6 Tishrei 5781 / Thursday, September 24, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
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Will He Change?    

Will He Change?

How do you know if he’ll really change and live up to his promises? Or maybe he isn’t the real problem, and you’re just scared?



This is Part 3 of a response to a reader who emailed about how to deal with her boyfriend, asking Is He Good Enough? I continued with my answer (and our back and forth emails) in Part 2 – Don’t Settle for Less 


Now, I want to focus on the flip side of not settling, which is a question a lot of women ask: Maybe he’ll change? 


I heard a funny joke that goes like this: Men marry women hoping they’ll never change, which they inevitably do, physically and emotionally. Women marry men hoping they’ll change – and they never do! 


Now, I don’t want you to give up on real change. As I mentioned in the previous article, if the man is in the track of holiness, and is really learning, praying about, and working on The Garden of Emuna and especially The Garden of Peace, then you can be assured that he will most assuredly continue to change – for the better! Especially for you married ladies – don’t give up on a guy because he is in process. If he’s on the track – even if he’s currently only at the starting line – he’ll eventually get there. As I mentioned in Part 1 – he is your soul mate, and this is your portion!  


The key is ascertaining where he really is, and what his real goals are. And that’s especially important to know when you’re not yet married, and you need to make sure you make the right choice. Again, I cannot stress enough how important these books are, because they are foolproof. He can say whatever he wants, but if he isn’t working on these books, it ain’t the truth! No excuses!!! 


You must be VERY wary of the fact that even the worst men will try to improve when they stand to lose their girl. But since the change is not "lishma" (for its own sake) so to speak  because it's for the sake of getting her back - it doesn't last. And the woman becomes trapped in an endless cycle of leave, improve, go back, and leave again... until she hopefully eventually gives up, gets strong, and doesn't give in again. I went through that, along with many people I know. 


Only Hashem can help you clarify the truth of whether he is waking up on his own and this is the springboard, or if he is just trying to get you back. Before my divorce I prayed for clarity, and boy did I get it! I didn't really like what I saw - I was so hoping that he would wake up already and really work on himself, and use my refusal to continue living with him on these terms as the impetus. Hashem showed me again and again, until I finally had to admit that divorce was simply Hashem's will (in my case, Harav Arush and other tzaddikim were also telling me that I needed to cut ties fast - but those decisions were ALSO from Hashem of course, as part of His messages to me). 


You also must clarify if the fault is really in him – or your fear of marriage, which plagues women as well as men. There are many moving parts to this issue, but the most important thing to know is that ultimately, only Hashem can help you clarify if this is your soul mate. Only Hashem can clarify for you whether it’s him, or you, or your parent’s opinions, or whatever other pieces to this puzzle exist! 


Personally, I was in therapy for years before my marriage, including during the engagement, and during the marriage and divorce. None of it helped save me from myself!!! Of course, that was G-d’s will and it was ultimately for my best – and now I thank Hashem for it. But nothing, and but nothing, can replace personal prayer (hitbodedut). NOTHING! 


It’s just a shame that I didn’t know about it before. I have no doubt that it would have spared the entire sordid ordeal. So I want you to do that work now, before you get married – instead of after, like I did. (Of course, if you’re in the “after” and you’re already married – accept it with emuna, and simply start now!).  


So, I learned it the hard way, during and after the divorce. But wow, did I learn this lesson! In personal prayer, I honestly looked at my relationships with men, my mistakes, and my feelings. I worked it through, talked it through, and prayed it through with G-d who created me. Unlike a human therapist, Hashem has the power to enable you to not just learn and review – but rectify. Hashem sent me exactly the situations that I needed to take me step by step through my personal healing, in a way that no human therapist could hope to do. Of course, this process has continued through the marriage, and to this day it continues. But those months were "seminal" because it was a huge turnaround. 


For everyone's sake, start doing hitbodedut NOW. Don't make my mistake that I had to go through a hellish marriage and only clarified myself in personal prayer during the divorce and after. You will know when you're ready to make life decisions acting on "your own" which means with Hashem's personal guidance, as opposed to on the voices of the people around. Hashem will make it very clear. Everyone has their own timelines. 


And that is how, even with my insane childhood, parents who divorced multiple times, and my own history  I managed to be among the few to marry well the second time around. The odds were against me – the divorce rate is sky high, and the second-marriage divorce rate is even that much higher!  


But with this process of “G-d therapy” aka personal prayer, when I got engaged to my husband  my friends and family were like, "Are you SURE?" And now, I could say YES! For the first time ever, I am SURE! This is coming from a new me, in the best place ever, a woman who no longer wanted or needed to get married to fix myself, because Hashem already fixed me! I was totally emotionally independent. I no longer wanted to get married (I mean, of course I wanted, but I was not PAINED by the lack of it anymore) - I only wanted what Hashem wanted.  


To sum up: Make sure he is actually working on himself in practice (not just sweet talk) and that you see real learning and work on personal holiness and emuna. And no matter what, make sure that you have the best Shadchan, and the best Therapist, with you the entire way, by involving G-d in the process with daily personal prayer. 


Hashem should give you seata dishamaya! (Divine Guidance)! 



Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far-off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel.  

Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel's English website. She welcomes questions, comments, articles, and personal stories to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il. 



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