A friend of mine once romanced the idea of living at an earlier age in history. The eighteenth century or so would have suited her perfectly, she offered, because life was so much simpler, then. We didn’t have to deal with things that kept us “plugged in” and separated from each other. Families ate, played and prayed together. People valued faith in God and communities were based upon common beliefs in God our Creator, she argued.
I disagreed. For one thing, I like indoor plumbing. It’s certainly my preference to the alternative. And, they didn’t have any California Pizza Kitchens back then, so, I got that going for me here in the 21st century. Now that may seem selfish and shallow, but things are better these days, despite the negatives. Many people died from common diseases that are now highly preventable and treatable. And despite technology that keeps one glued to a hand-held device, my husband, children and I still eat, play and pray together.
But she does have a point in stating that our hearts and minds were less cluttered by today’s problems and more in tune with each other back then. Which leads me to a thought I’ve been musing over for a few days…
I hear so many people complain about not being able to find the right one. Okay, I get it. I went through it myself. But when you contrast today’s problem of finding the right one with the arranged marriages of 200 years ago, it makes you wonder if maybe sometimes we aren’t are own worst enemy? Is it the single person, in particular, who is standing in the way of his/her own love story?
Interesting thought, eh?
Back in the day, arranged marriages most often took place between families of royal descent, trying to procure an acceptable union for their children so as to keep the line of royalty, well, royal. But arranged marriages are part of many different cultures even today and they don’t seem to be presenting much problem. As a matter of fact, according to the website, Statistic Brain, 55% of global marriages are arranged and only 4% of those end in divorce.
Interesting thought number two.
Now, I am not suggesting that here in the land of the free and the home of the brave we should return to arranged marriages. I believe with the way society operates today, it is difficult for singles to meet like-minded individuals, especially those who desire faith-filled, chaste relationships. That is why CatholicMatch provides such a needed and unique service to Catholics everywhere. But it does beg the question, What makes arranged marriages last?
In my humble opinion, I think there are three factors that help these marriages become solid, permanent unions:
1. The love between the two spouses is not based upon emotion, it is based upon the true definition of love (1 Cor 13: 1-7).
How many times have you been out with someone and come home saying, “I just didn’t feel anything.” According to the arranged marriage recipe, that’s just not a valid disqualifier. Maybe you should rethink that statement. Is it really necessary to be completely swept off your feet on the first date? How many perfect matches have you let get away because you didn’t feel anything?
2. Physical attraction is important, but does not supersede the goal of being married.
Okay, I could flog this horse to death but I’m sure you understand the importance of this point. Very few people on earth, compared to the entire population, have supermodel looks (male and female). But most people in the world are beautiful in their own way. You just need to get to know them. Give them a chance to let you in on how attractive they really are and you could be hooked for the rest of your life. Surprise!
3. The understanding that love is not culminated at the time of the wedding, it is only just the beginning.
So many people equate the wedding day as everything has led to this point and now it’s simply “happily ever after.” All that does is diminish the value of what marriage really is about. Marriage offers the distinct opportunity for a man and a woman to begin experiencing each other in the most unique and intimate way.
The ultimate experience in learning about each other begins as you embark on married life, not during the dating relationship, and with each phase of learning how to live with each other, accept each others strengths and weaknesses, laugh and cry with each other, etc., love is deepened and enriched in a way no dating relationship could accomplish.
So, ladies and gentlemen, here’s your mission: Next time you receive an emotigram, a message, or an invitation to go out by someone who at first glance you think is not your type, pursue it! Give that person a chance. Open the door of your heart and allow possibilities to enter!
And feel free to send me your questions, comments and complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org.