Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Shidduch System

G asked a fair question in the comments at BadForShidduchim:

In all seriousness.

If The System is so messed up…if a large segment of society realizes this…if there is such frustration with the way things are…why is The System still the system of choice?

LWY responded that he thinks it generally works, as most frum people over 19 are married. Personally, I don't think that that shows that the system works; not only are a large segment of the people who are married people who never utilized the system, there are also those who skipped the system somehow, those who married their high school sweethearts (whether they were allowed to have them or not), and those who "used" the system to date someone they were interested in already. Moreover, as most shidduchim are ideas that people think of and then "set up", it is hard to say that going through the whole process was somehow better than if they simply had received one another's numbers and just started dating on their own.

But I decided to compile a quick list of ten reasons a person might choose to utilize the system despite its many flaws, and posted it in the comments at Bad4; I've decided to repost the comment here, and am curious what y'all think:
If The System is so messed up…if a large segment of society realizes this…if there is such frustration with the way things are…why is The System still the system of choice?

Possible reasons that a given individual might think of and therefore they would choose the system.

1) Works for some.
2) Fear of being “ruined” within the system if one tries to date outside of it.
3) Peer pressure.
4) Believe it is the best route because it is more “tznius”.
5) Believe it is the best route because it “works”.
6) Laziness. [Ex: Much of the work done by others on one's behalf.]
7) Lack of a decent alternative.
8) Inability to utilize other methods well. [Ex: Not comfortable asking someone out.]
9) Discomfort with rejecting/being rejected face-to-face.
10) [Note: Doubtful] Actually enjoys the process on a consistent basis.

I could go on with reasons why people might choose the system despite its many flaws. It doesn’t mean that the flaws don’t exist nor that they shouldn’t be discussed, and if possible, fixed.

As I once put it to a friend - anyone who wishes to work within the shidduch system should feel free to do so. Similarly, all those who don’t wish to work within the system should feel free to do so. Finally, all those who choose either of those directions should not be negatively impacted any time they decide to utilize the other.

Feel free to add on to/disagree with the list, and expound on any thoughts you have about the list in general or any part in specific.

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