Jan 6, 2011
Our Great Shidduch System

Shidduchim SOS: How fortunate are we to have the concept of shidduchim, and not (G-d forbid) the secular ideals of "boyfriend" and "girlfriend."

By LA bochur

I was speaking with my mashpia the other day. We were talking about the fact that this world is called an olam hasheker. People (unfortunately) prize doctors and actors before rebbeim and mashpim, law degrees mean much more than smicha certificates, and so on.

(An Israeli friend once commented to me, "Here, all the soldiers ride the bus for free. I always wondered why yeshiva bochurim don't get the same rate. After all, it is them who are the true defenders of the country...")

This got me thinking about the shidduch system we have in the Yiddishe velt. How fortunate are we to have the concept of shidduchim, and not (ch"v) the secular ideals of "boyfriends" and "girlfriends."

People who come from secular backgrounds ask me, "How can two people who have only met twice or three times agree to a lifelong relationship together? Wouldn't it make much more sense if they spent months, if not years, getting to know each other? Only after this takes place should they even consider marrying."

The truth is, if we were living in a perfect world, this would probably make sense. But this is an olam hasheker. Most things are not what they seem to be.

Why do you think the divorce rate is much higher today than it was years ago? There are undoubtedly many factors involved, but one of them is the fact that marriage partners become "disillusioned" after they marry.

Take, for example, Bill and Karla.

After years of dating, they feel ready to take the next step - marriage. After the wedding day, they start to realize how much they didn't have in common.

Bill likes to be cautious with his bank balance, while Karla is... erm, let's say, a little unconcerned. Karla wants the children to go to a private school, but Bill (who graduated from the public school system) insists that there's no point in throwing away tens of thousands of dollars for nearly the same education one could get for free.

The debates are endless, and less than five years later, they get a divorce.

Karla says, "I don't who Bill is. He wasn't the man I married."

Bill says, "Karla turned out to be so different. She wasn't the woman I thought would be my future spouse."

What happened here?

Bill and Karla, after being together for so long, became accustomed to the idea that they knew each other. If you had asked them at that point, they would have said that they knew each other "like the back of my palm." But did they really? Obviously not, from what happened after their marriage. They discovered a new side to their spouse ? a side that they had deluded themselves into nonexistence.

They always related to each other as "my girlfriend" or "my boyfriend", and not as the one who would be their partner in all life-changing decisions, such as raising children and managing a household. After they were married and the dynamics changed, they found themselves in an unwanted relationship.

Simply put, they were so enmeshed in their own "olam hasheker" that it became their reality. And when they stumbled on to the actual reality, they became disillusioned. And they therefore wanted out.

Baruch Hashem, in our world, the shidduch system helps to avoid such issues. When two people meet, they have no illusions of knowing the other person intimately. They are not illusioning themselves from the start, creating their own olam hasheker that will be destroyed one day in the marriage. They are entering a marriage knowing that it is a learning experience that never ends.

But this leads me to my point - do we really live up to this ideal? Do we really marry our chossons and kallahs with the clear understanding that part of building a bais neeman b'Yisroel is to be flexible and anticipative of the other's differences? Or do we illusion ourselves into unanticipated situations?

Shanah rishonah is a special time for the chosson and kallah to get to know each other, and it is also an opportunity for them to draw closer to each other for the true selves they are - and not for what they imagined the other to be.

Here's a clear-cut horaah that everybody can learn from this: when one is looking for a spouse, one should always keep in mind to be open to any unanticipated elements in the other. And this is all the more so important when one is married to that person.

While I am not discounting the (very) important need to make sure that a couple is compatible, I think that we should not put too much emphasis on the details, such as "Is she an adventurous person?" or "How does he feel about Yechi?" In doing so, we are making ourselves feel that we truly know the other person, when we actually don't.

It's truly impossible to get to know another person completely (even after decades of marriage), so why should we insist on doing so even before we are married? Stick with the general, important points of compatibility, and allow shanah rishonah to take care of it.

There's plenty of sheker out there ? let's not add to it. And as the Rebbe Rashab would put it, "If you fool yourself, what have you accomplished by fooling a fool?"

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Opinions and Comments
Don't just look at the divorce rate
You can also look at the marriage rate and at what age, their marriage rate is much smaller the divorce rate is a lot greater and the age the average person gets married is also a lot later.
And lets not forget that marriage to us means something completely different then what it means to them.
We have a completely different culture then they do, there is no point in trying to compare.

But we do have a system that can get some help, and we must not ignore its issues and say 'by them its even worse', even though it maybe true we still have to become as good as we can.
(1/6/2011 9:21:43 PM)
the author's argument is weak. one star out of five, could have been MUCH MUCH MUCH better!
(1/6/2011 9:28:15 PM)
would not believe a bochur wrote this
this sounds so feminine
(1/6/2011 9:30:41 PM)
well written
the divorce rate is absolutely higher among those who find their own partners, than those who allow the shidduch system, and Hashem's hand. how many couples do we all know that fell apart after years of them dating each other...and what beauty in the marriages planned by Hashem- true Bashert.
(1/6/2011 9:31:25 PM)
After reading this article i clearly didn't understand what the author was trying to say. How is this gonna help the supposedly shidduch crises. I could tell a lot of effort was put into this article but for what? what are you gaining from it? is your point that the system is good or bad? So should you really get to know the person that you are going to marry? These questions are still unanswered. PLEASE. someone post an article answering these unanswered questions. As every shidduch article goes we seem to be just collecting some or no ingredients for the final picture. I think someone should take all the shidduch blog articles and make an absolute answer.
Hatzlacha! and may we all be merited to find our TRUE AND ONLY Basherts speedily in our days.
(1/6/2011 9:34:12 PM)
Very well put!!!
(1/6/2011 9:34:47 PM)
to LA bachur
I want to see a honets re-write 2 years into your marraige
(1/6/2011 9:43:55 PM)
You Haven't a Clue
LA Bochur -- you know nothing about secular relationships other than what you see depicted in the media. You haven't a clue as to how people engage in relationships outside of your community, yet you feel the need to engage in pseudo psychobabble, intent on elevating yourself by putting others down with imagined fairy tales.

The "shidduch system" you brag about has plenty of shortcomings. There are many single women and men who thanks to this system remain alone late into adulthood. The matchmaker hasn't found you a match? Hang out in your basement for a few more years and wait for a phone call, lest you be like one of those "seculars".

There is no evidence that the "shidduch system" produces any greater level of successful marriages than in the secular world, and the low divorce rate has less to do with the strength of the marriage than the large families and social stigma attached to divorce.

You might want to consider sticking to learning Gemara, and if you are going to write op-ed pieces, at the minimum -- learn how to write.
(1/6/2011 9:45:02 PM)
Doctors, lawyers, rabbis
There's a reason smicha certificates aren't as respected as law degrees. A law degree takes three long years of intense study to achieve, and hopefully it leads to a successful profession/career. Smicha (in Lubavitch) takes less than one year of sleeping in to earn, and it leads to nothing. In Chabad, people who are barely religious are able to get orthodox smicha. It's insane.

As for doctors, don't even try putting them in the same sentence as actors. Olam Hasheker or not, there is hardly a more honorable AND VITAL profession.
(1/6/2011 9:53:17 PM)
what is the point
is the point to get married and stay married or is the point to stay married and actually be happy?even people who are staying togethor are not necessarily happy. its not a system that is flawed its about emotional maturity and a willingness to work things out.
(1/6/2011 9:54:41 PM)
his point was not extremely clear
I think his point was:

Marriage is not all about romance, perfection, 'love' etc.
Marriage is something Yiddishkeit insists on as an avoidah and a path to fulfilling the ultimate - having and raising yiddishe children.

I think he means to say that we need to realize that all marraiges - no matter how much you date, no matter if you think you've figured the person out - will always have its struggles and it is WORK. And with the right attitude and right outlook and right work the marriage can be successful.

So -its kind of what Manis said - focus on basic compatibility - that the person will make a worthy husband/wife - mother/father to your children. You are looking for a spouse - NOT a boy/girl-friend. And stop worrying if the guy is a genius, or the girl talented! That is not what makes a marriage.

Of course there has to be attraction and some feeling - but attraction and love grow with working with a person on creating a good marriage - not only fun dates.
IT doesnt mean settling - it means marrying and basing your search on the right foundations. I hear too many singles and parents tell me - s/he's looking for someone 'accomplished', 'driven' 'thin' 'prestigeous family' 'talented' 'beautiful' 'family of similar social standing' ' tall' 'something special' - seriously!? What about - kind, warm, agreeable, frum, yiras-shamayim, stable, etc...

I think if most of the singles out there dated with that attitude - we would find many more engagements on this website!
(1/6/2011 9:56:02 PM)
Nice article
i liked the article but i dont agree with not looking into detials which u say are unimportnat for example "isshe adventeruouse - how does she feel about yechi...."
those are importnat things that swhos she is that will now change- so yest that is a big deal for me to know about my schosson before i marry him. if you said does his family o= have money- or does he have importnat grandparent than yes id agree with you . but about HIS opinions and personality %100 you should know before
(1/6/2011 9:57:34 PM)
shiduch problem
i think its enough with everyone giving their 2 sense to the ''shidduch crisis'' just everyone get married and everyone will be happy
(1/6/2011 10:11:54 PM)
On the fence
Firstly, I'm very into the new initiatives that have been talked about here (on COLlive). At the same time I do see what the author is trying to say here. Maybe you have a point though I am bothered by two things you said and I can use some clarification.

1) You mentioned that we shouldn't worry too much about compatibility but also said that compatibility is important. This definition is so vague that it leaves question as to what your point was. How do you define too little and too much compatibility?

2) You mentioned the higher divorce rate to support your theory. Have you research actual numbers? Is the divorce rate much higher? and if so, does it have anything to do with the use of the Shiduch system of lack thereof? I personally know more couples who divorced after being married through the system than those who were not.

(1/6/2011 10:19:53 PM)
to 13
I am trying....
(1/6/2011 10:28:16 PM)
no. 13
ditto no. 13, can't just everyone get married already and be happy??
(1/6/2011 10:33:01 PM)
and they call us klipafornia...
firstly, students in the los angeles school system are obviously amazingly awesome and not fried out at all...and I agree with this writer. The concept of boyfriend girlfriend...seriously get a life...its just a bunch of teenagers who think theyre "in love" and get "heartbroken" oh boo hoo. Just like he said olam hasheker yeah get a reality check ppl u were never in love. However, I do think having a job like being a lawyer (kay is a more extreme career choice) but how abt a doctor lets say thats important to have a job to be able to be comfortable and support your family... other than that great article :)

just another teen in la
(1/6/2011 10:34:12 PM)
I disagree with this article
I am a therapist in Manhattan with a very large marriage counseling practice. My patients are about 80/20 secular/religious.

There is NO question that the divorce rate among secular circles is much higher than among the religious.

However, in my humble opinion, a successful marriage should NOT be measured by whether a couple remains married, BUT RATHER by how happy married the couple is.

Among religious circles, women have a very limited ability to obtain a get, and since they tend to have lots of children, even if they are able to obtain a get, their prospects of finding a new husband after divorce are dim.

Accordingly, religious women tend to put up with behavior that most secular women simply wouldn't.

Sadly, the vast majority of the religious women that I have counseled through the years tell me they NEVER loved their husbands, rather they felt a deep sense of respect for them.

