The Post-Shidduch Crisis
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October 28, 2009 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #590710
From an article by Rabbi Avi Billet:
At one point a couple of years ago, I personally knew of five marriages and divorces between the same couples that had taken place over a period of ten months. It is sad to think that all the joy, optimism and hope that took place at the wedding resulted in misunderstandings, disrespect (in some cases), and shattered dreams.
Unquestionably, men and women go into marriages with different expectations. Men and women have different needs spiritually, emotionally, and physically. They each bring different strengths to a marriage. But they each need to know in advance that not only is the marriage a partnership, but it is also a team. Sometimes you need to sacrifice yourself so the other person can shine. But the sacrifice helps the team win.
[after 25 years of marriage]
The mizbeach would like to stop crying.October 28, 2009 9:46 pm at 9:46 pm #668547artchillParticipant
Girls being fed doom and gloom statistics+ Shadchanim and families urging to settle+ Short dates+ Minimal communication during engagement+ Chosson parents vs. kallah parents financial squabbles= Chassan/kallah marrying without trusting each other.
Divorce was given in the Torah as an option. No one is required to live in misery. HOWEVER, we as an Am Kodesh should insist that organizations with FALSE agendas, FALSE statistics, and FALSE endorsements stop sewing desperation into the hearts of people. The solution of one “crisis” is often a far more serious crisis.October 28, 2009 9:49 pm at 9:49 pm #668548truthsharerMember
Very true indeed.
There is an organization, I think Shalom Task Force?? that runs seminars for engaged couples to learn how to communicate.October 28, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm #668549bubbyrMember
My “Chareidi/Yeshivash? nieces get engaged after 6 dates, and will make a decision about marriage after only 3 dates!!?
I do not understand this at all !!! How does one get to know someone without contact and conversation.
You MUST get past “your best face forward” before you even begin true communication and the sharing of intimate values.
Getting married is scary, it SHOULD be scary, this is an enormous decision to make, but how does one make a decision without information?
AND, so I was told, that once the couple get engaged, their contact is limited, he goes back to learning full term, and she takes care of the wedding. This makes no sense.
If you only get to know your spouse after the Chuppah, what happens when you find out you don’t really like him/his hashkafah/his attitude towards family/his attitude towards his partner, etc, etc, etc.
I have two nieces (amongst many) who have already divorced – how sad and traumatic for them and for all of us.October 28, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm #668550
artchill: + Societal influences ie: the “Me” generation, our “disposable” society, the What’s-in-it-for-me attitude, false expectations of “romance” and “falling in love”, the expectation of immediate gratification, etc.October 29, 2009 3:35 am at 3:35 am #668551
I once heard a statistic from a speaker that 85% of divorces could have been prevented. NOBODY is perfect. You’re a human being, and so is your spouse. That was Rabbi billet’s whole point.October 29, 2009 8:55 am at 8:55 am #668552PhyllisMember
I once heard a speaker say, we all want perfect husbands/wives…but are you perfect? So if ur spouse was perfect why would he/she marry you????October 29, 2009 9:05 am at 9:05 am #668553PosterMember
For those of you that blame divorces on couples dating for too short…Take a look at the Non Jewish dating system. People date for months, sometimes years before they get married. Some even live with their Boy/girl friends for periods of time to “get to know who they really are”. Do you see less devorces there? On the contrary; their divorce rate is much higher. SO that is certainly not ligit.
In my community we date for short, btwn 3-6 times, and B”H we have very happy tales to tell.
Mybe you want to blame divorces on spoild children, unrealistic expectations or bad middos, but certainly not on a dating system that has proven itself time and time again.October 29, 2009 2:29 pm at 2:29 pm #668554justin2Member
While “dating for too short” is not the only reason why couples are getting divorced, in certain cases, it definitely is a major contributing factor.October 29, 2009 3:01 pm at 3:01 pm #668555
justin2, au contraire.
