Unconditional Acceptance

While skimming the Pink Book, a friend came across a piece of advice so profound that it ought to be the results of a multi-million dollar government funded study. The advice was, “Accept a proposal unconditionally.”

I guess what she meant was that it shouldn’t be something like “I’ll marry you if you stop smoking” because that’s bound to cause strife, but it got everyone thinking about conditional acceptances to proposals.

“My friend is happily married and has three kids, and her acceptance was conditional,” said the friend. “She said she’d marry him if he took care of all the bills and stuff.”

“My friend also had a condition,” threw in another friend. “She said she’d marry him as long as he was ok with eating burnt food.”

I don’t know if it counts as a condition, but I do know that my mother’s response was something like, “Are you sure?” because she wanted to make sure my father knew what he was getting into.This is a very smart move for anyone who enjoys saying “I told you so.”

Of course, some people enable the proposal to be unconditional by covering all ground beforehand. One friend made sure to list all her worst faults and shortcomings when she suspected a proposal was forthcoming, so he’d be forewarned. After all, she liked him, and didn’t want him to be miserable. Isn’t that sweet?

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33 thoughts on “Unconditional Acceptance

  1. Yes it was sweet. I mean- you have to be sure the other person knows what he/she is getting into. I made sure to list all my faults- so an ‘I told you so’ could show up later 🙂

  2. I think making conditions makes sense, if they’re normal.
    There will be a lot of compromising and “fargining” in a marriage — and this is a good way to start understanding that another person’s needs and desires have become a priority in your life.

    “If you do this for me, I’ll do this for you.”

    My mother told my father he had to grow a beard. Still has one today.
    And I think the smoking one is extremely fair. Although, if he’s a regular smoker, it’s foolish for the girl to think he’d actually quit.

  3. There is another type of condition, that people often make and accept, and that is a huge mistake. It happens mostly in baal tshuva world, when one is on some high level already and another is just starting, and they start dating or get married on condition that he or she will accept all laws and traditions, will keep Shabbos, Kosher, Nidah/Mikvah, covering hair and knees and so on. Later if they brake up at least one of them usually goes off the derech entirely, and so may happen to second one too. There’re tons of stories like that.

  4. Great post.

    Reminds me of when I got engaged. Instead of my fiance asking if I was 100% “sure,” my mother-in-law-to-be looked at me with a mixture of palpable concern and maybe a little awe, and asked if I appreciated what I was about to get myself into.

    “She can be difficult,” she explained helpfully. Smugly (a little too confidently, as it turned out), I assured her that I could keep it in check. After all, my future wife doted on me. Sure, she was a little, um, opinionated and candid around her parents, but I had her under my spell.

    Well, she lived up to her mother’s promise. Moral of the story: don’t be caught off guard; watch closely how your future spouse relates to his or her parents. That is his / her personality laid bare. That’s probably how she will relate to you.

    Is it how I always imagined my spouse? Not exactly. But we made it work. Fifteen years later, I wouldn’t have it (m)any other way(s) :>)

  5. I don’t get it. Doesn’t a condition mean that I will if you do…and I won’t if you don’t…

    Are there people that are at the point where they like/respect/tolerate/etc another enough to agree to marry him/her but they won’t unless he agrees to some superficial condition such as “grow a beard”? Or even stop smoking. It may be a good idea to ask him/her to stop smoking but are you willing to let this guy/gal go if he/she won’t stop? Then I don’t think you should go for it even if he/she agrees to stop.

  6. “It may be a good idea to ask him/her to stop smoking but are you willing to let this guy/gal go if he/she won’t stop? Then I don’t think you should go for it even if he/she agrees to stop.”

    If I were to say to someone that I agree to marry her if she stops smoking, that obviously would require additional discussion about timeframe, etc. But if she does agree to stop smoking – and follows though on the afore-mentioned details – why should I not marry her?

  7. -Gans Narishkeit. Get a job.

    –I do. Why do you think I have time for this?

    HA!!! Work hours…the secret of blogging

    –then again you could also be a guy w/ a very serious identity crisis skipping seder

  8. BEcause my mother claims he has “bad skin” under it. I told her I doubt he still has acne in his 50s — but also my mom comes from a European background where a beard was standard.

    Oh, come on, my mother would have married my father regardless. The point is that my father said, “You want me to grow a beard? I’ll do it for you.” It’s just a short on-the-face beard. Not down to his pupik or anything.

    Conditions are generally not threats. If they’re serious enough, they prob wouldn’t have gotten to the point of the proposal.

  9. RCS, I cannot believe how badly you misunderstood what I said. If you are at a point of possibly committing to MARRY someone. As in spend/build the REST OF YOUR LIFE with this fellow and you are willing to let him go if he isn’t willing to stop smoking/grow a beard/do the cooking or stand on his head then you should not commit to this guy regardless.

