If we're going to talk about the "shidduch crisis" and the numbers game, I want to mention last week's, January 19th, cover story of Ami Magazine about the shidduch crisis. The article claimed that there is a demographic time bomb ticking in the yeshiva world. The age gap between boys and girls entering the shidduch market combined with the high rate of population growth has meant that there simply are not enough guys relative to the amount of girls.
The article discusses all the myths why there are less boys than girls, including (but not limited to) that this problem is not based in pickiness of girls or boys or that more boys go off the derech (which is not true). Simply, there is an age gap and there are not enough 23 year old boys to marry all of the 19 year old girls; as per common mathematics and common sense, the younger the generation, the more people it contains.
In the Ami article, Shimon and Yisrael Lichtenstein push for a plan that will have bochurim not go to yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel, but rather start going to Lakewood or other yeshivas in the US at the age of 20-21. A recent kol kore was signed by many Roshei Yeshiva calling on bochurim to marry earlier.
To me this raises many questions about maturity and marital readiness, hishtadlus, bashert/zivug hagon, and much much more. I have a lot to say on the matter, but my gut reaction is that yes, there is a concept of hishtadlus, which we should partake in. However, are we so dense to not realize that G-d holds the key to this particular issue? This is so hard for everyone because it's one of the few things that the illusion that we are in control is almost too thin. G-d controls the world and everything in it, yet there is a concept of teva and we think we control a lot more than we do. In this case our hishtadlus does not reach as far as it does with other issues.
The numbers game makes sense statistically, but it does not make a lot of sense practically. "19 year old girls marry 23 year old boys, which leaves an age gap, etc." Do we not believe in the concept of a bashert/zivug? 40 days before a child is conceived a bas kol is heard in shamyim saying "bas ploni l'ploni." Are all these people not marrying their zivug hagon??
There isn't an answer to this dilemma. Each generation has their share of challenges. This is one of our's great nisyonos. Instead of chasing our tail and making ourselves crazy, we should work on strengthening our emunah and bitachon, and working to become better people. Perhaps in that zechus our "crisis" will be averted.