After a string of failed affairs, Alia had begun to wonder if she should look at the option of going in for an arranged marriage. Until now, where she had strongly believed in self-selection, besides the credence that attraction and romance are extremely important factors without which a marriage would not subsist, the results being attained, she realised were zero. She had been stubborn in her refusal to look at any potential groom that her family suggested. Well, who would understand her choices better than herself? Besides, she had to make sure that her partner understood them too! Things however had headed nowhere so far and her experiences had only proved distasteful.
She dated some men but when it came to commitment, it just did not seem to work. On the outside they were everything – great looks, dashing manners, decent income etc. but after a series of meetings, movies, popcorns and dodgy attempts at some mushy-mushy stuff, when it came to business, which meant discussion of dreams, likes, dislikes, goals, adjustment quotients and other serious odds, things began going berserk and she did not feel encouraged to take things further. At times she could even sense that the men themselves were losing interest. Finding a compatible life partner seemed to be a real deal. Am I commitment phobic or is it that I have been just running out of luck? she wondered.
She decided to consult her colleague and friend, Rekha, who was decently settled in an arranged marriage. Rekha had couple of times, prodded her about her method of looking for a partner.
‘You are not going to find anyone this way.’, she kept urging. ‘You need to be objective’
Alia: What do you mean by being objective?, she persisted.
Rekha: It’s pretty simple. You need to list down your priorities and interests in life and from that, decide your essential expectations of a life partner. Before you put these across the table to the guy, you need to be clear about them yourself.
Alia: Still that does not ensure compatibility. How can I trust someone with my life in just a couple of meetings? Chances of his initially saying yes to all that I ask and back out later, cannot be ruled out.
Rekha: Darling, why don’t you think the vice-versa? Why would he trust you with his interests in a couple of meetings? He too would be having certain expectations of his wife where he would check your commitment. Especially when you are going to be staying in his home, with him and probably with his family too. Why would he go ahead if it appears unsuitable to him? On these things at least, you need no elucidation, for you have already been through it.
Alia pondered for a while. What Rekha said seemed to make sense since, in the past, some guys had begun tacitly backing out after some serious bits of discussion over coffee and dates.
Rekha: Look, you need to be straightforward with him about what you want out of your life and this relationship. You need to be alert to the vibes that get exchanged at that moment of discussion and trust your gut instincts and this way there is no need to cross the line. You can have repeat meetings, if felt necessary. Whether you like each other or not can be naturally figured out from the chemistry that shows off when you are being candid and forthright about your mutual expectations.
Alia: But that wouldn’t ensure we would be physically compatible, would it?…err you know what I mean…well, the attraction and the romance part.
Rekha: Attraction and romance cannot manifest before stepping on the pedestal of compatibility. While a basic alignment in terms of likes, dislikes, career goals, character and general expectations of life and lifestyle, is a must, beyond that what would additional matter is your mutual expectations from each other and your willingness to adjust and stay committed through thick and thin over these. This automatically lays down the foundational bricks for love to happen.
When you love your life with him and start feeling the blessings of a cherished and secure relationship, you will automatically begin loving him. But for that you need to be ready to build your life with someone which will happen only once you stop being defensive. When you are a couple, you need to start gradually orienting towards ‘we’ though everyone generally commences from ‘me and myself’. You need to stop being insecure, hung-up and learn to trust…you need to begin to think in terms of staying committed. Main importantly, you need to start being selfless and think in terms of the togetherness that you intend to build and the family that you are going to raise. Flexibility in a relationship is a must to make way for happiness. And all this cannot be one-sided. This needs to work both ways. You need to check out the existence of that side in him which can be easily interpreted from the way he would talk, besides asking him more questions where required.
Alia: Hmmm…I think I am getting your message. It has to be a honest, mutually agreeable and a win-win equation which also requires a smart assessment. And you are right…what’s the harm in looking at the alliances that my folks have chosen? After all, they are more enriched in terms of life’s experiences in their own way and they would only wish me well. I’ll speak to dad right away to proceed with the boys he has been insisting me to see all along. Plus it would only be a benign meeting and who knows! I may find my mate in one of them.
And so began Alia’s search with more seriousness, better confidence and improved focus, coupled with the blessings of her family.
Moral of the story: Seek out friends (successful) in times of confusion. Please refrain from staying bottled up. And whether it’s a love or an arranged marriage, we all end up at the same place which calls for a sensible conduct of our self, if one wants to taste success and happiness.