Monday, January 3, 2011

Do I Have a Dreaded Disease?

I don't generally read Family First's Advice Line column, both because I despise advice columns and because I find they mostly don't apply to my stage of life.

This week's topic jumped out at me, and I'm slightly surprised that nobody seems to have been commenting on it.

The question comes from a worried mother who says that her daughter is (nebach) 22 years old and insists she isn't ready yet for marriage. Her question, in a lot more words, was basically "what can I do to make her ready."

To the magazine's credit, the first two responses were fairly intelligent. The first responder wrote that not all young adults feel ready to get married at the time that peer pressure expects it of them, but there MAY be a bigger issue behind it. The second responder was great. He called the mother out on her question, questioning her motives in asking. As much as a yiddishe mama wants to see eineklach, she can't rush her kid into it.

The third responder, however, really bugged me. I wonder if anyone else found her response disturbing. In her answer, she equated the daughter's unreadiness to get married to appendicitis. "Would you wait to get your child medical care because they insisted they're 'not ready yet?'" she asks.

Untreated appendicitis can be fatal. Is she saying the same thing about wanting to wait before getting married? Perhaps my life is over because I'm not married yet.

Don't get me wrong. I do want to get married. But I'm not desperate. I like my life now. I enjoy my job, my independence. If I would meet someone that would be worth giving it all away for- sure, I'd give it up. But I'm not pining for a man in my life now.

Am I ill according to societal norms? Am I the only one who thinks it is absurd to expect all people to be ready for marriage at the same time?


Mystery Woman said...

You're saying something very different than what the responder is referring to. It sounds like you're saying that you're ready to get married, but you're also happy with your life the way it is right now. I don't think the responder would compare that to appendicitis.
Personally, I didn't really like any of the responses. But...I don't really like that column at all.

Frayda said...

pretty sad that someone would have that opinion. some people are just not ready to get married at age 22 and it is not at all ok to push someone into a lifetime situation that he or she is not ready for.

Anonymous said...

I dont know, sometimes people are just so afraid of change that they dont want to take the next step. I think in such a situation the family or friends need to help. Like it or not, shidduchim in the frum community is like a meat market, and the girls are prized for being fresh and young. (Sadly, there IS a tight timespan for producing children.)
Did the girl in the article have sisters waiting in line? Because that is very frustrating too for a mother to have a couple kids that need to get married, and you know the shadchan doesnt like to hear there is an older single girl just hanging around just because she doesnt feel she is ready to marry.
And what exactly does it mean to be ready for marriage?

little sheep said...

I haven't read it yet, but here's my response: sigh.

iRiR said...

I agree with MW - appendicitis is dangerous and painful. Being single isn't. So when you say you're happy in the stage you're in, that's impossible for someone with appendicitis. But either way, that respondent was still way too dramatic. She makes it sound like our MOTHERS have issues (forget US!).

cupo'coffee said...

Beheima: I can tell you what it means to be ready for marriage. Well, in my humble opinion anyway. Those people who want to start off their marriage on the right foot want to be at a certain point in their lives before they get married. Some want to have a bit of financial stability, be learning a certain amount every day, making minyan 3 times a day, get accepted into graduate school, etc etc etc. Until they reach that point, they believe that they are not "ready" for marriage.

ABoSD: I agree, it is ridiculous to expect that everyone is ready to get married at the same time. Assuming that you didn't want to get married now, as long as your reasons make sense to someone aside from you (because of course you're biased as to what makes sense), then the comparison to appendicitis is abysmal at its best.

The sad thing is, you probably are "sick" according to societal "norms." Many societies, ours included (at least, the more right-wing one), condemn being different. If the expectation is to get married by the time you're 19, once you turn 20 you've gone against the tide and you're a nebach. If you chose not to date (if you're dating, less people will blame you for not being married), as they say in NY, fuggedaboutit, you're beyond nebach.

But I agree, it is absurd. Many societal norms are ludicrous and the (fill in adjective here) who created them, well, he/she/they are the real nebachs. As long as you have someone who is trustworthy and deserving of your respect (preferably objectively deserving, not some random person who you happen to respect), just try and forget about "norms."

frumcollegegirl said...

am i allowed to comment on this if i'm married?

i didn't start dating until i was ready, not when society dictated that i should be. and when i met my husband i felt like i was in a good place, with my schooling, having decided on a career, and hashkafically having decided what kind of home i wanted to have.

nobody should be pushed into marriage before they feel ready. to liken marriage to healthcare is ridiculous.

aminspiration said...

Didnt read the article..but it is screaming to be commented on by the jblogosphere..

There are some singles who feel it is a disease and are suffering terribly from their single status...whilst others are happily living our lives..we must carry on and keep smiling and keep fighting the good fight..right?:p

Batya said...

It's a fine line, and sometimes time passes too quickly and you end up too used to your single life.

Sora said...

I know I'm a late comer to this conversation (which clearly ended months ago) but I'm also a late comer to this blog so I hope my tardiness can be forgiven.

I wrote a response to this on my own blog because I had too much to say to try to fit it into this little, bitty box.

You can read it here: