I have married off my kids using arranged marriages and I think it is the most wonderful system to set up a couple that works.
It is called: shidduchum.
- The parents (it can be the intended who are independent for various reasons); speak to a shadchan (the facilitator of a shidduch – otherwise made famous as the matchmaker from Fiddler on the roof) He/she makes a suggestion based on some reason they think the idea has merit.
- Both sides (future groom and bride sides) investigate. Recently, many share a “shidduch resume” with the other side to make it easier to find out the pertinent information: name, age, schooling, parent and sibling information, job, what are they seeking, what would they describe themselves and at least 3 phone numbers of friends, family, co-workers, teachers, rabbis or anyone who they feel knows them and can help explain who they really are. They check out (to whoever they think will help and as many places they feel they need to know and see that indeed the suggestion sounds worthy.
- If both sides agree they let the shadchan know and a date is set up.
- At some point before the 1st date or afterward; both sides have actually done a blood work in an organization called Dor Yesharim. It is an organization that checks to make sure that if they were to be a married couple their children wouldn’t have any known genetic diseases. (The organization first started checking for Tay-Sachs and has included many other genetic diseases into their program) If there is a problem the organization will advise the couple not to make this date – but will not tell what the problem is.
- At the first date, the couple goes out and talk to see if they enjoy each other’s company. (there is no going to movies, concerts, or anything else that will distract them from each other.) The purpose of dating is to get married and find the right partner – not to have a good time. Having a good time is a sign that it might be a good shidduch – couple.
- They go out as many times until they know they will work as a couple or not. But each time the date is set up through the shadchan. This way at any time one side or the other wants to get out – there is no embarrassment, shock or pressure.They just have the shadchan do the cancellation.
- IF it works – Mazel Tov!!
- When the couple gets engaged they pay the shadchan a decent amount of money for his services. (Like a real estate agent – he gets paid only if successful – but substantially
- According to the Gemara – it is the oldest and prestigious job one can have; facilitating marriages.