I was recently asked to redd a shidduch to a boy of mediocre intellectual ability who insists that he needs a girl of pleasant appearance “with a degree.” He says that he wants to learn for three years and go to medical school or pursue a professional career.
I certainly don’t want to burst his bubble, but how do I make him aware that his demands and expectations are unrealistic?
While I certainly understand your conundrum, there appear to be two distinct questions that you are asking, and they each have very different answers.
The first matter is how to handle a young man whom you feel is looking for a wife that is “out of his league.” On the one hand, I could simply say that you should- as the saying goes – let him down slowly. However, I do not believe that it is really the place of a shadchan to ever do such a thing.
On the other hand, I could say that in today’s world of shidduchim, where the young men have – by far and away – the upper hand, that you ought to look for a young woman with the all descriptors he is demanding because, if you don’t, someone else will.
However, what I believe to be the real answer, is that it is not up to any of us to decide who is deserving of what kind of spouse. The totality of what connects two human beings and leads them to marriage is more complex than can ever be comprehended by anyone other than HaKadosh Boruch Hu Himself. We can not possibly know what will ultimately appeal to someone who is looking for a spouse, and we should never assume that we know what is in store for another person.
Furthermore, one may not even realize themselves what it is that will grab them as they look towards marriage. There is no shortage of husbands and wives who thought they were looking for a certain kav of person in a shidduch, and ended up marrying someone vastly different from what they had excepted to. As such, there very well might be a smart, accomplished, and beautiful young woman, somewhere out there, that is looking for someone exactly like this young man.
That said, what I feel is appropriate for a shadchan to do in this situation, is to help this young man understand that he is focusing on factors that are entirely external, and going down that road does not a happy life make. Yes, it is nice to have a pretty and financially successful wife, but those are not the aspects which lead to a strong and successful relationship. Additionally, such attributes in a spouse come with their own challenges. Is he aware of them, and is he up to the task? Those are some of the considerations that this young man needs to be mindful of as he heads towards becoming a husband and living a lifetime together with another person.
The second matter is that it seems you feel this young man is not astute enough to accomplish the career goals he has set in front of himself. To that point I would say, that is not a matter for anyone else to judge. There are doctors, lawyers, accountants, and businessmen with all kinds of intellectual acumen, and the smartest ones are not always the most matzliach.
Boruch Hashem, this young man appreciates that the burden of parnassah falls on his shoulders. Not his wife’s, not his in-laws’, and not his own parents’. B’ezras Hashem, he will soon build a beautiful family together with his future wife, and it will be his responsibility to pay the bills. He is clearly looking to put in the proper hishtadlus and go into a field that, b’derech hatevah, would allow him to take care of his family in a comfortable fashion. Who is anyone to discourage him for endeavoring to do so? As fellow yiddin, it incumbent upon us to build each other up, not tear each other down.
May the Borei Oilam help you to match this young man with a young woman who is composed of the proper qualities for the two of them to build a meaningful, long-lasting and happy relationship together, and may Hashem be m’vorach him with parnassah b’heter, b’nachas, u’brevach.