Because at the end of the day, if a different “derech” enables a daughter or son of Israel to build a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael, bringing forth generations that are a continuation and the future of Am Yisrael – that is really what matters!
As a longtime “born-again single” and parent, I’ve come to the conclusion that the road to matrimony is like the road to weight loss. There are several routes, trails and pathways; but you have to find the one that will successfully get you to where you want to go. Each derech is right for some and wrong for others. That is why, for example, some people find that a low-carb, high fat/protein works for them, while others swear by a high-carb, low fat regimen. And then there are those who insist that just counting calories is the way to go.
All the different methods have proven to be very successful or big failures. At the end of the day, each individual has to find, often through trial and error, what works for him or her.
This too is true when it comes to finding one’s bashert. For some individuals, a professional shadchan is the route to go. The shadchan does not necessarily know the single that well, but does have an insight as to what his/her hashkafas are and introduces the person to someone of a similar background. If the couple being set up enjoys each other’s company, it’s likely a chuppah is on the horizon. If not, the shadchan tries again, and keeps on doing so until he/she puts together a two-some who “click.”
Other singles prefer to be set up by friends and relatives, who know them very well. They don’t want a shadchan who at best may be an acquaintance who may have met them briefly, or “interviewed” them, to redd them someone who very likely is someone the shadchan barely know as well.
Then there are men and women who want to meet on their own, at social gatherings like Shabbatonim, college get-togethers, shul functions or at parties.
Each of these methods has its pros and cons. On one hand, the shadchan may have a large network of “potentials” for an individual based on his/her awareness of the family and what their expectations are in terms of a spouse for their child. But because the shadchan does not truly know the person he/she is setting up, it may take a while before he/she matches two people with compatible personalities. The individuals might be the right “shnit” (cut from the same cloth) but the fit is wrong.
Close friends and relatives may know the single very well and there is a good chance they will successfully set him/her up with someone whose personality and outlooks on life really meshes well with their own. But then again, these very caring, well-meaning family members or friends might be “too picky” or selective about whom they want to set the single up with. Thus, they will often unwittingly invest their own biases and prejudices into the mix.
A friend, an older single, confided in me that she felt chagrined that a relative who was very well- connected in her community never set her up. Her reason, she said, was that “she respected me too much to set me up with the men she knew.” On one hand, my friend told me, she appreciated that her relative thought so highly of her; on the other hand, why not let her be the judge of who was “good enough” for her.
Which is why meeting at singles’ gatherings really works for some people. These mixers offer singles a golden opportunity to meet individuals that no schadchan, whether a professional or close friend, would have ever thought in their wildest dreams to introduce. On “paper,” everything about the two was totally not shiach (compatible), yet having met on their own, preconceived “requirements” and “musts” were tossed out the window.
I’ve seen never-married men or women who were adamant about “never” going out with divorced or widowed people with children get married to single parents whom they met at these functions. High- income professional women have connected with “blue collar” workers, and those from “big yichus” stood under the chuppah with ba’alei teshuvah- because they met as individuals first and not as resumes.
But at the same time, major incompatibility between attendees can result in the single having wasted time and money going to an event whose guests were, for the most part, totally inappropriate for them. Most girls, for example, do not want to meet a man old enough to be her father.
The bottom line is that, like a diet, each person looking to marry has to find the method that works for him/her. No one system is perfect and each person should utilize the method of meeting they are most comfortable with. However, if time after time after time there are no results, he/she should consider trying another way of meeting and not stubbornly proclaim, “Oh, that’s not for me” (if someone suggests going to a professional shadchan or a Shabbaton).