(1/6/2011 10:34:47 PM)
I thought this was sarcasam
when I first read the title I thought someone was being sarcastic. But then I realized you were serious and now im a scared ( and btw I did not even read the entire article) my dear bochur, while Im the first to say that are system has advantages (mainly tznius) I would not never go on to call it "great"- YET. even if I got married tomorrow. It is by far, far from great.
(1/6/2011 10:38:04 PM)
truth is that we need to hear something about shidduchim, we have to hear the opinions and where things are at......something has to move to get people to think and assess and make decisions, grow, change,etc
(1/6/2011 10:43:12 PM)
Why all the negativeaty?????
He has a point. It's not all about romance etc it's about creating a house that the aibushter wants us to build, to see in each other the other side of his/her soul and bind it together to create (or try) one perfect complete soul. Forget the shtussim we're much higher than that. Well done La guy! Kudos!!!
(1/6/2011 10:49:02 PM)
to 16
yes, like the next person you date if he or she is 75% decent-tie the knot!!!
(1/6/2011 10:53:16 PM)
Because everyone knows that couples who shidduch date never argue over money, or over the chinuch of their kids, or over anything at all!!! They never argue, period! That's the beauty of the shidduch system!!!
(1/6/2011 10:59:18 PM)
some good points
I really was intrigued by what #18 wrote. It's true. We can't compare our marriages to the outside world, b/c quite possibly frum women are just more tolerant and/or afraid to be single and all that it would entail. (raising kids alone, being alone....). Proof to that might be, how we now actually see more divorces in our community , b/c the women nowadays are more brazen.
However, the author makes an interesting point as well, which i think is true. if while dating u get caught up on the nitty gritty details, which ultimately won't be that important compared to the bigger ones, you can lose sight of what's really important in marriage. I know you're all dying for some examples. Here's one. The yechi issue. I don't think yechi would matter if the 2 people were easy going, very respectful and caring. So what really matters here, is the personality rather than the particular opinion. The list goes on and on.
I hope that clarifies the author's point a bit.
(1/6/2011 11:00:45 PM)
to #8
why the crushing? what a terrible reflection of yourself...
yes this bochur is young and pure and innocent. he is enthusiastic about the shidduch concept. he said nothing about its system. let him express this freely. why should he have to wait till he learns english?
(1/6/2011 11:33:12 PM)
(1/6/2011 11:34:16 PM)
well written
I agree with you 100%
(1/6/2011 11:45:22 PM)
Likutei Sichos Chelek Aleph...
...First sicha on Shmos (I think). Learn it and then tell me again if you think it is more important to stay in Yeshiva or become a doctor.
(1/6/2011 11:50:43 PM)
agree with # 18
i agree with you a hundred percent especially on the fact that religious people lots of time's don't rely love their spouses. and to what you say after, about this problem with the love, it is because this is the way they were brought up, IE in the religious community's it is frond upon boys and girls to mix and even talk to each other. and thats where kids start to learn about love. so about this that religious people lots of times don't rely love each other you cant blame them, and further more this problem cannot be stopped!
(1/7/2011 12:18:04 AM)
I can not beleive the mean-spirited comments
This article is not one of high controversy, and yet people thought so strongly but to tear the poor thing to shreds. His point is don't be beyond picky. Yet people posted exaggerations about the shidduck system and about Chabad Smicha. They seemed to be from fried out individuals that never really had the inside experience of what they are speaking about. Smicha generally takes 3-5 years if you had no prior education. It takes a year if you learned Yiddish and Hebrew when you were 5 years old while sucking your thumb. The 3-5 years is 12 hours a day study eat and pray for 6 days a week. Also a few hours on Shabbos. Way more effort than Law school or Medical school. Very little time to sleep. In addition, if one deals with their inner selves and becomes a well adjusted person and learns a fair amont of Torah so they can be a good Parent and teacher to their children, then the Shidduck system is the best there is. If you want to party all the time and do what you want, you mind as well go fishin in the Goshmy, because in the Shidduck system it will be hard to find you a mate willing to put up with your craziness. I'm not judgin, I'm just sayin'....
(1/7/2011 12:18:36 AM)
my 2 cents
Really ? you seem to live in a bubble.. Did you ever share an apartment ? Have a business partner ? have employees ? you know nothing about relationship's.

Is dating long term better ? depends... I dont intend to shotgun date.. long term dating thats marriage oriented seems to be more my style.

Are you able to admit your wrong ? keep your mouth shut when you want to explode ? be calm when your blowing up? be honest, sincere, truthful, direct, open... cheerful?

Give me a break! Sure the divorce rate is lower.. but are frum marriages happy ? like REALLY happy?

Do married couples express their love to each other ? just look at David hamelech.

Who writes thank you notes to their wives ? tags up roses ? treats their wives with love and respect ?

The answer to this that I know of, is Baalei teshuvos, FFB's that went off and are BT's..(such as myself)

You need a secular idea of romance.. thats just my opinion. but hey im 25 and single and no one's after me so what do I know

(1/7/2011 12:32:51 AM)
please get back to your sefer
A bochur should be learning, not daydreaming. :)
(1/7/2011 12:35:54 AM)
terrible article
nothing new and it's not as if you've been married for years to give advice as clearly visible
(1/7/2011 12:38:16 AM)
to all those singles out there, read a page of eternal joy everynight (preferably with a friend!)
(1/7/2011 12:40:47 AM)
why do you say its very feminine?
(1/7/2011 12:55:10 AM)
good upbringing
seems like the author's parents have a wonderful relationship. he obviously thinks everyone's marriage is happy. but in truth not all marriages are naturally happy. it takes a lot of avoda effort and BITTUL. but just like a beinoni, maybe "l'kach notzarta", and the effort is your goal in life. and one CAN be happy serving Hashem knowing that the struggles that he is trying to overcome is accomplishing his mission in life. A person has no right to an easy/happy life. if Hashem decides it shouldn't be easy to have a naturally happy life than so be it. someone who feels this way will feel grateful to Hshem for all the good he has. he will accentuate the good. even if there are struggles in his personality and her personality. obviously, only if they can remain in a functional relationship. (respect is good enough to have a functional relationship even without love-response to #18) But, if the relationship is dysfunctional than it can have damaging results for the children etc. but the abovementioned, in and of itslef is an avoda kahsa..... keep working at getting married, keep working at staying married, and keep working at being happily married.
(1/7/2011 12:59:46 AM)
I like it!
I actually agree with the title of this article - I've thought more than once about this, and really appreciate the fact that b"h we have the "Shidduch system." Emotions can very easily cloud a person's thinking, and when looking for a marriage partner, not a boy/girlfriend - the emotions should come AFTER the intellect - just like in chassidus, first there is moach, and then comes the middos. And even during the "dating process," there are some things which you may think about, but as you are not yet engaged, would not be proper to say directly- because of social politeness, and/or mitzad tznius. That's why I am so happy there is the shadchan.

