Shidduchim can sometimes be a real test in bitachon.
It’s hard not let it ruffle your feathers that you got rejected again, that another suggestion “is not shayech,” being mistreated by a shadchan, that your parents aren’t making things any easier, that no more suggestions are being offered, that you feel unwanted.
I am a single girl in my mid-twenties and ‘in shidduchim’ and like most of my friends, I often feel like I have to put on a front, that everything is fine. After all, shidduchim are private affairs.
So many people are trying to help –family, friends, shadchanim and total strangers– and yet so many of my friends have gotten burnt and burnt out by this process. “I am done, done with the system, done with this mess,” one of them told me recently.
They drop in and out of shidduchim, needing to take very long breaks. Sometimes those breaks are necessary because they need to regain emotional strength, but at times they aren’t; They could be avoided with the right guidance, with someone who can lift their spirits and make them feel like they can get through this.
To my friends who are giving up on shidduchim – and to my fellow Chabad singles all over, I offer the following message: If you feel something, say something.
“If there is a concern in a man’s heart, let him cast it down, and a good word will make it cheerful,” Mishlei teaches us. Dating is supposed to be a positive experience. When it’s not, as it often is, you need to voice your concerns and feelings. It will give your clarity, it will keep you emotionally healthy and will keep you on the positive track and prepared for the good that will come your way.
One of my friends went to a therapist after a particularly rough experience, and it worked wonders for her. You might not need such ‘professional’ help, but everyone can use a ‘pick me up’ conversation. You need an understanding parent, you need a caring friend, you need a wise mashpia.
Find someone who won’t give up on you, because you are not allowed to give up on yourself. No one wants to get ‘good’ at dating. Most people just want to get it over with, but while you are in the process you need a healthy approach.
So if you feel like you can’t hear about marriage anymore because it’s just too painful, find someone who will actually listen and be discreet about it. A person who will understand and feel what you are going through and not just brush it off with a quick fix.
If you have friends struggling with shidduchim, be there for them. Listen and let them vent. Offer advice if they seem open to it. And even if you have no practical suggestions, don’t be shy to give them a compliment about their personality or accomplishments so far. Add a sincere brocha they should find their bashert. It will lift their spirits when they know you said it from the heart.
And when you are talking to your friends who are probably dealing with the same challenges, do whatever you can to keep the conversation ending on a positive note. Words have a very powerful effect, especially with a sore topic. You could make or break someone’s spirits; it is in your hands.
If you don’t have such a friend, try to find one or at least be one for another. Some of my friends get together for a “shidduch farbrengen” on a regular basis, where they talk about our experiences in a constructive and positve manner. I go when I need a pick me up, when I don’t want to feel like I am the only one out there with this struggle. It can really get to your head otherwise.
I didn’t put my name on this so people don’t guess which friends I am talking about, not because I am one bit embarrassed about the content of this message. Please think about it and spread the word.