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ariel

I grew up on Disney movies.  My initial views of love and romance were shaped by the starry-eyed love-at-first-sight scenarios portrayed by Cinderella, Snow White & Ariel.  How then, did I end up so cynical?  How did I go from a hope-filled child in love with love, to such a realistic and analytically-minded adult?  It breaks a little piece of my heart to even admit that I am indeed grown up.  You know what’s crazy?  While it drives me insane to see people get married in the throws of new love, when I watch those movies I totally fall for it!  I find myself swooning over the beauty of their love and approving of their speedy nuptials with a sigh and a smile and a tinge of jealousy.  Where, pray tell, is this hypocrisy coming from?  What does it mean?  Is love-at-first-sight real?  Can you know in a small matter of days or months that someone is “the one?“  Do you need to date for at least a year and experience a post-new-love relationship before committing?  What is really right and true when it comes to love and commitment?  I know this is a bit unorthodox for this blog, but I want to reference multiple movies for this posting in an effort to figure out exactly how I feel about an issue that has been causing much emotional stress for me; hurried engagement.

arielanderic~”True” Love~
It’s fitting that this is a truth-seeking entry because these romantic movies distort the truth.  They present scenarios to us and we just eat them up with wide eyes because they are beautiful, and we want them to be true.  I am guilty of the same innocent belief.  My favorite movie of all time (tied with another nautical film) is Disney’s The Little Mermaid.  The movie’s heroine is Ariel, a beautiful mermaid all grown up and ready to make life-altering decisions at sixteen years of age.  She falls deeply in love after laying eyes upon, and subsequently rescuing the handsome and conveniently single Prince Eric.  Not more than a week later, they are married, and I buy into it every time.  I have no doubt that they will live happily ever after.  In today’s culture, and with good reason, young teenagers are not deemed ready for marriage.  If it was the norm for teenagers to marry then they would be getting married and divorced as quickly as, well, adults.  In a way, teens actually seem to have a more healthy view of love.  They live in the moment, but usually aren’t quick to commit.   They fall deeply in love very quickly, but understand that marriage is a big decision to be made later in the relationship.  Adults on the other hand, often use those same initial deep romantic feelings, coupled with the rationale that the other person is a very good person and loves them completely as justification for an immediate engagement.  In movies, I approve.  In real life, I don’t buy it.  This whole “he loves me and I love him and we both feel it’s right” phase is fun and beautiful, but people forget that this phase happens at the beginning of almost every relationship.  When you find someone who is good and kind and attractive and your feelings are mutual, the result is magical, but the ending is not a guaranteed happily ever after.  That new-love feeling will fade, and when it does, what will you have left?  I think a year is a good length of time to get to know someone.  By then, the novelty of the new relationship will have worn off and you will be left with the heart of the relationship.  Hopefully by this point you will have both seen each other really angry and worked through difficult conversations and if after all this time you have learned they love you despite your imperfections, agree with you on foundational beliefs, and love and support you completely, only then will you be in a place to make a mature decision about marital commitment.

Christianmarriage~The Faith Excuse~
Adult humans often use logic to justify their decisions.  Christian adults love to claim the peace they feel is a supposed approval of God to justify their rash decisions about love.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wise to pray about relationships and I’m a huge fan of logic, but when in the throws of new love, peoples’ sense of right and wrong is almost always clouded by their own desires.  They already feel their relationship is right and want God’s approval so they interpret all His silence and every romantic moment as confirmation.  Might I remind ye readers that humans have been using God’s supposed approval via lack of conviction to rationalize the likes of slavery, male dominance, and incredible mistreatment of animals for centuries.  So, forgive me if I don’t completely accept your use of God as a justification for an action you have already decided is the right one.

snowwhite2~Destiny~
What makes the decision to marry right?  This is a question I have been struggling with for many years.  When I was considering getting engaged to my boyfriend, I asked many of my married friends if they had had any doubts when they got engaged and frustratingly the majority said no.  Most of them had gotten engaged in less than a year, some even got married in less than a year.  They walked down the aisle blind with happiness.  Sometimes I wish I could have been that blind.  Unfortunately my eyes were wide open, so that even as I was falling more in love and excited by first kisses, I still remained unsure of the future.  Were these reservations a sign that I really hadn’t found my true love?  How can you know when you have found them?  These questions have haunted me.  How can you ever know that the person you have decided to share your life with is the one you are destined to be with?  A close friend told me these are the wrong questions to ask; that there is no ‘one;’ but rather that we should focus on who we are with and if they are right for us.  If you find that that person is right for you, and vice versa, then you put your all into the relationship.  I find myself right in the middle, thinking there is something to what he said; to focus on who you are with, and their rightness, rather than wondering about countless unknowns that do not matter, but also still believing a bit in destiny.  I’m not saying the movies have it right, but I do believe that God knows exactly who is the perfect match for each of us, and so in a way there is a ‘one.’

