I was always the girl who fantasized about a fairytale romance. I’d always believed I was destined to stumble upon my Prince Charming.
In high school, I thought I’d be the girl who marries her high school sweetheart. In college, I figured I’d meet a classmate who’d turn out to be my soul mate. In the professional world, I wondered if I’d find a life partner amidst my project partners. I then moved thousands of miles away for grad school, where I was positive I would eventually meet someone who would go down on one knee and ask for my hand in marriage. All of these were whimsical situations I had concocted in my head. None of them came true.
Little did I know that although I had moved away abroad, the person I was meant to be with lived but a ten minutes’ drive from my family back home.
How did I find him then? How did I come across the man with whom I would spend my life?
Truth be told, I didn’t. My family did. Specifically, my Nani (grandmother).
I got married almost a year ago, to someone I had only spoken to on the phone for a few months and met in person over a couple of weeks during my winter break. When people ask me how I met my husband and I tell them it was an “arranged marriage,” I brace myself for their perplexed expressions. The bout of questions I will have to answer to satisfy their curiosity and concern.
No, it was not forced upon either of us. No, it wasn’t an obligation to fulfil or a duty to my family. No, it wasn’t a decision I made because I was worried I would remain alone.
Yes, it was our families that introduced us, but that was about it. Yes, it was a short amount of time to make a decision, but it was enough. And yes, it was the best decision of my life.
The concept of arranged marriages has evolved over time. However, its perception has not.
People who aren’t familiar to the culture may believe it to be an archaic construct in which two people are obligated to marry each other because that is what society deems right.
Just like there are dating apps where one tries to connect with someone new and see if they are a match for each other, an arranged marriage is the result of families introducing two people. It is up to the two people then to get to know each other, go out on dates if feasible, and decide if they are compatible or not. The best part is that from the get-go, it is understood that both persons want to get married and are in this for the long haul if they like each other.
In a nutshell, it is okay if someone you know has met their spouse through their family members. It is okay if they haven’t spent much time getting to know them before getting married. There isn’t only one chalked out path to marriage. You don’t need to be in a relationship for years before deciding if this is the person you want to spend your life with.
An arranged marriage can also turn out to be the greatest love story of your life, a fairy tale that leads to your happily ever after.