For better or for worse, our generation is witnessing a new phenomena amongst Persian Jews living in America. Where the average age of matrimony was in the twenties, the norm has shifted into the 30’s and the occasional 40’s.
Why is this so?
Is it the women’s fault? The men’s fault?
Is it bad? Is it good?
How can we change the trend?
This is your chance to share your thoughts and reasons for the later marriage rate in our community. Feel free to comment with the form below.
The GIRLS in our community are very materialistic where money is the number one priority. How do you expect a college student or recent graduate to afford a house in Beverly Hills and drive BMW or
Benz and not to mention that eye-catching diamond ring that she wants?
-Michael in L.A.
Huh! Why ALWAYS BLAME THE WOMAN. THE MEN are JUST as SHALLOW. Wanting someone YOUNG and Beautiful ALWAYS looking for the PERFECT woman on the outside because the men want to SHOW off how cool they are BECAUSE they have this beautiful woman on their arms REGARDLESS as how this woman IS on the outside. The man could look like a Balding Troll with the Personality of spit and the substance of a Tapeworm but they TOO want the MOST beautiful woman that will look good on their arms. So what do they do Floss and Showboat running into debt trying to buy all these wonderful things. KNOWING that they don’t have it like that. Then when they GET the MOST beautiful girl they find out TOO that even though she looks good on the outside she too has the personality of spit and the substance of a tape worm so after a $300,000+ wedding you are divorced within 6 months to a year. I have seen this happen time and time again ESPECIALLY in the Land of Fruits, nuts, Berries and Flakes being LA LA Land LA.
Again with all these weddings I have not seen anything built around Torah Values? Only what can you do for me and How long will you look good before I kick you to the curb for a younger version of you. It goes BOTH ways not just one. I know people that were dating NON-Jewish women BEFORE They married and they were STILL running around with the same women WHILE he was married and left his WIFE and is NOW living with this NON-Jewish woman. Again no Torah NO Where just all fluff. Then when men get a little older they STILL want a young woman bought this time they are desparate. So they will marry their second choice depending on how much money they have.
IT GOES BOTH WAYS. The men are JUST as Materialistic and shallow. That will not even give a girl a chance if she is not so beautiful on the outside
There are plenty of girls in the community. Just cause you have been hanging out with a group that you think wants diamond rings, don’t generilize for the whole group. I would say that a majority of persian jewish girls want a man who will treat them respectfully and love them more than anything. Get going and fall into the right crowds, you will find someone, b’h’
I wish I knew the Persian equivalent, but in English it goes like this:
‘WE WANT OUR CAKE, AND WE WANT TO EAT IT TOO!’
We want to take advantage of EVERYTHING that is there to have: higher education, successful career, wealth, beauty, popularity … not realizing that 1) we can’t have it all anyway, 2) what we manage to get does come at a price; to become a lawyer, doctor, businessman takes years of hard work and dedication to develop, so one has to put marriage on the side till one has perfected him/herself. I am not advocating mediocrity, just pointing out that there is a price. There are those who rather tone down material ambitions for more spiritual pursuits such as becoming a full-time mom in their twenties and creating loving, thinking and happy children. So, what do we need in our community? Massive Torah education to create a paradigm shift in the assessment of our values to recognize what is important and eternal. I sound omol, but then again …
-jewish +/- irani (http://jewishirani.blogspot.com/ )
Late marriages are a topic many people seem to have an opinion on. Most people believing that their position is accurate on why it is that the age at which people choose to settle down and commit has shifted to an “older” age. When did this phenomenon come to be? Who to blame? The parents? The girls? The boys? The truth of the matter is that it is many different factors put together. It is very important to take into account that the generation we are in right now is a generation in which the people that are of “marital age” whether that is in their 20’s or 30’s are first generation AMERICAN-PERSIAN-JEWS. It takes time and patience for an entire community to learn how to incorporate their existing traditions into the traditions of the country they have migrated to.
New marital practices along with religion, and other Persian traditions are just a few of the things that are slowly evolving from the traditional Persian mentality to the American-Persian frame of mind. What that is exactly is in the works and yet to be established. Back in Iran everything was very clear-cut, there was an age where everyone got married, and who you married was more or less laid out for you. Our parents and grandparents didn’t have as many choices as we do, they married, Perisan, Jewish, and probably a Persian-Jew from their hometown. We have to understand that as first generation American-Persian Jews that we have a lot of obstacles coming our way but that there is no need to point fingers and blame. We should look at it as the challenge of our generation, in hopes of conquering it and finding the person we are supposed to be with at the time we are supposed to be with them. Enjoy the journey….