auroraphillip~Fairy Tale Love~
So what do the fairy tales tell us?  The distortion of truth presented to us tells us that you certainly can know at first glance that a particular person is your soul mate.  Take for instance the story of Sleeping Beauty.  Princess Aurora is out in the woods when she meets Prince Phillip, and joins him in a song about recognizing your soul mate from your dreams.  Not much later his services are required in the form of true love’s kiss to awaken the princess from an evil curse.  True love?  How did they know?  Why do I buy into the legitimacy of this every time I watch it?!  I forget that it is different to be viewing all sides of a love story than it is to be involved on only one side.  The movie manipulates the viewer’s thought process by making them feel all-knowing.  This is literary device called third person omniscience.  First, the viewer is introduced to Aurora, who is beautiful, innocent, loving, and feeling a bit trapped.  Then the viewer is introduced to Phillip, who is handsome and intelligent, refusing a betrothal forced upon him.  You already know and trust both parties, and seeing them so in love, you believe it’s destiny, so why wouldn’t you approve of their immediate marriage?  In real life, however, you simply can’t know.  Being swept up in the throws of new love, one can only see the good in the other, and can only imagine a lifetime of romantic bliss.  The modern adult will often concede that there will be challenges along the way, but that they will work through them together of course because they are surely meant to be.

megara2~Logic~
The little girl with bouncing blonde curls inside me really really wants to believe that love at first sight is a real phenomenon.  Is it?  If it is real, it certainly defies the laws of logic.  Unless there is some magic out there I’m unaware of, it is impossible to know if someone is right for you simply by looking at them.  Feelings can be very strong and rightly influence our decisions, but allowing emotions to lead you is a dangerous, unstable way to run your life.  Our emotions wax and wane.  This is one reason why marriage is so important.  Humans need to make a romantic commitment of some kind, or they will continually pursue fresh relationships that end when the novelty fades.  That starry-eyed, infatuation, let’s call it the ‘Disney feeling’ can be important, but is it necessary?  My philosopher husband broke it down to me like this:
Cinderella
There are 4 possibilities:
1. It is necessary to feel that “Disney feeling” to know it’s right.
2. That feeling is sufficient to make a long-term decision based upon it.
3. It is both necessary and sufficient or
4. It is neither necessary, nor sufficient to determine relational ‘rightness.’

It isn’t necessary to experience that feeling, because you can imagine a functional relationship in which that ‘Disney feeling’ is absent, but the couple is otherwise a perfect match.  Experiencing that feeling alone isn’t sufficient to make a lifelong decision, because feelings fade and change over time.  Therefore, the  only logical conclusion is that that magical feeling is neither necessary to validate a relationship, nor is it a sufficient reason to commit.  The ‘Disney feeling’ is very real, and very strong, but one must remember it is only a feeling and does not signify the rightness of a long-term commitment.  So when Snow White wakes from her coma and rides off on that white horse with Prince Charming, and they “just know” they are soul mates…  that’s crap.  I wish it were true.  When I was young I thought I would “just know,” but it turns out relationships are much more complicated, something I discovered by persisting in a relationship long past the initial new-love phase.  Anyone can feel warm-fuzzies, and then think it through and decide based on the other person’s good qualities and compatibility that they are the perfect match, but is that all there is to it?  Is there nothing to persisting in a relationship?  Isn’t that what dating is for; to get to know a person completely and decide is they are really right for you?  Why not just enjoy dating and lessen the risk of marriage?  Besides, spending your pre-marriage time learning to be a couple, and preparing yourselves for marriage is a much more beneficial way to start than spending it planning a large, stressful, expensive public event.  What on earth is the rush, then?  Besides, if he or she really is ‘the one,’ they will still be ‘the one’ a year from now, or longer.

