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How to Get Married After 35

May 8, 2009 | by

Helena Rosenberg wants us to bring the same passion and tenacity that we bring to business to finding a marriage partner.


Helena Rosenberg, a licensed Marriage and Family therapist and author of "How to Get Married After 35: A User's Guide to Getting to the Altar" (Harper Collins Publishers), is on a mission to help singles achieve focus and clarity in their search for a spouse.


Helena grew up in small town America -- Conway, Arkansas, population 3,000. Although they were very alone, her mother impressed upon her at an early age a strong sense of her Jewish identity, which was to survive all her travels and experiences.

After high school, Helena traveled to New York to pursue a career in book publishing. She has always been a big believer in visualizing her goals and then pursuing them with energy and drive. She worked for the New Yorker, Random House and as a senior editor at the Village Voice before Hollywood beckoned.

She produced issue-oriented docudramas -- a fulfilling but crazy and stress-filled existence. Helena confessed that she always felt that marriage and family were a crucial component of "success" and that something important was missing in her life. "Traveling first class to Brazil didn't make up for an empty apartment."

In the throes of this recognition, she ran into an old friend who had become observant. Her friend seemed happier than she'd ever seen her. I want some of that, Helena thought. So she began attending Torah study classes. At one of Aish HaTorah's High Holiday learning services she met Charlie, the man who would later become her husband.

She gave Charlie her "I'm only dating for the purpose of marriage" speech on the second date.

Having been influenced by her classes and being very goal-oriented, she gave Charlie her "I'm only dating for the purpose of marriage" speech on the second date. He stuck around, and 12 months later they were married.

Not content to bask in her personal happiness, Helena wanted to help others. She believed strongly in her method of dating and felt such regret over the time she had wasted.

She began to formulate some principles and strategies. Helena believes that every man or woman who is single and seriously wants to get married should have a post-it on their refrigerator, "What one thing am I going to do today in service of my personal life?"

"We should bring the same passion, tenacity and principles to finding a marriage partner that we bring to business," she proposes.

Action is far superior to complaining. We need to remain upbeat and, as Helena herself did, "never lose faith that there is someone out there".

As part of this campaign, Helena stayed away from negative people, from those who would bring her down or sabotage her goals. Having dated her share of ineligible men, she is grateful to have woken up in time and would like to spare others unnecessary pain.

She began coaching, leading her friends and acquaintances to the same realizations and constructive steps that she had taken. These sessions were the genesis and foundation of her book which was picked up by Harper -Collins and eventually led to a whirlwind tour of talk shows, including Good Morning America, Jane Pauley, Fox News and about 80 different radio interviews. Helena loved it -- it was an opportunity to get the word out there and discuss her favorite subject.

Here is a taste of Helena's advice:

1. Resolve to make your personal life a priority. A woman who wants a partner for life needs to be as directed in her romantic pursuits as she is about her career, her workout routine, or her skin care. My experience as a therapist and relationship coach has confirmed for me that women who marry into their 30s, 40s and beyond are most often the ones for whom the idea of getting married carries real weight, and who make choices that echo that priority. You've spent enough years behaving as though marriage didn't matter to you. Now that it does, live as though you care.

2. Visualize your marital future. Successful people rarely achieve their goals without first imagining their ability to succeed. By firmly keeping in mind a positive visual image of yourself as a married person, you come that much closer to being a married person. Don't view your singleness as a permanent condition. See yourself as someone who simply hasn't as yet found her match -- you're a married-woman-in-waiting! Appreciate the good life that you have but picture how much richer it could be with a partner by your side. So, while you are quite capable of doing most everything for yourself, you also allow men to do things for you without feeling diminished by their contribution. You are not pretending to be weak or incompetent; you are merely allowing others to feel appreciated in a direct and concrete way. Similarly, you are able to envision yourself making certain adjustments in order to blend your life with someone else's -- relocating to another city, perhaps, or becoming a stepmother. The operative image here is that you picture yourself becoming part of a dynamic team rather than continuing life as a solo player.

3. Remove any obstacles that have kept you single. This presupposes that you know what those obstacles are. To isolate what impediments may have contributed to your singleness, fill in the blank: I believe I'm still single because ____. Maybe you simply haven't met the right person. Or you've spent most of your time up to now getting an education or nurturing a career. Then again, you might admit that you're a perfectionist and no one has measured up to your standards. Or you stopped dating to avoid disappointment and hurt. Even answers that sound logical on the surface can mask deeper things about you; it may be true, for example, that you haven't yet met the right person, but it may also be true that you haven't made any efforts to widen your social circle. It's easier to move forward in your personal life once you've honestly assessed what has held you back and have separated reasonable explanations from elaborate rationalizations.

4.Stand tall. Admitting that you'd like to get married does not signal an affliction; it's merely a defensible life goal. Take that brown paper bag off your head and proudly proclaim to friends and co-workers that you are interested in fix-ups and introductions to appropriate prospects. We often worry that revealing such desires will cast us in an embarrassing or unflattering light, as though wanting a spouse and asking for help were a weakness or a cause for shame. In fact, the desire to bond with a compatible partner is a strength, and one of the best ways to find an appropriate mate is to be introduced by a third party who knows both of you.

5.Reserve judgment. Don't jump to hasty negative conclusions about new men you meet. It's easy to dismiss a good man if sparks don't fly between the two of you by the time you've ordered the steamed artichoke appetizer. For the most part, the best men (translation: kind, honest, reliable, marriage-minded) will not be the ones who dazzle you from the get-go but those who wear well over time.

6..Get off the road if it isn't taking you where you need to go. Today you are dating for a reason, not for fun. This means you must eradicate all unmarriageable men from your dating life. Stay on course by ruthlessly casting off all game players, narcissists, professional bachelors, mama's boys, and other lousy bets. A man who is in his late forties and has never been married probably won't be marrying you either. Neither will the guy you've been seeing on and off for five years who still won't commit. These nowhere men must be given their walking papers to make room for the genuinely marriageable men who are waiting to meet you. Unfortunately, the time you waste with unmarriageable men can never be recaptured, so do an early spring-cleaning and get all energy vampires out of your life at once.

7. Live with gratitude. The best way to get more out of life is to appreciate fully the one you have. Waking up every day with a sense of appreciation makes you more content, and the more content you are, the more likely you are to be a magnet for others, including eligible men. If you are not optimistic and appreciative by nature, practice being optimistic and appreciative. Find small things to be grateful for. Feel thankful for what you might otherwise take for granted -- your good health, for example, or a dazzling sunset. Make it a habit every day to affirm the beauty in life and more of life's beauty will come your way.

For information about Helena's psychotherapy services within the state of California, her nationwide relationship coaching services via telephone, or her availability for public speaking and media appearances, please send an email to:

Due to the high volume of requests, Helena regrets she is unable to address individual relationship questions outside of regularly scheduled sessions.

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