At the end of my previous post on comparisons, I alluded to the way some of us date by attempting to match every detail we can, like some sort of human matching game.
It is, I think, a source of much restriction in dating. If I decide that a person has to be pretty much the same as me in the way I think, the way I talk, the way I act... or even just the way I think... can be extremely limiting, and narrows the possibilities down to a very small number of potentials. (Again, don't get me wrong -more similarity makes for fewer sources of potential tension. But the point here is that not everything needs to be so closely matched.)
But nobody has my exact life experience. They won't always think just like I do. Most definitely not for all the little details.
Here's an example (using the concept of hashkafah, Jewish Philosophy) -trying to find someone who wants to cover her hair the way I want her to, feels about movies and music (during sefirat haomer and generally with secular movies/music) the same way I do, prays the way I do, who has the same expectations for my being kove'ah i'ttim (setting aside time for textual learning), and so on... is an exercise in trying to carbon-copy myself.
Never before in history has the choice of mate been so narrowly defined, so artificially engineered.
Taking into account the multitude of elements that contribute to having chemistry, and the importance of having chemistry to build any meaningful relationship... it crates a problem of probability. I know, many people don't much look at probability, it's the one bashert, or soulmate, that matters.
But think about it in terms of hishtadlut (personal work/input). If the sons and daughters of the great houses of Hillel and Shamai could marry one another -growing up with often diametrically opposed perspectives on Judaism, halachah (Jewish law) and hashkafa, having different attitudes and customs, perhaps even keeping different halachot, then maybe we should consider being a bit more flexible.
Just look at our parents. I'm willing to bet they're not all cut from the same cloth with the same colors and textures, materials and patterns. They don't need to be a couple cut from the same piece of cloth, they just have to work together. Colors and textures and material and patterns can be so different and yet somehow they just work well together. At least mine do. My parents are so different in so many ways (and have many similarities as well), but when you put them together they are beautiful.
In terms of the hashkafah example above, I see that boiling down to one important concern for me: does the woman have a dedication to keeping halachah? If the answer is yes, then the rest is just detail and commentary. From where I stand, specifics can be worked through. What's the difference between a sheitel (wig), fall, hat, scarf... does it really matter?
My heritage and my custom clearly states that sheitels are not considered a valid hair covering, and perhaps I have a small preference. But it's not my hair to be covered, nor is it my place to dictate how someone else chooses to do so. A different perspective, different rituals and customs, even different perspectives within halachah and the meaning drawn from various aspects of Jewish life... are all the little details.
The value (eg. dedication to halachah) has to be there. The meaning may be different.
She doesn't have to love singing z'mirot (songs) on Shabbat as much as I do. If she's got respect for the way I love it, great! If she has an appreciation, even better! If she admires it, we're golden! If she joins in (when appropriate), it's a slice of heaven! The only time it may become an issue is if/when my self-expression and the meaning I draw from it is not tolerated. I will not be stifled. Anything more than respectful acceptance is whipped cream with a cherry on top.
That's the idea. Ask practically any married couple and I bet you'll find plenty of differences between them no matter how hard they tried to match all the little similarities. In fact, most married couples will tell you that regardless of whatever "list" existed, those details often tend to go out the window.
And yet, people make big deals out of small details. Can we PLEASE just stick to the basics, people!?