megara1~Where my heart is at~
If you’ve read this far, you know where I stand in regards to rushed engagement, but are probably wondering why this issue bugs me so much.  Normally I would just think to myself well I know I’m right and that’s all that matters, but lately I’ve been forcing myself to dig deeper.  I hate feeling helpless and frustrated and if this issue isn’t as big a deal as I feel it is, I’d love to be free to not stress about it.  When I first began mulling this issue over in my mind, I thought my intentions were firmly grounded in the best interests of the parities in question.  Are my intentions really that pure?  It’s certainly true that I don’t want my friends to make risky decisions.  I definitely want to save my friends from the risk of disappointment or divorce down the road.  I want to encourage them to take their time and make the wisest decisions possible, but is that it?  I may be a bit more OCD than I would like to admit.  I crave ‘rightness.’  I want to be right, but it’s more than just that.  I want the truth to prevail.  It’s like when a smoker justifies their risk by saying their grandfather smoked his whole life and never got cancer.  When people say they know they are right early in their relationship and jump immediately into marriage, a part of me wants them to be happy of course because I love them, but if I’m being honest, a part of me wants it to fall apart, so they will realize the reality of the risk they have taken.  I have a desire for consequences to fall neatly into place.  The problem of course is that a risk is just a risk.  The results could either be awful or successful.  My frustration stems from the conclusion couples reach upon success, that there simply was no risk at all.  I would love to hear couples be realistic and say “I really feel that this is right, but I know it’s a risk.  Every marriage is a risk, and I am willing to take this one and stick with it despite the outcome.”

In conclusion I would like to point out what may appear to be a glaring hypocrisy between the logic of my previous blog entry (Monsoon Wedding: “What marriage isn’t a risk?”) and this one.  Why was I able to write a whole entry justifying an arranged marriage based on very little relationship experience, yet I find it so hard to swallow engagement after months of dating?  Am I worrying too much?  Is it really such a big deal? Do I need to pick my battles?  One thing is for sure. I care a lot about my friends and family.  I want the best for them.  If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be typing this.  I wouldn’t say anything.  I would just feign support and be, like, so happy for them!  True friends warn their friends when they might be making a mistake, and I will continue to do just that.  I will be honest.  I will attempt to steer my friends in the right directions.  However… Every marriage is a risk, not just shotgun ones.  It is entirely possible to date for several years and convince yourself you ought to marry someone, only to have it fall apart and end in divorce.  So, in standing with my previous blog, if every marriage is a risk, shouldn’t I then support a marriage of two people who share beliefs and have discussed support and compatibility?  It’s clearly wiser to wait to commit, but it’s not the worst mistake to get married quickly.  There are much worse mistakes one could make.  Maybe I should look at it like this; if both people are good people, and committed to staying married come what may, why not support that?  So I guess where I stand is this:  Look, Disney lied to you.  It’s a beautiful lie.  You didn’t “know” when you first saw him, or when you had that life-changing conversation just 2 weeks later. No matter how sure you feel, you simply can’t know they are the one, but that doesn’t mean that marriage is a terrible mistake.  It’s a risk, but, hey, you just might live happily ever after, and if you start your marriage on a foundation of love and trust, it might be worth the risk.

auroraphilip2

      Usually I watch movies because I want to, but sometimes I think God wants me to watch movies that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself to watch; one case in point being Monsoon Wedding.  I received this movie as a Christmas gift from a close friend who praised it as a beautiful Indian film she thought I might enjoy.  I was worried, not knowing if I really would.  I didn’t know anything about the plot, and if I had known it centered around an arranged marriage, I probably would have been a bit turned off by it’s premise.  As it turns out, though, it was a thoroughly enjoyable piece, aesthetically pleasing; filled with bright colors and glimpses of city and culture displaying both positive and negative aspects of life in modern New Delhi, India.  Stand-out performances include Naseeruddin Shah as Lalit Verma, the father of the bride-to-be and Shefali Shetty as Ria Verma.  Monsoon Wedding shows the complexities,  the selfishness, the selflessness, the dirt, and the love that is evident in every family.


