As a professional matchmaker, each day I'm inundated with communications from singles who express to me, "Oh yes, I absolutely do want to get married, I'm just looking for the right person, and haven't met him or her yet."
When I delve a bit further, I'm often told by singles that they've done just about everything to meet their future spouse -- including singles events and online dating, but that "nothing seems to be working."
So what's going on here? Is this the 'dating crisis' so many people have been talking about? Does this have something to do with social media, intermarriage rates, or the rumor that there are more 'good girls' than 'good guys' out there?
Nope. It's oftentimes far more simple than that.
As someone who's helped more than 400 people get married over the last 16 years, and receives communication from an average of 2,500 singles a week -- let me tell you the unvarnished truth:
There are a great number of singles in our communities who express that they want to get married, but deep down, it's not really true. They're simply not fully serious or realistic about what it takes to get to the Chuppah.
Please allow me to elaborate further:
In my career, I've learned that a tell-tale sign of a person who is sincerely interested in getting married is a desire to build something brand new with one's spouse.
In other words, someone who genuinely yearns to get married usually seeks to meet a person who is capable of receiving that which they offer and bring to the table. At the same time, they carry the expectation and hope that this dynamic will exist in both directions ... and that together their combined strengths will meld and form a beautiful, brand-new entity.
Unfortunately, many singles I meet today do not carry this attitude whatsoever.
They believe that their life is basically terrific -- with a great job, good friends, a robust following on Facebook and Instagram, and a cute apartment too. Everything is pretty super! Sometimes there's even a great yoga class down the street, you know?
I'm sure it's a sign of the times, but deep down, what many singles are truly seeking is a perfect, gorgeous person who will simply slide into and compliment their ready-made lives, with no hassle or inconvenience whatsoever.
Is that realistic? I don't think it is. However it is the fantasy under which many singles operate, and it is the delusion against which all potential suitors are measured -- and often rejected.
One of the most common scenarios where the dynamics under discussion emerge is when the topic of possible relocation comes up when I'm interviewing a prospective client.
Should a marriage-minded single be open to moving to a different state in order to make a relationship work out with an otherwise stellar person?
I believe that, generally speaking, the answer is an unequivocal 'yes.'
Without a doubt, there are people who are legitimately unable to consider a long-distance relationship, let alone relocation, for perfectly valid reasons.
For example, it could be the owner of a company with hundreds of employees he needs to monitor, or a divorcee who is unable to move out of the jurisdiction because of a co-parenting arrangement with their former spouse. These are just two of many such scenarios.
Realistically, though, the vast majority of singles my matchmaking team and I encounter do not fall into these circumstances.
Rather, many are unwilling to consider moving -- or even speak to a man or woman in another state -- 'just because.' They're simply comfortable where they are today, and they have zero intentions of boarding a plane or packing a suitcase to find out if their future spouse is out there.
While the Torah does make it clear that G-d created a spouse for everyone, it also makes it clear that your Bashert may well currently be living on the other side of the world (for those of you who enjoy primary sources, see Bereishis Rabbah 65:2 and Talmud Yerushalmi, Kiddushin 3:12). We even find that our Patriarchs such as Isaac and Jacob had soulmates and perfect future spouses who didn't live in their town.
If our forefathers had only been willing to meet a lady in their zip codes, where would the Jewish people be today?
Every person on this planet who has ever gotten married has made the decision to proceed forward with someone whose situation was imperfect in one way or another.
In other words, fairy tales only exist in Hollywood and children's books.
If we want to help our friends, children, and neighbors arrive at their wedding day soon, it is vital that we lovingly help them tweak their expectations and perhaps become somewhat more flexible as to what it'll take to reach the finish line. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman is an internationally recognized Torah scholar, #1 best-selling author, matchmaker, entrepreneur, attorney, and media personality. His energetic and empowering messages currently reach over 350,000 people per week via social media, NYC radio, and newspaper columns worldwide. His website is www.RabbiBregman.com and his email is RabbiBregmanOfficial@gmail.com.