Here’s my view on what a call the ‘unfortunate cycle’ (I was in the cycle till i realized)
The young right minded girls who want to marry early (eg. 18-26) want young men their own age. But those fellows are having fun at parties and clubs and drinking and eyes on lots of non-jewish bodies. Those guys eventually turn into their mid-30s, and realize they are done parting, and white girls dont usually go for bald persians, so they want to marry. What do they want? young girls in the 20s, not their 30 year old companions. But young girls (usually)
are not into older 30 year old men (some are). Therefore both males and females get older and older and niether one doesnt realize if they just meet each other sooner, they will most likely share some of their most beautiful and younger years with each other.
Obvisouly this is a generaliztion, but a good one. Ive seen it, Ive been in it, and tried to talk people out of it.
hmmm.. There is not a simple answer. There are many reasons why people get married later. I think now days most guys and girls go to school and then get advanced degrees beyond a four year bachelor degree. To do this you have to sacrafice dating and serious relationships until you are done with your education. I know personally that was the case for me. However I do also believe that both guys and girls in our community have also become shallow and tend to focus on the wrong attributes when they are ready for marriage which tends to delay marriage even further. Many girls put too much focus on money and status (being a dr.’s wife for example) but at the same time I agree with Almaz and others above that guys also are looking for young, beautiful, skinny girls without caring too much about the more important attributes such as personality,ethics, morals, etc. Unfortunately I know one too many single persian guys who are in their mid or even late thirties who claim that they will never seriously consider a girl for marriage once she has hit ’30’, or date a girl that is more than a size 6. Unfortunately when it comes to marriage a lot of our values are in the wrong place.
I don’t agree with some of the comments here. It is possible to find some girls that are not materialistic, and are willing to settle down with a guy who has just graduated from college, or is still in college. She knows she won’t be living in Beverly Hills, or have a nice car. She knows she will have to live with a budget. She knows the hardship will only last 4 or 5 years, until her husband graduates and starts his career. The problem is Persian parents. They want their daughter to marry a millionaire, because they believe that is the only way she will be happy. Just like the song says.. ‘yek dokhtar daram shah nadareh…be kas kasoonesh nemeedam, be hamekasoonesh nemeedam…’ They manage to convice their daughter that the guy she is dating is the scum of the earth, and persuade her to break up with him, and go out with a doctor or lawyer instead. Sad what are community is coming to. Everything in this world is bashert, or ghesmat, or fate…but Persian parents don’t understand that sometimes.
The blame is not any gender in particular; it is where our values lie. As young Jews, if we have our focus on marriage at a younger, age we have enough avenues to find the acceptable mate. If you feel that as a man your not monetarily prepared for marriage are you feeling this because of what you would like to provide or what someone is telling you they need. What do we define as a necessity for marriage, unfortunately more and more it seems what we are acquiring in a marriage is viewed on the level of physicality and not one of spirituality. I feel very strongly if we look for kindness, understanding, the real basis of an Iranian Jewish home and communicate what we want we can find someone with common goals. If you feel your parents are making the decisions hers or his the person is not making decisions by themselves for what they value as a mate,, this shows someone who is not mature enough to make a decision as important as picking a mate they are more than likely not ready for marriage, where many decisions will be made by the partners the parents will not live with the spouse. If they wont choose you because of monetary reasons don’t be insulted be happy you know this and that you do not match their goals and your goals are different for life so you know that you are not compatible.
We should not blame either side or any one reason, we should look at ourselves see what it is we want and make an active decision to find it. The world is made up of different people, who have very different goals. In today’s day and age…careers, incomes, image all pre-occupy our minds.. but remember these are not inheritable characteristics for your children.. we owe it to our children to think much more deeply. I wish we all find someone whom we can build an amazing home filled with khesed.
The problem is really too complex to really pinpoint who is at fault. But as a guy I will be more biased on placing the blame on the girls. As opposed to the American Jews, most Persian girls in college or graduate school do not really date for marriage. They will have friends who they will hang out with for years but nothing serious. As far as the guys, it’s true– they are putting too much time on their career before marriage. How do we solve the problem? As Mark Twain once said, I never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Yes a lot of Persian and even Non Persian Jews want that for their daughters. Thinking that being with a rich man will bring her happiness and security. Think again. If the man is already rich when you married him Guess what THAT is HIS money NOT yours. And there is nothing worse than being with a man that is NOT kind but rich. Who says being rich and living in Berverly Hills makes a man a great husband. I know PLENTY that are rich living in Beverly Hills but have Mistresses on the side. Sometimes the wife knows about it. A LOT of them know about it. But because of the lifestyle that they have become VERY much accustomed too and do NOT wish to give that up. They would rather deal with this nonsense and humilation rather than give up the Beverly Hills lifestyle. There are a lot of unhappy people in our community. But because of the family pressure, Society pressures and whatnot some people are just too cowardly to do something different because they are afraid of what OTHER people are going to say and the REAL ONE you should be worried about is Hashem
Dating for the Least Problematic
We are constantly bombarded with airbrushed images of stunningly attractive superstars, with physical imperfections nowhere to be found. When we watch their love stories on the screen, we cannot help but buy into the absolutely false and irresponsible idea of love-at-first-sight. Additionally, we are led to believe that their made-up relationships are actually filled with marital bliss and that most relationships actually live “happily ever after”. Is it any surprise that when making our list of top priorities, we find it replete with unrealistic and achievable demands of perfection?
To add to our sorrow, we have entered an era where, in its desire to make things faster, more comfortable and more efficient, we have become a self-absorbed society that worships effortless instant gratification. This world that we now live in frustrates us when it takes more than one minute to perfectly heat up our food, or more than one second to load a Google search listing over a million pages that discuss the exact topic we are interested in finding.
With these realities combined we have a recipe for a dating disaster, fueling a dating scene that leaves many feeling unfulfilled. Consciously or subconsciously, many believe that not only will they find their perfect match, but life will also be effortlessly perfect once they’re married.
When we take a practical look at reality, we all know that no one is actually perfect. With this recognition, we have two ways of approaching our search for a marriage partner.
The first possibility is to constantly focus on finding someone as close to perfect as possible. Unfortunately, as any marriage will attest, we quickly find that our spouse is not as close to perfect as we thought, and strong feeling of resentment and disillusionment usually sets into the relationship. In an effort to keep the marriage intact we are forced to compromise that feeling of perfection that we foolishly first sought after.
The second, and suggested, approach is to actively engage in the relationship on a realistic and practical level by constantly reminding ourselves of the cliché, “Nobody’s Perfect” and approach it with an expectation of potential issues. Whether we are currently dating or in a relationship, this reality shift is one that expects tension and struggle, and sees both as potentials for growth. I understand that this is not what we are accustomed to when searching for a match. I also understand this might take the fun romanticism out of the ideal relationships our society falsely portrays. To be very frank, with a ~50% divorce rate, and dismal 60% marital satisfaction rate of those that stay married, our society does not seem to have a positive record on what makes a successful marriage.
Theologically speaking, God does not make mistakes; He obviously made us imperfect for a reason. Traditionally explained, imperfection provides us with opportunities to grow through our differences and make sacrifices in relationships, ultimately strengthening our marriage and elevating us into better human beings. This does not mean that we are to irresponsibly go after the spouse that will cause the most problems; that would be idiotic. All I am advocating is to make the dating and marriage process less difficult and less agonizing, which can be done by changing focus.
Instead of obsessively focusing on finding a match with the best qualities, we should be concentrating on getting the spouse that will cause the least problems. If you think about it, the person with best traits is inherently the one with the least worst traits; in the end you will get the same person. The only question is how will you react and what will you feel when the problems inevitably start to surface.
If we take the first self-centered focus (i.e., going after the most perfect person), when we inevitably realize our spouse’s flaws, we force ourselves to grudgingly make unwanted concessions to what we ultimately desired. Additionally, as time sets in, our partner will start to seem just average, or even below it, compared to the original goals set.
The second mindset (i.e., wanting the spouse with the least problems) allows the partner to expect the harder times inevitably ahead, and be steadfast in dealing with them. Furthermore, when things do go right, it will be viewed as a blessing rather than an expected outcome.
