“Take Me as I am” …Would you?

24 Jan

Take me as I am

When Jenny was trying to describe who she was to a matchmaker she mentioned that she wants to be with someone who will, “Take me as I am.” In other words, what she was trying to say is that she didn’t believe she should need to make any effort to look especially presentable, or consider what came out of her mouth. She wanted to be able to present herself as she is without the added effort.

We all know dating isn’t fun for everyone. For some getting dressed up to meet someone new is fun. For others it is a tedious effort, requiring more time than it is worth. Both types of people are making an effort. Dating just feels effortless to the one who enjoys dating and meeting new people.

Anything we want to achieve in life takes effort. When we search for a job and go on interviews, we put on a happy face and look professional. If we want to run a full marathon we need to train so that we can achieve our goal. If we want to be healthy, we need to be disciplined in our eating habits. If we want to buy a car, or a property, we need to save and have a plan. Creating a successful relationship leading to marriage is no different, as it too requires discipline and a solid game plan.

Some might say that preparing for a marathon is easier because at least there is a known end point, finishing the marathon. What many don’t realize is that with any goal, there are many sub-goals along the way. No one just wakes up one morning wanting to run a marathon. People who run a whole marathon successfully plan goals and targets along the way towards running all 26 miles. Their body needs to acclimate and adjust to the rigor of running further. It is not only about the running, it is also about the mental ability to drive your body that hard.

When it comes to dating, the sub-goals include learning about your needs through amassing different life experiences along the way. Exploring your parent’s relationship and processing what you picked up from them about being in a relationship. It involves piecing together all the bits that make you who you are so that the expectations for making a relationship work fall on you and not the person you randomly end up with.

The concept of being “taken as you are” implies that you are a finished product and that there is no more work to be done. Thinking this way can be dangerous as all marriages require effort in order to succeed. If you go into the dating world thinking that someone just has to cope with you as you are and that the onus lies on them to figure you out, you may find yourself on the lonely road heading nowhere.

It is challenging to think that we have flaws (some of us have tempers, some of us are untidy, some of us struggle with time keeping, etc.). However, by acknowledging your flaws and working on them to the best of your ability, you may find that you are in a better position to meet the right someone sooner than you think.

Micki Lavin-Pell is a Marriage Therapist and Relationship Coach. She may be reached via her website: http://www.mickilavinpell.co.il.





Sucking the Romance out of this War…

31 Jul

War romance

As the war in Gaza has been going on for some time in Israel now there have been fewer parties and fun social events on. That said, many people have been creating time to give to our chayalayim and to just create connections in general. More people are going to shule, creating parcels and gift packages to give to chayalim, visiting chaylim in hospitals, not to mention visiting people in the south where most of the rockets are being launched. Each of these occasions present an opportunity for people to meet and create connections and maybe even find some romance!

While you are busy packing parcels or partaking in any of these chessed opportunities, look around…check out who else is there and start up conversations. There are so many things going on in Israel right now that we can all identify with and connect over that we are not topic poor…

Here is a list of potential conversation starters to break the ice next time you find yourself surrounded by potential people you may like to start up with:

  • What is your favorite war joke?
  • Who is the worst news reporter you have heard so far?
  • Who is the best PR person for Israel?
  • What is the best PR piece you have heard on Israel’s behalf?
  • What is your most embarrassing situation you have found yourself in during a siren?
  • What are some of the most miraculous stories you have heard?
  • For those of you who are more mathematically minded: tally up how many pairs of socks you think have been donated to the chayalim, how many rockets have been launched our way, how many different types of booby traps Hamas has planted, how many sniffer dogs Tzahal uses, etc…
  • Share some of your most incredible volunteering experiences. (There is nothing more attractive and loving than someone who likes to give of themselves.)


This is just a brief list, but it can go on and on. So give this a go…Let’s use this war as an opportunity to create more Jewish families in Israel…Let’s really show Hammas we mean business!

Micki Lavin-Pell is the Director of Beineinu and a Marriage Therapist and Relationship Coach. To learn more about how you can meet new people and overcome barriers to finding love and creating romance, check out our website: http://www.iyim.org.il/singles. Feel free to add yourself to our database: http://iyim.org.il/singles/signup.asp


Top 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Matchmaker.

