Thursday, November 26, 2009

Non-Traditional methods

Until now the focus of these articles has been on the traditional way to find a match, a regular shidduch through a shadchan, professional or otherwise. It is becoming more common and even accepted to go though some non-traditional paths to find a shidduch as well. I will try to explore some of them.

Many articles on shidduchim bemoan the fact that shadchonim do not make the cut anymore. They are not flexible enough or not thorough enough or not involved enough.

- As an aside let me make a few comments:
1. The job of a real shadchan is very difficult, they spend time interviewing or talking to bochurim and young ladies, they make hundreds of phone calls many times without results, they put a lot of effort into an often thankless endeavor.
2. There are some shadchonim who request a payment before looking for a shidduch. If you know that these shadchonim interview prospective "clients" and try to properly match singles, (not just throw a list of names at you) then they are not being outrageous by asking some remuneration for all the time they put in on your behalf even if at the end the shidduch does not come from them. One always has the choice of not using them, but to criticize them for taking money for their time and effort is not the right thing to do.
3. Do not throw up your hands and complain about shadchonim and how they are the reason there is such a difficulty finding matches. I wrote it before and I will keep repeating it: most shidduchim come from family and friends so forget the shadchonim if you are so upset at them, but if you are smart just use it as another tool in your arsenal and don't make an issue of it.
Disclaimer: I am not a shadchan, I will counsel, try to give advice as on this blog, and I speak to groups all over the world on the subject.

I am sure you all have heard all kinds of reasons why the traditional way is not the way to go, and we are not discussing shiduchim made by friends.
Actually the traditional way is the best and ultimately the only method, but there are many who do not agree, so let us see how we can minimize problems in other methods.
Please so not consider that any of the following are what a Chassidishe bocher or Kallah meidel may try, but there are many degrees and levels of people and maybe someone who reads this is not going to try the previously discussed ways.

A way could be to try to meet girls at frum single events or shabatons, at shabbos tables or weddings etc. This means taking matters initially in one’s own hands, but it is a good idea to consequently follow up with a request to a parent or shadchan to make inquiries and find out about the person one is interested in and be an intermediary.

There are pitfalls in this method, not least of Tznius, but as long as parents or other married adults are involved from the beginning, matters may turn out well. A lot of couples who are now in their 50's and older have met in this way, and many propose that there is nothing wrong in this method because it had worked with them, or their parents, or grand-parents, etc.
What we forget maybe, is that the world was a lot bigger then. Which means that generally people met others of like mindset and upbringing, similar backgrounds etc. People were also a lot more moral and the mainstream did not have to worry about a lot of the problems we have today. Many actions were unthinkable, which these days are accepted. So we live in a much more dangerous society (to our way of life, not specifically security wise) than the society older generations lived in.

To be continued.


rosie said...

Those shadchanim who charge up front should state exactly what they are going to do for the money. If they are really going to spend the time trying to find a suitable shidduch, then they are worth the money. If however, their attitude is once they receive the money, they don't want to be pestered as to what efforts they are making, it is probably money down the drain (unless it can be considered maaser).
One shadchan who charges a large upfront fee, is at least available by email and does answer within 2 days. Others that I have experienced, took the money and put the name in a notebook. We never became aware of any efforts at all being made.