Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I’m not back .. but..

Have you guys realized how difficult it is to make a commitment these days? Everyone talks about the dating crisis and we all want to be able to explain it and solve it - well here is my attempt.

I think we live in a society where we have lost the ability to commit. In order to get married, you need to make a conscious, clearheaded decision to spend the rest of your life with one person. Every day, for the rest of your life, you will have to see this person, share a house with this person, eat dinner with this person, discuss your life issues with this person, have children with this person, share a mortgage with this person, go on vacation with this person... It’s forever.

(am I the only one getting sweaty palms and heart palpitations just from writing/reading this??)

I was thinking about how people have been picking a mate or getting married throughout history and it's never been a problem as it is today. Why is it so much more difficult for us then it was for them? Didn’t they have the same worries and fears? Weren’t they as commitment phobic as we are? What’s changed between then and now?

When I look at how I live my life today I realize that there is nowhere else and nothing else in my life that requires a strong commitment.

Education is inexpensive, I can get a degree and then decide not to work in that field! Can you imagine anyone doing that 30-50 years ago?! People slaved so they could go to college, it was a commitment.

Someone can start a career in one field and 10 years later decide to switch careers – something unheard of to our parents.

Clothing, we have in bulk. Who worries when buying an article of clothing that they will be “stuck with it” - but our grandparents must have felt that way. If you have two suits, one for the week and one for shabbos, you’re going to have to use your committing skills to buy your suits. They’re there for good! Every day! But we don’t have that problem - how many of us have clothes hanging in our closet that still have the tag attached?

The truth is, many of us don’t even try clothes on in the store anymore, we buy what we like, go home, try it on, and if we don’t like it, we return it. Refund policies save us from making a commitment even after we’ve paid!

How many of us feel pressured when we buy a car? Who needs to even buy one – just lease! 3 years later you can get a new car!

We can’t even set up an appointment with a friend and commit to it. We agree to call each other an hour before - to confirm. We all have cell phones, 20 years ago if you had to meet a friend in the evening, you made plans the evening before, knowing you wouldn’t be able to reach them until then. Today we agree to discuss it one wants to commit – to anything! Not only don’t we want to, but we don’t need to.

So.. in a society where everything is a disposable commodity, including people, how can we be expected to commit to another human being for the rest of our lives. "I have to pick ONE person – FOREVER?! What’s the exchange policy? The refund policy? THERE IS NONE?!"

Think about it, when was the last time you had to make a real long term commitment without the option of safely backing out? Of course there’s a dating/shidduch/marriage crisis, our committing muscles are shrinking!

We don’t feel the need to get too involved in anything or with anyone. Our connections turn out to be superficial, because those are the muscles we’ve developed – we can connect in a shallow, safe way because we know that we always have the option of backing out. Whether it’s buying a first house, with a $5000 down payment, or leasing a car, or making a big trip on air miles we earned buying countless things we didn’t really need, the result is that we never feel the need to get overly connected, overly involved, overly committed to any decision we make.

Last year I got stuck in a one year apartment lease with a roommate I didn’t want to be with anymore – let me know tell you, the hardest part about the whole ordeal was knowing that I was “stuck”, that I couldn’t pick up and go. I felt so frustrated with myself for committing to a one year obligation that I had no way out of – and now I’m expected to commit to a lifetime roommate??

Someone please tell me how it’s done - I can honestly say that my commitment muscles have completely atrophied and I really don’t understand how others do it, or have done it.

Any words of wisdom to share?

And now.. I’ll BRB..


At Wednesday, January 10, 2007 12:02:00 PM, Blogger yingerman said...

'Asey lecha rav'
Get a rabbi/rebetzin.
Let me explain
I've written this before.

If say at a public function, like a wedding or whatever, Rav Pam walked up to you(, hey Rav Pam is dead! I know thats why I chose him,) so, Rav Pam says to you "Mookie look over there, see that guy on the other side of the mechitza dancing up a storm?"
You nod your head.
"Well you've been davining so well lately, that Hashem sent me down to tell you, thats your zivug. Mookele that young man is going to make you happier than anyone else on the planet."
And with that Rav Pam turns and walks towards the exit, his body opaquing(?) and completely vanishing before he quite makes it out the door.

