Dear Dr Respler:
As a shadchan, here’s my practical suggestion for those who redd shidduchim for young men: only suggest that he go out with one young lady at a time. Do not suggest another young woman for him until the first potential match ran its course. (Obviously no further suggestion need be offered if the shidduch works out.)
Today, many shadchanim e-mail information on multiple young women at one time to the young man or to his parents. This leads to overwhelming confusion, making it very hard for the young man to decide whom to date.
When I call to suggest a carefully considered shidduch, I am often told that the young lady has already been mentioned – along with many others. The end result: the young woman tends to not get any shidduch suggestions for months – or even years. It also gives the potential male partner the false impression that so many young women are running after him. He is then likely to feel as if he can demand the type of woman he is entitled to.
This counterproductive trend must end. We should stick to suggesting one young woman at a time.
Dr. Respler, please share your insight on this.
A Frustrated Shadchan
Dear Frustrated Shadchan:
Thank you for writing. I hope it has a positive impact on our community.
As far as the Litvish shidduch situation is concerned, it appears that young women need press agents while young men need press secretaries. But it’s not that simple.
I agree that giving many suggestions to a young man or his parents is counterproductive. But there are sometimes many shadchanim involved who give many different suggestions.
You are correct in saying that some shadchanim call with a list of girls. Generally, these are shadchanim who do not know the young man and are just throwing out names to him or his family. On the flip side, with so many shidduch success stories, we must continue to believe that Hashem is running the world and that we are just his shlichim.
Here are excerpts from a question and answer we featured in 2006. It is as relevant today as it was then.
From reader A.S.: Is there really a shidduch crisis? If so, is it self-inflicted; is it universal; how big is it? Are young people really trying to get married these days? Are we trying to live a TV soap opera life? And most important, are we in control of the situation?
Every single has his or her situation and approach to it. Chazal said, “Just as their faces are not similar, so are their thought processes different.” There are realistic individuals who are dealing with the dating and shidduch processes in good faith, while others are making it quite impossible for themselves. For those who work with well-meaning shadchanim and consider names and suggestions seemingly out of their norms, I feel for them and hope that they will find their basherts sooner rather than later. For those who veto every suggestion that does not exactly match their criteria, they should be allowed to figure things out on their own and not be subjected to criticism. At the same time, they should not expect communal help or sympathy.
Parents who control their children’s shidduch opportunities should put their children’s needs ahead of their pride. They should reject the notion of self-interest in favor of the best interests of their children. And they must be honest about the suggestions they reject.
Parents should consider if they are turning down suggestions that might work for their individual child, but don’t fit their own expectations. There are several families in my community with unmarried daughters who have deemed no young man good enough for their oldest daughter and do not permit any of the younger daughters to marry before the elder. I wonder if these parents sleep at night.
If the shidduch names suggested to a single do not match the single’s expectations, the single should ask this question: Will I only consider someone who matches my “perfect” profile?
We must be honest about whether this shidduch “crisis” is self-made, and how much of it is really a crisis at all. Only with honest answers to these questions will we see a significant positive turnaround in the shidduch culture.
My response: Thank you for your insightful letter. I agree with many of your viewpoints, and hope that people involved in shidduchim read your letter and follow your sound advice.
I always urge people to think outside the box i.e., what is wrong with someone from a chassidishe family marrying someone from a litvishe family? I continue to stress to singles and parents that it’s the quality of the potential shidduch that counts – not the yichus or financial status, which may not make for a happy marriage.
Middos and character are paramount to a successful marriage. A solid marriage can be built by two people from different backgrounds, as long as they share similar values and goals. And the need for both to be flexible is a key ingredient for the growth and development of a marriage. Hatzlachah!