Editor’s note: This article was written by a 23 year-old bochur who requested to stay anonymous in order to have the freedom to say what needs to be said, and hence give a better perspective to people.
Last night it was bitterly cold outside, but Rabbi Manis Friedman was heating things up with a lecture here in Crown Heights. The topic was: “Is there a shidduch crisis?” I attended in order to tell COLlive readers what a 23 year-old bochur thinks and feels about this hot and current topic. What is going through our minds? Wouldn’t you like to know?
There are many guys and girls looking to get married. It isn’t easy to try so hard for so long. It’s painful, and I am sure many lose lots of sleep over it. So what is the root of the problem? Where is the problem stemming from, and why now, in 2010, is the problem peaking?
There were several points that Rabbi Friedman mentioned which are so true, yet we all suffer from it and fail to recognize it as a problem.
“Instead of worrying who you’re going to marry, we used to worry how we are going to marry.”
Can’t we all relate to that? Don’t we all say we want someone to be a certain height or weight? Or we want the family to have a certain amount of means
The problem, Rabbi Manis was telling the crowd, is that singles are looking to marry the perfect girl, instead of looking to simply get married.
“Our focus is blurred and our fundamentals have changed. It used to be that ‘I want to get married.’ Once you had that in mind, you would find someone suitable. Now it’s more like “I’m not ready to get married, but if I find this amazing girl then I will marry her.”
He said that in the secular world it is not about marriage being holy or a necessity. “Just because you found a nice girl, that is not a reason to get married, besides for the fact that there is no such thing as the perfect girl. You get married because it is the right thing to do and because it is sacred.”
“We have to put marriage on the front burner.”
He said: “You need to get married, and in order to do that you find the right person. We have to be focused on the important things. For example: What kind of a home am I going to have; What kind of values am I going to teach my children, how will I raise them to be good? Those were the concerns.”
Now let me tell you, I am guilty of all things mentioned so far, and all of the rest of the things I am going to write. I have not been on a date yet, but I know that I think with the wrong thought process.
In my mind the most candid statement of the lecture was: “A lot of people are honest enough to say, ‘What would my friend say if I marry her?’ Instead of thinking what is best for me, people are busy thinking what others will say, which will eventually lead to comparing wives. Whether it is about who is better looking, or who’s more popular. That happens when you are marrying a girl. If you are marrying your bashert then there is nothing to compare. Would a woman then say ‘maybe I should marry her husband?’ No way. Because you know this is the right person for me, this is who was destined for me, and that is all there is to it.”
This is an idea I have never heard anyone verbalize before, but now that Rabbi Friedman said it, it is glaringly obvious. We have to focus on the right thing.
“You’ll never be ready enough for marriage.”
He said: “Partly because of society, we have changed what we are supposed to be looking for. No matter what the cause is, the fact is that our priorities have changed. But if marriage is the goal then it’s much easier to find the right person.”
Truth is, when I think about marriage it’s about “What will she look like? What will others think? Let me wait until I am ready.”
I hate to say this because I have disagreed with this idea until last night, that “if you think you are ready then you are most definitely not, and it can be reckless.”
My question is, if the fact that our focus has shifted is such a widespread issue, then how is it solved? Rabbi Friedman’s answer was that the parents have to instill the proper values in their children.
However, how do the people who are looking to get married now shift their focus back to the right way? I think these novel ideas and realizations have to be publicized and talked about.
I know guys talk about marriage, how much more so girls are talking about marriage.
Why not talk about these topics? Why can’t friends talk to each other how I want to find the one who was destined to be for me? Not about what type of job he or she will have, or what he or she will look like.
“If he’s tall then he’s tall, there is nothing you can do about it.”
It is definitely hard to think that way, and actually internalize that. Once people start talking about it and thinking more about it, it will become more of a widespread feeling.
There was an article on COLlive a couple of months ago about parents wanting to organize classes to teach singles in the Chabad community about relationships and marriage.
Why is that so pertinent and important? Because especially us guys, have zero education when it comes to this topic. We know nothing about it. How are we supposed to know anything of the sort? Now that I think about it, with the lack of knowledge in this topic, it is easier for the wrong ideas and focus to creep into our minds.
Knowledge is power. There is a major need for guys and girls to attend classes about what our focus should be comprised of, relationships, and what marriage is about. That would be a great step in the right direction towards maintaining the proper ideas and mentality for finding “The right one.” A.K.A. The destined one.
I’m far from perfect, and I will have to work on myself regarding all of this, but knowing the problem is half the solution.