Tammuz 5759 – Parents and Dating

15 Tammuz 5759

Dear Chana,

Generally speaking, if a girl’s parent’s aren’t frum and she is extremely frum and wants to start dating, but she is only 19, and is very ready to get married, and her parents would never let the idea into their heads that their daughter can get engaged at 19 or 20, would you suggest that the girl should push off her dating career because of her parents, or should she just go ahead with the process?

[Name withheld to protect privacy]

There can be no real, clear-cut, simplified answers with out knowing more details about you and your family and your relationship with your parents. Ideally, you should speak to someone [your Rav] who can deal with your specific case personally.

But I am happy to give you a few pointers.

If your parents are good, decent, rational people, you must work with them. Help them to understand where you are coming from, and try to give them a glimpse into the frum world of dating and marriage. The secular concepts of these issues differ greatly from our sphere. Your parents probably don’t have a clue as to what it is all about. Many times, once a parent [or anyone ] is shown about aspects of Torah, and that the system [in whichever area] works, they will come to see the wisdom in why we go about it the way we do.

Perhaps your parents think that your becoming frum is just a passing stage and that it won’t stick. Right now may not be a time to escape into marriage. Firstly, you need to win your parents over to your choice of lifestyle, and help them to understand more about it, and why it is that you chose it. Many parents, once they see that their child is thinking rationally, that this doesn’t appear to be a passing stage, and that the child infact is living a quality life, will acquiesce, choosing their child’s happiness over difference of outlook on life and religion. You need to build your parents trust in you, and allow them to view your world. You probably need to be doing alot of the talking – but perhaps it would also help to have your Rav or a person that you respect very much speak with them as well. [If they are open to this.]

You should try very hard to make sure issues like these do not create big gaps in your relationship with your parents. And when it is time to start dating, make sure that among the list of things that you are looking for in a guy, you put high on the list a guy that your parents can identify with. You should certainly be able to find an Emesdik Ben Torah who can relate well to a family situation in which the parents are modern. Communicate, let your parents into your life, and let them feel a part of things! Help them to understand that it isn’t that they have ‘lost’ a daughter – but that there is an enhanced YOU in their lives and now at this point they stand to gain a refined and magnificent son in law as well! [Not to mention adorable grandchildren!]

All the best to you!