It All Depends Upon Your Expectations

I was talking to my mother today about an Oprah show that she watched yesterday called “Marriage Around the World.” She, like so many Westerners (myself included) was really curious about arranged marriages.  My husband, Vj, is from India and so we have several friends and family members who have had arranged marriages.  This by no means makes me an expert, but I have a little familiarity with the practice.

From the Western point of view, it seems a tragedy that love would not be a part of the arrangement.  However, in arranged marriages, the expectation is that love comes AFTER the marriage.  It may seem more like a business arrangement but, my understanding is that, one’s parents are going to pick the best possible mate for their child and their judgment is unclouded by hormones.  We have all heard horror stories about arranged marriages that result in abuse or alcoholic situations, but in love marriages, that problem is also present.

Generally, in love unions, our partner does something that we view as “not acting right.”  We may not hear those exact words in our head, which can make it hard to identify.  Irritation and frustration by our mate’s habits and quirks is a form of this intolerance.

Often, as my mom pointed out, there is an unspoken desire to “fix” them later!

In an arranged marriage, the expectation is that the first year is the time of discovery.  Then when a mate’s habits or quirks are revealed, this attitude can allow for observation. The sentiment behind observation can be: “Oh, that is how he does that.” The expectation is more focused on discovering who they are rather than on changing or judging the mate.  I understand that this is not a universal truth.  There can be unhappy arranged marriages and love marriages can be approached from an observing and accepting perspective.

I wanted to share with you a simple shift of expectation.  I have seen in many arranged marriages, that each person goes into the union with a beginner’s mind.  They are open to discovering without judging. They observe rather than struggle against what is.

Your Homework:

Look at one of your relationships; it can be your primary relationship, a family member, or even someone less intimate like a coworker.  What can you do to approach them with a beginner’s mind?  Can you look at something that annoys you and think, “Oh, that’s interesting!”?  Are you willing to observe rather than evaluate?

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