I sat down to do homework, but here I am typing out another post.
Another broken engagement. What’s there to say? It makes me wonder.
Let me try to put my thoughts in order.
Why? Why do people commit and then break up? Do they think they know what they want, and then discover otherwise? It’s a troubling thought. Should you set exact specifications for a spouse, to ensure that you never falls for a charmer? I mean, if you don’t know ‘what your looking for’, how do you know when someone nice and likable is definitely and absolutely not what you’re looking for?
How do you know which things are really important and which you can let slide?
How can you tell, based on a date, whether the guy would make a good husband?
“He/she is not for me.” At which point in the process does this suddenly become sharply, glaringly, obvious?
Does something happen during the engagement process specifically that highlights this for people?
How on earth can lil’ ol’ me, with very little experience dealing with the opposite gender (give or take a few brothers) know, based on a handful of dates, what kind of guy I’m getting involved with?
As someone commented on an earlier post, maybe we should date longer? Seriously, I have friends I’ve known for years and they’re still surprising me. Can someone honestly know, after 6-9 dates, that they want to spend the rest of their life with this person?
Some praise the chassidish way, saying you’ll never know anyway, so just dive in head first and decide to stick with it. That the commitment to marriage is more important than any amount of similarity between the two parties. Maybe there’s something to that. After six months of quarreling, at least you can’t blame yourself for falling for a jerk. And yet… two people sharing a roof and unified by a marriage contract doth not a couple make.
I admit I’m biased. I’ve only ever witnessed one chassidish couple at work, but they were horrid. She despised him and he ignored her. Openly. In front of me, a total stranger. I wonder how they relate in private. I wonder what their kids think marriage is about.
The other option is to go the modern route, and date longer. You get to know the person as a friend, and then you can decide if you want to spend the rest of your life with them. This has drawbacks too: you may get to know the person too well to screw up the courage to take the jump. I wouldn’t marry any of my friends if they were male. I know them too well.
But if I had to choose, I’d go this way. Just glancing around at my married friends, I believe the ones who dated longer are happier. There was no whirlwind romance based on some incomplete first impressions. They knew what they were getting, and they were committed to living with it. If you don’t marry the person you became engaged to, why bother trying to keep the relationship alive?
So why don’t people date longer? The pressure to get hitched is overwhelming, or so I’m told. By date number 5, sisters are choosing gowns. Parents greet the girl afterward with an impatient, “Well?” The dating process has been so accelerated that if you get to date 6 your parents begin choosing a hall for the vort. If you get to 8, they’re buying lottery tickets to finance your wedding. At a rate of a date a week, you’re being expected to make a lifetime, almost irreversible decision after a grand total of two months. Is that not freakin’ nuts?! Think about how long it took you to really get to know your seminary roommates. And that’s people you lived with 24/7—people who weren’t putting on their best suit and behavior for you. ‘Nuff said, I think.
…Or is it that some essential information suddenly arises to render the match unsuitable? What sort of information could it be, I wonder. Abusiveness? Serious health issues? What other deep dark secrets might be kept hidden until the last minute?
I think this is long enough. Does anyone have any answers to the questions? I admit, I don’t know any gory details about break-ups and divorces. If I did, would I be reassured or more nervous?