It is an open secret that the shortage of marriageable men and the rate of divorce among the Orthodox are issues that are increasingly affecting the Jewish world. The move away from mixed-sex socializing has led to a greater dependence on shadchans. shadchans often use formulas and questionnaires to pigeon-hole applicants; the criteria they use in determining matches are often missing important elements in the character and personality of each party and parents’ fears that their daughters will “miss the boat” lead to marriages of couples who are too young to make mature choices.
The shadchan is not entirely to blame. The parties themselves, inexperienced and led by their parents, often have their own “list” of what they think they seek in a partner. “At present our world is based on lists…,” writes Dr. Salamon. “Perhaps the most destructive of the items on our lists in the… ‘Orthodox Observance List,'” he says. But the “proof” resides in superficial elements which have little bearing on how a marriage will fail or succeed.
Dr. Salamon suggests ways to go beyond the physical, superficial standards that have contributed to the shidduch crisis and to early divorce. He advocates an approach whereby a measure of personal maturity is returned to those who are dating and makes the case for alleviating external pressures on the dating couple.
This review appeared in the Editor’s Choice section of Emunah Magazine.