All you need is love?

I always get asked about how my spouse and I met; those that are aware of Desis and the arranged marriage are always curious as to whether my marriage was in fact arranged. My first thought how do you define arranged? We were introduced, by mutual acquaintances. The introduction was under the pretenses of marriage. So essentially our first conversation was: I want x number of children, and I am x feet tall, and I have the following expectations of a spouse. IM KIDDING!

I digress

Our parents were involved, they spoke before we spoke, but that was the end of their role. Our conversations, and relationship progressed in an organic, albeit SUPER SPEED way. My response to the question is always vague, full of ums and quite honestly, it changes every time I am asked the question.

So this past weekend, when a coworker asked me if my marriage was arranged, I gave my usual: Not really. Um, we were introduced. Our parents were involved. But the decision was ours. etc etc

Usually I get a smile, and a oh thats cool. This time: Im actually pro-arranged marriage.

SAY WHAT?

You, the very liberal, forward thinking, all things unconventional co-worker are PRO the arrangement of marriage?!

Disbelief, relief, confusion. A few things I felt.

Our discussion became increasingly interesting at this junction. Lets call my co-worker Yogi as in one who practices/teaches Yoga, not the bear.

Yogi, having traveled to exotic India, being aware of different cultures (yet extremely American) and has been in a committed relationship for the last 15 years, claimed that love has very little to do with a successful marriage.

BUT THE BEATLES SAID ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE!

According to Yogi (and maybe even BooBoo), it doesnt matter who one marries, as long as both parties want to be part of an open, communicative and authentic relationship, a marriage will work. Love is a romanticized notion that sets up false expectations.

Um why does Yogi all of a sudden sound like my dad?

We got into a fairly lengthy and personal conversation and it still has me thinking. What is making my marriage work? What will guarantee it will continue to work?

Obviously there are examples of toxic relationships in both the arranged and love world. But what is the common denominator?

Does this imply that you dont in fact need time to get to know the person before marrying them? Where do values, habits, likes and dislikes come to play? Is it an over-generalization? Easier said than done?

Or does it hold some truth.


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13 Responses to “All you need is love?”

  1. Ravi says:

    What is commitment? What makes chemistry? How do you maintain both at the same time? These were the questions that this article kept spurring me to ask myself as I read it. I agree with “Yogi” that having a genuine, open, communicative, and authentic relationship is the foundation for a good marriage, but I also wonder like, “JeSuisDot”, where the dislikes, likes, values, and habits fit in. We all know that being too open and too genuine can get us in trouble when the other person is not on the same page as you … it can become a form of mind games and the relationship becomes a draining stress and a lifeless obligation. So this is where I think commitment and chemistry comes into play along with its longevity. First, let’s start with chemistry … I am not talking about “bham bham thank you maam with fire crackers shooting left and right” … I am talking about having commonalities and understanding differences with Masala (i.e. attraction, the desire to give affection, and all those other things that are hard to explain in words)! Know that we have chemistry let’s add commitment to the pot. What is commitment? Commitment is giving respect, time, and appreciation as well as compromising, negotiating, sharing, and pushing through life’s obstacles together, while reaping its joys today and tomorrow. Know, “what’s love got to with it”? I don’t know … I guess it just follows if you have these two things throughout your relationship. But know I am left thinking “how did our parents do it”, regardless if it was a rough or easy ride, because many of us know that determining someone’s chemistry in 2.5 seconds is questionable along with all the gender-based power dynamics, particularly when it comes to commitment. How does it all work together? Sure it was just an obligation for them that needed to be fulfilled and yes your mom probably never loudly and verbally disagreed with her husband, but still they shared a life and experiences together. How did the chemistry, commitment, and “love” (however it is defined) all work into it? Hmmmmm?

