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Get The Ring: How to Find & Keep the Right One for Life.
Dov Heller - Part 1


Rabbi Dov Heller, a licensed psychotherapist with a private practice in Los Angeles and the Director of the Relationship Institute, is also available for telephone counseling worldwide. For more information he can be contacted via e-mail at dheller2@netzero.net. In the following presentation Dov Heller will enumerate ten ways to marry the wrong person, based on conclusions drawn from his counseling experience, and will guide us on how to avoid these common mistakes.

The Ten Ways to Marry the Wrong Person

Hi. I’m Dov Heller. It’s a pleasure to be able to present to you the ten reasons why people marry the wrong person. My goal in presenting this to you is to help you become a little bit smarter in your dating. Now that’s not to imply that I think you’re dumb. But the truth is… certainly my experience is that people who are dating and who are serious about getting married, often approach dating in the wrong way. One fundamental mistake which I see that people make is, they don’t ask enough questions, or they ask the wrong questions. In this presentation I hope to give you what I think are the right questions to ask and I’ll give you some principles along the way that I think are essential for effective dating, especially for those who are interested in marriage.

You know, there are lots of problems if one does make a bad decision and marries the wrong person. And there are ways of rectifying a mistake that one makes. For example, there is a couple that did make a mistake and the woman was thinking how she was going to rectify the situation. They went away on vacation and they were standing by a wishing well. All of sudden he falls in. She turns to her friend and says, “Gosh. I can’t believe those things really work!” Well, that’s one way of dealing with mistakes that we make about dating and marrying the wrong person. But let’s hope we don’t have to go that route, and what I hope to do today is to give you some insights that, again, will make you a smarter person. So let’s jump right in there.

Reason Number One – Don’t Marry Potential

The first reason why people marry the wrong person is that you expect the person to change after you’re married. Now I have a colleague who often points out that, indeed, people do change after they’re married. Yes, they change for the worse. What we’re trying to say here is that people have to be accepted for who they are. If you’re dating someone, the most important question you can ask yourself is — Can I live with this person the way they are? The principle here is: never marry potential. If there’s something that you don’t like about the person, something that you may wish will be different in the future, you’re setting yourself up for a potential mistake. I’m speaking of things such as religious differences. I often see people in my work here as a counselor and as a Rabbi, where someone is at a different level of Jewish observance, and they think to themselves, well after they’re married they’ll become more involved or become more religious, and often that is not the case.

Other types of things that you may consider hoping that the person will change would be bad habits that they have, bad communication skills, even something that you might not like about their personal hygiene. Don’t expect them to change after they’re married. If you can’t live with them the way they are, if you can’t accept them the way they are, then don’t marry them.

So I suppose we could sum up the first mistake as a form of misplaced optimism. You may call it a failure to realize that what you see is really what you get. What’s the next common error?

Reason Number Two – Chemistry vs. Character

The second reason why people marry the wrong person is: people tend to focus more on chemistry than on character. A principle here is, chemistry ignites the

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