“Dating too long” while may not be the only reason couples divorce, frequently it is a major cause.
Indeed the divorce rates are notably higher amongst the long daters.October 29, 2009 3:16 pm at 3:16 pm #668556rescue37Participant
Looking at the Non-Jewish system cannot be used as a comparrison since the attitude and behavior is different. To compare you need to look at similar attitudinal populations such as the non yeshia/chassidish population or the religious non-jewish population.October 29, 2009 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #668557anon for thisParticipant
What’s your source for that, Mezonos Maven?October 29, 2009 3:25 pm at 3:25 pm #668558questionMember
“What’s your source for that, Mezonos Maven?”
how about taking a look at the chasidishe community? is the divorce rate at all higher?October 29, 2009 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #668559anon for thisParticipant
If the divorce rate is lower in the chassidishe community than in the litvishe community, than it might be because they date for a shorter amount of time, or it might be because of other differences between the chassidishe & litvishe communities (maybe it’s because the spouses are closer in age). In order to know that dating for longer leads to more divorces, one would have to compare two groups who are otherwise similar, one dating longer & one dating shorter, to see which group has a higher divorce rate.October 29, 2009 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm #668560
question basically gave you the answer. The divorce rate IS notably lower by Hasidic couples (and as an aside, I would STRONGLY opine their marriages generally happier — but that is a side point), as testified by, amongst others, the famous MO marriage counselor (who I believe is also a psychiatrist) that has a regular column in the Jewish Press. I forget her name at the moment, something Dr. R…October 29, 2009 3:36 pm at 3:36 pm #668561artchillParticipant
Abusive husbands and family are THE cause.
As I have said a zillion times:
If there is a history of abuse or estrangement in the family, WATCH OUT. It makes no difference how old a person is, ABUSE is not something you can accept or settle for. It’s up to you to make your own decision, but know the ramifications ahead of time.October 29, 2009 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #668562
anon: You’ll never find two groups that are the same in all other regards except short vs. long dating. In any event, both litvish and chasidish do short dating, and their divorce rate I would venture to say is notably lower than the outside frum community.
artchill: The blame certainly is equally shared by abusive wives.October 29, 2009 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #668563
artchill: Abusive husbands?
I know several divorced fathers/men. Why are they always being bashed? Are you saying that women do not share some of the blame for the divorce?October 29, 2009 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #668564says whoMember
Could someone here who is married for 5 years knowing their spouse as if now, say that they knew their spouse when they got ingaged because they were dating longer?October 29, 2009 3:48 pm at 3:48 pm #668565mazal77Participant
Chasidic marriages have lower divorce rates, because, the couples usually come from similar background and upbringings.
Therefore they have the same goals and ideals.
So no, I don’t think short term dating is the problem.October 29, 2009 4:24 pm at 4:24 pm #668566truthsharerMember
Also, divorce is a big taboo, so they don’t divorce. You can’t compare the two.
The non-Jewish world doesn’t have a big taboo for divorce, so that is why it’s much higher. You are all kidding yourself if you think we’re any better just because the divorce rate is lower. The divorce rate is lower because divorce is taboo and it “ruins” shidduchim.October 29, 2009 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #668567
There is an increase of divorce in the Chasidishe oilam, too. Who says it is lower or higher? Are there statistics to prove this or a quote from a someone “in the know” regarding this?