When the shock diminishes and the babbling of loshen hora returns to full swing, people confirm to that, in fact, that was Harav Pam, and what did he want with you, what did he say, etc.
Naturally your inner tznius tells you to keep it zipped, but you immediately start inquiries to who the heck is that wierdo on the mens dance floor.

Could this happen? I doubt it.
But imagine if you had a shaychus with a rav/rebbetzin that was known for his/her siyata d'shmaya.
Would you accept, that a shidduch they spoke, was the absolute correct one?
My rav, who passed away years back, when spoken to about Spousy and me, said "dus is an amess'n zivug" (this is a true tzivug) so I'm confident that I made the right choice and even when I argue with her, deep down I KNOW that there is no one better out there, for me.

Sorry, I know theres probably lots of people who preach to you, and you might be tired of the crap, but I mean it, for your sake.

B'korov :)

At Wednesday, January 10, 2007 12:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


like i said, this is publishable material!

At Wednesday, January 10, 2007 12:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we live in a DISPOSABLE ERA evretything is disposable, that's what todays sociaty is about, no commitment, it's a shame, but as torah yidden we can knw and do better.

I agree with Yingerman's advice, it is true that getting a personal connection with a nice Ruv or Rebbetzin can help guide you, and can make a big differnce in your life.

I wish you mazel and brocha!

At Wednesday, January 10, 2007 3:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

one more important point.
You need to remember that it is entirely not on your shoulders, allthough it seems like it is, hashem is controling us, and 40 days before you were concieved, Hashem has anounced in heaven loud and clear who your true bashert will be iy"h, we only need to let our selves be led, by the one above.
so how do you know? that question wil be automaticaly answered when you meet him, iy"h soon, you will just know.

Shiduchim are amazing, and on can see hahsem's hand pretty openly, how when the right shiduch and time comes nothing could stop it, not even bad inofrmation etc. it'll just click into place, like the right puzzle piece.

It is only untill then, that things look confusing, but if u keep asking hahshem to guide you, and keep you eyes open, you shall see amazing things of the wonderful ways of hahshem.

My father used to say "if it's not bashert, let THEM say NO"! that is also a way of approach by some, when you can't decide, you let it outplay.

I have gottten carried away again here, it's not my blog, so i'll shut up. i just hope my words are useful.


At Wednesday, January 10, 2007 9:25:00 PM, Blogger Nemo said...

Yingerman- Of course it couldn't happen.... do you think he would come onto the women's side of the Mechitza?

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 2:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

honey,the society we live in today regards marriage as a disposable thing as well.
unfortunatly,but true.

perhaps the only decision without turning back, is the decision to have a child. too little,too late.

of course in a religious society, marriage is B"h NOT viewed this way..
but i couldnt resist mentioning that..twas in my face.

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 2:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

u reach a point, were you gotta leave it to FAITH!
as long as u basically feel its right& have the chemistry , the rest is up to G-d.
one NEVER truly knows what hes getting into until HES married.
seriously, sometimes jumping is not that bad.
ive seen alot of happy deep divin in my days.
trust the l-rd.

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 3:11:00 AM, Anonymous b said...

mookie, u hit the nail on its head!

right home.. ouch!

btw- my word identification letters spelt out nypd. do u suspect me of something??

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 3:12:00 AM, Blogger Dovid said...

Very well written. Any comment would be too personal, but it resonates with me..

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 6:33:00 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

As Nuch said this is the way society works.
I don't drink from glass cups anymore except on Shabbes.
I just threw a towel away because it was too dirty to be washed (ok that's actually a good reason)
But think, as Jew, we already have a full commitment.
We got The Torah so many years ago and there's no way to send it back, to get out of it etc.
If and all other FFB/BT singles can commit to that, then we have a good precedent that tells us that a commitment is not that bad!

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:36:00 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

I'm committed to your blog!

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:58:00 PM, Anonymous yingerman fan said...

I was reading the post and comments, and I agree with Nuch, life does seem to have a noncommiting attitude nowadays.
Noticed that everybody mentioned the throwaway on material stuff but nobody mentioned that due to divorce, the parents also throw away a kids life.
It impacts a child for eternity, so when you make a commitment AND have kids remember that.