What I would like to know is who is this LA bochur, with a pure, very correct way of thinking - not twisted or corrupted by society. I am very interested in knowing who you are.

One last point to above comments - if you did not pay to read this article, please don't demand anything from the author in the way of writing style or professionalism. If you paid for it, you have a right to expect good service. Otherwise, just enjoy someone's expression of opinion, and feel free to add your own in a respectful manner.
(1/7/2011 1:00:24 AM)
To LA Bochur
So a quick-fix for the velt would be to get to know their spouse even better? Well-written article though. You sound like a guy I go on release time with who keeps saying he is Yael on COL.
(1/7/2011 1:39:17 AM)
love in marriage
to everyone out there who is not married this is a scary thing to read that religious ppl don't love their spouses. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. A torah marriage is based on respect, commitment, giving and love. True love is created by the afformentioned first three. Romance is definitely part of a torah true marriage, not of course starting a relationship with romance but incorporating after marriage after commitment. Just look at our tanach at the marriages of our avos and great ancestors. They went out to find their wives in a tzniusdik manner and had private romantic relationships filled with love and respect. We need to look at them and learn to incorporate it into our own modern times.
(1/7/2011 1:46:15 AM)
neither way (secular or shidduch) of getting married is guaranteed to produce a happy couple

both ways will almost always probably the normal and oft unmet challenge created when a man and woman commit to a lifelong monogamous relationships.

99% of the time they will talk, think and want differently.

don't rush to get married.
don't push people to get married .
marriage has its pros and cons, just like being single or divorced does.

don't set unattainable expectations...

I could go on, but the truth is that people on the verge of marriage will never think logically and almost always think THEY and their union will be specially different and glorious which is why so many people do get married. and as the fog of hormones settles and the reality of marriage becomes clear, the goal of happy switches to just staying married and functional as a couple/home.

but i'm not anti-marriage. i'm not anti-shidduch. jus sayin that it ain't hunky dory either.

it's no fun being alone, but its no fun being together with someone you don't really like. and how many people do you really like with whom you've lived 20 years with? (and are they of the same gender as you?)
(1/7/2011 1:56:57 AM)
Don't worry be happy
selfish is a recipe for an unhappy marriage. selflessness and compromise, respecting your spouses choices. I beleive everyone can have a happy marriage that is what marriage is sapposed to be and what hashem wants. work on it it's worth it.
(1/7/2011 2:14:28 AM)
#26 so true!
neighbors , friends , relatives please make an effort to think of those that are single and suggest shidduchim for them!!!!!!!!
(1/7/2011 2:51:11 AM)
Disagree with #18 & Why this is a good article
It is really very simple to understand the purpose of this article. With all of the problems our shidduch system has, we should not kid ourselves into thinking that finding our own shidduch, or doing things along that path will improve our lot. The shidduch path is better for the reasons the article mentions. And his depictions are basically correct. Actually, I am not sure the the author is a bochur. He knows too many truths that one discovers only after marriage. Here is the reason I disagree with 18 (who is either not a marriage counselor, or has a strange world outlook from a Yiddishkeit point of view). Just to be clear. I am married many years with some married children. HOW a person is married is very important, that is true. But is NOT how you measure a marriage. You measure a marriage by what it produces. If we believe in bashert, which we do, then it is Divinely ordained that some have more challenges, and more work to do than others in marriage. That is still not the entire picture. What about the quality of children that emerge from that household? How do they impact Hashem's plan for the world? Those of us who's parent got married just after the war know very well that many of those marriages, let us just say, were what they were, or are what they are. Yet those families produced all those fantastic people we respect (and others too, but the point is still valid). A couple can impact the world in many ways beyond children, as is too poshut to elaborate. Does that mean there should be no concern about HOW the relationship is? Of course not! First of all, if we want our children to get married and have good relationships, we need to prepare them for married living. This does not refer to the halacha that is taught, rather, it is, learning what avodah is required to be spouse-focused versus self-advancement focused, for example. It is learning how different males and females are, so that differneces are anticipated instead of being battled out. It is about knowing what the author writes, that once married you'll discover who your spouse really is, and it is something that no amount of dating can tell you. And this last point is why the author is right. Once general compatibility seems present, the smaller details are hardly relevent. Once the couple is married they'll discover much more stressful things to deal with. Whatever divorce rate the frum world does have can be blamed in part on two things happeining concurrently. 1) Today, our self-centerdness has us all bent out of shape when we discover how hard it is to make marriage work. We kid ourself into thinking that it only "my spouse" who is the problem. When we think that, WE are the problem. 2) We do not prepare chassanim and kallos for the realities of marriage. The "second world war generation" knew that they must forge ahead no matter how unpleasent things are. The "war generation" who's childhood was robbed from them, as well as having acquired great trauma from the war years, did not know "how to eat" this "relationship thing." Nowadays, we can do better. Knowing why the shidduch concept is better than the secular dating concept does not remedy the shidduch crisis. But it does tell us that seeking foreign pastures will do us no good.
(1/7/2011 3:21:13 AM)
Good marriage
I agree with the writer. I am married BH 21 years.I went out with 5 boys, the first 4 once or twice and decided they werent my cup of tea.. I met my husband 3 times, after the first time I knew he was the one I wanted to marry. Did I know him? not too much. did I love him? not yet. was there attraction? yes. did we have a good chemestry? yes. I felt I knew him forever. How is my marriage? BH great. KAH. I love my husband deeply and it just gets better. What is the trick? You got to work on your marriage. NOT what do I get out of this but what could I do to make my husband happier.
I live on shlichus, almost everyone I know is divorced. No one works on their marriage! they just sit and wait love will come their way. People wake up!! you want a good supper you got to go out get the vegetables, peel them cook them put in a lot of spices and be creative! This is a good marriage!
(1/7/2011 3:32:24 AM)
Dear LA Bochur
I understand the points you were trying to make, they just came out sounding a little different due to the way you wrote them.