It may also be that divorce is more of a stigma in the Chasidishe communities and that may prevent unhappy couples from actually divorcing.October 29, 2009 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #668568
Also, Chassidish couples aren’t necessarily looking to be soulmates. He’s the totty, she’s the mommy, he hangs out with his friends, she hangs out with hers.October 29, 2009 4:55 pm at 4:55 pm #668569DaniBMember
This is a very interesting topic. Over the past month I have heard of three Orthodox couples who were divorced within a year of their marriage. I was shocked initially. I didn’t realize this was a new phenomenon within the Orthodox community and it amazes me. That being said I agree that as far as my limited knowledge goes that yes, in the secular world divorce is a much bigger problem. While I cannot fathom agreeing to spend my life with someone after 6 dates, I don’t think that living together does much to help a relationship either. Is there any middle ground? Statistically you are more likely to get divorced if you live with your partner before your marriage. Some very good friends of mine (secular) who lived together for 5 years before getting married are getting a divorce now, only 6 months after their marriage… all these bonds dissipating are very tragic. I think commitment in general is not taken as seriously in the younger generation. People in previous generations seemed to look at life differently. Sometimes I wonder if we’re even equipping our youth with life tools anymore. Society paints a very sad portrait of where we are all headed.October 29, 2009 7:09 pm at 7:09 pm #668571gavra_at_workParticipant
I will contrast four real-life examples that I am aware of (tangentally), and you hopefully will understand you are all correct, but there is an additional important point which explains (somewhat) chassidish marriages.
Girl 1: Guy marries girl. Girl is completely unresponsive to hugs, etc from spouse. Guy sees that her family is similar (no warmth) and divorces. (would also include as “family” related)
Family 1: Guy marries girl. After 6 mo, they go to a Rav asking for a divorce. Rav asks why, parents of guy & girl start yelling. Rav pulls guy & girl into room, asks why. Guy & girl say nothing we can’t work out, but parents are pushing. Rav forbids children from speaking to parents for 6mo to a year, and they stay married. (in a chassish marriage, this is more abnormal, as the dating process is more the parents & less the couple)
Guy 1: Guy is told by rabbonim to go out, and marries girl. Two weeks after marriage, girl finds guy in “immoral place”, divorces guy (who seems to have done the same before marriage). She now has a son.
Guy/Girl (may be the most common?): Guy marries girl, is told girl will solve all taivah problems. Girl is not interested/willing/understanding. Guy feels he is better off trying someone else and/or starts looking around, and divorces girl.
the guy/girl example does not normally happen in the chassidish world, due to it being more insular (no good way to put it for the olam), and the woman having less independence and having to follow the husband’s lead (which makes for, in the end, a happier marriage).
Possible solution?: The boy has to know that marriage is not THE solution, but perhaps part of it, and the girls have to be taught that they can not possibly understand, since they are not boys, but still need to follow their husband’s lead.
EDITEDOctober 29, 2009 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #668572Pashuteh YidMember
If couples would remember the following rule, it would help. Every time you put a smile on the face of your spouse, give yourself a point. The one with the most points wins.
People need to be involved with their spouses interests. Even if it doesn’t interest you personally, if it interests your spouse, try to be a part of it in some way. This goes for their friends, family, hobbies, etc. When you ignore or turn up your nose at something that is dear to your spouse, you are setting yourself up for a big problem.
One further thing is that men need to learn that women are looking more for emotional closeness than physical closeness. Women need to learn that men will always be interested in physical appearance, etc. So both need to do what pleases the other. Initially, men worship their wives just by virtue of the fact that they are female. They will do anything for them. But as soon as a woman lets herself down and starts whining about something trivial, all the attraction can go down the drain in one minute, and can be lost for good. Women need to understand that men want to view them as goddesses. This means that women must appreciate the beauty Hashem has endowed her with. A man thinks that such amazing female beauty is mesmerizing. But women think of themselves as just humans like everyone else. If a woman might get upset over some trivial detail like her husband brought home the wrong color napkins, the man can’t figure it out. He thinks, she is a millionaire because of her natural gifts, and now she is worrying about a few cents? Why doesn’t she appreciate who she is and what she has that everybody thought she was the best looking girl in the country? She is acting like an immature spoiled child, and what happened to the fact I thought I was married to a godess? I was in an illusion. Once the magic goes out the window, the entire marriage may follow.