  2. Ravi says:

    What is commitment? What makes chemistry? How do you maintain both at the same time? These were the questions that this article kept spurring me to ask myself as I read it. I agree with Yogi that having a genuine, open, communicative, and authentic relationship is the foundation for a good marriage, but I also wonder like, JeSuisDot, where the dislikes, likes, values, and habits fit in. We all know that being too open and too genuine can get us in trouble when the other person is not on the same page as you it can become a form of mind games and the relationship becomes a draining stress and a lifeless obligation. So this is where I think commitment and chemistry comes into play along with its longevity. First, lets start with chemistry I am not talking about bham bham thank you maam with fire crackers shooting left and right I am talking about having commonalities and understanding differences with Masala (i.e. attraction, the desire to give affection, and all those other things that are hard to explain in words)! Know that we have chemistry lets add commitment to the pot. What is commitment? Commitment is giving respect, time, and appreciation as well as compromising, negotiating, sharing, and pushing through lifes obstacles together, while reaping its joys today and tomorrow. Know, whats love got to with it? I dont know I guess it just follows if you have these two things throughout your relationship. But know I am left thinking how did our parents do it, regardless if it was a rough or easy ride, because many of us know that determining someones chemistry in 2.5 seconds is questionable along with all the gender-based power dynamics, particularly when it comes to commitment. How does it all work together? Sure it was just an obligation for them that needed to be fulfilled and yes your mom probably never loudly and verbally disagreed with her husband, but still they shared a life and experiences together. How did the chemistry, commitment, and love (however it is defined) all work into it? Hmmmmm?

  3. JeSuisDot says:

    The part that struck me most about what "Yogi" said was – it doesn't matter who you marry, as long as you are willing to work at it etc etc.

    Also – commitment – isn't it simpler – we are together no matter what, and there is nothing shaking that. Maybe I'm too black and white, but when you are commited to someone, things like sharing, compromising, respect etc are all common sense.

    What I took away from my conversation with Yogi was that of communication. Keeping each other on the same page, and constantly touching base. This allows each person to grow as an individual but still share each other's experiences.

    but I'm going off on a tangent now….

  4. JeSuisDot says:

    The part that struck me most about what “Yogi” said was – it doesn’t matter who you marry, as long as you are willing to work at it etc etc.

    Also – commitment – isn’t it simpler – we are together no matter what, and there is nothing shaking that. Maybe I’m too black and white, but when you are commited to someone, things like sharing, compromising, respect etc are all common sense.

    What I took away from my conversation with Yogi was that of communication. Keeping each other on the same page, and constantly touching base. This allows each person to grow as an individual but still share each other’s experiences.

    but I’m going off on a tangent now….

  5. Preeti says:

    I share the same opinion as “Yogi” that “it doesn’t matter who you marry, as long as you are willing to work at it etc etc”. At the end of the day love will only get you so far in a marriage, but respect, communication and understanding is what holds it together. There are many instances, where people follow their heart and marry someone that they are in love with or have a great chemistry with. But than a month or year later you hear that their marriage fell a part. Than you think to yourself, well if they were so in love; how could it not work? This is when I think to myself that maybe love is just not enough. Maybe what the couple was missing is that whole understanding, commitment, and respect piece. Love doesn’t provide that, it’s something as individuals you make a conscience and genuine effort to work towards in a marriage.

    At the end of the day, whether you meet someone through the parents or find them on your own. A key success to any relationship is communication. If that’s missing than the rest of the things don’t matter.

  6. Preeti says:

    I share the same opinion as Yogi that it doesnt matter who you marry, as long as you are willing to work at it etc etc. At the end of the day love will only get you so far in a marriage, but respect, communication and understanding is what holds it together. There are many instances, where people follow their heart and marry someone that they are in love with or have a great chemistry with. But than a month or year later you hear that their marriage fell a part. Than you think to yourself, well if they were so in love; how could it not work? This is when I think to myself that maybe love is just not enough. Maybe what the couple was missing is that whole understanding, commitment, and respect piece. Love doesnt provide that, its something as individuals you make a conscience and genuine effort to work towards in a marriage.

    At the end of the day, whether you meet someone through the parents or find them on your own. A key success to any relationship is communication. If thats missing than the rest of the things dont matter.

