Love and Marriage in the West

 

For this post I decided to put some Western Twist into the mix and talk about Love. Just as a heads up, my intent is not to offend someone but I am merely presenting my own view point. We all look at things through our own paradigms and arrive at different conclusions. Just like my previous post Arranged Marriage Conundrums, I have stated some cons in the western ways of approaching marriage and love in this post. I will come to the pros of both cultures in later posts.  So here goes…

When I was given the choice by my parents to come up with a name if I had to marry a person of my choosing, I had no one in mind. I didn’t want to marry anyone for Love, I didn’t trust it. Besides I was also out of time. If I had to marry for Love, I had to find someone first and they had to be the right person. Then we would each need to develop mutual feelings for each other at our own paces which requires time and space.

There was no time for trial and error or experiment. This guy had to be it. Only there was no guy around. I didn’t have time to go about it the ‘Love’ route. Everything had to be re-evaluated. I had to figure out what were the qualities I was looking for in a spouse. Love is a fair-weather friend. I didn’t want the pretty picture with two people batting their eyes at each other filled with love and awe. I wanted to know, what were those traits that carry two people through their toughest times and nothing falters. There is no fear of a status quo change at the end of the tunnel (unless it’s for the better).

I wanted stability, peace, freedom, respect of space, honouring one’s independence, regards for one’s thoughts and ideals. Most importantly, there can be no changing of personalities. It took me twenty eight years to be who I am, and I am pretty comfortable in my skin. Any inevitable development or change had to come through age, time or experience. A natural change rather than a forced change. I was not going to conform myself into someone else’s ideal and vice versa.

No love

Why I Don’t Trust Love

When I arrived in Canada,  I had to learn how to mingle with every kind of person who had different religious, cultural, political and moral thoughts from me. I almost had to teach myself a new social skill to be around people who were poles apart from what I was familiar with. If I had to coexist with them I needed to stop counting differences, and instead try and understand the mentality of this new culture. Everyone has grown up watching western entertainment in the East and we may be influenced by it too but we don’t ponder much about the culture beyond watching the show. We take it as a given but never truly understand what the western culture is like living in. I had to understand how love works in this part of the world.

The Pattern.

I watched enough of my friends to notice a pattern.

  • Spend the night with each other and forget it the next day. Often times drunken mistakes or foolhardy decisions taken in moments of weakness.
  • Test out the waters first before claiming this is any kind of relationship
  • If a relationship has lasted a little longer than usual, the time comes to have that sweaty nerve wrecking conversation about taking the relationship one step further. You have to be very careful as to not scare the person away. You start all your sentences with ” I Like” , e.g. I like being around you, I like spending time with you, I like …, I like…, I like. You have to calculate what you say and make sure you don’t accidentally slip out the “L” word.

Love

THE “L” WORD

If the relationship has lasted a year or more, then one has to conjure up the strength to express their love in the hopes the other one also returns the gesture. They spend every minute of every day together but are too scared to say I Love you? It didn’t make any sense. What is it about the “L” word that sends two people running in opposite directions?

One of two scenarios can happen, either one happily reciprocates and you proceed towards a marriage or a relationship has ended. My question is this, What were you doing all this time? You spent the night, you were fine, invested your time and emotions, you were fine, liked each other but when someone said the “L” word and it ends ? Let’s suppose one knows what’s going to happen (i.e you will scare someone away) before the appearance of the L word and you avoid saying it. Does one stay in a relationship being (what is obvious) in love, doing all acts of love, be involved emotionally from the get go but go on without admitting that they are already in love?

 

CONFUSION

What I don’t understand is that why involve yourself emotionally first and then work out the practicalities in the relationship? There were very few couples who ended up together but I saw most of my friends invest themselves so emotionally and passionately until the relationship fizzled in a few weeks or within the year, leaving a devastated person behind. I watched my friends become cynics and finding it difficult to trust the next person. They were in other relationships but every time they would dive in heart first and taking longer and longer to trust someone completely. Why does one have to invest themselves so deeply in a relationship with a fragile thing like emotions and decide later on if a relationship is pragmatic? Which more often it’s not. Isn’t it like using each other for the time being?

HERE IS THE THING ABOUT LOVE…

Treating love so casually almost degrades the only beautiful and honest emotion we have instilled in us. With every break up we become more skeptic about relationships. But what is love? We create ideals in our minds, build up expectations and wait. We become infatuated and we dream about it. Dreaming and hoping is not wrong. Giving someone else the power to fulfill your dreams, is. Now they get to decide whether your dream has a happy ending or not.

Girl giving heart to boy

PASSIONS

We can’t base everything on passion, that’s not what love is about. A house is made up of a lot of components. Individually they are just called, bricks, mortar, concrete, beams etc. Combine them together and they become a supportive and protective shelter called a home. Passion, similarly, is only a component of love. However, it’s not the only component of love neither is it ever-lasting. Passion deteriorates very quickly and thats why relationships based on feelings of passion don’t last as long.

Unfortunately, thats what Hollywood or any kind of film industry sell you. They create an illusion of a hyper sexual-fantasy environment. It manipulates you into thinking that treating your bodies like objects is ok. If someones uses you, don’t feel hurt, just walk it off without feeling violated. The boy they show in any romantic movie is a figment of a typical girl’s imagination and is not how a normal male acts in the real world (they could, but they are rare) and vice versa. They take fantasies and let you dream about a world that doesn’t exist. I remember watching The Notebook and feeling incredibly sad after watching the last scene. Seriously, when does that ever happen? where are these guys? I’ll tell you. They are dead, taken or don’t exist at all. 

Why am I talking about Love and Passion?

It almost seems blind. People say they want to have flings or short-term relationships but forget that they are, after all, only human. Feelings have no limits. You say you will never develop feelings for another person but you eventually do because humans have a natural tendency to feel needed, loved, and taken care of. One day passions will die and soon you will start looking for something stable in your life. Why doesn’t one want to reassure themselves first, before investing their time and emotions, that the person in front wants the same things as you? Why not work out the kinks first and save yourself from a heart break.

Love was not my answer. It puts a veil in front of your eyes and blinds you and when the veil drops, people don’t like the reality. Marriage is not always blissful and romantic with larger than life gestures. For me Love means, respect, giving each other space, allowing each other to grow and allowing each other to be human and treating each other as human. People often think, a person gets tied down after marriage but to them I say, not unless you find the right person who allows you to be free even when you are married. You just need to get your values sorted out and be able to recognize that person. I didn’t want to be on the mercy of my emotions that could turn me into a cynic one day.

P.S I hope you take this in good spirit and once again understand that this concept is seen from my vantage point.

Let’s Keep the ball rolling with Part 3. See you next week.

 

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