***SPOILER ALERT***

      I have never been a supporter of arranged marriage.  I’ve  heard the argument that these arranged marriages last longer than our own free-chosen marriages here in the United States.  The divorce rate in India is only 1.1% in comparison to America’s nearly 45.8%. (a) Being the cynic that I am, though, I must point out that Indian culture is steeped in tradition.  Staying married is not necessarily proof of a healthy marriage.  It could be a sign of stubborn adherence to the strict moral codes of the culture.  Just because a couple perseveres in a marriage, does not mean they are happy together, or that both parties are not cheating on their partners.  I have always believed in the fairytale romance and happily-ever-afters portrayed in Disney films, but is this really the way love plays out?  It seems that those movies show a glimpse of what falling in love is like, but do little to portray the reality of the tempestuous nature of real relationships.  Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to this movie.  Maybe in my subconscious, I can sense how much more real the relationships are in Monsoon Wedding in comparison to the whimsical, instantly sure romances portrayed in so many other films.  When I think of ‘arranged marriage’ I think of the parents choosing a spouse and forcing their child to marry, much like the situations in Fiddler on the Roof.  It seemed so contrary to my beliefs in love and the God-given free will of every human.  It is a stance I still hold, but I’m learning that most modern arranged marriages are different.  In fact, while arranged marriages are still quite the norm in India, there is much more choice involved.  In most cases, the bride-to-be and her family go through a very involved process of narrowing down suitors, and, in some cases, is even allowed a sort of courtship with her potential spouse.  The bride and groom-to-be have the free will to marry or not.  Many couples now a days even choose their own spouse, but go through many of the traditions as though the spouse had been chosen for them.  These are referred to as ‘love-arranged’ marriages.(b)  I think the concept I was so averted to was that of “forced” marriage.  As it turns out, arranged marriage is a quite different thing, and I’m not so sure what I think of it.  I strongly believe in both the right to choose your own spouse, and that a deep friendship-based, romantic relationship is necessary to know whether or not the person you are seeing would make a good choice for your lifelong partner.  Being paired with a man you barely know, can be risky.  In the movie, Rea expressed her own aversion to her cousin’s hurried arranged marriage by asking, “For all this talk of passion, how about marrying for love, Aditi?”  When Aditi explains her desire to settle down, Rea chides her for choosing to marry a guy “selected by  mommy and daddy” she’d “barely known for a couple of weeks.”  When it really comes down to it, I agree with Rea, but this movie has really transformed my original view of arranged marriage.  Maybe it’s not that I think they’re ideal, but rather that the specific marriage portrayed in this movie was good.

Monsoon Wedding revolves around the arranged marriage of Aditi Verma and Hemant Rai, but there are various other love stories surrounding that central relationship.  There is the deep love of family, displayed both in playfulness and heart-tugging sincerity, the excitement of the new attraction between Ayesha and Rahul , the unexpected suddenly strong and self-enlightening love developing between P.K. Dubey and Alice, and the lasting, deeply-rooted bond shared by Lalit and Pimmi Verma, the father and mother of the bride.  The latter provides a kind of foreshadowing of the married life that is to come.  They have clearly become comfortable with each other, almost too comfortable, but there are yet glimpses of passion, and it is clear that they need each other.

Self-sacrifice is a strong theme in Monsoon Wedding.  Parenting itself requires much self-sacrifice.  Lalit, the father of the bride, while looking over his sleeping daughters, says to his wife, “You know, Pimmi, sometimes when I look at them I feel love which I almost cannot bear….. If only their lives are happy, and for that I am willing to take on every trouble, every sorrow in the world.“  So strong and important was the bond of the family that Rea would not even bring up her own past victimization until another family member was in danger.  What a sacrifice it must have been for her to keep those painful memories to herself, and to know that justice might never be brought upon her attacker.
There are so many aspects of this movie I could praise, from the beautiful cinematography to the mostly excellent casting to the usage of colors and culture to the music to the seemingly natural interactions skillfully acted on the screen, but I would like to focus on something more specific.  When I pressed play I was skeptical of the legitimacy of arranged marriage, but by the end I found myself quite comfortable with the union of Aditi and Hemant.  How did this happen? …and perhaps more importantly, what does this conclusion say about my own views of the institution of marriage itself?

