By Rivkah Leah Bernath
There seems to be a common thread of unresolved issues running through the minds of older singles. With more and more older singles really serious about marriage, its obvious to me that these unresolved issues are holding them back from getting married.
Let me illustrate one as an example, with the hopes of helping these singles: If a single has been very close to a divorced couple, whether that couple is a relative, neighbor or friend, the single will subconsciously have a negative attitude towards marriage.
A single person needs to be empowered with positive information about marriage. When I met such a person, I ask that him/her point out 3 things that may have led to their friend’s divorce. Then they have to make a plan to circumvent those issues. That shift in consciousness can be the simple step that prepares the single for marriage.
Another issue may be the loss of a close relative when he/she is under 20 years of age. I believe that the single clearly understands intellectually that Hashem took their relative. Though it may be subconsciously a form of abandonment. These issues need to be dealt with by a professional therapist before they start dating.
Trauma is another issue that seems to be coming up a lot. A traumatic event that hasen’t been resolved can block a single from moving on. I don’t believe these are insurmountable. A small amount of time with a therapist would free them from the trauma.
But the largest area that effects the most singles is the lack of understanding of the way men and women process in the dating experience.
In my observations, the men seem to know if they are interested in the shidduch in a short amount of time. The women seem to need as many as 7 or 8 dates until they know. Generally, I see 3 types of situations:
Situation #1: The bochur is interested, the girl isn’t feeling anything. The bochur has enough self-esteem to hang in there and wait often ending in engagement
Situation #2: The bochur is interested and the girl isn’t feeling anything. The bochur ends the shidduch to protect his self-esteem.
Situation #3: The bochur is interested and the girl isn’t feeling anything. The girl ends the shidduch (even though she sees good qualities in him) because she believes feelings should be in the shidduch quickly.
The solution lies in a Rebbe Rayatz’s letter (Igros Kodesh vol xii,p.113) where he speaks about being too “miserly” with the dates.
The goal is to get the bochur to stay with the shidduch long enough for the girl to figure out her feelings. If the bochur gets some “positive feedback” with each date, he can stay in the shidduch. The girl can give him positive feedback or she can tell the shadchan to give him the positive feedback.
The bochur needs to know that the girl is in a different time-frame (emotionally) than him and nothing is wrong with the shidduch. The girl needs to understand “she is normal’. As long as she sees positive qualities in him, the shidduch should continue.
We are in an instant gratification generation, instant food, instant communication, instant travel, instant chemistry, so we want an instant shidduch. Shidduch takes time. Time to figure out ourselves and what is blocking us, time to figure out the person we are dating and time to take the person we are dating to engagement.