There is something very delightful and strange and almost impossible about the idea of gay arranged marriages. But that is becoming the prospect facing immigrants from countries like India and China in an increasingly homo-tolerant United States (the most recent example being the legalization of gay marriage in California), where sons and daughters can fulfill their parents' wishes for grandchildren while having a legal, state-issued marriage license.
Having watched The Kite Runner last night and reading this article today, I've been thinking about the idea of arranged marriage. Is it...really that bad? Obviously, it's an old tradition, one that bases marriage on things like dowry and reputation rather than, you know, love.
But I feel like there are two kinds of love. There's that I-just-met-an-amazing-boy love, the kind of love you fall into, head over heels, can't-stop-talking-about-it, giddy and dizzy and short-lived. It's like an infatuation, but it's more than lust; it is the glow of the initial sparks of a relationship, and it feels special and wonderful every time.
Then there's that other kind of love. After the sparks have died down, after the infatuation has passed and the fever has cooled, there's that stuck-with-you love. It's not bad, just different; after a few months, the relationship stops feeling exciting and new and starts being the norm. And as humans we are hard-wired to get used to stuff, so we get used to this other person being a major part of our lives, and we love them for, well, putting up with us and not leaving. Obviously this kind of love isn't universal, and too often (judging by our 50-percent divorce rate) relationships don't make it to this kind of love, and once the sparks have died out the troubled couple runs on fumes and self-delusion until finally one of them realizes it's time to stop. But for the couples that do make it to this point, well, it's a comforting feeling, I'm sure--the love of the familiar.
Which is why part of me would be totally okay with an arranged marriage. It would definitely take the stress out of dating, and I wouldn't feel so lost just searching for that somebody. He'd be right there. I'd know his name, I'd know what he liked and disliked, and most importantly, I'd be able to be myself. I wouldn't have to worry about putting on airs or acting more refined/intelligent than I really am, because once that fear of rejection is removed and you know you're stuck with this person, comfort moves in. Comfort leads to familiarity, and familiarity leads to that subdued love. And I think the initial sparks would still be there too--there's always lust with a new partner--and even though the union might be forced, the emotions can be very real. And the idea of an "arranged" marriage kind of parallels my belief that Everything Happens For A Reason; if it's not my parents arranging my (hopefully eventual) marriage, it's some Divine Force, my own little Cupid. I really don't see the difference between randomly finding someone at a bar or a bookstore and finding someone waiting for you in your parents' living room, arms already wide open, greeting you with a genuine small of warmth, excitement-- nervousness, yes, but like the waiting-for-a-roller-coaster-to-start kind, not the hope-he-calls-me-back kind--and the knowledge that even if you fuck up real bad, he'll stay by your side; the knowledge that finally, the search is over.