Why are today’s singles finding it so difficult to settle down? Why are marriages not as long-lasting as they once were? How can we as a community help rectify this so that our singles quickly find life-long relationships they so deeply desire?
The answers typically depend on who you ask.
Shadchanim (matchmakers) say singles are too picky. They don’t give good options a chance and aren’t willing to explore outside their comfort zone. We live in an entitled Amazon Generation and if it doesn’t come in the package they want, they’ll just ship it back.
Singles say they aren’t being set up with the type of person they desire. We wait for someone to think of us, only to be disappointed and often insulted by their suggestion. Why does it feel like we are set up simply and solely on the basis that we both happen to be single?
Men say theprevailing definition of a “successful man” is unrealistic; and that women complain they don’t have dates, yet they are quick to say no and don’t give potential relationships a chance. Women say men are consumed with looks, and if a woman “isn’t their look” they don’t give potential relationships a chance; and that men have so many options available that they rarely take the time to fully invest in their current relationship.
And don’t forget parents. We’re willing to do anything and everything to get our children married, they say. Yet when suggestions arise that are not quite what they expect, they are often quick to encourage their children to move on to other options.
Other factors get the blame as well. Are today’s singles too busy building their careers to focus on dating and relationships? Is the problem single-parent households that lack couples for children to emulate, or marriages with quiet underlying dysfunction that do not chart a healthy path for our children to follow? Is it that there are more women than men, or the spread between the average marriage age between genders?
Whatever your beliefs, we should be in agreement that this is a huge problem and that there are unborn generations that we will never meet because of this painful reality. There will never be one solution that will satisfy each and every gripe on this topic. Pointing fingers at one another won’t resolve the conflict. All we can do is point to ourselves, take ownership, and make ourselves more open-minded to another’s perspective. What we can focus on as individuals is the work we all must do to bring us to where we need to be.
Yes, singles need to be more open-minded to ideas outside of their comfort zone. Yes, they need to seek help from therapists and dating coaches to figure out what may be holding them back from finding the right one. They probably do need to go out with someone who is shorter, older, or less educated than they think they “need.”
Matchmakers and friends also need to listen with more sensitivity and have more compassion with less judgement. As a community, we need to discuss with our singles what they feel would be most beneficial to them.
I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is that if we get into the habit of pointing fingers at others for our struggles and don’t roll up our sleeves to do the hard work, we will never build.
Let’s do that hard work of taking ownership to become greater versions of ourselves so that we can build healthier dating experiences, marriages, and communities, leading by example to help people find the shortest route to their longest relationship.
By Rachel Burnham