As a girl its hard not to have been infected with the mentality that one day you will find your prince charming and be ridden off into the sunset to live happily ever after. From the moment you are conscious about it, meeting Mr. Right is an aspiration. Whether aggressively pursued or not, it is always in the back of your mind that you will meet that one person that completes you.
I have come to learn that this is bullshit.
No matter how great that initial feeling, the nights without sleep, the long days filled with daydreaming about what could be, whether you call it falling in love or falling in lust, it is not real. There is something so much deeper than that. No one can complete you, two halves do not make a whole, salt has to know itself as salt before it can compliment the taste of pepper.
It's hard for me when I hear of this pesar daayi or that dokhtar ammeh getting married in Iran. I protect myself by making snide remarks like, “So how long have they known each other, two or three weeks now?” But honestly, deep down, in those parts of myself that I try to ignore, it makes me very jealous. It makes me jealous because it seems so much easier over there. Your families talk, they choose the best candidate, you meet and hope for some attraction. And if there aren't to many wrinkles in the khaastegaari process, then WHAM, the price is right! You just won yourself a lifetime partner.
Of course I am very much oversimplifying and there is definitely a note of sarcasm. My point is, that being responsible for your own fate, instead of it being in the hands of your trusted family who hopefully know you well enough to make a good choice, can be a bitch sometimes. On the other hand, you can not blame anyone for the outcome if it doesn't turn out the way you want.
Everyone has heard the horror stories about arranged marriages, but just like everything else, it is never black and white. My parents' marriage was arranged and they love each other more than anything. I fear the day when either my mom or dad dies, because I am sure the other won't be here much longer. On the other hand, there are also couples whose marriage wasn't arranged who can not claim that kind of love after 40 years of being together.
There are no guarantees, no one can predict the future. Those initial feelings of love and devotion in a relationship can serve as the foundation for a love that will last a lifetime, or they can fade away. But how do you know? I suppose that's the million dollar question, how do you know? How can you not be blinded by the initial intensity? Migan eshgh kooreh, so how can you promise to love someone forever? How can you know that this person will help you grow, and you will help him grow, for the rest of your life?
First, I think you can't really know, because there is no answer. There are only questions, and in the process of living through these doubts, fears, and insecurities with someone, it is inevitable that you will grow together. Secondly, I don't think it's a matter of knowing, it's a matter of choosing. You can't promise how you will feel in every moment, but you can promise what you will choose in every moment. You can choose how you will act, and that is really the only promise you can make.
I don't think that true love, based on respect and commitment to spiritual growth, ever has to fade. I believe that it is possible, fulfilling, and spiritually beneficial to experience a committed, lifetime partnership. It's the ying and the yang, the alpha and the omega. The sun can not manifest itself as light without its opposite, darkness. Someone who challenges you, who makes you come face to face with the best and worst aspects of yourself, who loves you in spite of all your flaws, that should be the aspiration, and there is nothing wrong with that. It's not the unrealistic Cinderella fantasy of being swept off my feet to live happily ever after. What it is, is the desire to share my life with someone, to grow old together and cherish each moment, the good and the bad. I don't want someone who can complete me, only God can do that. What I do want is someone to share my incompleteness with.
I think after all the superficial feelings fade, if both people truly desire a deeper and more meaningful commitment, then there are no obstacles. There are only challenges that help you realize the kind of relationship that you want. It is a choice not an obligation, and it is not a sacrifice but an opportunity to experience God, Love, to the fullest degree possible while still on this earth. Being open to this experience, being trusting of another human being with my heart and my soul, being giving and loving and caring are not signs of weakness.
It takes more strength to put your heart on the line and take a chance than it does to put up barriers to protect yourself from getting hurt. So I will take the pain of disappointment, I will tolerate the tears of sadness, and I will overcome the fear of loss. But I will not be a victim of circumstance, I will not pretend to be someone I am not, and I will not apologize for wanting to find that person whom I choose, and who chooses me, for better or for worse.