Women need to use their inborn beauty and kindness to advantage and keep the magic going their entire lives. They need to not fall into the trap of being human. As long as their husbands think they are godesses, they will do anything to please them. Of course the husband must be a baal midos, but he naturally will act his best if he is enthralled with his wife. When someone stops liking somebody, and you lecture him on trying to act like a baal midos, it often doesn’t work, since deep down he is unhappy with the person. Better to keep the magic of dating going your whole life.October 29, 2009 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #668573
My wife is always laughing at me. Does that win me points?
She also always reminds me, “Happy wife, happy life.” That works. She makes it work.
Someone once suggested to me that in time of marital strife, get out the Ketubah, and read it, both of you.
EDITEDOctober 29, 2009 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #668574PosterMember
For any of lucky ones out there that are happily married Baruch Hashem ( to all singles out there, yes, there are some pple that ARE happily married) Always appreciate the gift of Shalom Bayis, and never stop davening that you find chein in the eyes of your spouse and vs versa.October 29, 2009 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #668575ChopsMemberOctober 29, 2009 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #668576
Divorce SHOULD be stigmatized, as it rightly is in the frum (litvish, chasidish, sefardic) communities.) Otherwise it would be more prevalent, and as several (Billet, Jothar) commented divorce already is TOO prevalent — couples unfortunately already get divorced TOO quickly. We need to encourage couples to stay together, not get divorced.
There is very good reason that we stigmatize divorce.October 29, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm #668577Pashuteh YidMember
There is an old joke about a lady who meets her friend, and the friend asks her how her daughter is doing. She says, she is married to a very successful businessman. The friend says, I thought he was a doctor. The lady says, no, that was her first husband. The friend starts scratching her head and says, but wait, I seem to remember something about him being a wealthy lawyer. The lady says, that was the second husband. So the friend says, Wow, so much nachas from one daughter.October 29, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm #668578
is there any halachic reason why divorce should be stigmatized? Doesn’t that put the people who have been divorced at a great disadvantage in finding a new mate and a better life? I always thought we weren’t supposed to stigmatize necessary divorces or divorcees.October 29, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm #668579
Chazal and the Seforim have always discouraged divorce. Too many unnecessary divorces take place. The stigmitization is prior to divorce, not post-fact.October 29, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm #668580questionMember
pashuteh yid: chazal say “love that is based on “something” will not last”. love is not supposed to be based on external factors otherwise, like you say, once the magic wears off, he’s ready for divorce. the word ahavah comes from the root word “to give”-when both partners give to the other unconditionally, without thinking of what they will get in return, that is true ahavah.October 30, 2009 1:12 am at 1:12 am #668581
Thank you, Mez. Maven, for the clear explanation.October 30, 2009 2:27 am at 2:27 am #668582SJSinNYCMember
You can’t compare to the outside world. From what I understand, the reason so many people get divorced after living together a long time is that they get married to hold the relationship together. Usually after a few years their relationship is failing and they want the next step – children or marriage – to hold them together. It fails because the relationship was already failing.
Divorce should NOT be stigmatized otherwise you will have people stay in terrible abusive relationships.
IMHO, relationships succeed when both parties want to make it succeed and both parties have good chemistry (meaning, how they interact with each other). If you both WANT to make it work then you can. So long as the basic chemistry is there (if you don’t like a person, how can you deal with them?)
I personally could not marry without really knowing a person. I dated my husband for 1.5 years and we were engaged for 9 months. We were in school together so we spent a lot of time together. We were also very honest with each other (especially about our shortcomings and life goals) and were able to hash out a lot of issues before getting married (we came from somewhat different backgrounds so there were issues to discuss).
