Choosing Love and Thankfulness
Marrying for love is an interesting concept. At least love in terms of the way we understand it nowadays. Because love is a choice, we sometimes forget that the euphoria of falling into love is different than the Biblical command to “love one another.”
My great grandparents came here from Germany in the early thirties, escaping both the difficult conditions that the nation was left in after WWI and the ominous stirrings that would lead to WWII. It was an arranged marriage, and they didn’t even meet one another in Germany, but instead met and were married only when they had reached North America, far away from their homes and their families.
To think I am only two generations away from that arranged marriage is a strange thing. My great grandmother had grown up in relative wealth, was a university educated woman, an unusual thing at the time, and had never done hard labor in her life. However, on the western prairies, she learned to respect her husband, raise her children, milk the cows and sew her own clothes. I have very few first-hand memories of her but have been told she was a cheerful woman, happily resigned to making the most of this lifestyle and doting on her family. Her husband was a gruff man who worked in hard labor jobs, and she maintained a humble sanctuary for him to come home to each day. They were companions, not lovers, but she made no complaint about it.
My mom recently worked with a man from India who was also in an arranged marriage. She asked him about it and he said, “Who better than my parents, who love me, to choose my mate for me?” He said he was very happy in his marriage, and his only regret was that he hated the wedding band his father had chosen for him!
I am not making a social commentary on arranged marriages. I chose my husband myself, and I am grateful for that. And not every arranged marriage is a successful one, that is for sure. But while listening to the stories, it did make me think of one thing that both of these marriages had that made them successful even though they were not love matches.
They were thankful.
My great grandmother was just a happy, thankful person – circumstances didn’t dictate to her attitude. My mom’s coworker was just a thankful man, both toward his parents and for the mate they chose for him. How much better all of our chosen marriages would be if we applied the same thankfulness to them. How fortunate am I compared to my own great grandmother to be married to a man who loves me, and how much more cause does that give me to be thankful for him.