My wife has a sister who has been in shidduchim for over four years. We work tirelessly to try to get her married. It has happened numerous times that when we contact shadchanim to redd a certain shidduch to the boy’s side, they refuse to even redd it, claiming that we have “no chance.”
Is that the way it is supposed to go? Should we not be trying for the qualities my wife’s sister is looking for in a boy because “we have no shot” anyway?
Absent situationally specific and substantive information regarding the shidduch goings-on of the young woman presented in this narrative, I find myself unequipped to propose any concrete adjudications in terms of commenting on the wall that is repeatedly emerging. As such, the best I feel I can submit is to relate a relatively common phenomenon that arises in dating, and leave it to the reader to personally calculate its relevance.
By and large, people in shidduchim are looking for a high degree of compatibility. Accordingly, that which one is seeking in a spouse should reasonably resemble and reflect that which they have to offer. And this is certainly apropos when it comes to matters of substance, such as nature of personality, refinement of character, hashkafos, life goals, dedication to Yiddishkeit, and level of adherence to Torah u’mitzvos. Unfortunately and rather regrettably, many families in shidduchim also view the experience as an opportunity to go on a shopping spree for ancillary and material perks. And in that regard, consciously or otherwise, the thinking usually goes something like this… “I see myself/my child as a level 10 prospect, and thus, I am entitled to expect or demand such and such in life/marriage, irrespective of whether or not I/my child brings those same benefits to the table.” Or, coarsely phrased in the negative, “I can do a whole lot better than that type of family/young woman.”
In the case of the former, more meaningful attributes, it is not terribly atypical for a dater or their parents to lack a healthy dose of self-awareness. For example, a young woman may convey a yearning for a bachur who is serious about his learning and who will spend a number of years in kollel, but a few phone calls to teachers will divulge that she herself is only moderately devoted to the ideals that would be appealing to such a bachur. Alternatively, a bachur may profess to be looking for an extremely soignée and refined kallah, but a quick exchange with any of his roommates will expose a grave dearth of those same features in his own conduct. Or, a dater may note a wish for someone who is broad and open-minded, but in conversation, it is plainly obvious that they themselves are markedly quite narrow in thought.
And when anything akin to the above is the case, when that which one declares to be pursuing belies who they actually are, what often occurs is an unquenchable quest for the quality of person who is likely to pick up on the mismatched traits and understandably pass on the idea. Indeed, why would the person on the other end want to shoulder the mental, emotional, and financial expenditure that a shidduch requires, when they have every right to believe that a mere date or two will confirm their assessment about the glaring inconsistencies between themselves and the person that was redd to them.
On the other hand, in the case of the latter, almost entirely superficial elements, that some so badly pine for because they feel it is owed to them, the sad reality is that such a person will regularly turn up their nose, and shall not dare deign to entertain ideas, which are, in fact, most suitable for them. And when that is the case, such a person is ultimately severely damaging both themselves and others through the misguided, artificial, and uncouth tower of worthiness which they have manufactured.
In either case, when a shadchan is all but certain that the other side will look askance, at best, at their suggestion, it is unfair to expect the shadchan to risk a hefty measure of their credibility by proffering up a shidduch that will make them look foolish, or completely out-of-touch with that which the dater/family is known to be interested in. The last thing a shadchan can afford is to lose the ear of a prospective dater and be relegated to the sidelines, or worse yet, to have their reputation tarnished by word-of-mouth.
Practically speaking, I would recommend that anyone who recurrently receives the refrain of “no chance,” to simply reply with a request for elaboration as to why the shadchan is so staunchly and steadfastly convinced that the idea is essentially ludicrous. It is a brave and courageous question to ask, but if it is answered honestly, it should expose something very revealing – and perhaps even enlightening and edifying – either about oneself, or about the person they had wanted to go out with. It might produce a pill unpleasant to swallow, but if it correspondingly nurtures the treatment of the ailment, it may prove to be just the ideological embrocation that is called for.
May the Mistateir Bishafrir Chevyon demystify all that beguiles us, and usher in a magnitude of clarity which sufficiently eases our worn and weary minds and souls.