MAILBAG: Want To Get Married? Keep It Sweet And Simple

I know there’s a lot of talk about the shidduch crisis and how to solve it, and that’s great. But there’s a problem within the shidduch system itself that has reached crisis level, in my opinion. And that problem is too much research.

I got a call recently from the mother of a young man inquiring about a girl that I knew. For nearly two hours, I was peppered with questions ranging from her hashkafos (“Does she believe dinosaurs existed?”) to her personality, to her dress (“When you say she dresses nice, does that mean nice nice, or nerdy nice?”).

The interrogation went on and on, until my husband literally came over and clicked the “end” button on my phone. Normally that would upset me, but this wasn’t one of those times.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only time I got such a call. Over and over again, the mothers of both boys and girls are digging so deep into prospective shidduchim that there is almost no chance of a shidduch ever going through.

What this is doing is ignoring a basic concept in marriage and relationships in general: chemistry. When a boy and girl meet, all that matters is that they have the same general hashkafos. Everything else barely matters at all. Why? Because of chemistry.

No shadchan would have ever thought of putting us together. We wound up together because a shadchan who only knew my husband and heard my name and about my general hashkafos thought it made sense. Our families don’t match, our personalities don’t match. But it works – amazingly well, too.

If either of our parents had gone digging for every piece of information they could get, we never would have dated, never mind gotten married.

We need to allow chemistry to work its magic. We’ve made the shidduch scene so robotic that we don’t let hashgacha and Hashem’s Hidden Hand to do its work. And that has to change.



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  1. This is a bunch of malarkey. Research is the most important aspect of shidduchim. G-d forbid to allow infatuation (“chemistry”) to take hold before finding out there’s a hashkafic, halachic or other background incompatibility.

    • In order to reduce the amount of time that the unwed mixed-gender couple spends interacting with each other,
      many people have sought to upgrade their levels of tznua by outsourcing all of the dating questions to the reference calls.

      References are happy to say nice basic things about the singles and their families, but they refuse to answer ALL of the dating questions on their behalf. Unfortunately, too many inquiring parties have blurred the distinction between “reference questions” versus “dating questions.”
      Too often, if a reference doesn’t the have answer to the latter types of questions, the inquiring party will uselessly nix the prospect.
      Perhaps someone needs to write a new Kitzur Shulchan Aruch on setting boundaries between Shidduch reference questions and dating questions.

      Ari Rosman

  2. As a Bochur who is about to enter the Parsha, I must respectfully disagree with you. There is just no way I can marry someone with a different outlook then me on the more efficient brand of concrete pumps employed in Southwestern Uganda in 1954.


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