Going to the Chuppah

October 31, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Dating, Judaism, Opinion piece, Relationships | 1 Comment

Last night I went to my chavrusa’s engagement party (for the sake of anonymity, I will call her D.) We learn together once a week through the Aish 1 on 1 learning program. We’ve known each other a little over a year and have formed a close friendship.

D. and her fiance were dating for 5 weeks before they got engaged. They are not the only couple I know of who got engaged after a short time of dating. Bill’s friend recently got engaged after dating her fiance for 2 months (before dating, they were acquaintances/friends for 5 years) and my friend, J., got engaged to her then boyfriend, now husband, after 3 months of dating.

How well do you really know someone after 1-3 months of dating? D. told me that she went on 13 dates with her fiance’ and that each date was 5-10 hours in length. If you are scratching your head in confusion, here’s a little background: D. and her fiance live in religious neighborhoods in the New York area. D. was brought up religious and I think her fiance was too. If you want a primer on dating in orthodox jewish circles, go here. During those dates,  D. and her fiance were shomer negia, and I also assume that they will be shomer negia until their wedding day. Imagine 12-13 dates of 5-10 hours each spent talking, you get to know someone very well that way.

I can’t help but look back on my thoughts on dating and marriage before becoming observant compared to the way I feel now. Before I became observant, I used to think that dating for years at a time before getting engaged was the norm.  There might also be a large amount of time between when a couple gets engaged and when they get married, depending on how large (and expensive) of a wedding they want. Some of the couples I know dated for several years before getting married, we are talking family and friends, friends of friends, Jewish and non-Jewish too. This was the norm for weddings I went to before I became observant.

It took a 2 year relationship that ended for me to think “Hmm, maybe Orthodox Jews are on to something.” It takes a long time to integrate new beliefs into your old way of thinking, that is something I’ve noticed with my friends who have become observant. We have to navigate this new world of religion into our lives and try not to step on too many toes in the process.

I have noticed that orthodox judaism has seeped its way into pop culture and it sometimes makes it easier to explain to non-Jewish and non-observant Jewish friends and family why we are observant. VH1 had a popular reality show earlier this year on a former TV star who woke up one day, realized that he is in his 40s and has never been married, and wants to examine how he got there.   I think a show like this can really open the doors for discussion between a newly observant person and his/her family about Jewish perspecitves on dating.

As for me, while I don’t feel that 1-3 months of dating is enough time to date someone before engagement, I have shortened my time frame considerably. Now I feel that 6-12 months of dating is a good amount of time for a couple to date before getting engaged. When I started writing this post, I had a different idea of where this would go. This was a little more serious than I originally intended and I still don’t feel like it has a clear sense of purpose, it was a very scattered post : (  Writing is not always a smooth process, hope you get something out of this post anyway.


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  1. […] Not Your Typical Bridal Shower December 19, 2007 at 4:33 pm | In Outings | Tags: Bridal shower When you think of a bridal shower, what is the first image that pops in your head? If I told you that I played a rousing game of basketball at a bridal shower, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But that is exactly what happened last night at my chavrusa’s bridal shower. For more background, read this post . […]

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