Although I drafted the ideas in this article almost a decade ago, the relationship I have with my own wife has only confirmed the benefits of this approach. Looking back, when I approached an issue with an expectation of bumpiness, it allowed me to deal with my wife in a more calm and collected way. Without the unexpected frustrations of an argument, I was able to focus on how we could work through the issue and better understand my other half. With every potential pitfall behind us, I found our love and affection growing that much stronger. I suggest you try it too!
Extreme Monogamy: Jewish Marriage Ingredient #1
Let me be clear, I am not a Marriage Family Therapist, nor am I a Rabbi. However, I cannot help but feel the benefits of certain Jewish practices and beliefs on my marriage and the marriages of my acquaintances.
The proposition is simple- perhaps even elementary: the more monogamous your relationship, the better. With cheating and jealousy so rampant in our society, the question is obvious: why would people spend many years looking for a spouse, spend exorbitant amounts of money on a wedding, and publicly make vows to be faithful only to end up being intimate with someone else?
You may be thinking, “But wait a minute! What is so bad about multiple partners? Didn’t the Torah promote polygamy? After all, didn’t our forefathers Abraham and Jacob have multiple wives?” Although technically true, a closer look into the lives of our forefathers shows that while the Torah might tolerate polygamy, in no way does it promote it. Abraham only took his second wife when Sarah was desperate to bear a child. Jacob took a second wife because he was tricked into his first marriage, and he also accepted 3rd and 4th wives because, like Sarah, Leah and Rachel stopped having children and they wanted to bring more children under the Abrahamic dynasty. Interestingly enough, the ideal prototypical marriage which we recall under the chuppah, whose matchmaker was none other than God Himself, was a monogamous one, Adam and Eve. Let us also not forget that it was the villain Esav who took multiple wives simultaneously for no apparent reason.
One need not expend much energy to get a feel for the Torah’s approach towards marriage and the focus that must be paid to each partner. Already in the 2nd chapter, the Torah beautifully says, “A man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh.” It seems that not wholly leaving his parents might lessen the potential to fully cling to his new wife and become “one flesh”. More explicitly, Jewish law forbids partners to even think about someone else during intercourse. Even more extreme, if done with an affectionate intention, simply smelling the perfume, shaking the hand, or gazing at the beauty of another person’s spouse can be considered adulterous.
This is a far cry from the society today, where the promotion of adultery has literally become a multi-million dollar industry, with websites dedicated to facilitating these immoral rendezvous. A recent MSNBC poll found that, “About one in five adults in monogamous relationships, or 22 percent, have cheated on their current partner. “ On a more local level, one hears stories of married shop owners sleeping with their workers by day and ‘happily’ coming home for Shabbat family dinner in the evening, seemingly unphased by their actions. Likely speaking, these interactions in our community are not the norm and hopefully still on the fringe. What is not so obvious is the effect of these behaviors on our collective cultural consciousness. With the constant barrage of news about unfaithful movie stars, political leaders, and unfortunately, our own community members, is it possible to remain psychologically unaffected? I don’t think it would be far-fetched to say that extra-marital attention is becoming more tolerable.
How can our relationships succeed if our attention is diverted in so many ways towards others? Of course, there may be multiple reasons for couples drifting apart. But one thing is for sure, we must do everything in our power to keep our sexual attention inside the marriage rather than outside. Like anything important to us, we need to have proper boundaries to help us not even come close to such feelings, boundaries I would like call ‘Extremely Monogamous’. Even if our relationships are not drifting apart, perhaps some well measured boundaries will even enhance our marriages by constantly reminding us of who we should be spending our focus and attention on.
Although every relationship is different, I propose some open ended, perhaps uncomfortable, questions to ask oneself:
What are we actively doing to make our marriage more special and exciting?
Would we be speaking so friendly with that person’s spouse if they were not as attractive?
What are we watching when our spouses are not around?
Are we comparing our spouse to others?
There is no doubt that some might discount the points and feeling mentioned as being outdated, prude and unattainable. Although not easy, such devotion is attainable. Our marriages should be our priority, and our sexual attention should solely be focused on our spouses. Think it is impossible in today’s society? We have such devotion during the wedding night, why can’t we have it ‘till death do us part’? Our marriage’s are deserving of it. Let’s move towards truly cleaving to our spouses other and becoming one flesh, a charge that our Holy Torah demands of our marriages.
