Could We Please Stop Telling Girls that Marrying a Yeshiva Guy Is the Only Way to Get a Good Husband?

 

This will be a short, not-so-sweet, but to-the-point post (bordering on rant). To some, what I’m about to say might be obvious, but to me, it seems like it needs to be said*:

Yeshivas do not have a monopoly on good husbands.

They also cannot guarantee good husbands.

Not every girl will do well married to a Yeshiva student.

Not every boy does well in a Yeshiva setting.

Some good men are out there being good men outside a beis medrash.

Some bad men behave very poorly, despite spending their days in a beis medrash.

Some guys love G-d, keep Halacha, daven, learn Torah, and respect women, and are not in Yeshiva.

Some guys don’t really do all those things so well, even though they are in Yeshiva.

 

When high schools, seminaries, shadchanim, or mentors tell young women that “the only way to be sure you marry a mentsch is to be sure you date only guys who are learning in Yeshiva”, they are:

  1. Lying
  2. Or gravely mistaken.
  3. Placing a lot of pressure on the yeshiva-guy status of said guy.
  4. Putting a lot of pressure on the prospective marriage.
  5. Depriving their charges of the many fine young men who are not in Yeshivas.

 

This advice, which I have learned is epidemic, is also dangerous. Here is what I would like to substitute:

If marrying a guy who will continue his studies in Yeshiva is important to you because of your own values and interests, and you are aware of the commitment and responsibility that entails for you, then feel free to look for someone on that path. But please be sure this is what you want, and not just what you were told to want. Also, be aware that proficiency in Gemara is not the same thing as sterling character. It’s not the same as emotional intelligence, interpersonal chemistry, intellectual compatibility, physical attraction, protecting, providing, or general competency. It does not guarantee marital bliss. A lamdan could be a great husband and father, a mediocre one, or a terrible one. If you want to marry a good man, don’t specifically or exclusively look for a guy who is learning in Yeshiva, look for a good man.