26 Apr


How you present yourself when meeting a matchmaker is crucial. I’m not just talking about how you look, though effort should be taken to put yourself together (just as you would for a date) but rather on your demeanor. Smile! Don’t come to meet your matchmaker looking like you are meeting with an undertaker! You may be nervous, shy, or anxious about how to best present yourself and that is understandable but make an effort to smile and seem positive and upbeat.
Come Prepared!
If you do not know the answer to “what are you looking for?”, then you may want to consider taking some time to think about the answer to this one before meeting with a matchmaker, ’cause they will definitely want to know. Hemming and hawing when faced with that question makes matchmakers think you don’t know yourself real well. Truth is, if you don’t know yourself real well, by the end of the meeting neither will they. Even worse, they may set you up with people who aren’t right for you which will make both of you very frustrated. If you are new to the dating scene and especially if you are a seasoned dater who hasn’t done this yet, spend some time thinking about what is important to you and differentiate between qualities you will  and won’t compromise on. If you have dated a lot, think back to previous dating experiences and present what you have learned about yourself from them. And that leads me to…
Give Constructive Feedback!
The purpose of meeting with a matchmaker is to help give the matchmaker a sense of who you are. By no means, however, does the matchmaker know you well after one meeting. However, by meeting with a matchmaker, they will have a much better idea than simply reading about you. One of the ways a matchmaker gets to know you while also making more productive matches for you is to hear constructive feedback about the matches they are sending you. Just saying the person they set you up with is “not matim” just isn’t enough. Getting specific about why or why not the match was on target is the best way to get better dates.  Giving good constructive feedback is helpful for you too, as it helps you clarify what you need as well. Many people only really get to know what their needs are from their dating experiences. Another great way to learn about and clarify your needs is by meeting with a dating coach (which a matchmaker often is not).
Use Your Time Wisely!
Don’t spend the time you have with your matchmaker complaining about previous dating experiences and negative experiences with matchmakers. Focus on the present and future rather than the past. Negativity is a real turn off too. Matchmakers want to focus on how to help you but they are not your therapist or coach! Resolve any unpleasant past experiences before you meet with a matchmaker so you can make the most of the time you have presenting the best parts of who you are.
Be Appreciative!
Understand that matchmaking is hard! Matchmakers work super hard to do their best to set you up. If you are not getting as many matches sent to you as you expected or wanted that does not mean the matchmaker is not working hard to make matches for you.  Feel free to drop them a line from time to time to check in. Being appreciative encourages your matchmaker to keep up all their hard work!
Fagie Reves is a seasoned matchmaker, and we are super lucky to have her on board with us at Beineinu. To make an appointment to meet with her, send her an email at: fagie.beineinu@gmail.com. If you haven’t already filled out your profile on our fully confidential database feel free to do so now: http://iyim.org.il/singles/signup.asp.

Freedom in Relationships: The tension between wanting in and wanting out

7 Apr


One of the greatest tensions that people have when it comes to forming a new relationship is the wish to be committed and connected with a special someone, while at the same time wanting to feel free and independent. No other holiday illustrates this tension better than Pesach. We see this tension illustrated in how the children of Israel want to be freed from slavery but then wanting to return to Egypt almost as soon as freedom is granted.

Many commentators see in this dialectic the desire to return to Egypt and therefore to slavery, as a loss of faith in G-d. The Israelites struggled to believe that they could both enjoy living life on their own terms with G-d by their side and still survive. They didn’t know how to strike the balance between believing in themselves and their own capabilities as a free people, while receiving assistance from G-d. This is the internal battle that each of us experience when dealing with difficult circumstances in light of a potentially better way of dealing with the situation at hand. We often tend to stick with the devil we know, rather than move forward and accept a new sense of reality, because change, even for the better, freaks most of us out.

Marriage is very similar. On the one hand, we want to connect to someone whom we believe can provide a new and exciting sense of reality for us. On the other hand, we want the luxury of complete independence, not having to answer to anyone, not having to work around someone else’s schedule, not having to feel bound in any way – in other words, not having to change our existing reality. Ironically, in order to truly connect with someone else, we first need to be a separate and free individual. No marriage can be successful if either one or both of the individuals involved aren’t able to exist as free independent individuals. Marriages with two dependent individuals usually fail because each subconsciously wants the other to make decisions for them and to effectively do the work for them. This puts all the pressure on the other to make it work.

