this tricky business of marriage
It was Saudi's birthday today (as far as he could work out swapping between calendars). He invited two friends over, both also Muslims from his country. We had a most interesting conversation about arranged marriage. None of this difficult dating lark, oh no! When Long Black decided he wanted a wife, he sent his sisters out looking for him and they found him a very nice lass. :)
After his and her parents had a chat, he was allowed to meet her. She was pretty shy, but luckily he isn't and he was able to talk with her enough to realise that they both felt a connection, so he gave her a present he'd brought ~ a bracelet ~ to indicate his interest. They were both pretty fortunate to have very open-minded parents who agreed that it would be okay for the two of them to talk on the phone (not all families allow this) so they exchanged numbers and while he was away in another city for six months, they got to know each other better. Now they've been married three years and have a young son.
It's so strange that while I can't imagine ever letting someone else choose a husband for me, I still found this story completely sweet. Everyone was charmed by the way he spoke about his wife and how much love and respect he has for her. It's interesting, too, to talk to young men in their 20s who have no shyness at all at the fact that they have never dated any girl, and won't ever do so before they marry (Saudi and his other friend are still single). These things are simply experiences for another time in their life that's still to come.
It's such a diverse world, and people take very different paths, but we all want to be happy. I feel like they are missing something in the loss of those first weeks and months when you know you like someone, but have no agenda except to enjoy finding out more about them and discover if they feel the same connection. And yet, there was such a purity to the way he described this arranged match. It had its own beauty.