Dear Mrs. Rose,
We have a fabulous daughter in shidduchim. She went to the right schools, seminary, camps. She is a baalas midos, involved in chesed, smart, focused, etc. We are a balabatish family, also involved in the community. After seminary in Israel, she opted to pursue her studies in Brooklyn College. After much soul searching, asking hadracha, and much davening, we agreed to let her pursue her studies there. Everything has been going well, except for the fact that she is not in shidduchim anymore!
She has found "Mr. Right," or so she thinks, on her own. Now, what is she thinking? We are not that kind of home, this is not how things are done, not in our family, not in our community. Mrs. Rose, how can we allow this? And if we do, how can we legitimize the situation so that it does appear to be a Shidduch? Truth be said, he does happen to be a great boy. However, we feel like the "rug has been pulled out from under us." We did not have the option or privilege of checking him out nor his family. We did not have the experience of setting that grand table in anticipation of a boy's arrival for a date. We did not wait up for hours till she came home. All the dating was done on school time. We were presented with a done deal! How should we proceed now?
This letter typifies one of the things that has gone horribly wrong with the world of shidduchim today. This woman* is completely missing the forest for the trees. The goal of shidduchim isn't to "set a grand table" or "wait up for hours till she comes home" or to have the "privilege" of checking out another family. The point is to find a match that will make the bride and groom happy. Everything else, if it needs to be done at all, is just secondary.
In this letter, the daughter has found someone who will make her happy. Furthermore, the mother even agrees that he's a great boy! Instead of being happy for her daughter and her happiness, she's contemplating having her daughter throw it away ("How can we allow this? And if we do...") just so that she won't feel cheated out of what she feels is her due (the ability to set the table, wait up for her, check out the family, etc.). She needs to realize that the shidduch process is not about her and her ability to do these things, it's about her daughter and her daughter's happiness and future. She's completely lost sight of this, and instead is so focused on the little play rituals that go on that she's forgotten the end goal.
* At least I'm assuming it's a woman. The letter sounds like it was written by a woman.