It's almost 4am, and my laptop has 27% (17mins) left on the battery which means I probably shouldn't write because I'd either be overtired or rushed.
I had an important conversation with mashpia (rabbi / spiritual advisor) today over Shabbos. I told him I have not been davening (praying) consistently and that I am not happy in my current state of religious observance (or more accurately, religious non-observance) because I feel that after five years, "I am not the frum person that I believe that I should be." [On my mind were Anakin's words from the most recent Star Wars movie where he said to his wife "I am not the Jedi that I should be," right before he turned to the dark side; this scared me with regard to my own religious observance because I am experiencing similar things.]
The four issues I discussed with my mashpia were: 1) I don't daven frequently and I don't put on Tefillin when I should, 2) I still go lap swimming in mixed-pools with women present even though it's not tznius (modest) and it's assur (forbidden), 3) I still watch movies and I don't intend to stop [although I do not believe a TV belongs in a Chassidic home so I would see movies elsewhere], and 4) I don't like the idea of kol isha (not being allowed to listen to a woman's voice) because that would preclude me from being part of the opera or broadway world, which is an important part of my past, and which I never resolved to give up while I was becoming religious.
I also was happy to have a conversation about my various vices with the rabbi's wife who is looking for a shidduch (wife) for me. This was the first time I confided in her that as I am today, I do not plan on giving up movies, broadway shows, or swimming, and that I am open to my future wife having similar areas of improvement.
The big distinction that I felt was necessary for both of us to have was that if either of us were to be at a point of weakness in our observance where we would violate various halachas (jewish laws), I feel strongly that as Jews, we have the responsibility to be honest with ourselves and with G-d to face reality that an action that violates halacha is wrong, even if we still engage in (and enjoy) those activities knowing they are forbidden.
For example, if my wife and I were to go out to a dance club and get high on extacy, [I thought that the example of simply going out to see a movie or to go to the beach where there was mixed swimming wouldn't get the point across, so pardon the extreme example], then I would expect that the girl at least be at the level in her yiddishkeit (observance) that when she engages in the forbidden act (if she or we must) that she do so with the understanding that she is breaking halacha, and that in her own mind that she own up to the fact that what she is doing isn't the proper way to act. This goes for me too, but I already am at this level. I feel that the important thing at this point is that I don't want rationalizations, lies, or smoken mirrors.
As a disclaimer, I don't do drugs, and I don't like the idea that I am not up to par with various halachas. If she has a similar vices that we enjoy doing together, I don't want that activity to become something where we rationalize that we are in the right in doing; rather, I would expect that we know in our minds that it is wrong and just as a smoker knows that smoking causes lung cancer but he nevertheless lights up anyway, eventually, we should get to the point where we stop engaging in that forbidden activity just as eventually, a smoker must quit smoking or he will die (noting the exceptions).