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Identity Crisis

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True, and a worthy investment of time indeed, especially if we care about singles and appreciate the magnitude of the undertaking.

If the superficial factors line up, then it’s worth a date, and they can figure out the rest on their own.

This is actually backward thinking. If our goal is for dates to have a strong possibility of leading to marriage, and if we wish for marriages to be sustained on a foundation of deep compatibility, then we need to emphasize deeper information.

Obviously no amount of research or information can guarantee that things will work in real life, but that is no excuse not to make a reasonable effort. If we are already working to insure that singles have something in common before they meet, for the same price we can insure that what they have in common are factors that would bode well for a potential relationship between two human beings. However much or little information one may feel is necessary to proceed, let that information be meaningful and not shallow.

This is what singles themselves want.

How sad if this is true, and how irresponsible if it is not. I believe what the vast majority of singles want is to meet people they can connect with and ultimately find someone they can spend life with. Many singles go along with the status quo because they are afraid to try anything different (fear of stigmatization in shidduchim is overwhelming for some), while others feel it is simply more convenient to “go with the flow”, and still others don’t know any better. If singles have become used to a methodology that is flawed, let us change that one person at a time.

It’s all in Hashem’s hands anyway.

If you really feel that way then stay out of it – and have the same cavalier attitude when it’s your own needs. If, however, you feel that you have a more active role to play, then make sure you fulfill that role to the very best of your ability.

I encourage singles to spend serious time getting to know themselves as unique individuals and developing the ability to portray themselves as such. If you are searching for someone who appreciates you, then describing yourself in terms that make you sound like everyone else is counterproductive. Shadchanim may think it makes it easier to set you up, but if you’re looking for a little more then you need to be an actual person.

On a holistic level, we should consider whether our community structure and educational system actually discourage people from developing a comfortable sense of self. Serious problems in the shidduch world would be only one disastrous outcome.

Let us not be afraid to tackle the roots of the problem instead of the symptoms.

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