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Navigating the Dating Maze

Rosie Einhorn, LCSW, and Sherry Zimmerman, JD, M.Sc.

The rising divorce rate among newlyweds is alarming. And often, the source of the problem isn’t what happens after marriage, but the fact that these two people should never have gotten married in the first place. How to date wisely — and for the long term.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not long after Suri* returned home from seminary, she begged her parents to let her begin shidduchim. All her friends were dating and she didn’t want to be left behind. Suri’s parents wanted her to mature some more and choose a career first. But after perpetual pleas from their daughter, they eventually gave in. A short while later, Suri decided she had found “the one.” Menachem was the second boy she dated, and the young couple wanted to get engaged after three weeks. Try as they might, Suri’s parents couldn’t persuade their headstrong daughter to take more time. As they helped her plan her wedding and set up an apartment, they continued to worry: Was she really ready for marriage?  Six weeks after the wedding, Suri showed up at her parents’ door in tears. “You were right,” she admitted. “I shouldn’t have rushed into things.” Most of us know of couples like Suri and Menachem whose marriages end a short time after the chuppah. Often, this happens because the couple shouldn’t have gotten engaged in the first place. Through our work with daters and couples for more than three decades — in premarital therapy, couples’ counseling, and family law — we’ve observed a number of factors that contribute to the phenomenon of premature or ill-advised engagements and marriages. Please note: This article addresses the shidduch system that has been adopted by the yeshivah world. There is certainly much value to alternative systems, such as that used in the chassidish world. While not all our advice will be relevant to those using other systems, we believe that many of the pointers will have value for anyone in shidduchim.

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