For Real?: Finding True Love in an Arranged Marriage
In India and China where arranged marriages still pervade the consciousness of even those who desperately seek genuine connection, how to find love may sound redundant. After all, most people who are engaged in a fixed union already know what they want, and elders and parents do the manifesting.
While India is doing its best to keep up with the Joneses of the 21st century, how to find love does not seem to be one of them. Arranged marriages – the kind of relationship even people who are single after 40 in the West is averse to think – are as immovable as capitalism in the United States. Finding a soulmate a la Romeo and Juliet is sadly out of step with India’s social preference on how to find love and start a family. The young do date, but events as such are often kept under the parents’ radar.
Perhaps not very far apart from the dating norms of young people everywhere, India’s dating rules are pretty straightforward: Boy and girl hang out; then after a while the male expresses his wishes to be a couple; and the two do become a couple but the relationship is known only among their close circle of friends. Should parents find out, the dating parties either break-up to keep their families happy; get married for good; or make their own ending as tragic as Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.
It’s only the most passionate of Indians who commit suicide when confronted with the choice of an arranged partner or a sought-after date. For most of them, going out on a date is finding a soulmate and keeping him or her for good. Young Indians date with marriage in mind, unlike in the West, where people sometimes date to kill time.
There is, however, surprising statistics among arranged marriages: Theirs are one of the highest success rates in the domain of human relationships. It is certainly a myriad of factors, but perhaps the overriding reason is that each party involved in a fixed arrangement already knows the person he or she wants. Indian women are not likely to wonder “how can I find a man” because the family already finds someone for her.
As can be seen in the reality of India, how to find love happens even in the most unexpected of relationships. If people who were just “forced” into a marriage can say they are truly happy, then there is tremendous hope for those who embark on a quest – by themselves – to answer the question “how can I find true love.”
Neither Too Young nor Too Old for Finding True Love
In an age when 30 is the new 40, you’d think that people would be lenient when it comes to civil status. You’d expect they would apply the same ageless principle to those who are still single after 40 and still asking themselves “how can I find true love?” For those who have gone on to the quest of how to find love and found it at a tender age of 26 (or younger), people also think of them less, just the same. They are considered lacking in mature experience that will enable them to decide if cross-cultural relationship, or any relationship for that matter, is worth it. Therefore, they are easily dismissed as lacking in skills to navigate the choppy waters of how to find love and how to keep it. Worse, there is general pity when somebody in his or her 20s has gone on to get married, noting that the sea of opportunity that awaited is now lost because of realigned priorities.
The opposite happens for someone older than 32 and is still unattached: People seem to easily hand them out judgment that is based on (stark) generalization. People who remain – either by choice or circumstance – single after 40 are often looked at as too picky, too neat or too messy, too afraid of commitment, selfish, and worse, crazy!
A lot can be said about people who are marrying too young (below 27) or too old (older than 32). But generalizations like “you don’t know what you want”, or “you don’t have enough savings yet” or “you must be afraid of commitment” simply don’t apply to all. How to find love may sometimes be about timing, but it is independent of age. Finding a soulmate simply happens to people across all age groups – sometimes whether they are ready for it or not.
So when you find yourself asking “how can I find true love” even at a very green age of 19, your quest on how to find love is as valid as anyone three times older but asking the same thing. If you are way beyond 40 and still bristling with single pride, you have every right to remain so and feel dignified as every other person who celebrates individuality. Finding a soulmate is never time-bound. That’s all part of love’s mystery. It may come as an electric shock, or appear as unobtrusive as a budding flower. The biggest disservice to all “non-conformists” is to put them in an age cage and designate them unfit for love simply because of age.