This very comprehensive list from lubavitchsingles.com lays out 20+ qualities and attributes that people often include on their shiduch ‘wish list’. The author purports that you have to choose which are the 5 major ones that you most desire in your spouse, those that are absolutely not compromisable. This is an in-depth inventory with elaboration of each quality, and is worth reviewing.
There are those qualities that everyone wants in a spouse: kind and caring, respectful and respectable, honest, emotionally healthy, put together. And then, there are those that are crucial to some people and less important to others.
Here, I share another perspective to add to that thorough list and article. As you work through a list of qualities that you absolutely must have in a spouse, it is also important to state to yourself WHY that is so crucial to you for a successful marriage.
What about a particular physical attribute [taller than 5’10”/ smaller than size 4/ curly hair/ straight hair/ petite/ long beard/ short beard/ fit] is so important to a successful marriage? Is it that you feel that you can only respect someone who you feel good standing next to?
What about his/ her schooling is so important to a successful marriage? Perhaps, you are using the schools that they attended as a shortcut to guesstimate what the person is probably all about?
Family background? Do you feel that you would be more comfortable joining a family that is similar to yours? Or perhaps that a person who grew up in a particular type of home has certain values that you really want in a spouse? Or that it would be prestigious to be part of a particular family?
Sense of humor? First, let’s narrow down what type of humor you are talking about: tells good jokes and is the life of the party, ability to laugh at oneself and not take life too seriously, witty and lighthearted, tells good one-liners. And then, how would that enrich a marriage and one’s life? Do you feel that being with someone who doesn’t take everything too seriously will make for a more calm home? Do you want someone who can lighten any mood with a great joke?
Type of clothing – how often he wears his hat and jacket, what color shirts and pants he generally wears. Are you making some inferences about his chasidishkeit and values based on the way he or she dresses?
Smart, intellectual, curious? Do you need someone with whom you can have interesting and deep conversation? Is it that you feel you can only respect someone who pursues lots of interests and can have conversations about lots of different topics? Do you feel that you need someone whom your friends and colleagues can respect for their contributions to conversations?
Gets along with lots of different types of people.
A real baalbuste.
Makes good money.
A real chevreman.
Of course, you realize that no one person has perfect traits and qualities, or personality; you know you have to prioritize. As you go through the rest of the list, articulate to yourself what about that is so important to you for your marriage and life. If it is not that important, move it lower on your wish list or remove it altogether.
You might create a chart similar to this one as you work on this.
Lastly, be honest with yourself: are you the type of person that the person on your wish list would want to live with?