I don’t think short dating is a definite cause, but it could lead towards someone making the wrong choice based on a lack of information.October 30, 2009 5:04 am at 5:04 am #668583haifagirlParticipant
Wow SJS. I’m glad that worked for you. I can’t imagine knowing by bashert for over 2 years before getting married. For me that would by torturous.October 30, 2009 7:28 am at 7:28 am #668584rebetzinParticipant
I think Jothar makes a very important point about chassidish couples not expecting to be soulmates. And I wonder if that’s the way it was for everyone up until a few generations ago, and that’s why there were less divorces. Looking back at my grandparents, I don’t think either set was too blissfully married, but I don’t think divorce was ever considered as an option either. Marriage was looked at as a commitment for life, as it should be, except in extreme circumstances. Between wars, sickness and everything, I wonder if they didn’t even necessarily expect to be happily married. It was enough not to be completely miserable.
So I don’t know if we’re better off today when we expect our spouses to be our best friends. When it works out, it’s beautiful. But when it doesn’t, an entire family could be broken up if people don’t view marriage as a lifetime commitment.
This is my personal theory but I think there’s some truth to it.November 2, 2009 2:22 pm at 2:22 pm #668585jewish and working 22Member
My two cents (as usual):
“Relationships don’t work the way they do on television and in the movies. Will they? Won’t they? And then they finally do, and they’re happy forever. Gimme a break. Nine out of ten of them end because they weren’t right for each other to begin with, and half of the ones who get married get divorced anyway, and I’m telling you right now, through all this stuff I have not become a cynic. I haven’t. Yes, I do happen to believe that love is mainly about pushing chocolate covered candies and, y’know, in some cultures, a chicken. You can call me a sucker, I don’t care, because I do believe in it. Bottom line is: it’s couples who are truly right for each other wade through the same fights as everybody else, but the big difference is they don’t let it take them down. One of those two people will stand up and fight for that relationship every time. If it’s right, and they’re real lucky, one of them will say something.”November 2, 2009 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #668586cantoresqMember
I’ve been practicing matrimonial law, mainly in the frum community, for fifteen years. I think I know a big about the subject. The truth is there is no one cause or reason why frum people divorce. We are like the rest of the world, and all the reasons people divorce apply. Sometimes people have differing expectations of marriage that cannot be reconciled. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of rank immaturity. People sometimes grow apart. Another big cause is a trauma to the marital relationship brought about by one spouse’s conduct. But there is no one cause, and anyone who thinks that the issue can be successfully addressed by identifying one root cause and “fixing” it, is deluding themself. Marriage is not panacea for what ails the soul. No one’s life gets easier, or better simply by dint of marriage. It is a social institution; one we deem necesary to preserve root and fibre of our social ethos. But since it is predicated on interpersonal relationships, it is fraught with risks. People are people, they have moments of greatness and (hopefully rare) instances of depredation. Both, the good and bad, influence a relationship. But we frum Jews, who in one form or another must relate to the world around us, are not immune from that which can infect and even kill a marriage, the same pathogens that assail non-Jewish or non-frum marriages, attack ours as well.November 2, 2009 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #668587
what pathogens would you particularly be wary of, cantoresq?November 2, 2009 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #668588cantoresqMember
As I said before, I can’t pinpoint a single cause for why people divorce. But in my estimation, based on observation, a failure of communication is always part of the breakdown of a marriage. Remember the opposite of love is not hate; it’s ambivalence. Non-communication is emblematic of ambivalence. I’ve also seen that people who have the happiest marriages are those who have excellent communication skills, who are able to convey their thoughts effectively, respectfully and with the precise amount of intensity. If one sees a growing inability to communicate with one’s spouse, it’s a telltale sign something is very wrong in a marriage.November 2, 2009 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm #668589devoMember
Wow! what an interesting topic. I wonder where our shidduch system comes from. Can’t we do it in a way that is good for everyone? Some people are mature enough to have a good relationship after only a few dates, so why shouldn’t they get married right away. But if you’re not compatible, why torture yourself and get into a relationship that will just break up later in a divorce?! Where’s the logic in that?November 2, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm #668592YW Moderator-80Member
Me as a divorce frum person thought I was immune, my life was perrfect, my husband involved in Torah, my children in yeshivas with the Tora guiding us why should I ever get divorced, well sadly it happened and it hurts I didnt look for it, I am not an stadistic I am a human being with feelings, dreams and life ahead. never thought it was going to happen but it did and I blame my pure idealisim instead of looking at the person , his middos etc. I thought that his idealisim for Tora and mitzvot was the answer to a perfect marriage… Wrong, and the fact that people do not get divorce as much as in other circles it is just the fact that people are afraid of people. It is not fun to be divorced and be pointed at. I do not wish it to anybody but now I think to myself . Why did I wait so long?November 18, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm #668593
The November 4 issue of mishpacha had an interview with Rav Dovid Weinberger Shlit”a. As someone who is involved with dealing with much of the community’s issues, he is someone who knows the deal with what’s causing the divorce crisis. He lists:
