Years ago, I worked with three gentlemen from India. Two of them were my colleagues in the same department, while the third was a point of contact on the client’s side. Our job, a sales job, was not easy. The most essential part, the one that always preceded, was laying a foundation of ease with the clients. We had to gradually build a relationship of friendship, followed by another gradual sale of our products and finally, if all went well, a deal would be won. And so we all had to get along especially off work where all ice could be broken; hiking, climbing mountains and parties. Thanks to sharing the same frustrations when a deal looked lost, we became friends. And so we talked a lot. Besides work, dating was a top topic. It was only natural for single men and it offered a chance for much needed taunts.
Once, I attempted to rid my mind of cultural influences and came to the conclusion that arranged marriages can work. I realized the best way for a young man and woman to grow into matrimony is the communal way. How communal? That leaving the job of finding you a spouse to people who know you better is just as good as finding that spouse yourself. In fact, given several factors, the former exceeds the latter in its effectiveness and ease. First, from an economic point of view, you would save more time if your folks called you one Wednesday after work and said; Surprise! Guess what champ, we have somebody. Think about it. I will come to the dating part – the coffee, the heart throbs, the lunches – later. Perhaps that is what you think those in arranged marriages miss. You can’t be more wrong!
How would an arranged marriage become? It’s is no different from ordering pizza and having it delivered at your doorstep! Recently I did that. I went online and found Naked Pizza chaps. I selected the pizza I wanted and placed a call. The lady said it would take 35 minutes. All the way from Westlands, but true, I had it in 35 minutes. That is how an arranged marriage would work. Was it possible for me to go to Westlands and get that pizza? Of course. However my end was the food. I was not careless of the means to the food – it had to be convenient and trustworthy – but the end was the food, just as I ordered it. I was happy and satisfied. Why wouldn’t the way to marriage work in a similar manner? I like you can now see that dating before marriage is simply a way of ordering events. It’s not the only way of doing things.
If you sat your people down and told them what you want in a spouse, they should be able to find you that person if they loved you. You only have to be clear about everything you want in a person, including height, colour of gums, nail texture and all. To moderate mistakes, you better be exhaustive. You can even go statistical and give them margins of error for some qualities. When both the search team and you as the commissioner are on absolutely the same page, work can start. Here is the rewarding part I have come to strongly believe, evidence or lack of it: you can never not find that person, as long as your likes and dislikes are reasonably human.
Your disturbing question may be whether love can flower with a person you have not known before. The thinking is that you need to find out, beforehand, whether you can get along, after which if the coast is clear, marriage can happen. That is sober thinking, but it’s also cultural. Are great marriages built on love? Yes they are. I however think love is both of the mind and of the heart. I have put this to test and found it to be so. While you may feel attracted to a person, the decision to date and marry them is just that; a decision. It is a work of the mind. It is logical. I have heard it said that the heart-throbbing goes away a few years into marriage and that it’s friendship which takes over and sustains. That this friendship has to be made before marriage so that even after the pimple-popping love goes, the friendship keeps together. It’s a very strong justification for the DIY subscribers.
Of my former colleagues from Indian, they reinforced this favorable observation I had of arranged marriages as we went along. What happened is that they would take leave, go back to India and come back married. I truly admired that. At one time we are in the basement of our office and we’re all single. Then suddenly we are not all single. They tell me their folks back home are already searching. That they have found some would-bes and are considering who is best suited. It was not a see, like, come event. A number of compatibility checks had to be done, including religious, astrological, familial, caste and all. The man and woman had to accept each other as well. As we made presentations to clients and as we hiked, their spouses were being lined up back home. It’s like your party being arranged in your absence and you only need to make a grand entrance. They only had to go back, finish their part of the ritual, and come back to work after a month, with their wives.
This is something that wise business people do daily; let other smarter people work for you. They will never disappoint if you trust a good team. Instead of you going for coffee dates to known each other well, how about your folks going for those dates with your potential spouse? Do you see how cool that is? Your auntie is having a date on your behalf as you apply for a visa to go to Nigeria for the Bi-annual ICT conference. She and others then gather, do the analysis and present you with the best of them all. It’s like having a second you. Unbelievable! Even more unbelievable is when this person meets you eventually and you fall in love. Not a second of both of your time spent in endless dates but here you are, good for each other, ready to get married tonight, all thanks to others who checked all boxes as you signed deals with clients. Incredibly special!
You may find it surprising that they live as happily as others who personally searched, found and married. In fact one of the couples I know better, seems to be falling in love more as days go by. There are structures that help hold them together because they both subscribe to and accept them; social, religious and such. While our cultures are different, we should appreciate that such arrangements are not in any way out of place. In fact I advocate for them because I suspect the dating games are putting a lot of our young men and women through struggles and worries that their parents, uncles and aunties should be handling and easily so. Most of them know what is good for you and are thorough, if you tried them. But you won’t.
You can love each other after marriage, although a particular cultural foundation is required. The biggest advantage, when it works, it the time saved. Perhaps even the heartache is less.