Monday, May 16, 2011

Age is relative

Sometimes we get caught up in the mentality that being single over a certain age is old. That age is different in different communities- in some places it is 21 and others that magic age is 25. In this post that I wrote, some felt 23 was the age of an old maid. This article which someone sent me claims that Kate Middleton made it "cool to get married at 29." Interesting. This reminds me of those who say there is no shidduch crisis, the community just needs to change the mentality that being single over the age of (fill in the blank here) is so terrible. Granted, this is different in the secular world where couples do not observe the mitzvah of shomer negiah. Even though Kate waited until she was 29 to get married, she apparently had been dating the Prince for a long time already.



  1. I am of that opinion; there is no shidduch crisis, it's that not everyone has to be married by 22.

    Marriage nowadays is a much more serious undertaking than it used to be. Couples spend way more time together than once upon a time, and finding someone you can chat with for the rest of your life shouldn't be rushed into.

    In the light of the too many divorces nowadays, no one should be rushed.

  2. I agree. I think it's just peer pressure that has 25 year old girls feeling like old maids. If we could get rid of the mentality, so many of us would feel so much better. And less pressured. And we'd make more productive use of our single time.

    So many benefits...why can't we get rid of the notion that if you don't get married within a few years of graduating seminary, you're "old"?!

  3. Being over a certain age IS old. But that age that I'm referring to is much older than 23. That is because women have biological clocks ticking...but otherwise, ya, if you tell someone in the secular world that a 20 year-old is getting married, don't be surprised if his/her jaws drop to the floor.

  4. Princess Lea- I don't think the shidduch crisis is that a bunch of 21 year olds are not married. I think the problem is that finding the right person is more difficult than it should be. Part of change does involve changing the mentality of what is considered "old," but part of what needs to change is the system itself.

    SIR- yes, there is a lot of peer pressure. We need to get rid of that pressure!

    Anonymous- you're right. good point.

  5. We are told that William and Kate met and began seeing each other while at St Andrews University, when they were undergraduates.
    When trying to decide whether to marry the next-but-one King of Britain, Commonwealth, etc., one should be allowed some time to think about it!!!
    The wedding was a wonderful celebration - good luck to them.

  6. Anon613- yes, one should definitely be allowed time to think about whether to marry a Prince/ King-to-be. We should always think about marriage first without jumping in, whether you're marrying a real prince or the guy of your dreams who is a prince to you.

  7. If you are not dating within the shidduch dating structure, it is questionable how many couples are truly shomer. I do not know how commonly it is spoken about but I am sure couples touch, if not go further. It's taboo but it does happen.

  8. I think one of the issues with figuring out what age to get married at is that in a lot of ways, people within the Orthodox/Modern Orthodox community look at each other to see how to behave. For example, there are fashion trends that occur just in the community. Even though it is possible to be tzanuah without wearing a certain type of shoe, many people's understanding of tzniut is not just based on halacha but also how the people around them behave. I think that when we see some girls getting married young, we assume we should as well. There are many ways in which the community just does not deal well with individuality, and getting married at a different age than your peers is one of them.

    The other issue is that we are told that one of our life's goals should be raising a family, and that at a certain point that becomes emphasized over one's personal growth. Or, that getting married *is* the way to personal growth, which is not true for everyone. So all these girls feel like they need to get married in order to continue growing as a person when that is not necessarily true. I think that also makes it difficult to find a partner. If you are not developed as an individual, it's difficult to find someone to match you, because you don't actually know yourself.

  9. Anonymous- that is unfortunately true. Being shomer negiah is very difficult and it is true that some people end up breaking halacha.

    Plonit- yes, there is peer pressure to get married. Schools (particularly seminaries!) always encourage marriage, and it sadly is sometimes emphasized over personal growth. We have to live our lives and be the best we can be no matter whether we are married or not.

  10. The issue isn't just age - it is who is left. Fact is (whether for better or worse) that frum females begin dating usually no later than 20 and males usually no later than 23 (of course there are exceptions but generally speaking). Within 4 years of dating - most of those dating have found their mates. That means that mathematically speaking there are much fewer members of the opposite gender from your preferred group that are left. So the agitation singles and parents feel is two-fold (1) Since statistically speaking there is a certain percentage of people that never get married (according to B4S 10% of each class) - as a single gets older and the 10% is coming closer, will the single fall into the dreaded 10%; and (2) even if they manage to make the cut, at that age, is there really quality left?* Both of these are not directly related to age - but the effect of being that age.

    *Caveat - I personally think yes, its just a matter of perspective and that the above 2 questions apply much more to girls than guys, as guys have a much larger pool.

  11. I wouldn't go so far as to say there is NO shidduch crisis, but I do think it's exaggerated just a bit. The age thing? Definitely going overboard. 22? 23? Sheesh....


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