Blue Arrangements on a Pedastal

31 08 2009

Have I ever mentioned how I’ve grown to appreciate the concept of arranged marriages?  I may not be a fan of it in practice, to be honest, and it’s certainly not for use in my life, but there are certain facets and implications of the convention that are, in fact, very appealing.

First, I think that far too high a premium is put, in our culture, on the need for romantic love.  People tend to put their desire for romantic love firmly in mental place as a cornerstone of their life.  Their need to be attached to the “love of their life” forever is largely destined to crush them repeatedly during the courses of their lives:  how often do people find someone they are very into only to find that the fervor is unreturned?  How often do they find it reciprocated only to find somewhere down the line that they, as humans, are subject to changing, and their partner and they are no longer so compatible?  How long do they spend in the interims, empty of the love they believe they deserve, unable to find someone to fulfill and by whom to be fulfilled, needlessly worrying themselves about their value and their ability to “find happiness?”  Find happiness?  In another person?  Let me say that I believe fully in certain other people bringing out parts of you that you are very happy to know exist.  And it’s amazing to find that you are sometimes able to do the same thing for another.  I’m sure your best friends do the same thing for you.  I suppose the only difference is that you don’t have sex with them?  Unless you do.  So everyone wants a true best friend with whom they can have sex?  But I digress.

There are myriad problems with this situation on an interpersonal level, of course.  It’s too much pressure for one to put on oneself.  And it becomes too much pressure for two to put on one another.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve known of people to have complete mental breakdowns over the failure of a relationship.  I know people who’ve not recovered after years.  I’ve known of people who have ended their lives over it.  One degree of separation!

How is an arranged marriage any better?  Well, I’m not saying it is.  I’m saying there are advantages (forget about the fact that most arranged marriages are set up for financial or political reasons, which is largely crap) to the convention.  I think that knowing that you’re going to be marrying someone you don’t really know opens up your mind to meeting them halfway a lot more easily than those who have their egos wrapped up in their love relationships.  It all but demands a casual approach to the relationship, a need to listen attentively and understand your partner’s goals.  Since you’re both in the same boat, you’ll certainly be hoping that they’re doing the same for you.  You can’t expect them to act according to your specifications, nor they you.  For a while anyway.  But the fact that you’re two people (or more, or less if you have multiple personalities, I’ve no puritanical misgivings…  or even givings) put into a a single goal is going to foster a team dynamic, an agreement of collaboration that I think is often lacking in the self-centered needfulness of our overindulgent concept of romantic love.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m down with romantic love.  I’m biologically programmed!  And I definitely get unbelievably excited when I meet someone I want to be around, whom I want to know better, for whom I want to do nice things.  Someone to whom I didn’t *want* to be attracted, but to whom I am strongly attracted anyway.  It’s a great feeling.  It’s almost unworldly.  It’s really uncommon.  I just think some people put an unhealthy priority on it in their lives and make themselves far less satisfied with the wonder that their lives otherwise afford them.  There’s a balance to be struck.

Don’t listen to me though.  I have longish hair.

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