Singlestalk: Maid in Heaven or Earth?-A A +A
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Michelle: Someone emailed us to ask about arranged marriages. In this time and age, it is not common to have marriages brokered between two families although there are some of the opinion that arranged marriages are actually more successful than unions born out of love and passion. As to what is their definition of “successful” is a tricky task to answer.
Is it the longevity of the relationship? The passion that the couple have for each other? Or their happiness or satisfaction of being together? You’re not yet married, DJ, so maybe it would be good to ask you if you’re amenable to having an arranged marriage?
DJ: A child once asked his father whether it’s true that in China, a guy doesn’t know his wife until he marries her. His dad replied, “It happens everywhere son.”
Seriously, no relationship is perfect. Whether I marry the woman I’ve fallen in love with or someone my parents have chosen, we both still have to go through life’s ups and downs. But it’s easier to ride through them with someone I have an idea of, with core values and thought process I share.
An arranged marriage is a pre-historic concept which is still practiced today in countries like India. Factors like religion, wealth, profession, health are matched. This can be good or bad. A forced mismatch based on values are important to the arranger while completely disregarding what the parties consider important makes it ideal for a tear-jerker.
M: Whatever the beginning of a relationship that eventually led to marriage, there is a common idea that there comes a point in time when both individuals start to wonder what they are doing in the relationship or why they are still in that relationship. A few days ago, a morning show tackled the so-called “seven year itch.”
The guest, a psychologist and marriage counselor, mentioned several manifestations that pointed that the couples were undergoing the seven year itch. These include increasing conflicts sometimes caused by small irritations. Most couples, according to an article I read in the Internet, actually feel the itch after five years; while some may find that it actually lasts for the time between five and seven years.
There is even now the three year glitch. I think whether the period is three, five or seven years (notice that they are all odd numbers), there is always the “itch” because we grow as a person and there is nothing constant except constant change.
DJ: Whether it’s love or an arranged marriage, be cautious and probe for warning signs before finalizing the decision to marry. Do not let someone’s pretty face or six packs cloud over obvious serious character flaws. It’s the person you are marrying. Looks will eventually fade. It also pays to listen to our parents. They generally have wisdom learned through experience. But let’s do our own due diligence. Wealth and power are attractive, but spending the rest of our life with someone who love and respect us is even more important.
M: There is a saying “familiarity breeds contempt.” When we are in our comfort zone, we no longer make the effort and when the challenge is gone, the thrill and the passion wanes. What used to be exciting has now become predictable. Plus, the fact that most couples will experience major changes in the first couple of years in the relationship (having children, career beginnings, etc.) and the result is the shift of focus in maintaining the relationship.
For any couple, this is a difficult time. The “happily ever after” is now “once upon a time.” An important strategy given to overcome the itch is to constantly communicate as a couple even if you don’t feel like talking to each other. And if you can’t stand each other’s sight, have some me-time for personal reflection, discernment, prayer and retail therapy! Going through a rough patch in a relationship is typical. Hang on and be prepared to hang in there as long as it takes.
DJ: Whether it’s love or arranged, it’s still up to you. Discern carefully. Pray. Own the final decision. It is you who is going to live with the person for the rest of your life. Make sure it’s something you can commit and follow through for better or worse.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 03, 2013.