Dear Mrs. Bluth,
This is not the first time that I am visiting your column, I wrote to you a number of years ago.
This time, however, I am writing for the young men who, like my sons, are of shidduch age.
Many years ago, when I became of age to consider marriage, I was advised to learn for three years uninterrupted and then I could pursue educating myself in a trade. In hindsight, I believe it should be a young man’s choice if he wants to learn. And if he decides he wants to, it should only be for a year. Then he should go look for a job and begin putting away money. Going into marriage with no money, as I did, is disastrous. When the burden of support falls on the woman it changes the balance in the home, where her demands are first and foremost.
I am also of the opinion that men should not rely on the support of their in-laws. It is their responsibility to support their families, independent of any outside help. Trust me, I’ve been through it, which makes me a credible source for extending this advice to my own sons as well as all other young men who find themselves in this situation.
I don’t want anyone else to suffer as I did, not having a good job because I wasn’t forceful enough to stand up to my parents and tell them that I wanted to find work, not sit and learn first. So, please print this letter. I am concerned for the happiness and well being of these young men and would like to spare them the suffering of living with a wife who supports the family, thus making her husband crazy with her demands and her feelings of supremacy.
A Concerned Flatbush Father
I understand your lament and regret over the decisions and experiences you have gone through in your life, but advice is something that is rarely general and across-the-board suitable for everyone. Rather, it must be tailor-made and suited to each individual’s personal needs.
I am sorry that the advice you received did not serve you well and that it may have laid the groundwork for a turbulent and painful marriage. However, your story is just that, your story. Even though you may feel that had you done things differently and in a certain order your life would have evolved differently or in a more satisfying way, that is just a hypothesis that will never be proven.
To base your suggestions as a solution for young men standing at the steps of the shidduch parsha, even for your own sons, would be a grave generality that may not apply or yield the results you foresee.
Each person is different. Although the process of growth is applicable to everyone, what we do and how we get there is individual. There is no “one way” or “best way.”
In addition, you are overlooking the peripheral village of people involved in the maturation process of every child – parents, teachers, friends and extended acquaintances that are great influencers in shaping a young person’s life. Perhaps, if you advised your sons based less on how your life turned out and more on the people they are and what they want out of life and the future, you will be providing them with more helpful and impartially structural advice that will serve them well.