Life Lesson From A Matchmaker: Erika Gershowitz Kaplan

I never guessed that I would become a matchmaker. Connecting with people and connecting them with other people has always been a passion. I just never expected to do it professionally. My life before TDR was status quo. I was a publicist, living with my fiancé and little french bulldog and enjoying life in NYC. It was all fine and well -  a path traveled by many. However, over the past year, I learned more than I possibly could have imagined.

Professionally, I have come to better understand my personal strengths, become a stronger communicator, and honed in on a whole new skill set. Perhaps, more importantly, I have experienced so much personal growth that I can solely attribute to my day-to-day experience as a TDR Matchmaker.

I feel more prepared now for marriage than I ever have. For that, I can thank the hundreds of incredible singles I have met along my journey. Whether I am meeting a fresh-faced 28-year-old who is ready to settle down or a 65-year-old widower with much more relationship experience than I, one of the best parts of my job is learning from each and every person through their personal stories.

Here are a few of the most memorable takeaways.

Never stop trying. I meet countless people who say that their relationship failed because they felt that their ex was no longer the person they fell for. In the honeymoon stage, we are all the best versions of ourselves. But marriage is long, and life can easily get in the way. We become busy, tired, sometimes aggravated and lose sight of what brought us together with our mates in the first place. Commit to keeping that spark! Try new things, bond over new experiences, and never forget to express your love and gratitude!

Grow together, rather than apart. Life is a marathon and it’s impossible to be the same person you were when the two of you met. I met my fiancé when I was a teenager and I am most certainly a different person now than I was in college. The key is to grow and build a life together. It is critical to have a life of your own and goals independent of one another, but have goals together as well. I have heard many stories where couples grew apart simply because they weren’t communicating their needs. By the time they did, it was really too late.  Check in once in a while to make sure you are both on the same page. Make sure you’re doing your best to give them what they need. And, above all else, communicate.

Fight nice. This is a big one. In my meetings, I always ask why someone thinks their last relationship failed. One of the most common answers is the lack of communication and the inability to “fight nice”. People tend to think fighting is unhealthy or some sort of “red flag”. Totally false. Marriage is all about compromise so it’s only natural that disagreements will occur. Fighting means you care. It means you’re passionate and it means (or should mean) that you want to find a resolution - some common ground. Fighting, dare I say it, is GOOD! Communicate constructively. Don’t be stubborn just to “win”. Truly do your best to see your partner’s side, even if you don't agree.

Live and let live. Don’t forget that just because you two are a unit doesn’t mean you’re not individuals with separate interests, obligations, and even friends. Don’t become the old ball and chain. Had standing plans to binge on Netflix, but something on their end came up? Let your partner off the hook. You both have to do what you need to do, and at the end of the night, you still get to come home to each other. How cool is that?

Be an equal partner. There are so many smart, interesting and well-rounded people in this world, and your partner chose you! I meet with people every day that simply want an equal partner. Keep things fresh and exciting by challenging each other, working hard for each other, and improving yourselves. The stronger you are individually, the stronger you’ll be as a unit! Be your best self for your partner.

Don’t keep score. This is one that my fiancé and I have been practicing since we started dating. I now fully understand the importance of this mantra. It goes back to simply being your best self for your partner. Don’t go above and beyond for the credit. Do it because you want to see your partner smile. Your partner would do the same for you, too.

Everybody has a story and I get the benefit of hearing them every day.  I couldn’t have learned these lessons sitting behind a desk, so I’m grateful to the people whose experiences have left me better equipped for my own marriage!