I have a really great daughter who has been in shidduchim for about two years. She has an amazing personality, went to a great school and seminary, has great friends, etc. The bottom line is that she’s a real catch. We have been to countless shadchanim and are involved in the community. People know who we are. So what can possibly be the issue? My daughter has not gotten redd a single shidduch in about eight months!
The waiting is agonizing for me and for her. We did and continue to do all that we possibly can. What are we doing wrong (if anything)? Is there any advice to make this process easier and more positive for all girls in shidduchim?
In a certain respect, this is a question which I feel that I simply cannot answer in earnest. While it is the responsibility of each person to exert the measure of hishtadlus that is befitting their unique needs and situation, ultimately, how and when each person encounters the sheer joy that is engagement and marriage is G-d’s business, and His alone. What I can offer, however, is my sincere empathy for the heartbreak which you, your daughter, and numerous other single men and women are enduring, and share a few thoughts which may perhaps serve to ameliorate some of the hardship and disquiet which so many families in Klal Yisroel are currently facing.
First, it is not at all atypical for opportunities to be slow in getting off the ground for those who are comparatively new to entering shidduchim, and it is equally unexceptional for waves of inactivity to flow over those who have been dating for years. I have seen this in my own experiences working with families in shidduchim, and have had this reality confirmed for me when discussing the issue with those who have been involved in shidduchim for decades.
Furthermore, the length of time needed to elapse before one begins feeling uneasy is very much relative to that which they are generally accustomed to, and, consequently, can vary greatly from one individual to another. For some, a stint of but a few weeks without any suggestions or dates might seem like the apotheosis of lethargy. For others, such a period of discontinuity is what they are familiar with, and sensations of intolerance do not commence until many months have gone by without the tendering of an idea. In either case, the struggle is real, and there is nothing to be gained by contesting another person’s pain, or transforming distress into a competition where one person’s despondency is deemed valid and another’s is somehow not.
To be abundantly clear, I very much hope that no one has to bear the sadness or agony of stagnation, and I am certainly not asserting that because such disruptions are ordinary, they should be treated as unproblematic or with utter absence of concern. Rather, the point I would like to stress is that these occurrences are not supranormal, and are thus not an inherent indication that a person is doing something wrong, or that something is wrong with them. Sometimes, it just takes time.
And while an interval of any given number of years can be appreciated as a significant enough stretch to cause anxiety and bewilderment, in the grander scheme of shidduchim, the passage of a handful of years in singlehood is not an unacceptable duration. Again, I wish the wait on no one. Yet, at the same time, I would like everyone to know and recognize that it is perfectly commonplace for acclimation to be a gradual process, and that unanticipated interruptions happen to the very best of us.
Second, although the utilization of dating mentors and coaches is largely conceptualized as a means to aid daters in enhancing their understanding of themselves and the complexities of relationships, and to assist them in the actualization of their maximum capacity with regards to how they interact on a date, it can be functionalized in a number of other impactful area, as well. A seasoned and expert coach can provide vital emotional support, effectuate meaningful relief to one’s sorrows, and can be retained to reconstruct how one is approaching the processing of procuring dates.
Despite the fact that one may not be doing anything objectively incorrect or counterproductive, that does not intrinsically mean that there is no value in going about things differently, or experimenting with innovative techniques. An astute and veteran mentor can help one to explore and analyze their dating strategies, and subsequently identify where change may be most beneficial, with aims of bringing an end to the paucity of one’s options. It could be related to how one has prepared and formatted their shidduch profile; how they are displaying themselves in person and in writing when they contact, meet, and follow up with shadchanim; or how one’s references are reflecting the nature of the dater they are speaking of, and whether or not their narratives are paralleling that which the shadchan had presented when making the recommendation to begin with.
There are many possibilities to consider, but the crux of the matter is that “right” and “better” are not mutually exclusive terms. One might have “allah mailos,” be following all the instructions they were given, and, on the surface, may appear to be dotting their ‘i’s and crossing their ‘t’s exactly as they ought to do. Nevertheless, none of that fundamentally precludes the potential for improvement from remaining. And this is very much an arena where a quality dating mentor or coach can offer crucial guidance, and direct one towards modifications which may prove to be absolute game-changers.
Third, and conceivably most important of all, the unfathomable koach hatefila must never be forgotten or underestimated. Siyata DiShamya maintains a paramount position in every pocket of Jewish life, and its primacy prevails as profoundly pertinent in all realms of need – fully inclusive of shidduchim. Indeed, it is the Borei Olam who is the true Mezaveig Zivugim.
May the Gibor V’Rav Lihoshiya hastily bring menuchas hanefesh and shidduchim hagunim to all the single men and women of Am Yisroel.