“Can arranged marriages lead to love?” somebody once asked me. Of course they can! Romance in arranged marriage is possible if the couple works towards making their relationship work despite all the obstacles and hurdles.
I didn’t expect to find love where, when, and the way I did. This is the story of how I found true love in an arranged marriage.
Finding Love In Arranged Marriages
I got married at 19. As the eldest of three sisters, I had grown up rather quickly. Bhaskar’s family had come to see me when I was attending a puja in my neighborhood. I was summoned by my younger sister to come home at once because Amma (mother) wanted me to fetch tea for his family.
Although I was annoyed, I reached home and slipped inside my room from the backyard door. I made tea quickly because I was eager to return to my neighbor’s house where the puja was taking place. However, I got annoyed when Bhaskar’s family kept asking for more cups of tea over and over again.
Finally, they left, and within a week, they confirmation that I was selected to be his bride. Within a month, the ring ceremony was performed and in no time at all, I found myself married.
I didn’t know how to cook and the only training my Nana (father) had given me was how to cook fish and to prepare rice using a cooker. Bhaskar was 10 years older than I was. When I arrived in his rented house in Guwahati, I found that it cramped compared to the home I had left behind. It must’ve been the size of our storeroom.
My father was a government employee and we stayed in a B grade quarter at Digboi, Assam where there was no power cut or shortage of water, and we had three bedrooms and a spacious backyard and kitchen.
A stark contrast in the way we lived
Here, Bhaskar lived in a single room and shared a common bathroom with the rest of the tenants. There was a stove in one corner of the room. The government water supply would come twice daily and at the beginning I used to miss those timings since I wasn’t used to it. The long power cuts made me feel afraid of the dark and I used to cry and wonder where I had ended up.
Sometimes I woke up at night thinking that this marriage was just a dream and at the break of dawn I would be back home with my parents. But this wasn’t to be. I used to grow angry that my parents had just seen his family but not how his bride would live.
I started missing the comforts of my home, grew agitated and threw tantrums. Love in arranged marriages, I thought prematurely, was an illusory concept.
Bhaskar, however, always behaved like a grownup and instead of getting angry with my complaints, he used to soothe me and say, “I am extremely sorry, Aruna, for not being able to give you what comforts you are used to. But I promise that I will try my best to make you happy. Just have patience with me. I promise.”
His smile and that maturity in his voice and determination in his eyes to give me all the comforts was what silenced my tantrums. I could tell he was doing his best to be a good husband to me.
He was independent, mature and patient
Bhaskar’s family was well to do, but he used to live separately from his family because of his work and this was more or less a bachelor’s room. Moreover, he wanted to be independent and had refused any help offered by his father.
This always made me proud. He understood my situation well and was always there to help me. He was really trying to make our arranged marriage work. My wonderful journey of how I found true love in an arranged marriage is all thanks to him.
He used to get up early in the morning and fetch water. He understood that I was afraid of darkness and came home before the evening power cuts so that during that time we could sit together to have our tea and chat about our day. In the face of all this hardship, we both grew happy, because we both grew up eventually.
Then, we used to make dinner together, although we both lacked culinary skills or go for night outs. On the weekends we used to make plans to visit the nearby spots, bikes rides and spend long evenings sitting near the Brahmaputra and relishing the fact that we were married now and making plans where we would be after 10 years.
Soon the romance in arranged marriage could be felt, and I realized I was beginning to create a special bond with him.
We grew into friendship
Somehow, besides being a couple, we also became friends who started understanding each other. Slowly, Bhaskar got his promotions and we rented a one-BHK apartment after a year. Things changed. We acquired the comforts and aims which we both dreamt of and I began to trust that Bhaskar would do anything for me and our family.
Related Reading: Love Takes Its Time
We’ve now been married almost 16 years. We have two children now, one in class 10 and the other in class 5. We both love our children dearly.
Bhaskar knows that I was always a highly ambitious girl and always wanted to be independent financially, but my early marriage had halted my dreams. So he encouraged me to study again. I started goin to college again when my boy was in class 7.
This year, I am going to complete my graduation and am taking tuitions for small children. So slowly I am getting financial independence, too.
Bhaskar knows that I dream of being be a make-up artist and so he was fully supportive when I decided to take training courses. I am happy that the dreams I had dreamt for myself are finally taking shape, although there might have been a gap of many years. Yet it’s good, because I have matured too in these years.
Bhaskar is a happy-go-lucky man and is happy to be with his family with minimal needs. He has never discouraged me to go beyond my boundaries to fulfil my dreams. Yes, we are totally different in terms of our personalities. On the surface, we might not seem compatible, but I love him.
He is always there for me
He’s the one person I can go back to again and again after multiple mistakes without shame, and he will be right there waiting to hold me in his arms, soothe me and say, “Everything will be all right. I am always by your side, don’t be afraid, darling.”
My Amma used to say, “Marriage is like a boat being rowed by two people who always sit on the opposite sides. They can reach the bank safely if one compromises and has full faith in the other who is going to lead the boat during the right tide. Sometimes, it can be towards the feminine side and sometimes towards the masculine side. They should have belief in each other that they can surpass the huge tides and reach the shore together by not letting their egos clash.”
This was how I found true love in an arranged marriage, and hopefully this gives you some hope that you too can find romance and unconditional love in your marriage.
The boy will go out of his way to ensure you are comfortable and all your needs are met. If he goes shopping with you, makes you breakfast in bed, and does other such cute things, then chances are he really likes you.
Learn to accept the person as they are, and don’t try to change them. Try to be friends before being a married couple.