One very important point that you did not write about a Boyfriend/Girlfriend Relationship:

As long as they know that they are not married to each other, they have no responsibility nor commitment to each other as there is nothing binding them to do so.

That is a big factor in divorce after relationships, often prolonged relationships.

Marriage unlike the lovey dovey girlfriend/boy friend stage insists upon assuming responsibilities and commitment to each other - something that is extremely different and no more - 'I always have the option of leaving' attitude.

(1/7/2011 4:10:10 AM)
shadchanim half-truths
The system is miserable due to the half-truths and misconceptions provided by the shadchanim.
(1/7/2011 6:36:12 AM)
to # 30

Sorry but you are not making a fair comparison. According to your logic, Law School takes 10 years as you first need to go to High School then Undergraduate and then finally law school.....

(1/7/2011 7:21:24 AM)
Poorly written... You are in gagaland!
Your article is all wrong! Instead of adopting the theory that says any man and woman can marry as long as they both want a Torah home, think of it like this: The less you have to argue about and the more similar you are, the better. When dating, think not just about whether the person wants a Torah home, but whether you want to live with this person, whether your personalities and interests are similar, if you enjoy spending "down time" the same way, and so on.

Your example of Bill and Karla describes my first marriage to a T, and I think a) Bill and Karla did understand each other, b) they never should have married, and c) it's good that they got divorced.

I was married to a spendthrift woman like Karla, who thought $5k a year in Bloomingdales was cramping her style. And I kid you not! This is while we were on shlichus... Thank G-d we divorced, and nowadays she is barely frum...

Now I'm happily married to a woman who is quite similar to me in personality, and we couldn't be happier. We don't fight and we understand each other. Our approach to life is similar and not just in Torah values.

Seek, find, and you too will be happy.
(1/7/2011 7:45:22 AM)
to LA bochur!
I got the point , It is simple and true.Thank u.
but after reading part of the comments ....I realise how Olam Asheker is strong!!!
Come on people, take new glasses and look at the emes!!!
Dont get dazzled with the darkness!!
(1/7/2011 7:53:04 AM)
Would he like to date my daughter?
She is pretty, responsible and has a good job, and loves her nieces and nephews. She will make a perfect mommy!
(1/7/2011 7:58:27 AM)
TO 30
Who are you trying to fool about the Smicha???
We've all been there done & that. What you said is just factually incorrect. Or maybe you are not familiar with what real smicha is.
(1/7/2011 8:33:38 AM)
to number 4
who says hashems hand is not in it when a couple finds each other themselves?!!!!!!
(1/7/2011 8:37:12 AM)
My boy, you are sadly misled. First of all, how dare you put down the importance of doctors???? Are you for real??

I hope and pray you never need one - although I'm thinking a bit of therapy might do you good.

As others said, whether a couple gets divorced or not does tell you what's going on behind closed doors.

You, my boy, are NOT ready to get married. Come back in a few years.
(1/7/2011 8:37:53 AM)
To # 11
One should read no further than what you wrote to understand what marriage is about. Thank you
(1/7/2011 8:53:32 AM)
CH Girl
I love your point!
p.s. are you currently on the market?
(1/7/2011 8:56:10 AM)
A long marriage does NOT always equal a happy marriage. Please KNOW THAT. Many couples suffer silently for many years. Many feel very lonely within their frum marriages. Many can not open up about their unhappiness because of the numerous children or grandchildren they have AND the stigma attached to the idea of a DIVORCE. Secular or frum....it's ALL part of the same imperfect world we live in. There are flaws in ALL kinds of unions. Labeling is disabling. Unhappniess knows no difference betwen frum or not frum. It can affect all of us. I see not much difference in discovering a spouse's "ways" after 5 years of dating, or after 5 days of dating. The struggle to stay together and work things out remains the same. And....I agree with many of the comments on this page....the author did not make any valid points in his article. Although I appreciate his effort.
(1/7/2011 9:21:19 AM)
Perhaps Finally: A Practical Solution
People often comment on these articles that married couples should take a few minutes a day to think of shidduchim for friends. I have tried this with my husband and it is hard - when you try to actively think up of matches, your mind just blanks out - you know what I mean :)

Here is my more practical variation on this idea:

Make a hachloto with your spouse to focus on just one single person - a niece, cousin, or friend. Do not sit at the kitchen table thinking of names. Instead, the hachloto is, that for the next 3 months, every single time you bump into an acquaintance on the street who is single, you will call your spouse right away, then and there, and discuss: "I just met so-and-so. What do you think of him for my niece?"

If it makes 80% sense or more, then call the girl's mother right away and suggest the name. What you consider an 80% match is often a 100% bullseye.

This method is an *easy* and effective way of generating lots of good names. You'll be surprised at how many great ideas you will come across. And don't be afraid of flooding the girl's mother with names; it will be much appreciated.
(1/7/2011 9:45:44 AM)
To #18
The vast majority of religous women you have counseled say they have never loved their husbands!? That is their personal problem, not a problem with religious people. Ahavas Yisroel begins with our spouses!
(1/7/2011 10:21:48 AM)
#18 is sooo right, No one wants a divorce however the frum community is tragic and only those that would defend marriages devoid of true love, affection and happiness because of the status quo is because they can not even conceive of such a life, so they say it is not important, some even pretend to believe that. Do they care if their spouse is happy? What can they do? This is the way it is both stuck and fearful to even entertain a different life.
(1/7/2011 10:29:25 AM)
Yasher Koach
Finally someone has something positive and real to say about Shidduch. Yasher Koach and A Gitte Shabbes.
(1/7/2011 10:29:52 AM)
Nu! Get your name to a shadchan! It's a "boy's world". I'm 21, and I'm a good frum girl from a wonderful family and every time I'm "red" to someone - he's always dating someone else.

