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Nov 17, 2011

Starter Engagement

In the secular American world, they have this concept of the "starter marriage," which essentially boils down to the idea those "youngsters" who don't really know what we're doing or how to make a marriage work get married in a flurry of passion with Disney-esque dreams and hopes, only to have them come crashing down (eventually), leading to divorce #1.

The idea, I think, is that people learn from this experience and do better the next time around. Perhaps having better or "more realistic" expectations, that age and experience bring maturity, that having to deal with the turmoil and challenges of getting together and breaking apart a marriage is almost like a rite of age that brings people into growth and maturity.

I think -and I know this is probably controversial to say -in some ways this may be true of engagements in the frum community.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're onto something, especially as the number of broken engagements continue to grow. I had a number of friends who had experienced a broken engagement approach me and offer advice - things they now realize in hindsight, and I found it all fascinating and disturbing.

    I think it's a symptom of the flaws of the shidduch system, rushing through courtship/relationship building, and the plague of rosy-colored glasses that they seem to hand out for free in certain Israeli yeshivos and seminaries.

    Those of us in the younger generation need a wake-up call to get these misconceptions about love and marriage out of our heads so that we can understand the reality of how such a relationship really works. A broken engagement is, hopefully, a hugely successful means of accomplishing that. I know of some unfortunate individuals who didn't "get it" until their Shana Rishona divorce.

    In any case, it would behoove someone out there in the Orthodox psychology world to do some serious research on the subject. As of now, I've only seen a few articles and blog posts by individuals who went through the harrowing experience of breaking an engagement or having one broken on them. While this does bring the issue down to an accessible level, I don't think it will fix our system.

    Hopefully someone can start a study about this in the near future before broken engagements become an unfortunate standard in our community.