It seems like there is always someone ranting about “The Shidduch Crisis.” To sum it up: There are many people who are not married and looking to get married, but cannot seem to find the right person. How can we solve this problem? There are a lot of suggestions as to what the problem is exactly and how we can solve it. Two that I’ve heard are that singles these days are “too picky” and that people are focused on insignificant details. Some say it’s because the entire shidduch system is messed up, and the reason it’s messed up is because people is because people focus on insignificant details.
The typical example that is used is when a person asks, “What color tablecloth does he/she use on shabbos?” I think most people can agree that is a ridiculous question, and I have never encountered someone who actually asked that question or cared what color table cloth a person a person used.
In terms of being “too picky,” what qualifies as “too picky”? For example, there are things that don’t matter- such as the tablecloth example mentioned above. Then there are things that you’re not going to give up on, that you need in a spouse. For example, a guy who believes that women are obligated to cover their hair after marriage, is not called “too picky” for refusing to date someone who does not plan to cover her hair after marriage. You have to stand up for what you believe in and not compromise on what’s really important to you. But what about examples where it is less clear?
Let’s say a guy keeps chalav yisrael and a girl is suggested to him who does not keep chalav yisrael? Is that enough to say no? Let’s say a girl grew up out of town and only wants to live in a small Jewish community outside of New York, and there is a guy who a shadchan says would be perfect for her, but only wants to live in the New York area. Should she compromise?
I was thinking about this because there is a couple I know who has been happily married for a long time, and at the time they met and got married they were less religious and began dating simply for fun. After a while they decided to get married, and discovered they had huge differences in how they felt about certain issues. Without going into details, the issues were so big that if I had been either one of them, I never would have compromised on those issues. But they were in love, so they worked it out and decided to get married anyway.
My point is: If they had gone through the shidduch system, no one would have ever set them up. Hashkafically they were on completely different planes, but they were so in love that they were willing to make huge sacrifices. They have been happily married for a while.
Those who give dating and marriage advice are always saying that marriage is about compromise. How big of a compromise though? What if he wants to learn and she’s looking for someone who plans to work? If they were meant to be, would they find a way to work it out? We’ll never know because they won’t get a chance to meet.
The problem is that there seems to be no good solution. Should everyone just date anyone at all as long as it seems like their personalities will click, because only then will they truly know what they’d be willing to compromise on for true love? That doesn’t make sense. There has to be some reason for people to go out with each other, they have to have at least some shared values. Should we keep the system the way it is? Well, many people seem to think that it is not working. Maybe each person just need to define which issues are important and which ones are not.
So: What’s considered “too picky” and what’s considered holding on to your beliefs?