You said "no one is after you". Maybe you haven't put yourself out there...
(1/7/2011 11:18:21 AM)
I'm Married for over 30 years

#18 is wrong BECAUSE #44 is right.

#18 claims that in frum circles it's harder to get a divorce than in secular circles but this is precisely the reason why the frum marriages are also happier than the secular BECAUSE divorce is not so easy.

Secularists very often get married for cheap reasons of what they thought was cheap casual and non real "love".

The moment reality sinks in, they drop their spouse like a hot potato, in an instant, without any serious thought or serious work to try and work VERY HARD, fix it first.

The fact that by secularists its so easy to divorce, is precisely THE reason why they are not too serious before making the marriage commitment, because they have little to loose should they wake up the next morning and decide to throw away their spouse like a used tissue or like they trade in their old car for a new one, every 3 to 5 years.

In the frum community, because marriage is not based on goyishe type of love (which is most often more of lust than love), and because it's not so easy to divorce, that's why their marriages are better and happier and last longer, all for the same reason.

Because if their is a problem by frum family they know they MUST work on it before it can even be considered to be ended, which is a consideration secularists don't have.

This is precisely the point of #44 which answers #18

Because, as #44 says, a good happy marriage requires constant work to make it that way and because it doesn't just magically happen without ongoing hard work, this hard work requires a deep commitment to not give up and not just do what's easy, like the secularists take the easy way out with a quick and easy irresponsible divorce.

By definition, if divorce is not easy and this is known before marriage, this equates with more responsible and more serious and more commitment in marriage when it first begins - something the frum have 100% and the secular have zero.

Most secularists who are married for 30 years, it's because they have done it 6 times with a new spouse every 5 or 6 years (just like they trade in their car every few years for a newer model).
(1/7/2011 1:37:55 PM)
No adequate training in our schools on "how to make a your marriage happy"
Unfortunately the hard work which makes a happy marriage is not taught in any Yeshiva in CH nor in any Girls school in CH.

This must change, if we are to have better marriages.

It can only be made better if the married couple and better yet, training before marriage, have learned what it takes to make a happy marriage and exactly all the ins and outs and all the details of what the "hard work" entails.

As for Bochrim's Yeshiva, we could perhaps be Melamed Zchus, that we don't want to teach them, because we don't want them thinking too much about the things they struggle to distance themselves from, until the right time comes, yet even so the Chassan Classes are inadequate in this regard. There is simply not enough time to learn it all, in a 1 hour class.

But as for Girls, there is absolutely no excuse why girls should not be spending extensive training time on the subject, with all the details required to make their marriage happy.

Why on earth are we paying countless thousands of dollars to educate our girls to teach them about "Navi" and about what they call "Yahadus", Medrashim and even Gemara when the girls primary role is in the home, rather than being preoccupied with a distant Medrash or about some abstract navi.

NONE, absolutely ZERO of all CH graduating Girls have the slightest iota of Chinuch in how to make their marriage happy and in how to deal with potential conflicts and other issues in their marriage.

Even if they study the subject, it was "1 class" for "1 hour" whereas the Medrashim and Navi and Yahadus and on other irrelevant subjects, they have spent thousands of school hours learning and being TESTED and graded extensively.

What's more important for a Girl to know, some Medrash or the fine technicalities of irrelevant Dikduk or how EXACTLY to make sure her marriage will be getting better and better, each and every successive year (rather than the opposite)?

It boils down to the amount of time spent on the subject. You can't teach girls their life long mission in marriage by offering a few hour course in seminary. It requires extensive training, they need to get TESTED and GRADED on the subject before they should contemplate marriage.
(1/7/2011 1:49:31 PM)
I do not agree! in the secular, world, they LIVE with each other for a while before they get married- they DO know a lot about the other person, and they do know what it's like to live with them. The example you brought is SO not accurate! they don't get married and then move in together, they have already lived with each other and done a lot of things together, before they agreed upon marriage.

although the religious way of marriage may result in less divorces, that doesn't mean it is a better system. there are many more frum pple remaining married, yet unhappy, or not as happy as they should be. that does not make anything better!
I personally prefer the secualr system. I don't want to marry someone just to create a home filled with children! I want to love that person, and not just come to love them by living with them, but love them like truly love them, like a can't-live-without-you love!!

but that's just my opinion. there are many pple who are happily married and have dated the religious way.... i guess it's to each their own.
(1/7/2011 1:50:47 PM)
Article's point and to #18
Is not about how awesome the shidduch system is or how bad the other system is, but the point is:


That's it. The rest, what do you expect he is a young bocher, with limited experience. But he is right in what he is saying.

For example... myself I've met a girl from LA (where the bocher is from, interestingly) and even though so many things were right, she felt that our "personalities are different," and we stopped dating.

Everyone is different, and if you are flexible you can make it work.
(1/7/2011 3:38:40 PM)
my 2 cents
Herein lies the failure of the above praised system.. It only rewards those that are cookie cutter dullards
(1/8/2011 7:25:37 PM)
to 57
good idea! has it worked by you?
(1/8/2011 9:01:50 PM)
to #35
Men dont usually get so philosophical.
(1/8/2011 9:33:08 PM)
Secular world marriages
Hi, I would say that many, many of us secular "guys and gals" grew up in homes of neglect and abuse (that is, from homes without Torah - you are very fortunate). Let's just say that many of us were, instead, raised by the tv and other media - rock stars, celebrities, and the such.

Who cares/why does this matter? Well, 1) secular newlyweds have to start their marriages fighting/reversing the secular media messages (that have pervaded their entire lives before marriage) - that advocate for the "greatness" of being single and independent ("free").

And, 2) many, many secular newlyweds have a lot of unresolved past "hurts" ("issues") from childhood (related to bullying, abuse, and being ignored).

Those old, repressed hurt feelings (and the defense mechanisms that are used to keep away old "hurts" from happening to them again) start rearing their ugly heads, once again - this time, in their private living space with their new spouse.

