality and interpersonal laws. When our matriarchs wished for children,they required perfection prior to taking on the vital role of mothers, so to raise children, important children, as best they could.
But without placing ourselves on their level, our approach to our goals may also be improper, destructive and even self defeating. Advice and counsel from one knowledgeable is essential at this point in your life. Speak to wise men dedicated to Talmud. They can, with a little discussion, detect where you can improve yourself. Listen without defensiveness, and see if their observations about your personality and actions are correct. Be objective if you wish success.
At times, desperation finds its way into our hearts. You must not let this occur. Desperation was not displayed by King David, even though he suffered many troubling times: (Psalms 91:7-9)
"A thousand fall at your side, and ten thousand on your right, but to you they will not approach. Only with your eyes will you stare, and the retribution of the wicked will you see. Because You Hashem are my refuge..."
While tragedies surrounded David, he did not despair.
You must reflect on our Torah, learning that God created the ear, so He hears. He created man with the faculty of happiness, so He wishes our happiness. He can and constantly does interact with us. But we must be following His plan for us so that He assists us to His goal. If our goal is not His, He will not assist. But if our goal is His, be confident that he has so many methods to help you. False notion of a divine response sometime feed the desperation. But realize that God's method may be silence, as this affords you the opportunity to ask yourself, "Why hasn't He responded?" God creates these opportunities, as His wish is that we engage our minds in all areas, reflecting how we can better align ourselves with His Torah system. We each have the capabilities within us to rise to the task, and conquer our troubles. We need to realize that potential exists in each of us, and exert ourselves. I honestly feel when we exert our will to accomplish what is good for us, there is a way, and we will be assisted by God. Be convinced.
Engage your mind, review what I wrote, and take matters into your hands. Don't despair. Rather, look at this as an opportunity to finally get what you wish, a good mate. Locate an intelligent adviser who can help you discuss your behavior in this area, one who can correct your false views, who can show you errors in as many areas as possible, be it your personality, your values, your Torah adherence, or your approach to dating. The goal here is honesty about yourself so you may correct areas preventing you from reaching your goal of marriage. I wish you success, and you will find it if you follow the Torah's guidance. Be honest. Be courageous. Be intelligent. Be relentless. Be confident in God's abilities. Be successful.

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