Saturday, April 10, 2010

Where Was I...

I know a woman who was born and raised in India. She is beautiful, intelligent, strong, and educated. She has an advanced degree and works as a physical therapist. She has 3 amazing children from a 15-year (and happily counting) marriage. That marriage was arranged. One day we had coffee together and I asked a million questions about arranged marriages. She sold me on the idea. I asked her to find me a husband... I think she might have thought I was kidding.

When she was a younger woman, she came to live in New York City for college. She told me she had a very carefree and independent life, which she liked very much. She dated American men and lived like every other young American co-ed. After some time, and graduation, had passed she felt that she was ready to start a family. She told her parents and the search was on. I'm going to paraphrase her a bit here because the conversation was a couple of years ago. "My parents know me better than anyone else. They know my personality, my desires, and my values. They wouldn't send me a man that would be a poor match. Besides, they are more like a dating service. They weed out the men that I shouldn't waste my time with, and then set up meetings with the good candidates. I get the ultimate say in who stays and who goes."

So they found her a man who was also educated in America and therefore was more open-minded about politics, and the role of women, etc. He was intelligent and level headed, which was a good pairing for her passion. But most importantly, he wanted a family as well. She knew, because of their cultural background, that he would have the same priorities and values when it came to this potential family. Also, "he made me laugh." So after a few meetings between parents and some chaperoned dates, they married. At some point after that, she fell in love with him.

I love this story. It makes complete sense to me. Romantic love is such a fickle thing. Values like family first, supporting a woman's independence, even liberal or conservative politics, these are things that tend to be permanent. You can build a life on them. If I met a man who was educated, wanted to be on the same life path as me, supported my choices, AND made me laugh, of course I would fall in love with him. If you are both willing to put in the work to be kind, affectionate, and understanding of each other, love seems inevitable. It's the day-to-day work that really determines the success of a pairing. Romantic love rarely latches onto an object that is actually a good match. How much more reasonable would it be to find a life-partner this way? I especially like the part where somebody else helps strip the chaff from the wheat. I was dead serious when I asked her to find me a nice Indian man to marry, preferably one who looks like Naveen Andrews.

Argh! I'm out of time again. I really am going somewhere with this. Check back in tomorrow for the juicy stuff: my sex life.


  1. That arranged marriage situation didn't sound too bad at the beginning. I always had this idea that they were simply, "Here's the person you're going to marry" and that would be it. Allowing the interested parties to make the final decision seems like a better plan.

    But a few chaperoned dates prior to marriage doesn't seem sufficient to me. I think spending some time getting to know one another prior to marriage is pretty important, up to and including living together. With the number of people getting divorced these days, some sort of trial run prior to marriage seems prudent.