Saturday, May 7, 2011

Arranged Marriage

I just watched this movie called Arranged about a Muslim girl and an Orthodox Jew who become friends and are both facing arranged marriages. It was interesting. Perhaps the movie was a little on the stereotypical side with cultures, but truth is--isn't that what movies are showing a stereotype or archetypes of characters. And not just movies--all stories. It reminded me of a book I read called For Matrimonial Purposes. It was about an Indian girl who had to have an arranged marriage, but nothing seemed to work out so she moved to the US, furthered her education and still was somewhere in between her culture and what the "modern independent woman" should be. So what these women in these stories had in common was that they were committed to their culture, and their faith. They were unwilling to yield to having a relationship with someone out of their culture. In Arranged, the girls ended up finding someone and it worked in their youth. In the book she was much older and as the years went by her prospects got smaller and smaller. But yes in the end it all worked out--even though she was an "old maid" in her 30s.(Never realized how frightening or hurtful that game is as a child btw).

Arranged marriage does seem so much easier than the dating world I seem to be in, but at the same time their prospects are just the ones their parents, or match makers can find. Pros for arranged marriage- you get set up and you have people actively looking to marry you off, you have less options so you have to make a choice or a choice made for you(can also be a con) and you already have everything out in the open as far as past and future prospects etc. Cons- you can end up not having a choice and being forced into an unwanted marriage.

So now onto my Mormon Dating-Pros- we have choice(in some cases too many choices--but as you get older those choices are fewer and far between), we can be active in looking for ourselves and not just rely on others to arrange meeting people and introducing us. Cons--choices seem to fade as we get older.

What impresses me with people who go through these arranged marriages are that they are committed to their marriage for the long haul. Even in the LDS cultures it seems like Divorce is still a too easy choice if things don't go quite as you would like. So perhaps they did not "fall in love" in the same way we see it in the movies, or hear from our friends and such but they learn to love each other. It reminds me of the scene in Fiddler on the Roof where Tevya is asking Golde if she loves him. After 25 years she realizes that she does. There are so many ways to love one another that it seems to me that as we go through different circumstances in our lives-our love will change with those changes. Just because it changes doesn't mean that divorce is the option or should be. Commitment should still be essential. Our love should be lasting like Tevya and Golde--perhaps we should realize that we love each other throughout--but it should be lasting with commitment. Fidelity to a person is a choice not a feeling.

After reading For Matrimonial Purposes years ago it did give me hope. This girl seemingly has no options, but it worked out, not on her timetable, but it all worked out for the best--with someone who was suited for her. So waiting isn't such a bad thing. My timetable isn't what matters, right? I should have faith that it will all work out.

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