An interesting set of letters has appeared regarding the phenomenon of boys who seek to get married around the age of 23 or more. The gist of the letter is that this is not spiritually healthy, especially in our day where there are many forms of attraction. They state that if a person is as mature and ready at 20 as they will be at 23+ then they should not delay the process of seeking a partner until later. There are numerous ramifications. Time will tell if this advice is efficacious or established.
I read articles like this and feel that I’m left with more questions than answers.
- Are people from arranged marriages more or less likely to admit that they are ‘more‘ in love? One is greater than zero, and two is twice 1.
- Have the arranged marriage respondents been divided amongst the Misnagdic American types (who have some sort of secular education/exposure) and the Chassidic American types who can barely write coherent English? Do we expect the latter to be happier in their marriages than the former? Israelis are another category altogether as the Misnagdic types have less secular education than their American co-religionists.
- Is it about the marriage being arranged that is the issue here or is it about the type of person who agrees to an arranged marriage that is the subject of this study! Do they have different expectations and happiness levels?
- Do the authors of this study believe that if you took centrist orthodox types and created arranged marriages for them, that they would be happier 10 years after marriage as opposed to if they mutually decided on marriage themselves?
- Have the authors differentiated between types of arranged marriage. There are those who use an arrangement simply for a meeting or two or three. Either the boy or the girl can pull out of the arrangement freely whenever they wish without stigma. There are others for whom an arranged marriage means one meeting, at most two meetings, and rarely if ever do they turn down the proposal.
Admittedly, I have not seen the so called “science” behind this sociological study, but I am willing to lay odds that such studies are unscientific and cannot be used to conclude anything.
The one who solely uses arranged marriages will read this and say
“I’m so glad I follow (my) Gedolim. They are right about everything. This is the only way to plan marriage and חדש אסור מן התורה”
The one who doesn’t specify whether arranged or non arranged is the “right” way will say
“Ho hum, another bit of Charedi propaganda. How shallow are these people.”
What say you?