Consequently, these spouses are very sensitive to being hurt again and suspect particular words or actions as "attacks" - even from their spouses! What happens then in the effort to protect themselves (and their egos), these spouses start to push each other away. You can't imagine the balagan this creates!

So, first a long, VERY uncomfortable process of resolving past SELF issues has to take place. This is where most of the marriage is "unbearable": relinquishing the self, letting go of the self, and, therefore, making one's self "vulnerable" to someone else and their possible "attack."

It's an ultimate sacrifice, even more so, for such people who need to overcome these great barriers - IN ADDITION to the typical male-female communication "issues." It's a real shonda secular newlyweds have to endure this, but an incredible outcome... if the couple gets there.

Since the secular world does not subscribe to a mentor system or to "seeking a teacher" (unlike the frum who have a BRILLIANT mashpia and shadchan system), these troubled secular couples are left on their own, with little advisement from friends and family, such as, "Oh, it will be alright dear." This is why the secular divorce rate is so high.

First, secular newlyweds have to overcome the huge hurdle of protecting their self. Then, they can then start reaching out to begin protecting each other, together as one unit with Hashem - that's when the real marriage begins.

I have much appreciation of Chabad and the Chassidic community for setting a better example and standard - as well as inviting us secular "folk" into your homes to have such a precious and life-changing experience.


PS. In these comments, #8 is an example of the secular, self-protecting attitude.
(1/8/2011 11:00:33 PM)
to 64
I agree with you. I also prefer the secular world. They actually date the person. The shidduch system on the other hand, is nothing more than a facde.
(1/8/2011 11:06:26 PM)
Come on people, this is, I think, the first time I've seen so few comments on an article about shidduchim! Either because everything that can be said already has been said, read, argued, and agreed upon. Or, because the author writes the truth - and you just can't argue with truth. One can try, but it doesn't work for very long...
Yasher koach to the author, and as one girl wrote earlier - are you "on the market?" ;) I see there is more than one of us that's interested!
(1/9/2011 12:12:58 AM)
I have to say that we dated for slightly longer than most Chabad people do - fine. What wasn't fine was that my mother kept pushing off the wedding, and in the end, we were engaged for a year minus four days. (No, my mother didn't come - we finally got married before Pesach - eight months after we had first wanted to - and she was pushing for us to wait till after Shavuot.) BUT - and here's the BUT - because of the stress and the long wait, there have been absolutely no surprises, and honestly I think we can both say that we knew what we were getting into, and there haven't really been any surprises.

So - there are advantages. I wouldn't advise ANYONE except for my worst enemy to go through what we did, and I firmly believe that the only reason we know each other so well is because we were stressed and supported each other through that stress. In other words - knowing each other for a year+ without the stress doesn't do much.
(1/9/2011 8:54:24 AM)
Oh - and I AM chabad, if you were wondering.
(1/9/2011 8:55:11 AM)
We are on shlichus - we know people getting divorce like crazy - for the most rediculous reasons. the second one has to work on the marraige there marraige " is on the rocks"
These are couples that dated for years, lived together for one year etc......... For those that think that frum couples dont love there husbands just respect......... what are you talking about - while there are plenty of problems the average person with a healthy marraige - LOVES her husband
(1/9/2011 9:48:02 AM)
To the "Hollywood/glamorous romantics": #64 & #70
What are you talking about - all this "lovey-dovey" talk? I was a secular person who did all the "lovey-dovey", superficial STUFF you speak so "lovey-dovey" about.

My friend, you are too comfortable and sheltered in your material trappings, growing up comfortable under your parents and sheltered in your nice chinuch.

Who's talking about "matters of the heart" - realness - in your life, as opposed to "What am I going to get"? ...FIRST, who are you, really? ...Someone who everyone else has told you you are?

Your cherished ideas about the material trappings of your current single life is what you are extending into your confusion about finding your basheret.

...That is, your attitude that finding your basheret should be on your terms, comfortable, and everything to your specifications and liking on the outside.

...People will approve - she's all "fresh and clean" and "checks out" like a shiny object (like a brand new car) that other people will like and admire you for. You'll be a real machar, ay?

The REALity is that it's a waste of time"trying people out," "playing G-d," "looking" (for flaws) in another person (as if you're picking out a shiny object you saw on the shelf in a store) to see if they are "for you". ...NO, "for you" is what others, outside of you, have told or shown you is "for you".

At the end of the day, all this "so happy together on the outside" dream you speak of is just that - not real.

Marriage is not 24/7 of smiley faces and pageantry for others...very superficial. And, yes, consequently, you will be "unhappy" in such a superficial marriage. And, you're right, THOSE kinds of marriages are out there. If that's what you are seeking, that's what you'll get.

Also, how do you know what married people are feeling - if they are unhappy or not? Have you asked them about it? Are you, or have you been married?

Oh, right, happy married people are supposed to LOOK like an advertisement - smiley, shiny, and animated all the time.

Without the bond of marriage and binding commitment under the chupah (similar to our personal commitment to Hashem through bris milah), what's to keep a couple living together after a fight or a challenging time, for example?

Your attitude is that unhappiness is uncomfortable/inconvenient, and, therefore, to be avoided at all costs, which davka, is not real.

The reality, my friend, is that in ALL relationships (even people who are going around like an animal, dating every single person) there's some CONSTANT element unhappiness and disagreement. Have you heard of the nefesh bahamas?

That's part of the human experience, and it sounds like you are trying to avoid reliving a moment of past hurt that you will only resolve in marriage. BELIEVE ME!:) You can only be half a person/incomplete/half-functioning as a single person.

The reality is we cannot grow and become more elevated without challenge - have you been following the chumash, lately?

The crisis in the frum world is not STAYING married, unhappily. The REAL crisis is for confused SINGLES to SURRENDER their strong sense of SELF, gain some humility, maturity, and emunah and commit yourself to someone and something higher, outside of your SELF - taking the "big, scary" step of making a home with your kallah and Hashem.

You REALly need to spend plenty of time and effort with a network of mashpiim, mentors, and shadchanim who actually get to know you and your confusion (not just one or two visits).

