Recently, when my daughter has been redd boys, I’ve been told that I need to give a yes or no within 24 hours. Is that normal? And do you think it’s reasonable to give 24 hours for someone to do shidduch research?
As with so many other aspects of the shidduch process, when it comes to the length of time given to research a suggestion, it is the women who typically stand at a disadvantage. Whereas the bachur’s side has the luxury to expend as much time as they desire on the research; explore several different potential ideas at the time; work at a leisurely pace if they so choose; make as many phone calls as they want; and wait patiently for references to call back or become available before issuing a yes, once that yes is tendered to the other side, it is commonly expected that a return reply be supplied as fast as humanly possible.
Indeed, I have received no shortage of requests for relief from frazzled families fighting and scrambling to piece together essential and foundational information, overcome with fear that the opportunity presented to their daughter will be ripped away and the yes they received prior will expire at the blink of an eye. And lest anyone assert that these families are overreacting, I have similarly heard my fair share of disgruntled remarks from those who feel they have been grievously wronged by a young woman who takes more than but a couple of days to furnish an answer, as if the greatest avlah of all time has just been perpetrated.
To put it simply and bluntly, in this day and age, 24-hours’ time to look into a shidduch and make a responsible decision is wholly insufficient in most cases, the double standard at play is unacceptable and borderline appalling, and the demand being hoisted upon families to respond yes or no without having a chance to breathe lacks basic derech eretz.
48 to 72 hours should be the bare-bones starting point, in my opinion, if only to somewhat satisfy and comparatively comply with the absurd reality that has been created, and even that time frame may need to be extended if a family cannot get through to references or if they have been stymied by an acutely thorny issue that needs proper elucidation before a determination can be made. Provided that the need for an extension is forthcoming and communicated clearly through the shadchan as soon as the need is identified, and that the need is justified, there is no reason not to afford a family more time, and of course, without threat of losing the prospect that was already offered to them. Doing so is a small price to pay for restoring a modicum of overdue equilibrium to the playing field in this particular area, and far more importantly, it is a critical display of compassion and middos tovos from one Yid to another.
May the Meshaneh Ittim B’tevunah Umachalif Es Hazemanim ensure that we are all provided the time we need to navigate through the tight spaces of life, and may we all merit the experience of yeshuous Hashem k’heref ayin.