People who have never experienced a committed relationship are often unaware of the fact that unlike slavery, committing to someone else doesn’t mean losing one’s freedom. Marriage should instead be considered as an alternative type of freedom. By connecting with a life partner, we are freeing ourselves from having to have all of the answers and bearing the burden of life on our own. Just as the Israelites had to do when they left Egypt, a newly married couple needs to reorient themselves to a different type of existence – Not one from freedom to slavery, but from one sort of freedom to another.

In the 1930s, the well-known psychologist, Margaret Mahler developed the concept of “separation-individuation”. This theory can be used to explain how we are programmed to enjoy having decisions and choices made for us – effectively to be slaves – and why we struggle with emerging into our own self. Mahler described that in order for babies to develop, they must first go through a process of separating from their primary caregiver and slowly develop into their own individual self. This is a process that takes place in three primary stages throughout life – as a baby, in adolescence and as we grow into adulthood. Each stage of separation and individuation provides an opportunity for the individual to develop their own independent self that is separate from their primary caregiver. Each stage is frightening as we walk the tightrope of leaving the confines of the safe parental environment and move towards a more amorphous existence where we need to define for ourselves who we are as we create our own rules and boundaries – in other words, the transition towards a free-thinking, independent individual. This is something that many of us struggle with because as we go through this process, we inevitably begin to feel a sense of loneliness and isolation.

As in all relationships, the trick is dealing with this tension between over-connecting to someone who can potentially provide for all of our needs, while still being capable of providing for ourselves. It requires us to be very aware of who we are and to communicate this in a self-confident manner towards our partner. It requires us to become more open and vulnerable towards our partner, while at the same time being able to deal with the anxiety over the fact that he or she will not always be able to meet our demands. It is the dual tension between giving ourselves up and holding on to ourselves, being free and self-sufficient, yet aware that we still require the warmth and connection of being bound, accountable and responsible towards another.

This Pessach, perhaps we can contemplate this tension between personal and communal slavery and freedom, and through sitting with this tension find a way to truly experience the notion of our own personal and communal redemption.

Micki Lavin-Pell is Director of Beineinu and a Marriage and Relationship therapist for more than 10+ years. She has successfully helped 17 clients become engaged over the past 13 months alone. Beineinu offers relationship coaching, shadchanut, opportunities to meet new people and relationship education programs. Find out more about Beineinu via our website: http://www.iyim.org.il/singles.

Everything You Ought to Know About the Difference Between a Shadchan and a Relationship Coach

23 Jan

Over the past several years that I have dedicated to specifically helping the dati single community I have encountered a wide range of needs from people on their search for “the one.” Most people mistakenly believe that they just need people to set them up on more dates. I can’t count the amount of times that I have heard, “If only people would set me up with the “right one”, I would be married by now.” What many people don’t realize is that being set up is just one small part of getting married to the “right one”. Lots of people don’t realize that many of us carry unseen barriers that are actually preventing us from attracting someone who is best for us and even noticing “the one” when they are right in front of us. I thought it might be helpful to have a better understanding about the differences in roles between a shadchan and a relationship coach as each plays a crucial yet vastly different role in helping people get married.

A shadchan is a role played by a person who generally speaking holds no formal qualification. Despite the lack of degree in this particular field, most shadchanim have an excellent intuition about people and operate on their finely tuned instincts. They can generally read people and gain a good understanding about them without their having to say much. A shadchan will try to fuse together what a person shares about themselves along with what they say they are looking for and their own general impression and come up with some dating suggestions for them.

While a shadchan may offer dating advice along the way, and try to encourage people to give things more of a go, and see past differences, a shadchan’s role is rather limiting in that they meet their clients briefly. They don’t get into the deep recesses of a persons mind to better understand what may truly hold them back. Shadchanim, like most of us, don’t really understand what may impact upon a persons sense of self belief and trust. As many of us meet single people and don’t understand what may be holding them back from forming a long term committed relationship, shadchanim may have no better understanding.