    These are inherently superficial things and if you found someone you want to marry then you can suggest that you’d like him to stop wearing those horrid brown Hush Puppies but it wouldn’t be wise to make it a condition. He must not be much of a catch if you’ll give him up over the beard or burnt meal.

    Coprende?

  10. So how come listing all your faults doesn’t deter him from proposing?

    – because at that stage he’s under a spell.

    I only asked my future hubby if he snored… that was the one thing that would’ve tipped the scales if the answer was yes. I was haunted with that thought all of my dating years.

  11. Well, she lived up to her mother’s promise. Moral of the story: don’t be caught off guard; watch closely how your future spouse relates to his or her parents. That is his / her personality laid bare. That’s probably how she will relate to you.

    this seems so non-sensical. doesn’t it happen sometimes that mommy/tatti push their buttons in certain ways due to personality quirks that they have but hubby/wife doesn’t because they simply don’t have those personality traits?

    (for instance the difference between a harried, impaitent and snappish mommy and an overly paitent and forgiving husband)

  12. devonshire, I asked. He said, “no, of course not ask my roommates” roommates confirmed he was a non-snorer.

    He snores. I sleep with earplugs. One huge advantage is he has to get the kiddies at night, I can’t hear them.

  13. “RCS, I cannot believe how badly you misunderstood what I said. If you are at a point of possibly committing to MARRY someone. As in spend/build the REST OF YOUR LIFE with this fellow and you are willing to let him go if he isn’t willing to stop smoking/grow a beard/do the cooking or stand on his head then you should not commit to this guy regardless.”

    Ms. Batton, I understood you perfectly. Comparing smoking to a beard, however, is sheer lunacy. Smoking is a health risk – for my smoking spouse, for me, and for our children. Growing a beard is a matter of appearance. One is superficial, one is anything but.

    Comprende?

  14. Oh, Comprende allright. I love anti smoking fanatics. Smoking is a health risk and most men do manage to stop early enough. So suggesting/asking/begging/pleadign that he stop is wise very very wise.

    It may not be so wise to not marry him if he won’t stop.

    Why do you think it happens that gals/women will say, “I will not marry a smoker” and then they do? Because when they finally meet him they are no longer willing to give him up even if it means having to deal with the smoker in him.

    note: I doubt he’s smoke near the kids if he loved them like he should they’ll be allright.

  15. okay:
    1. Smoking is addictive. Unless you state “stop smoking, here is the patch” you cannot get someone to just stop an addiction. No one with any Seichel dates a smoker if they don’t like it. PERIOD.

    2. “I love you, you’re perfect, now change” is SSSOOO TRUE!! Conditions rarely work. The success of a marriage is about compromise. And changing onesself because you want to, and want to please your spouse.

    3. If you always wanted a bearded guy, and then you fall for a clean shaven guy, then something about him was appealing even if he didn’t have the beard! and one of the worst reasons to get someone to change…

    4. Because your family expects it. So either marry someone who already lives up to your family’s expectation (and have a happy life living what they want and not what you want) or GROW UP! If you are old enough to get married and make decisions, then don’t go out with guys who live differently than you do if it will bother you your whole marriage. Sheesh.

  16. Not related to this conversation at all, but…

    Bad4, have you ever tuned in to Jewish Dateline, the weekly Jewish dating radio show on wrcr.com? It’s on Thursday nights from 10:30(ish) to 11:30 and it’s HILARIOUS. Okay, it also borders on being really really sad, but it’s definitely worth listening to. You’ll get a real laugh.

  17. 1. Smoking is addictive. Unless you state “stop smoking, here is the patch” you cannot get someone to just stop an addiction. No one with any Seichel dates a smoker if they don’t like it. PERIOD.

    Really? No one? Never?

  18. A prenup is a (premarital agreement) contract that generally clarifies the financial arrangement of the marriage and how the finances will be dealt with in the event of death, divorce, separation etc.

  19. A prenup is a (premarital agreement) contract that generally clarifies the financial arrangement of the marriage and how the finances will be dealt with in the event of death, divorce, separation etc.

    Otherwise known as a “Ketuva” (or Jewish marriage “contract”).

    Regarding the question “Will you marry me?”, that’s the kind of question that the only answers are “yes” or “no”, it’s also the kind of question that has a very short time limit for the answer to be forthcoming.

  20. Bad4: Yes I have and it’s falling down laughing funny, I originally saw it on Tr8erGirl and commented there as well. That piece should win an award, it’s so freakin’ good. Showed it to the missus who LOL’d the whole time 😉

  21. <>

    LOL!

    As for conditions, I sleep like the dead (so snoring is no biggie) but what concerns me is getting someone with terrible table manners–my number one, gross me out, pet peeve. However, at this point I have come to the conclusion that I am too old (read, enjoy being on my own) to get married and have kids, so it is not really an issue.

  22. Pingback: Repost: How to Accept a Proposal | Bad for Shidduchim

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