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Op-Ed: Just Listen

A young single on the ‘Shidduch Market’ bemoans the seeming difficulty of Shadchanim and parents to accept it when a young Bochur or girl rejects a suggestion, or take it seriously when they express their preferences.

by Anonymous 

Dear Shadchanim and Parents:

Firstly, thank you for all you’ve done to help make thousands upon thousands of Shidduchim happen. Your work does not go unnoticed and ultimately it will all be worth it!

Readers: If you are here to criticize, there are far better places to do that than here. But if you are here to help the many singles who are more than eager to be married, and if you respect people more than your anxiousness to post that sharp-savvy-often-discourteous-comment (we all have one) then I implore you: Just listen!

I preface by saying that this is not designed to be a comprehensive solution to our current situation. I simply wish to emphasize a single issue (pun intended) on behalf of myself, and from what I understand, on behalf of bochurim and bochurettes everywhere.

The truth is, most of us know ourselves better than anyone else does.

We know our strengths, our challenges, our values and deepest vulnerabilities. We are more than desperate to be married, yet we want it to the right one. We wouldn’t consider ourselves picky, nor do we think that we are unsure of what we are looking for.

When we say no to a perspective match, especially if we have gone out already, we have probably mulled it over or slept on it more times than you can imagine.

We’ve considered being a year older and still single. We’ve pondered how we might feel about all this in two weeks’ time, and yes, we have probably already spoken to our Mashpia, our parents and a number of close friends.

Saying no is often just as hard as getting a no in return (and in many cases it may be harder since the responsibility is our own). So please don’t patronize or judge us for being true to ourselves and doing what we think and feel is right – no matter how painful.

We don’t think that what we are looking for in a Shiduch is far-fetched. We don’t think it’s unreasonable and the only reason why we remain skeptical is because whenever we are asked what we are looking for, the suggestions that follow are simply not reflective of those preferences. So what are we supposed to think? (Not to mention, that in the often critical environment we live in, some of us are even embarrassed or afraid to say what we truly want out of fear of being ridiculed with “You want that?!”)

Sure it’s understandable that certain factors are subjective. But many are not. I won’t talk specifics since we’re all too familiar. It’s simply annoying when a Shadchan asks you to tell them “the top 3 things you’re looking for in a spouse” and the comes back with a series of suggestions that don’t match, and is possibly even offended by our disinterest.

As a side note, if someone says they are or aren’t looking for a specific feature, while this means  nothing from the perspective of one’s true Bashert, at the same time, it has been said that this is a subconscious way the Neshama meanders and filters through the many possibilities it is faced with.

Having someone say they don’t want to marry a redhead and then – lo and behold! – they marry a redhead, is in my humble opinion the greatest form of Hashgacha Protis! It’s as if the subconscious is saying, “I don’t want ANY redhead but THIS ONE!” How peculiar, and yet – how awesome!

So we thank you for all you’ve done. And we wish you would just hang in there and help us get over the last few steps before the finish line.

All that we ask is that you listen to us. Just listen.

14 Comments

  • 1. parent wrote:

    i hear you. however, kids are young. many times what they want now is not what they will want when they are married and have a family and have to face every day challenges. the girl who said she wanted this guy because he plays the guitar and looks awesome when he does that. or the girl who walks a certain way etc. etc. The kids are struck by this. they think that life will always be fun and games. parents doing their homework can hopefully realize that this boy/girl is not responsible, not as frum really as the girl/boy portrays him/herself. then there are those who want to be “engaged” , it is fun and exciting and she/he is the center of attention. No kids do not always know what is more important than the moment . There is also the boy/girl who is not realistic. what she thinks she is waiting for does not exist. As the Rebbe said there is no shleimus by you and none in the ezras noshim. so yes, listen to your parents and hatzlocha. when you have lived a lifetime, feel free to express your opinion based on experience and knowledge

    • 2. to parent wrote:

      Your point is valid but what about a girl who WANTS a responsible husband and once she has spoken to references and gone out with a bochur and seen that they are not compatible and then she is told she is PICKY by the shadchan when all she is doing is trying not to marry someone just to get married and divorced

  • 3. Always listen wrote:

    Parents should ALWAYS just listen to their kids. I do! My child wants cookies for supper – I let him. My daughter doesn’t want to go to school – I listen to her, there might be a perfectly valid reason. Now my other son wants to go play outside in the winter without a coat…parents need to listen!!!

  • 4. To #1...they are old enough to marry and have children but... wrote:

    Not old enough to know what they want and have a head on straight for marriage and raising children? If someone is that turned about, then they aren’t ready for marriage. period. And they shouldn’t yet be dating.

    No one doubts that one can use guidance from teachers, parents, mashpiim, etc. in new and important steps in life. Nonetheless, if someone is ready for marriage, ultimately, he/she is the best person and the only person to express his/her desires and say yes or no.

  • 5. Wow wrote:

    Thank you #3 for talking some sense. I can’t believe someone could even make such a comment.

  • 6. to #3 wrote:

    So how did your kids turn out?
    Statistics show that kids raised with this attitude turned to drugs etc. etc
    Doc Spock who was the guru on child rearing had this attitude. Give the kid what they want. 20 years later he came out with Dr. Spock revised. This was 360 degrees change. In order for kids to become productive, normal etc, they need boundaries and rules and regulations. I tried what you are promoting. The results are horrible, unbelievable. Do your kids a favor and become a parent and don’t be afraid that they might not like you or be your friend. Please, they need parents. If you can not be a parent think and ask for help.

  • 7. to #3 wrote:

    I assume and hope that you are sarcastic. If not you have no business raising kids who will become drug addicts etc and a burden on society and clogg the jails

  • 8. We All Mean Well wrote:

    Once upon a time, there were two men quarreling with each other about a single number. Each accused the other of stupidity, maliciousness, and deception. But then one day, each walked to the other side—and all became clear in an instant.
    You see, it was an image of the number 6, from one side, which appeared as a 9 from the other side.
    The moral of the story: Just because you are right, does not mean I am wrong. You just haven’t seen life from my side.

  • 10. K wrote:

    “most of us know ourselves better than anyone else does” – WOW!

    I never knew that!!

    In fact ALL sifrei mussar and also chassidus try to take a person on the long journey of self discovery, while few reach that ultimate destination.

    A bochur speaks with a mashpia/mashgiach because a person is blinded from seeing him/herself and needs the view of an honest outsider.

    Indeed, we a FOOLED into thinking we know ourselves, when in truth we don’t. This applies even on a physical level – hence the complex and evolving study of human psychology,
    but especially on a spiritual and shoresh ha-neshama level, we are strangers to ourselves.

    Yet this writer claims to know himself – wow, what a baal madraiga! But let me assure the writer, that most of us have not reached that level and do NOT know ourselves.

  • 11. #10 wrote:

    it doesnt mean like that. each person is different and wants different things with their life. in that aspect they do know themselves a lot better than others.

  • 12. i think we are forgetting wrote:

    the writer states she thinks it over and speaks to her mashpia, she is the one getting married she should be able to chose her mate. no???

  • 13. Anonymous wrote:

    yet another shadchan bashing articule. so happy I got away from all of this and focused on my OWN children.

  • 14. Anonymous wrote:

    Omg come on! Everyone who thinks number three is serious – welcome to the world of sarcasm

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