True Love: Do You Have What It Takes To Get There?
“Love” is a term that gets used very casually in our day-to-day lives. It’s utilized to convey a strong liking towards something and an explicit desire to associate with it. For instance, we say, “I love what you said,” “I love your idea,” and “I love the blue one!” In all these examples, we are expressing our passion for a subject, and announcing that we derive pleasure from it. While it might seem here that the subjects in these cases are praiseworthy, the reality is that what we are really doing in these scenarios is we are making statements about ourselves. When we verbally express love for something, we are actually describing how something makes us feel.
The verbal expression of love typically has another function as well. Often it is used to get a reaction from the person to whom we direct it. When someone tells someone, “I love you,” he or she could be communicating that they enjoy the other person. The point that is often overlooked here is that the speaker is usually also trying to get the other person’s attention, especially if it is repeated over and over again. At that point, one might ask: if you love the person so much, why do you keep repeating it? While many might think that the more “I love you” is said the more love there is in a relationship, the truth is that sometimes the habitual repetition of “I love you” could actually be indicative of something else – namely, a marked need for external validation, approval, or acknowledgement. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with telling those we care about that we love them, or even wanting acknowledgement, but the key here is to be mindful of what we are saying and why we are really saying it. Such thoughtfulness can help differentiate between loving, and Loving.
Truly loving someone goes beyond just expressing how something makes us feel, or trying to get someone’s attention. It’s about respecting the other person in such a way whereby we act with kindness, sensitivity, and understanding, and preserve his or her integrity. It’s about meeting the other person where he or she is, and being there for them in the way they want us to be there for them. It’s about giving them what they need, and not simply what we want to give them. It’s about focusing more on them, not us.
It takes a lot of work to be able to truly love another. It first involves understanding the person for who he or she is. That’s essential. If you don’t know who the person actually is, it is impossible to truly love him or her. Maybe you like who you think the person is, or how he or she makes you feel, but you cannot actually love the person because you don’t really know who he or she is. But that doesn’t mean you will never know him or her. Indeed, it is very possible that you can get to know the person, but that’s where the works lies. At the core, understanding others starts with understanding ourselves. We can only understand others as much as we understand ourselves. After all, the relationship we have with others is a direct reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves. From here it follows that the more we are attuned to ourselves, the more we understand ourselves, and love ourselves, the more we can project such love in our relationships with others and give them what they really need.
A general litmus test of true love is the following. Imagine you got a gift for a loved one — for a spouse, a partner, a child, or a friend. You have spent a lot of time and effort carefully picking out the gift, wanting to see that it’s going to be something your loved one is going to like. So you get it, and excitedly bring it to him or her because you know it is going to be something they really like. In the meantime, unbeknownst to you, your loved one is having a really bad day. So you give them the gift as planned, but are surprised when they get really angry and throw the gift back at you, exclaiming, “I don’t care about this stupid ____.” How do you feel? What do you think? What do you do? If this reaction makes you feel angry, disappointed, and possibly even regretful for having gone through all that work to pick out such a gift, it seems the primary motivation here was to get acknowledgment or validation from your loved one for having done something nice for them. After all, your discomfort stems from not getting the warm reception you were seeking. However, if your loved one’s reaction conjures a sense of concern within you for them, a desire to truly understand why they are upset, and you meanwhile do not take their comment about the gift very personally, then you are likely operating from a higher level of love. A more real kind of love. You got the gift for them because you really care about them. In spite of their reaction, you don’t regret all the effort you put into getting the gift, you don’t feel sad that they did not acknowledge the gift; instead, you feel compassion for them knowing that they are going through a tough time and you are invested in being there for them in the way they want – sensitively, compassionately, with understanding. Needless to say, this requires a certain level of self-understanding and clarity, to be able to appreciate that what they are upset at probably has little, if anything, to do with you personally.
Truly loving another assumes that we have a certain amount of knowledge, understanding, and love for ourselves. We can only know others as much as we know ourselves. We can only understand others as much as we understand ourselves. We can only love others as much as we love ourselves. So the more we actually know, understand, and love ourselves for who we are, the better equipped we are to really know, understand, and, ultimately, love others for who they really are.
And at that point, we won’t even need to tell them we love them. They’ll know.
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