Removing the Blockades that stop Shidduchim from Progressing
The following question appeared in the Yated Shidduch Forum
Most of us approach shidduchim focusing on all the positive aspects and assets that we would like to find in that perfect match. In the event that it does not happen that easily, we might consider a takeoff of the shtetel rov's advice, removing the blockades.
What advice can the Yated panelists offer in this regard? Which areas could use some introspection and revision? Where could and should we all rethink, step up to the plate and compromise on? Which of our "requirements" are in dire need of flexibility? Which of our shidduch demands should and could be negotiable? And by the way, it would not hurt to clarify and itemize which issues are not negotiable at all.
The following is NASI's Response:
Since each and every individual is an olam malei, in place of attempting to address specific scenarios, I would like to introduce the "plus-four rule.” This is a concept that singles have found to be extremely effective in addressing these issues.
Simply put, when considering a shidduch and assessing the suggestion from various angles, think of how you would view this particular shidduch if you were still single four years from now and this precise situation presented itself.
Each and every person has certain considerations that are absolute deal-breakers. And then there are other considerations that four years from now not only would you look past, but if you were still single in four years, you would only wish that such shidduch opportunities came your way.
The plus-four rule says that anything that would not be a deal-breaker in four years should not be a deal-breaker today. By applying this to your decision process, you will afford yourself the best chance to be happily married long before four years pass.
Taking this idea to the next level, assess each shidduch by imagining how you would react had you been engaged to a wonderful person who you greatly respected, valued and trusted, and this question mark was suddenly discovered the day before the wedding (assuming no issue of trust/misleading was in play).
For example, if the day before the wedding it was discovered that the chosson was a convicted ax murderer, undoubtedly that would be the end of the shidduch. Yet, if the day before the chasunah it was discovered that he is two inches shorter than you thought he was, undoubtedly that would be a non-issue (I hope).
There is a large range between ax murderer and two inches shorter. Each and every person needs to think long and hard about where issues such as family situation, personal background, broken engagement, previously married, and myriad specific situations fall. The answer to these questions will and should change the longer one is in shidduchim and based on the shidduch suggestions coming one’s way. However, no matter the situation, remember the plus-four/day-before-my-wedding rule and you'll be happy you did.
At risk of oversimplification, in general, there are issues of character and issues of "trappings/packaging.” Serious character issues can be deal-breakers. Trappings and packaging are just that - trappings and packaging.
Here is one anecdote of many: There was an extremely special, one-of-a-kind young woman who was in her high-twenties. Over time, she had grown to approach her shidduchim with this "plus-four/day-before-my-wedding" mindset. Along came a shidduch suggestion with a wonderful ben Torah who had been previously married and had a child. This was the kind of situation that many young women in her shoes would not have entertained. Having adopted this approach - and with the involvement of trusted mentors - the shidduch was launched. Today, they have a beautiful family.
I am happy to share what we have learned over the last decade via input from tens of shadchanim, singles, dating mentors, and trial and error. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a presentation.
Director, NASI Project