“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 they 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 matured beyond my age quickly. Bhaskar’s family had come to see me when I was attending a puja in my neighbourhood. 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 go to my neighbour’s home again where the puja was taking place. However, I got annoyed when Bhaskar’s family kept on asking for more cups of tea again and again.
Finally, they left, and within a week the confirmation arrived that I was selected to be his bride. Within a month the ring ceremony was performed and in no time 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. When I arrived in his rented house in Guwahati, I found that it was more or less like a storeroom in my home.
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 where he shared a common bathroom with the rest of the tenants. There was a stove in one corner of the room. The government water supply used to 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 have 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 in my home with my parents. But this wasn’t. I used to grow angry that my parents had just seen his family but not how the bride lived.
I had started missing the comforts of my home, which agitated me the most, making me have tantrums. Love in arranged marriages, I thought prematurely, was not 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 that silenced me all the time. 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 made me feel proud of him always. He understood my situation well and was there to help me. He was really trying to make our arranged marriage work.
He used to get up early in the morning and fetch water. In this adverse situation we both were happy, because we both grew up eventually. 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.
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 realised I was beginning to make a special bond with him.
We grew into friendship
Somehow, beside being a couple we became more of friends who started understanding each other. Slowly, Bhaskar got his promotions and we rented a one-BHK room after a year. Things changed. We acquired the comforts and aims which we both dreamt of and I began to trust that Bhaskar can 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 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 my graduation 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 like to be a make-up artist and so he was by my side 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 guy 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 personality types. I know that we are not compatible, but I love him.
He is always there for me
He’s the one person to whom I can go back to again and again after multiple mistakes shamelessly 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.”
Things will take time and compromises must be made by both, but if you have full faith in each other, then the relationship will work out.
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 on 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.”
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.