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 1:33:00 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

you are 100% right - it's taken me so many years to realize that. I defintiely have rabbis that trust completely, who have proven to me that they are wise and trustowrthy but i realize more and more how useful it would be to have someone like to help me with my decisions. i wont say daily decisions, i like to use my mind and consider myself capable of figuring out a lot on my own, but there are definitely bigger issues which would be resolved much more quickly and with much more ease if i had that help..
i could write a whole post on this, but i really feel its a big problem with BT's. there is lots of kiruv help, to bring you in.. but once youre in.. youre on your own, and this whole idea of making yourself a rav, asking for help, inviting yourself is SO foreign to someone coming from the secular world - its much much harder than shabbos and kosher..

Anonymous 12:29..
publishable for $$? :)

nuch a chosid..
i agree with yingerman too :) and i agree that living a torah life protects us somewhat from that "disposable" mentality, but unfortunately a lot of it seems to have seeped in..

as for your second comment, i agree that it's all in Hashem's hands.. but until the decision/commitment is made, it "feels" like it's in your hands, and you have to make the decision. i agree that it might "all fall into place" but i think thats once the decision is made. before a commitment is made theres always room for a differnet option and thats the difficulty.

actually it could happen, im always standing AT the mechitza, peeking into the men's side :)

Anonymous 2:08..
youre right, how sad..i guess some of us still want something real and long lasting.. hard to make that transition when everything else is disposable.

anonymous 2:12..
youre right, its what it boils down to, but its so much easier said than done, isnt it? :)

that woudl be fun, having control over the word verification :)

so nice to see you here, didnt know you come around :)
unfortunately i think this probably resonates with quite a lot of poeple, but once you realize thats whats going on, its easier to be aware of it as it happens and to try and fix it..|

i agree that the torah teaches us to make a commitment, but.. i think that even in our torah observance we tend to apply this non-commiting attitude..
think about a few generations ago, did poeple even consider going off the derech, or questioning and debating..(im not saying it was better way to be - thats a whole other discussion) but the fact is that poele were committed to Torah and probably very rarely questionned that commitment - today, every one of us probably questions it on a regular basis..

i appreciate your commitment, but please be aware that it comes with no exchange or refund policy! youre STUCK!

yingerman fan..
its so true, even parents cant commit to their childrens wellbeing. even if divorce is necessary there are ways to do it to minimize the negative impact on children, but when you work in the field you realize that lots of poele dont even consider that, they dont realize that their commitment to their children needs to override the commitment to their own ego.

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 6:38:00 PM, Anonymous sabra said...

anonymook, can u email me please?
just bout ur most recent comment on my blog..

At Saturday, January 13, 2007 7:39:00 PM, Blogger the sabra said...

walllla and now i read ur post and i'm with dovid on this one...

hatzlacha rabba from all my heart

At Tuesday, January 16, 2007 6:27:00 PM, Blogger Ariella said...

In truth, we are not completely rational in deciding to get married. Our Sages recognized this fact, which is why they refrained from slaughtering the yetzer hara for arayos like they did for yetzer hara for avoda zara. On a trial basis, it proved a disaster. They concluded that the yetzer is necessary to impel people to acquire houses, marry, and have families. So one's "evil" [here more carnal] inclination pushes one to make that commitment and thus serves the purpose Hashem intended for it.

At Sunday, January 28, 2007 12:34:00 AM, Blogger LT said...

This is actually a question I've been struggling with a lot as well...

I don't think the difficulty comes from making a commitment per se... it comes from making a commitment earlier than people tend to feel comfortable with. I just wrote a whole long post about the supposed "Modern Orthodox Singles Crisis", and I think we *can* find eventual spouses... we just have to give ourselves more time and realize that the ideal of a marriage at the age of 22 just isn't realistic for everyone.

Anyway, this is a really nice blog... I think I'll try to come around more.

At Sunday, February 04, 2007 4:52:00 AM, Blogger Avi said...

Very very well said. Says I.
And as Anon-at-the-top-I'm-too-lazy-to-scroll-up-and-get-the-time-though-blogging-etiquette-may-dictate-I-do said: Very publishable.
Now if only I was able to publish this comment tentatively...

At Tuesday, July 31, 2007 1:19:00 PM, Anonymous blt said...

wow what a great post! definitely explains a lot of things..interesting theory. anyhow just makes me feel better like i'm not the only crazy one who's terrified to get married!


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