Arranged Marriage

20 Dec

I never thought an unmarried me would have so much to speak about a subject I barely know anything about. Marriage. Marriage looms somewhere in the picture, I assume, given that I still am unmarried. The emphasis on still is important, because that’s what my life has been revolving around the entire year. Still unmarried. I’m OK with that. As is my family. But when I put myself in context of most of my friends out there, I’m still very much unmarried. In one particular group, I’m the only one left to take the quintessential plunge. That’s what’s been trending on the peer front. And it’s not easy to be caught in that hurricane. All I see around myself are people getting hooked up, talking about marriage, preparing for it, finding partners, getting proposed to and proposing a life of togetherness and what have you. There is not one spot, one space, one moment when you don’t hear about excited couples chatter or swoon or fuss  or prepare.

And somewhere along the way, yours truly entered the arena of marriage, or arranged marriage to be absolutely precise. I do not know where to start when it comes to arranged marriage. It is overwhelming, trying, exhausting, beleaguering, emotionally draining and so challenging. That’s one side of the coin. It’s this weird form of fast-forward dating where everyone is involved right from the start. There’s always a good and bad to everything. The process has been as draining as it has been insightful. I don’t think I could have ever known more about myself or seen myself evolve so much as I have seen myself evolve over this year especially.

And maybe that’s why I’m still in it, albeit at my own pace and convenience. And when you have a family who cannot be more understanding than they already are and a family who cares two hoots about time as much as they do about giving this their best shot, you know you’re going to be absolutely fine.

The year has been difficult. In retrospect, I figure it’s been difficult not because I haven’t found someone but because I’ve had reality hit me hard in my face. And is reality so difficult to deal with or so difficult to deal with? Reality strips those tinted glasses protection makes you wear. And the glare hurts and stings. You’re judged at face value. You’re tried. You’re tested. There’s a weird mix out there. There are some who care just about education while some care just about the way you look while some care just about your family while some others just care about whether you’ll go live with their parents/family after marriage. It teaches you what people look for and how the same factors which are important to almost everyone shift in intensity and importance while looking for a girl.

Every guy (who passes our radar) wants a girl who is well educated, good looking, forward thinking, practical and someone who, very importantly, will be there, who will be a family woman irrespective of whether she chooses to work or not. I get that. I get why that’s important to guys. And I don’t debate that at all. However, these criteria vary from guy to guy. It can get quite annoying and difficult to deal with. It has also made me take a step or two back and actually reassess what my standing is, what my priorities are and how much I’m willing to compromise and on what.

I always had an idea about what I wanted and didn’t want. Every girl dreams of how she would like her marriage to be, and I was no different. I was clear I wanted no in-laws around, I wanted to work after marriage, I wanted to travel, I wanted to do everything I was doing in life at the time I dreamed my dreams. My life after marriage would have a good balance of husband time, friends time, family time, my time and husband-me time. It was all sorted out in neat proportions which would vary as and when situations required them to be varied. And then I was clear about the guy I wanted to be with. There are some things I am specific and quite finicky about. Today, all that has changed. What was once so important to me isn’t as important to me anymore. Things I never thought I would look for in a man are things I now look for. It’s amazing how you change and you see yourself change. Parts of me have changed, a lot of me has become flexible about things that were very rigidly categorized in my mind and rigid about things I never even thought about. Today there are no dreams and there’s certainly no counting any chickens before they hatch.

You evolve. You learn to see reality for what it is. You learn not to have any expectations. You learn to be tough. You learn to take criticism about your own self. You learn what it feels like to be just someone else out there in the world and you certainly learn how to deal with the harshness of that. You are the world to your family. But when you step out of that cocoon, you’re stripped off the layers of protection and are seen for exactly what you are sans everything else that protects you. You learn what it feels like to say no. You also learn what it feels like to be said no to. You learn what rejection feels like. It really makes you look inwards, and figure things out for yourself first and foremost. Also, you learn what to take and what not to tolerate. Also, the biggest thing you learn about is the kind of person you are and what your checklists of life are made up of. And that despite the weirdos and wackos you meet, despite getting so close and watching it fall apart, despite getting torn sometimes, that you always, always, always, always, always have family.

No one ever crosses the line that holds you safe, protects you, gives you the strength and time you need to figure yourself out. No one ever, ever crosses the boundary your family creates. And despite every pitfall that comes your way, you know you’ve got the best family ever. That every call of judgment is one made because it has to be made. That every rejection you make gets you closer to knowing exactly what you don’t want. That every rejection you face makes you look inwards and draw the line on what is OK and what isn’t and that it was just for your best.

This certainly isn’t a post about victimization or feeling victimized because there really are no victims. There are just people who are on their journey, looking for a path and looking for someone to keep them company on that path. Every guy who has come my way has taught me so much about what guys are like, what their priorities are, what their motives are, what their agendas are. They’ve also taught me heaps about myself and have given me so much insight into the amazing fortress whose walls I reside so comfortably in – my family. So even though I still am unmarried and have found 2012 to be one of the most challenging years I’ve ever had to deal with, I’m just going to walk away knowing I’m richer in ways I could not have possibly imagined before. And that’s the other side of the coin. That’s why I’m still in the game, in the arranged marriage arena so to speak. Like Chris Martin says, if you never try you’ll never know just what you’re worth.

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6 Responses to “Arranged Marriage”

  1. sabz December 20, 2012 at 2:49 PM #

    speechless!

  2. The Girl Next Door December 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM #

    I totally totally understand what you mean. I was in the same boat as you 4 years back,before I met the OH. I can’t say arranged marriages work for everyone, but what definitely works is marrying a guy who is basically a good person, a fair person. I have been lucky in that sense. Hope you will be too. Prayers and good wishes.

    • Babushka December 21, 2012 at 6:38 AM #

      Thank you… God knows I need them. :)

  3. pflead73 December 20, 2012 at 10:58 PM #

    I wish I lived in a society where girls had the option of selecting/rejecting the guys in an arrange marriage!
    But, reality is stranger than fiction! Welcome to life!

    • Babushka December 21, 2012 at 6:37 AM #

      Yeah well, it’s not half as bad as what people think/make it to be. However, the grass almost always looks greener on the other side.

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