Among the emails that piled up in my inbox, was a message from a young lady who was debating a marriage proposal. He seems like a good man, she writes, but she does not feel affection towards him, and is also concerned about his bad temper. What should she do?
I've only been married three years, not an expert on marriage by all means - but here is part of what I wrote back.
Of course, only you can make the decision on whether or not you should marry the young man in question. I can only tell you my attitude on the whole matter of courtship and marriage, based on my own experience and observations.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by not feeling affection towards your suitor, among other reasons because I don't know how long you have known each other. If it hasn't been very long, it might be that you need a chance to get to know each other better and see how your feelings develop. Of course, you should not marry someone who repulses you, or someone with whom you feel deeply uncomfortable. But my attitude is that, if in the initial stages of courtship there is no clear-cut reason for a definite "no", you can go on and continue getting to know each other, until your feelings are clearer to you. Don't miss out on someone who might be right for you, just because there isn't a lot excitement in the beginning.
Personally, I can tell you I didn't feel that famous "spark" when I first saw my husband, and now, three years and two children later, I'm much more deeply in love with him than on the day we were married. I think it's much better than when there are deep feelings of mutual attraction in the beginning, which fade away when the couple begins living together (which is the case in many marriages in Western countries).
If I have one bit of advice to give, it is this: do make it clear with yourself whether your long-term goals and hopes for the future are compatible (I mean big things like children, lifestyle, children's education, handling finances, dynamics in marriage, and more).
As for him having a bad temper, again, it's a bit difficult for me to know what exactly you mean by it, since I don't know you or him. It might be a harmless and innocent character trait, or a fault you can live with, or a red flag which points to a potentially abusive husband. Some people get angry easily, but the question is, how well does he control his anger? Is he rude and insulting? If you feel unsafe around him, it is surely a no-go. If you just wish he took things easy, perhaps it can be negotiated.
I suggest that you have a honest conversation with him about things you like about him vs. things that make you doubt your future together, and see his reaction. See how seriously he takes your words, and whether he shows willingness to change (and more importantly, sees true need to change) in matters that concern you. However, I also wouldn't advise to marry someone while hoping he will change dramatically. If you absolutely can't live with the way he is now, it's better to say no straight away and save yourself potential heartbreak.
On a deeper level, I believe G-d is the Master Matchmaker and leads us to our true matches. So if we do the sensible thing while regarding a potential match, and most of all, pray about it, we can be confident that the path we walk is good and right.