  7. Ravi says:

    JeSuisDot and Preeti,

    I agree with you both … the bottom line is open communication, respect, and putting in the effort and time to work on the relationship. As one of my friends said, “It’s 99.9% work and 0.01% love”. I guess I am just wondering what makes the work … for a lack of a better word, work?

    JeSuisDot … I agree you would think that it’s common sense that with commitment comes sharing, compromising, and respect etc. But so many times I have seen relationships where there is “commitment”, but the sharing, compromising, and respect is not mutual. Usually the “happiness” component is not there, but they made a commitment to stay together and their going to stay together regardless of what happens to each other. It is in these situations that I think “chemistry” becomes really important because a critical part of it is making sure you are on the same page about what it means and showing it to each other. I am thinking that by working on your commitment and chemistry your relationship becomes more open and genuine where you grow as individuals and as a couple. Then again, I could be making some of this more complicated than what it really is …

  8. Ravi says:

    JeSuisDot and Preeti,

    I agree with you both the bottom line is open communication, respect, and putting in the effort and time to work on the relationship. As one of my friends said, Its 99.9% work and 0.01% love. I guess I am just wondering what makes the work for a lack of a better word, work?

    JeSuisDot I agree you would think that its common sense that with commitment comes sharing, compromising, and respect etc. But so many times I have seen relationships where there is commitment, but the sharing, compromising, and respect is not mutual. Usually the happiness component is not there, but they made a commitment to stay together and their going to stay together regardless of what happens to each other. It is in these situations that I think chemistry becomes really important because a critical part of it is making sure you are on the same page about what it means and showing it to each other. I am thinking that by working on your commitment and chemistry your relationship becomes more open and genuine where you grow as individuals and as a couple. Then again, I could be making some of this more complicated than what it really is

  9. Preeti says:

    I totally agree with you Ravi and see your point. I don't think your making this complicated… 😉 Many times as individuals we get too caught up in other stuff, especially when it comes to marriage and miss out on the simple concepts that we need to grasp like communication or commitment.

  10. Preeti says:

    I totally agree with you Ravi and see your point. I don’t think your making this complicated… 😉 Many times as individuals we get too caught up in other stuff, especially when it comes to marriage and miss out on the simple concepts that we need to grasp like communication or commitment.

  11. Camille says:

    Than you think to yourself, well if they were so in love; how could it not work? This is when I think to myself that maybe love is just not enough. Maybe what the couple was missing is that whole understanding, commitment, and respect piece. Love doesn’t provide that, it’s something as individuals you make a conscience and genuine effort to work towards in a marriage.

    Haha, watch me argue for the "love-marriage" side! I don't think the issue is "is love enough?" — arranged or not-arranged, in love or not in love, no relationship will succeed without working for it. I don't understand why this should be seen as a zero-sum game, though. I see people make the arranged game work (without the initial love factor) all the time, but I've also seen how it feels like something is missing when that deep-rooted love and affection isn't there. I personally can't imagine sustaining a long-term commitment without a deeper affection, or at least an element of chemistry! I guess the underlying question is about the foundations of relationships, yes?

  12. Camille says:

    Than you think to yourself, well if they were so in love; how could it not work? This is when I think to myself that maybe love is just not enough. Maybe what the couple was missing is that whole understanding, commitment, and respect piece. Love doesnt provide that, its something as individuals you make a conscience and genuine effort to work towards in a marriage.

    Haha, watch me argue for the “love-marriage” side! I don’t think the issue is “is love enough?” — arranged or not-arranged, in love or not in love, no relationship will succeed without working for it. I don’t understand why this should be seen as a zero-sum game, though. I see people make the arranged game work (without the initial love factor) all the time, but I’ve also seen how it feels like something is missing when that deep-rooted love and affection isn’t there. I personally can’t imagine sustaining a long-term commitment without a deeper affection, or at least an element of chemistry! I guess the underlying question is about the foundations of relationships, yes?

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