For a moment, give yourself some rachmanas and let go of your precious name and reputation (that is, SELF/ego) - and the pressures and restraints that go with you constantly struggling to uphold an image against who you truly, really are as a Jewish neshama - sent from Hashem. What is your personal mission in this world - certainly not to be a show.

Spend time speaking about marriage and your confusion with people (in REAL life, not Hollywood) who are actually married. It's work, IT works - that's the reality.

Take the time and work to get to know yourself - peel away the klipot and material/superficialities that are causing your confusion. When you can verbalize with sincerity and conviction what you want your future home with Hashem to be, THEN this is all you need to know and work on with your basheret and Hashem- you need nothing more. You will not be confused any longer.

May G-d bless you and help guide you to your bashert without such confusion about the material/secular (see comment #69, as well), and may you fill a Chasidishe home with beautiful children. THIS is real.

HAPPILY married (through mashpiim and shadchanim) baal teshuvah,

Also, related, see comment #246 at http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=12213
(1/9/2011 11:47:37 AM)
Waste of time
I don't think a bochur who writers about married life should be taken seriously!
It's very clear you have no idea what a real relationship is about. Which is fine- you haven't had any experience yet. You will. But please don't lecture the rest of us about what it takes to have a good marriage.
(1/9/2011 8:42:51 PM)
he has a good pont! dont try to deny yhte fact that this is olam hasheker! he never said get married to ne shmoe joe, he said u x needto know them "like the back of ur palm" okay??? and yes, talmidei chachomim are MORE IMPORTANT THAN DOCTORS!!!! for real! dont let olam sheker blind you.
one article i found wort reading!
(1/10/2011 12:17:51 AM)
to the therapist (18)
Just wanted to point out a couple of points:
a. As a marriage counsellor you will natrually meet the unhappy people. People who have have good marriages dont go for counselling. Boruch Hashem a majority of frum marriages are happy.
b. the type of happiness I am talking about in a solid frum, chassidishe marriage is something that is hard to describe. As a shlucha who has been exposed to details of lots of marriages (good ones too) I can tell you we have something that others dont.
c. your point of frum women putting up with things that secular women would never stand for because of the stigma of divorce - may I point out that today too often ppl want to get out of a marriage because of things they wont put up with and those things (not always but often) are not reasons to get divorced from a Torah point of view. Often its because they feel they "could have done better" and like an item they bought that they want to give it back because they are not happy with it they want to start over.
Granted some people do need to get divorced and I am not judging anyone, but in the secular world its taken for granted that it may happen eventually.
(1/10/2011 6:25:10 PM)
Sorta right
You have a point here and there but I think is that only a couple that is perfect can be truly happy in big ways you right but I sometimes people are happy either way so it doesnt matter we're just from different worlds then they are.
(1/12/2011 2:11:36 PM)
There is never too much information
I disagree with the author's point hat there is no reason to ask numerous questions about a potential date, as you will just get to "know each other afterwards." That is rediculous! Every little difference between you can cause much hardship once married -- and marriage will be a lot of hard work no matter what. Of course, one should do whatever it takes to ensure that he/she really knows who he/she is marrying.

At the same time, those of you who commented that they think the secular way of dating is better than the shidduch system needs a reality check. Secular dating is about having a good time - years can be spent before common goals are even discussed.

The purpose for marraige according to Torah IS about building a family -- and thus, crucial issues regarding common goals, hashkafos, etc are important to ensure a HAPPY marriage that fulfills its purpose.

Of course, there is much to be repaired in the current shidduch system. Girls should be encouraged to feel a sense of chemistry with their spouse -- rather than discouraged -- that it will just come later. Marraiges DO need to have spark, DO need to have romance, DO need to be loving. It is true that there many couples living for years in unhappy marriages. But there are also many many couples living in wonderful marriages -- you just have ot put in the effort -- on a daily basis.

But while dating? Try to get as much information as you can!
(1/12/2011 10:31:28 PM)
To 78
1- Obviously this therapist knows that he/she is dealing with unhappy couples...that is quite plain.
2- People don't divorce because they "could've done better". That is a terrible thing to say. (maybe that is what is said after the fact) Secular people are not a vain, fantasy driven people who throw their marriages away "like a tissue" (#)
Of course believe that the high divorce rate is partially due to lack of work on spouses parts...but to generalize like that...is quite inappropriate and degrading.
I've had to deal with it way too many times...not frum women coming to me FURIOUS because they were made to feel inferior by other frum people. Not on purpose Chas V'sholom, but inferior none the less.
Also I am curious where you have proof on the percentage of happy marriages amongst frum people?
(4/28/2011 9:37:45 PM)
there islove
im frum,got married young after 5 dates and b"H love my husband very much! idont think its rare
(8/7/2011 5:45:38 PM)
"back in Europe"
I think the author makes a point about being flexible. However, it seems like the shidduch system is trying to approximate the good old days of Eastern Europe. Here is the difference, most of the time, everyone knew everyone else in the shtetl and you had a pretty good idea of the type of person you were marrying. Additionally, you could also meet someone on your own but your parents would know them. Also, not that many people were rich and were living under difficult conditions, so there were not as many high demands as today. And according to my grandmother, who had to live in kest with her in-laws while my grandfather was studying to be a watchmaker, you were actually living under their roof and no one had to buy you your own apartment. it is ridiculous to place such a burden on parents with multiple children--to have to support extended families. Something has to give. I am not part of the Yeshivish world at all (just MO) but my ancestors came from that background. Already in the early 1900's the young people were rebelling against it and finding their own mates through the various youth movements--religious, Zionist, secular, that were streaming across Europe. BTW, I met my husband through a Shidduch (my Dad felt it was his responsibility to help me achieve tachlis). We dated for a year and got engaged. I have had the experience of meeting on my own and by the time I met my husband had a very good idea of the type of person who would suit me which was very different from my original fantasies.
(4/16/2013 10:49:06 AM)
is it really that great?
If you were born into a frum family then the shidduch system can work great for you. So far not working out so well for me...
(10/19/2014 11:33:56 PM)
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