Now a relationship coach, on the other hand, should have a professional qualification such as a degree in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy or counselling. They work with people on many levels and as a result can have the ability to create a much greater impact upon a persons ability to not only find the right partner, but also move the relationship forward. Relationship coaches help people to identify and understand what sort of person one should go for given that persons dating experience and relationship history. Many people believe that they would go best with one kind of person, and often find after dating for many years that they are looking for something that is completely wrong for them.

The reason that many people go for the wrong type is because they are unaware of childhood wounds that they are subconsciously looking to recreate. If a person is unaware of negative aspects of relationships they had with parents, siblings and friends early in life they may unknowingly look for a partner with whom they can recreate aspects of those relationships simply because they are already familiar with that style. This is despite the fact that they may be really wrong for them. By helping clients become more aware of their past, single people stand a much better chance of shedding their past dating habits and creating new more successful ones. This, by the way, is based upon a widely accepted theory known as Imago theory, developed by the world famous psychologist Harville Hendricks.

A relationship coach will help their client make better sense of their current relationship habits and help turn things around where necessary. The importance of gaining a clear understanding about your relationship history is to help prevent inviting pain into your life and instead help you to identify the charactersitics in a potential partner that will help you create the most successful relationship possible. While most people think they can do this on their own, at least 50% of the population is wrong. The evidence is clear as more than 50% of the western world is getting into relationships that fail. For those who marry the “right one”, their marriages have a strong chance of ending in divorce because they don’t have the tools to successfully navigate the challenges that marriage often presents. This is another thing that a relationship therapist can help with.

Other things relationship therapists/coaches can offer are the following:

– Identify what may be holding you back from a relationship and work through your fears.
– Get clear on goals you have for being married and help make sure that this is something you really want.
-Balance your goals with those of your future partner and family.
– Identify where you are getting stuck (finding dates, moving through the dating process, moving from relationship to marriage)
– Work through barriers that arise within the relationship.
– Identify key ingredients that are necessary to creating a relationship that is unique to you.
– Identify how to best identify a partner and know what meeting medium is best for you (online, parties, shule, shadchanim, friends, a combination of these).

By getting clear on who you are, what you have to offer and whom would make the best fit, dating will become much more effective. Just getting set up with people is really a no brainer, as many people can date endlessly with little success. By combining the expertise of a shadchan and a relationship coach people will find that they have the ability to create more successful and long lasting relationships.

Micki Lavin-Pell is Director of Beineinu and a Marriage and Family Therapist and Relationship coach for more than 10+ years. She has successfully helped 11 clients become engaged over the past 9 months alone. Beineinu offers both dating coaching and shadchanut. Find out more about Beineinu via our website: http://www.iyim.org.il/singles.

Dating as a process…Helping the matchmaker find your Mr./Mrs. Right

6 Nov

matchmakerAs a matchmaker my face to face meetings are an important part of setting people up. A profile alone gives me some basic information but let’s face it, at the end of the day unless you are William Shakespeare, or a copy writer for Grey Advertising, most people sound pretty much the same. Often matchmakers will ask the dreaded generic question, “So, what are you looking for?”  This question will often lead to a whole laundry list of features that a person thinks they require.  But truly, it won’t offer much material for anyone in a position to be helpful.

Instead the question I prefer to start with is, “If you were to reflect upon the people you dated in the past, what worked for you, and what didn’t work?”

Why is this question better? This is a question that actually deals with process.  Anyone can fill a list of laundry requirements.  Actually making things happen and creating a certain dynamic is something else entirely. When a person can really reflect upon a dynamic and know what it is that they are doing to create a successful dynamic, this is something that contains much more useful information.

I have seen so many instances, and I am sure most of you have experienced this too, where you heard about a potential date and got really excited because they contained all of the features on your laundry list, and then when you actually arrive at the date, you feel you as though the person setting you up has just played a practical joke and swapped your date with someone else’s.

Each date and each relationship needs to be viewed as a stepping stone towards finding the right one. Like it or not, we really learn so much about ourselves through the people we meet and interact with. Our dates are like mirrors, and they highlight for us who we are and what brings out our best selves along with what enables us to inspire others to shine too.

As a challenge, the next time you return home from a date, or the next time you end a relationship, take some time and review what you gave and what you received from the experience. Even the worst date is a great opportunity to clarify what you most certainly do not want. Based on the positives of good dates and the negatives of not such good dates you can better clarify what you are looking for. Often, the answer to the generic “what are you looking for?” is an equally generic answer, but pinpointing what worked and what didn’t work for you previously can make that often generic answer more meaningful and thus help the matchmaker make the search for Mr.  or Mrs. Right more right.

