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Op-Ed: What We Need Are Shidduch Mediators

by Anonymous

When dealing with the shidduch crisis everyone has a bit of advice – their two cents to offer. Perhaps there is a little something we can all learn from the concerned public.

Yes, this is a public concern which most families are facing. Often, there are general recommendations, one size fits all. For example: Shidduchim in a family should not necessarily follow any particular order, or younger boys should be open-minded to girls, a year or two older. These suggestions are certainly worthwhile. However that does not address individuals. In fact, this is about individuals. It may be your son or daughter or a grandchild who is being challenged. As time goes on, the challenge begins to seem more like a crisis.

Like each of you I too have contemplated a better way, a creative approach, a new perception.

Recently, it occurred to me, that the dilemma lies in big part, between parents and children.

What parents want for their children, and what children are seeking, may not match. Or, parents may disagree or reject a proposed shidduch against the wishes of their child or without their knowledge. Parents understandably have their old school values, and are surely well meaning.. However, there may be a disconnect with their children, who also may have upstanding values. Perhaps, we can call it- generational, open-minded approach, risk taking, or more current.

Based on the above, my analysis would put forth the concept of mediation. A mediator would be consulted to review a particular dilemma, miscommunication, or misunderstanding to open up a good potential (possibly blocked) shidduch or to move a shidduch forward.

In the presence of parents and their child a mediator can iron out and clarify sticking points

that do not allow a good possible match to become unstuck and see the light of day.

Mediators must be objective parties who have the experience it takes to get involved, to take a stand, and push some buttons. In fact, a mediator unlike a shadchan is not the person who recommended the shidduch nor necessarily involved in shidduchim. It may be your family Rabbi or otherwise trained professional.

Mediators may be the next step in tackling the shidduch crisis, case by case,  problem solving through personalization and support.


17 Comments

  • 1. Alternative wrote:

    Let the children deal with it themselves.
    If they’re mature enough to commit to a marriage, they’re mature enough to look for themselves as well.

    Reply
    • 2. All hack wrote:

      Children should not be getting married. When they get older and they’re established they know who they are and they know who they are getting involved with then you get married

  • 3. 1612 wrote:

    It is imperative for parents to understand the choices of religious observance of each of their children. The fact that a son or daughter still wants the parent or parents involved in the pursuit of a shidduch indicates that the child is not “so far” removed. The parents’ job is to determine that the individual being suggested for their son or daughter is responsible, healthy
    physically, mentally and emotionally and comes from a family that meets the above criteria. Parents should leave the rest to their child especially when their child has a mashpia or someone competent to confide in.

    Reply
  • 4. my 2 cents wrote:

    If parents LISTENED to their children & accepted their opinions & feelings, & if children ACCEPTED their parents’ input with an open mind, there wouldn’t be a shidduch crisis and the idea of a mediator wouldn’t come up.

    The first question I asked my kids was, Do you trust me? Every one of my children had different needs, expectations, and my job was to look at every suggestion from the question, is this boy/girl what my child needs and wants… not is he/she what WE want.

    We did the former and we easily and quickly married every one off. B”H they are all extremely happy. So if they are happy so are we.

    It’s not rocket science, it’s just common sense and sensitivity to your kids’ way of life.

    Reply
  • 5. SHADCHANIM BEING SELECTIVE wrote:

    I have another suggestion… those who call themselves shadchonim should please answer their phone calls and reply to callers. They’re being so selective is unfair to the general community. On the other hand, if it is too overwhelming and you are being inundated by phone calls from desperate parents, then step down and stop misrepresenting yourselves. Maybe this job isn’t for you after all:((

    Reply
  • 7. LYR wrote:

    Exactly. Let the children deal with it themselves.
    If they’re mature enough to commit to a marriage, they’re mature enough to look for themselves as well.

    Reply
  • 8. no one special wrote:

    Although unrealistic (Mediators have no authority to make decisions) the need to convince someone that “the shidduch” is good means that someone does not agree. WHO should agree to the shidduch????

