Shidduch References: The Unsung Hereos

In the world of shidduch dating, it is usually the shadchanim who get the credit and praise when a couple gets engaged. So much is spoken about the matchmakers and the people redting shidduchim, the coaches and mentors, but what about the references? We often overlook the significance of the references on our shidduch resumes. They play such a critical yet underappreciated role in the process. It all happens quietly, behind the scenes, so they are too often forgotten about.

Being a shidduch reference requires a considerable commitment of both time and energy. They receive dozens of calls about a particular single, yet they take the time to answer so many difficult questions and do it happily. The input from the references helps people make crucial decisions about potential life partners. Yet how many people thank their friends, rebbes, teachers, neighbors, and other family members for assisting in the quest to find their bashert?  They deserve such tremendous Hakaras Hatov, for they truly are the unsung heroes of the shidduch system.

Before adding someone to your Shidduch resume as a reference, here are some things to consider:

  • Are they open to being a reference? Don’t just list someone. Ask them first if it is ok.
  • Are they easy to reach? Many people don’t answer their phones, especially for numbers they don’t recognize, which frustrates those doing the research.
  • The most important thing is how well do they know you or your family? Is it someone that you went to school with ten years ago and haven’t spoken with since, or is it someone that knows you currently? Is it a neighbor who moved away seven years ago and no longer knows your family?

If you are listed as a family reference, you may want to be prepared with the following information:

  • Background of the parents
  • The relationship between the parents, children, and siblings
  • Parents’ hashkafa and values
  • Parents professions

If you are listed as a friend of the single, here are some things you may be asked about:

1. Character traits: What type of personality do they have? Are they kind, honest, patient, or ambitious? Are they introverted or extroverted? How do they handle stress or conflict? Are they controlling?

2. Values and hashkafa: What are their religious observance level and personal values?

3. Interpersonal skills: How do they work with others? Are they respectful and polite? How do they treat people? Do they have good social skills?

4. Education and intellect: What is their educational background and their views on education in general? Are they curious, thoughtful, or analytical?

5. Career aspirations: What is their current job, and what are their long-term career goals? How do they balance work and personal life?

6. Lifestyle and habits: How do they spend their free time, and what are their hobbies and interests? Are they active? Health-conscious?

7. Community involvement: Are they involved in Chesed projects or organizations?

8. Stability and reliability: Do they seem stable? Can they hold down a job? Do they follow through on things they say they will do?

Remember, honesty is of the utmost importance when acting as a reference on a shidduch resume. Learning the Halachos of giving over information for shidduch purposes can be helpful. When you know something that can impact the shidduch or, down the line, the marriage, withholding this information can be very damaging. If you are unsure what you are allowed to say, you can ask a Rav. Your answers to the questions you are asked can play a crucial role in helping both sides make an informed decision.

It’s time we acknowledge these unsung heroes of our shidduch journey. Reach out to your references. Show your heartfelt appreciation for the time, energy, and immense effort they’ve dedicated to assisting you. Send them a chocolate platter or a bouquet of flowers with a handwritten note expressing how grateful you are to them. This will mean a lot to them. Remember, these small gestures of gratitude often leave the most significant impact.

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