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How to choose a spouse

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Av 20, 5782
Question
Is there anything written in any Jewish body of work about: What main qualities should a man look for in a woman? And what about "red flags" or "warning signs"?
Answer
Regarding qualities you should look for in a woman, I think you’re choosing a smart direction of looking for a spouse with the help of the Torah's eternal values. There’s obviously a stronger chance of finding an idealistic soul-mate when she is one who values long-term pleasures like tradition, religion, family and ideals (especially if they are compatible with yours, so you have a good base in common), and not just short-term physical pleasure and attraction. The definition of "good" (for a spouse, as well as for any person), is measured by how "Godly" a person is, as defined by His 13 attributes (Shmot 34, 6-7) including: kindness, compassion, giving, patience, idealism etc., and the opposite: self-centered, selfish, intolerance etc. are "red-flags". These altruistic traits are exactly what Avraham's servant established as what to look for in a wife for Yitzchak (Breishit 24, 14). On the other hand, Judaism believes in holism, where the body is united and expressive of the soul, so there must also be some subjective physical attraction (i.e. don't look for the most beautiful- which often comes with vanity, but someone who you subjectively think attractive), and pleasant conversation and companionship.
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