Yesterday, ProfK posted a story about an acquaintance of hers who was has a son or daughter (she didn't say which) who was in the process of shidduch dating. The young man or woman had gone out with someone else on a total of seven dates. After the seventh date, the couple decided that the match wasn't right for them.
Rather than simply letting it go and trying to find someone that their kids actually might want to marry, both mothers decided to go after the shadchan. ProfK, who was asked to get involved was surprised that the shadchan was still involved in the process after seven dates. Upon expressing this surprise to her acquaintance, Prof K was told by one of the mothers:
"Of course the shadchan is still involved! You think that kids this young should just be left alone to have to make important decisions like this?! They need someone with experience guiding them. Es past nit that they should be the ones to ask the delicate questions or to put themselves into situations that could get awkward if they don't know what the right answer should be."
Now then, I don't want you to think that this mother comes from some sheltered world where she could not possibly conceive of the idea that a young adult could make a choice for themselves regarding marriage and dating. On the contrary, this woman met her husband by herself and went on many more than seven dates with him. And, yes, they were frum at the time. But I don't really want to address that issue. What I want to address is this woman's attitude toward her child and her quoted statement above.
There are just so many things wrong with it that, when I first read it yesterday, I was completely left speechless. Having had some time to get over my state of flabbergastedness, I have a few thoughts to share on these sixty seven words.
I find it amazing that this woman does not trust her own child enough to come up with the "right answers" to questions posed by the other side, but yet thinks that s/he is actually ready for marriage. What would be next? Would she also think that her kids are too young to be "left alone" to the tasks of running a household and childrearing, or will she engage professionals for them in those areas as well?
I also find it amazing that she believes that while her child is clearly not ready to talk about sensitive topics with his/her date, s/he is ready to actually get married and live with said date.
I find it even more amazing that, at the point where she feels that at the point where an engagement should be in the works that honesty is not the best policy. Notice that she says that things "could get awkward if they don't know what the right answer should be." Um... at the point of an engagement, don't you think that honesty should be the only answer? And don't you think that it could be even *more* awkward if the "wrong answer" were said after marriage? (And, yes, if there is a "wrong answer" to a question, it will come out after marriage. Secrets don't stay buried.)
Sometimes, I wonder if, for people such as these, we shouldn't simply go back to the model of completely arranged marriages. Simply tell the bride and groom when and where to show up and that's that -- they'll meet on their wedding day. Seriously -- if you're going to take the point of view that your child isn't mature enough for the shidduch process but yet mature enough to get married, then why not just skip right to the ceremony?