Fagie Reves is the resident Matchmaker at Beineinu. For a unique setting up experience and to enter the Beineinu database for set up purposes, feel free to fill out our questionnaire: http://iyim.org.il/singles/signup.asp

Also, to register to become a member and make an appointment with Fagie please email us beineinu1@gmail.com.


הדייטינג כתהליך…מתן עזרה לשדכן/נית למצוא לך את בן/בת זוגך

6 Nov


כשדכנית, הפגישות פנים אל פנים הם חלק חשוב מאוד מתפקידי. הפרופיל לבד נותן לי קצת מידע בסיסי אבל בואו נהיה כנים, בסופו של דבר אלא אם כן את וויליאם שייקספיר, רוב האנשים נשמעים לך פחות או יותר אותו הדבר. לעיתים קרובות שואלים שדכנים שאלה כללית, “אז מה את/ה מחפש/ת?” לרוב שאלה כזו גוררת אחריה רשימת קניות ארוכה של תכונות שהאדם חושב שהוא צריך. אך האמת היא שרשימה כזו לא תיתן הרבה חומר גלם לשדכן.

במקום זה אני מעדיפה להתחיל עם השאלה “חשוב על האנשים שאיתם יצאת בעבר – מה התאים לך ומה לא התאים?”

מדוע זו השאלה המועדפת? משום שזו שאלה שבאמת מתמודדת עם תהליך. כל אחד יכול לתת רשימת דרישות או צרכים, אך ממש לגרום למשהו לקרות וליצור דינמיקה מסויימת זה משהו אחר לחלוטין. כשאדם מסוגל באמת להרהר בדינמיקה ולדעת מה הם הדברים שהוא עושה שיוצרים דינמיקה מוצלחת, זהו משהו שטומן בחובו הרבה יותר אינפורמציה.

ראיתי כ”כ הרבה מקרים, ואני בטוחה שהרבה מכם גם חוויתם את זה, שהתרגשתם כ”כ לקראת דייט ראשון בגלל שלאדם איתו עמדתם לצאת יש את כל התכונות ברשימת הדרישות שלכם, אך בדייט עצמו הרגשתם שמי ששידך ביניכם עשה לכם תעלול והחליף את הדייט שלכם בדייט של מישהו אחר.

צריך להתייחס אל כל דייט ואל כל מערכת יחסים כצעד נוסף לקראת האחד/ת הנכון/נה. אנו לומדים המון על עצמנו דרך האנשים שאנו פוגשים ושיש לנו אינטראקציה איתם. הדייטים שלנו הם כמו מראות, והם מדגישים עבורנו מי אנחנו, מה מוציא את התכונות הכי טובות שבנו, וכן מה מאפשר לנו להוציא תכונות טובות באחרים.

כאתגר לעצמכם, בפעם הבאה שאתם חוזרים מדייט או בפעם הבאה שאתם נפרדים ממישהו, קחו זמן לחשוב מה תרמתם ומה לקחתם מן החוויה. אפילו הדייט הכי גרוע הוא הזדמנות נהדרת להבהיר לעצמכם מה אתם בוודאי לא רוצים. בהתבסס על הדברים החיוביים בדייטים טובים והדברים השליליים בדייטים פחות טובים, אתם יכולים באופן ברור יותר להבין מה בדיוק אתם מחפשים. לעיתים קרובות התשובה לשאלה הכללית “מה את מחפש?” היא בעצמה תשובה כללית, אבל אם תדעו להצביע על דברים שנהניתם מהם בעבר ודברים שלא אהבתם, תוכלו לתת תשובה משמעותית יותר ובכך לעזור לשדכן למצוא את האדם הנכון עבורכם.

פייגי ריבס מתפקדת כשדכנית של בינינו. לחווית שידוכים ייחודית ולהצטרפות למאגר המידע של בינינו לצורך מציאת שידוך, אנא מלאו את השאלון: http://iyim.org.il/singles/signup.asp

להרשמה כחבר ולקביעת פגישה עם פייגי שלחו אלינו מייל ל- beineinu1@gmail.com