    Maybe there is no Shidduch Crisis. Maybe there is a control/power crisis.

    Reply
  • 9. Cool Idea wrote:

    Great perspective! I think the issue presented here is very real, I don’t know if mediators is a realistic solution but definite a interesting idea.

    Reply
  • 10. Mayer Bloom wrote:

    Another level of bureaucracy?? You’re kidding?? Why does something such as matching up two people – which should be rather innate and straightforward – have to become further complicated by yet another unwelcome level of interference?
    In ‘der alteh heim’ before the war and in Europe and America after the war, the process of getting married was so much more simple – and normal. Our parents and their generation did not have any less happy marriages than we currently experience, perhaps even to the contrary. Same holds true for lehavdil many non-Jewish cultures around the world – people manage to find their mates without such grandstanding and hand-wringing. What is it about this coddled generation that makes this experience so challenging and so impossible??! This nonsense has to stop!

    Reply
  • 11. #5 wrote:

    I couldn’t have said it better! I think shadchanim are one of the many reasons why there’s a shidduch crisis.

    Reply
  • 12. to #5 and #10 wrote:

    You try being a shadchan for one month and then offer your advice. The shadchanim don’t owe you anything, and whatever they do should be appreciated. They spend many many hours trying to help people FOR FREE and only get paid when it works out or/and someone is nice enough to send a gift or a small check when it doesn’t work out. There is no end so the shadchanim are entitled to choose how much time they want to give and whom they want to help; whatever time they do give and whoever they do help is better than nothing. Maybe they don’t answer your calls because of your attitude…
    We need to be grateful to the shadchanim for whatever they do. I know how it is because I’ve spent much time and energy on it (without being officially a shadchan) FOR FREE when it doesn’t work out.
    And if you’re going to suggest they charge… not everyone can afford to keep paying for years and it may prevent many from seeking help. And those who do charge get a lot of complaints and criticism.
    Yes, it’s scary, frustrating and very painful when it’s hard to find a shidduch for your child and I wish you all the best of luck! Show your appreciation to the shadchanim, don’t be difficult to work with and maybe they will answer your phone calls. Best is emails or/and texting and if they have a suggestion they can just reply. If you don’t get an answer that means they have no suggestions.

    Reply
  • 14. ma'ase shehoyo wrote:

    There was an unmarried 40-year-old woman who davened to Hashem for a pet dragon. A bas kol rang out and said, ‘Be realistic!’ So the woman cried out, ‘What I really want is a HUSBAND.’ There was another bas kol. ‘What color dragon do you want?’

    Reply
  • 15. Mendy wrote:

    BH
    BSD

    Shalom u’bracha…

    The “children” spoken of above…are in the final analysis.. deciding for themselves..parents have to look in the mirror and ask themselves..”have we been good role models to our children as parents”..
    Surely we need more shadchanim and more regular people interested in making matches, no longer can we all sit by watching . The singles need to look themselves in the mirror..and ask…”Am I doing all I can as a jew that Hashem would grace me with a wide horizon of future happinesses”
    Writing disparaging articles..and comments are the answer?
    ALL IS FROM HASHEM REFLECTING OUR OWN THOUGHTS, ACTIONS and DEEDS…MY GOOD FELLOW JEWS

    Reply
  • 16. Mashpiim? wrote:

    Maybe if parents had mashpiim to guide them and children had mashpiim to guide them….ones they could speak honestly and openly with….would there still be a need for mediators?

    Reply
  • 17. agree #16 wrote:

    Mashpiim can be very helpful but you need to make sure they are intelligent with much experience in shiduchim, marriage, relationships.
    Always good to discuss with someone professional whom you can trust.
    Bottom line, daven, daven and daven some more for Hashem to send your bashert and do something to bring down the brochos – something that is difficult for you. Also, think if anyone was hurt through you and ask mechilah, try to take away that hurt.
    Hashem should help everyone who needs a shidduch for it to happen quickly!!!

    Reply

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