They Had An Arranged Marriage And Lived Happily Ever After

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My parents met the day of their wedding. I grew up not thinking too much about it. I missed out on seeing glances of dreamy looks being passed by them in the kitchen and late nights spent with a babysitter while they were out on a date. Instead, there were the occasional bursts of tension at the dinner table and late nights spent with a babysitter while my mom was working nights at the hospital and my dad was at school. There was never a spoken “I love you” between them, but there was never a threat of divorce. I never feared for their marriage. For their cultural idea of the wedding, they were the perfect role models.

They Had An Arranged Marriage And Lived Happily Ever After
They worked hard for their family. When my sisters and I were young, my dad worked days, went to college at nights, and stayed up studying for exams. My mom worked excruciating night shifts so she could be with my siblings and I during the day. She cooked, cleaned, and helped us with our homework taking the occasional nap which was nothing but insufficient. They provided everything: food, clothes, fees, cars, and really anything I could ask for. They did everything for their kids; we were their focus. The ideal parents.

There was a time when I wondered how this kind of relationship could be remotely successful. I watched those cheesy romantic movies, I saw my other friends whose parents seemed to be sickly in love with each other. I despised my parent's relationship. 

I thought it was too forced to be real, it couldn’t last like a true marriage, one where the couple fell in love and lived off of feeling. But, then I watched two types of relationships struggle like they all do. My parents faltered not because of anything other than time. They didn’t see each other change they just kept growing, but they did it together and worked on everything. The other relationship(s) I watched were parents of friends. Those were difficult. Some fell out of love. Once they felt the light begin to dim they backed out. They decided it was time to “move on” separately instead of together. They acted solely on feeling.

That is the difference between an arranged marriage and many love marriages. People in an arranged marriage are hell bent on working hard to make a relationship. Those who fall in love and are only together because of their feelings have no intention of working for their relationship. Feelings are fickle. They can impede with no warning. Once the excitement fades, there’s nothing left for them to make their relationship worth it.

What is the composition of a perfect relationship? I don’t think anyone knows. Is it just work, love, or both? My parents were put together based on shared values and interests; same religion, financial standing, and family ideals. 23 years of marriage still going strong—maybe basic ideas create the most successful marriages.

Working for a relationship seems painstaking and may be forced at times but, my parents do love each other because of it. They were far from a couple who had “love at first sight, ” but that did not stop them from enjoying each other. That’s right, they had an arranged marriage and love each other because of it. Their love was learned, it did not come easy, but I believe that this love is harder to get over. 
They are there for each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health. Though these may not have been their exact words, if they exchanged any at all, it is their promise, a promise they don’t throw out the door when times got tough.

I spent a lot of time convincing myself that I would never want the kind of relationship my parents had. Growing up in America made me feel like their marriage was uncultured, uncivilized. But, experiencing its success, being a part of the outcome changed my perspective critically. They showed me that absolutely nothing can happen without work and absolutely anything can happen with work.

Love is a feeling, work is a principle. I still believe in love, that sappy hopeless romantic movie kind of love. The one that can consume you in a second. But, I also believe in work, pouring out time and effort. My parents used to work for their relationship and grew a different kind of love in the end. I don’t want what they had, I want more. I want a mad love and necessary work. A relationship built off of both, the feeling and work, it will be unstoppable, exhilarating, beautiful.

This story was originally published at Theodysseyonline. You can read it here.

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