July 20, 2024
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July 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Y o u r daughter is in “the Parsha.” Actually it is frightening­ly late—she is 25 and still not mar­ried! She has been doing all the right things, contacting the well-connect­ed shadchanim, even, of late, consid­ering looking at sites like “Saw You at Sinai.” She is dealing with it as well as she could—like most of her friends, at least the few that are still not mar­ried. But last month, her best friend got engaged and that really threw her for a loop. Just last week a 28-year-old young man was suggested. Her par­ents immediately contacted (like the countless times before) all the refer­ences and anyone else they could think of who came from the commu­nity that he grew up in.

So far it seemed OK. But, of course, going through the first date is a little scary. They told the Shad­chan to go ahead and they are going out in a few days. What will happen is anyone’s guess. But the chances are against her. After all, why should a young man go out with someone who is 25, when there are an endless number of young women who are 20, 21, or 22? This is not only about women, but the reality is that young men, or men of any age, have almost unlimited possibilities, while the women can only show interest in the men that are interested in them. And they are both probably more picky than they were 2 years ago!

They don’t want to just get mar­ried—what if it turns out to be a disaster? So they are VERY careful to make sure to carefully look at all the information they have. The pic­tures (these two both got pictures, but some don’t), the schools they went to (I wouldn’t go out with an­yone who went to that school), the clothes they wear (he wears a sweat­er—that’s terrible), the hats (a Ham­burg, feh), or the way it is worn, (the brim is too far back, or too far down, or too much to the right), or the kippah (too small, too big, too neb­bie, too worn), or too much makeup, or too little makeup, or…

Of course there are concerns that are much more significant than any of the appearance items. Should they try to keep hidden that she went off the derech for a couple of years in high school? She is very frum now, but the die is possibly already cast. Or what about the fact that she went to see a psychologist in high school? Or perhaps she has a sib­ling who is autistic or has a rock band (l’havdil)? Or the fact that her taste in music is different from most of her peers? Or the hidden medical condi­tion that seems to run in her family? Or limitless other possibilities.

And what about her parents? The fact that one or both of them were divorced or perhaps mar­ried two or more times. That her mother doesn’t cover her hair or that the covering she uses is too small, or TOO much or that they are too rich (they wouldn’t look at me) or too poor or too much into learning, or not into learning enough, or…..

With all that checking, how can anyone ever get married? The fact is that if people knew everything about the prospec­tive date—the medical history, the family history, the psychiat­ric history, the financial history, the mistakes they or their parents have made, no one would ever get married! That doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t check. But no matter how much checking a person does, they can never be sure! There are no guarantees in life. One day, he is a marvelous, wonderful man, and we find out a while after the marriage that he is an abuser or she has manic de­pression or the father was in pris­on many years ago.

There are no guarantees in life! So go ahead and check. But for God’s sake, let go of the obsessive checking. Who really cares about the hat he was wearing? He may not be wearing a hat at all years lat­er (that is true of me). Or overlook the kind of school he/she went to (or at least, put it low down on the priori­ty list). Give yourself a chance to get to know the person you are dating. In the final analysis, whether a mar­riage works well or is very problem­atic, it is more a function of you, rath­er than who you marry. And more than anything else, work hard, and harder, and if in spite of it not going well, harder still! In most cases, with continuing hard work, your marriage can be wonderful.

Please feel free to contact me regarding this (or any) topic. You can do so anonymously by writ­ing [email protected] Dr. Glick was a clinical psycholo­gist in private practice for 35 years as well as the rabbi of Congrega­tion Ahavat Yisrael in Montreal. If you would like to submit a ques­tion, or contact him for an appoint­ment, he can be reached at morde­[email protected] or by calling him at 201-983-1532.

By Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Glick

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