Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I have just recently come into the “shidduch parsha” and have seen three young ladies who, thankfully, did not want a second date with me. Truthfully, I am terrified of getting married! I have heard such miserable stories about failed marriages from friends and members of my extended family who have suffered horribly during and after divorce, that I am totally soured on the topic of dating and certainly marriage. My biggest fear is meeting someone I want to spend my life with, making commitment, getting married and then finding out after a number of children that we are not meant for each other. My life would be ruined, I might hardly ever see my children and I would have to support a family that is no longer mine, damaging any chances of my ever getting married again, chas v’shalom.
From where I stand as a young man just starting out in the quest of finding a life partner, the odds of my making a mistake and suffering the consequences are as good as my finding someone I’ll spend the rest of my life with. That is terribly frightening and extremely off-putting. I have started going out because my parents expect me to, not because I want to and certainly not because I’m ready to join the circus and perform, as is expected of me. When I read articles about “starter families,” “first wives” and “second/third marriages,” I am horrified at how acceptable it has become. Maybe I am old school in my thinking, but whatever happened to “until death do us part”? Where did the ideal of a “life partner for life” go? Why is it so prevalent to hear that “Ploni is divorcing Almoni” after three years of marriage and one child when they seemed to be so perfect for each other?
I really don’t know how long I can put off the inevitable, I’m not cut out to be a player like some of the guys I know; I would love to find a nice, sweet girl with the same aspirations as myself and lead a loving, devoted and happy life. Is that still a possibility for a young man like myself?
Your letter represents the fears of many of your peers, both male and female, who are hedging the “shidduch parsha” out of fear and concern about the future. Just as in most things we undertake, there are no assurances about the success or failure of these endeavors, but that should not be a deterrent to trying our best to achieve our goals.
To try and assuage your fears and those of the many others out there who worry about the same things you do, I want to remind you all that we are commanded to marry and procreate by the Ultimate Shadchan who created Chava expressly as a life partner for Adam. Hashem will guide you to find your zivug, but you must be wise enough to see her (or him, if you are a young lady reading this), even if she does not the exact visual, physical or emotional picture you had conjured up in your mind for the perfect soul mate. If you have a certain type of person in mind for yourself and are rigid in that expectation, you may, indeed, be waiting for a very long time, while you pass up the one Hakodosh Boruch Hu has created just for you. What I’m suggesting is that you approach this with a very open mind and without a laundry list; just go out on a date and let things evolve naturally. Stop worrying about what you cannot control. Concentrate on your own life and not the success or failure rate of others. That is your objective.Rachel Bluth