1. Internet- people MUST have it filtered.
2. Untznius workplaces which affect the men in ways the women just don’t realize.
3. Cellphone-crackberry addiction- the woman gets the impression his Crackberry is more important to him than she is.
4. Couples eating out together and going on joint vacations together.
Many people were unimpressed when I mentioned that my Rosh Hayeshiva ZT”L would recommend against couples eating out together or being frequent guests. It appears that this really IS a significant cause of divorce in our communityNovember 18, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm #668594
I am not clear about the link between mixed eating out and mixed frequent visiting leads to divorce. Can you please expand on that a bit?November 19, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am #668595mybatMember
Jothar, I agree with your points, they make a lot if sense. I’m sure that many times divorce happens because of other problems like addictions or severe psychological problems that unfortunately no one was aware of before the marriage.November 19, 2009 12:23 am at 12:23 am #668596oomisParticipant
And just as many couples who NEVER socialize (that’s probably a major problem of sholom bayis for them, btw) also break up. I am bothered by this “list.” Some of the points the Rov makes (internet filtering and over use of the cellphone)are absolutely on point. But to say outright that the workplace is at fault or inviting friends out to dinner is at fault, is a little misleading. Part of the reason for the rising divorce rate is that we have raised a generation of people who do not know the acceptable and natural, healthy way to interact with each other. If you cannot have a simple conversation with someone of the other gender without it leading to something untzniusdik, then you have not been exposed to the opposite gender in a normal way.
Someone who will fool around in the workplace will ALWAYS find a place to behave in such a disgusting manner. If someone cannot eat a meal with another couple without it leading to something untzniusdik, that says something really scary to me about his upbringing, though I am sure there is a percentage of divorces among the entire population of divorced couples for whom this was an issue.
To point to these specific issues as the cause for the divorce crisis,however, is a little unrealistic, IMO. Maybe the present shidduch system and rush to an early engagement with someone one barely knows, and rushing further to an even quicker chuppah, is the REAL reason behind all these divorces. Our young couples are getting married for the wrong reasons to the wrong people, and with unrealistic expectations that have been drummed into them in seminary. The girls have stars in their eyes thinking of the wonderful N’shei Chayil Kollel wives they will be, and after the third baby in as many years, with no real independent parnassah on the horizon except for what the wives bring in, the disillusionment is devastating. And if we can be non-emotional for the moment and be honest with ourselves, maybe some of us will realize that what I just said is true. Not pleasant to hear, but true, nonetheless.November 19, 2009 1:21 am at 1:21 am #668597
oomis, the rav is DIRECTLY involved in counseling and divorce cases. His community is a more modern one. He knows what causes the problems he sees, and what comes out during the counseling sessions. And his findings disagree with your perceptions. Sometimes real life doesn’t jive well with ivory-tower theories.November 19, 2009 2:10 am at 2:10 am #668598mybatMember
Oh, and don’t think that the divorce rate amongst the irreligious is lower because they know how to interact with the other gender. Its not.
Infidelity and financial problems are leading causes of divorce in many circles, so yes, we do have to be careful and have tziniut socially and in the workplace. Knowing that my husband still has to go to work everyday.
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