Funny thing about relationships, in most of them one person is in love and the other is still trying to figure out how they really feel about the other. Later on, the one that was once in love now is trying to figure out how they feel about the other and now the other is in love. Make sense? To me either. But that’s love, timing plays an important roll in being in love and falling in love. Just a thought.
Sometimes I think countries like Pakistan and other cultures have it right when they have arranged marriages. In America we have too many choices, not only with the type of milk we want, or style of TV (LCD, HD, Plasma) or the model of car we want to drive, this also applies to relationships. As a man I can date white women, black, Asian, Hispanic, African or women from any number of Countries in a attempt to determine what it is I want in a woman. Too many choices for a man is and can be detrimental to the decision making process. We tend to want to sample all the fruit before we make a choice.
On the other hand an arranged marriage can be blissful, if one leaves out the thought that you’ve made your parents lives a living hell as a kid and in retaliation they select for you a woman that is not even close to what you’d have selected for yourself or your worst enemy for that matter.
However, if you are a good son and you make your parents proud then on your wedding day you could be rewarded by discovering your wife to be is a Selma Hayek look alike. (I promise to be good, I promise!)
All jokes aside though I want to tell you a true story about a close friend of mine whom had an arranged marriage and how happy he is to this day for it. Oh, by the way, he is the good son.
I met me friend in my many travels overseas and over the years we became like family. His father would many times introduce me to his business associates as his American son. Once while my friend and I were out having dinner I asked him why he didn’t have a girlfriend? I asked this because whenever we went places he tended to attract a lot of female attention. He informed me that day that he was already promised to another and she to him. However, they had never once laid eyes on one another. Not even so much as a photograph. Being American and thinking about our society I was blown away at the thought that he was to be married to someone he knew absolutely nothing about. The male part of me thought, damn, what if she’s not attractive? Hey, but I wasn’t in America and since I could never understand the true gravity of this situation I did what I do best, I asked questions? If it’s unfamiliar and you don’t understand, ask questions to make it understandable.
I was informed that my friends mother had made the selection years earlier and that the soon to be wife was the daughter of one of his mothers dear friends since childhood. He stated that although his mother had several dear friends in their Country she had selected this particular friends daughter because she felt the daughters personality, education level and family values would be the perfect compliment for her son.
The first thing that popped out to me when he was telling me all this was there was not one thing said about beauty. This selection had nothing to do with looks, social cast or economics. The things we as Westerners equate into our search for a mate. This was strictly the maternal instincts of two women whom wanted nothing but happiness for their two children.
I had to ask, what happens if you don’t like her or vise verse? He slowly looked up at me and stated, “I will love her, because this is the woman that my mother chose for me and I love my mother”. Hell, I love my mom too, but the thought of her selecting a wife for me is somewhat frightening. Especially with all the hell I raised at an early age.
He further stated that they would grow to love one another, they would take care of one another and they would grow old together after making many children. I had to say, “But you don’t even know her.” You may not even have anything in common that will make you two want to stay together. His reply was this: ” Family is the reason we will stay together, and family is all that matters.”
Since I was so interested in how their selection process went he decided to compare it to the selections process of men in the U.S. He told me that in the U.S. we select women based on things that aren’t permanent. Beauty and age being the top two in the selection for us. He told me beauty fades with time and we all get older so why we would be so shallow as to allow those things to be a determining factor in our selection was beyond him. He further stated that we treat sex as a recreation and after a long while he thought it desensitized us to what the real object of sex was which is procreation. He pointed out to me that our divorce rate was around 50% and in his country it was pretty much non existent. He told me how by never meeting his wife until right before they were to be married they would have years to get to know one another as opposed to the American way where we live together for several years, sleep together nightly and then suddenly run out of things to converse about so we end the relationship to get a new partner and repeat the whole cycle.
I thought about our conversation and how right he was on many points but I still had to see it for myself to make a decision on which plan of selection I thought was best in my mind. A couple of years elapsed and my friend flew to the U.S. to spend a few weeks with my wife and I before returning to his Country to be married to a woman he’d never met. However, this time he did posses something that he didn’t have when we had our original conversation. He had a black and white wallet sized photo of his soon to be wife and as he showed it to me he appeared before me as the happiest man on the planet. She was strikingly beautiful. He stayed with us for a couple of weeks and it became quite comical because he had a serious case of the jitters. He’d been waiting for this day to come for so many years and now it was right around the corner. He was about to burst in excitement and anxiety.
The day I took him to the Airport to send him off he paused before getting on the plane and I immediately thought he had gotten cold feet, instead he turned beck to me to give me another hug and whispered into my ear. “You know, had your mother selected a wife for you, I’m sure it would have been the one you have. She’s just what you needed.” With that he was gone. I really appreciated that compliment, especially since my mom thinks my wife is the best thing since sliced bread.
Fast forward five years. The reason I wrote this post is because I called my friend last night and although we don’t talk as much as we once did (business on different continents) we still talk occasionally. Today, I now have two God children, one boy and a girl and a beautiful, intelligent, caring sister in-law. My friend is happy and may be happier than he has ever been in his life and he tells me he thanks his mother every single day. I thank her too, he’s a good man and a better human being.
After talking to him last night and catching up on how all of our relatives and friends were, I got home and told my wife about our conversation. While telling her, I brought up the arranged marriage issue. My wife looked at me as only she can and informed me that my in-laws marriage had been one of arrangement too. This info blew me away. They were happily married for over 40 years until my mother in-law passed away a few years ago. (I miss her so much)
Later while thinking about all this I realised something. After all these years of marriage, I was still finding out new things about my wife and hopefully she me. Maybe my friend was right when he said by not living together for years before marriage it would allow us the rest of our lives to get to know one another. Just maybe he was on to something there. Anyway, while you ponder that thought I’m going to spend time with my wife to see if I can get to know her a little better.
See you next time,
P.S. Become a Dog catcher and catch your cheating man. Was scheduled to be the next post but I felt it was time I wrote something positive about men. I’d really feel it was a tragedy if in all the negative aspects of relationships we forget that their are many successful unions and that it could and will one day happen to you too. So I’ll release that post next week.