My ideas of love and marriage retained from childhood have always been of fairytale proportions; magical, simple and easy.  I honestly believed that when you found “the one” that you would fall madly in love and you should never marry anyone until you were sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were that one.  Now, as an adult of twenty-seven, I have lived and loved and learned enough to know that in relationships there is magic at times, but it is not often simple or easy.  At the beginning of Monsoon Wedding we find Aditi, a young grown woman, wanting to settle down.  Keeping in line with traditional Punjabi culture, she allows her parents to arrange a marriage for her.  As her cousin Rea insinuated she seemed to be taking the easy way out of singlehood, but she soon found it was not so easy as she had expected.  Her heart held her back.  Aditi wanted to be married because she wanted to feel loved and to have the stability and comfort of knowing her lover would always take care of her and always be there for her, but the thought of committing to a near-stranger became a gnawing fear for her.  In response to this fear, she turned to a previous boyfriend in search of the comfort and passion she once felt.  Though she soon enough learned that this past lover was not a good man, and certainly could not be the stable, trustworthy mate she longed for, it took a night or two of running back to him to realize it.  She missed familiarity of his smell, look and touch.  Remembering this and longing for it only amplified the fear of committing to an unknown.  Would she love him?  Could she?  As her wedding date drew near, her doubts increased.  She dared not stop the ceremonies, nor speak her fearful doubts aloud, although an attentive eye could surely see it in her face.  So why did she go through with it?  Ultimately, not surprisingly, her old lover proved himself to be less than valiant, and, reality-shaken, Aditi stopped seeing him and made the brave choice to be honest with her fiancé about her unfaithful escapades.  Rea encouraged her to keep the dirty little secret to herself, rather than stir up trouble just before the wedding, but Aditi spoke with great wisdom when she replied, “I don’t want to lie.  I don’t want to start something new based on lies and deceit.  It’s just so wrong.(…)I can’t do this to him.”

Love is a tricky thing isn’t it?  How can you know that you are in love?  Anyone who has been in love knows that those ooey gooey feelings are not constant.  Our feelings wax and wane.  The choice to spend the rest of your life bonded to one partner is a serious one, that must be based on more than feelings.  I believe that a deep friendship is necessary.  Trust is essential, as well as understanding, compassion and compatibility.  How then, can we determine the legitimacy of this arranged pairing?  They had hardly known each other long enough to fall in love, and certainly did not have any sort of relationship long enough to become trusted friends.  I would argue that the one thing that makes me feel okay about their union is the showing of selfless love displayed by both parties.  Their actions say a lot about their character, and foreshadow a married relationship of love and trust.

So far I have only described the character of Aditi, but next I shall discuss the honor of the groom-to-be.  From the beginning Hemant seemed to be a nice, likable guy.  He found time to take Aditi out before the wedding so they could spend time getting to know one another.  He shared with her his favorite old coffee shop and remained attentive, but not pushy.  He recognized the gravity of her choice to leave her family to marry him and move to America and tried to get her to talk about it.  Though she remained evasive about her true feelings, it must have been heavy on her heart.  In one ceremony a woman sang a kind of suhag (c) with these lyrics from the point of view of the bride, “As I leave for my father-in-law’s house I will take your dreams with me.  The gift of bracelets binds me in marriage.  My father, I leave the palace of your love to become a stranger to you forever.”  Though in that moment his concerns only frightened her in further silence and longing for old, familiar comforts, Hemant showed great sensitivity to this intense pressure he knew she was experiencing, and was willing to initiate and participate in communication, all good character traits.  When Aditi came clean with him about her unfaithfulness, he was clearly and rightfully angry, though despite that he remained enough of a gentleman to still open the car door for her.  The whole ride home he yelled aloud his frustrations and concerns, a natural reaction.  He never became violent or even truly verbally abusive.  At home, as she walked away, he ran after her, and, despite his own pain, showed great sensitivity to her pain. “Someone broke my heart, too, a few years ago,” he says. “I know how hard and confusing it can be.”  In perhaps the most memorable line in the whole movie, Hemant asks this simple yet profound question, “Yeah I know it’s a risk, but what marriage isn’t a risk?”

This is the heart of this essay, the dilemma and possible solution that struck such a chord with me when I first watched this movie.  The legitimacy of arranged marriage was not so much what stood out to me, as the weight of the commitment of marriage in general.  Commitment to a spouse you barely know could be scary, but choosing to commit yourself even to a spouse you know well can be a risky endeavor.  I used to think love was simple.  You fall in love and everything feels all magical and mushy and you “just know” he’s the right one.  Why would you doubt what you know to be true love?  Upon growing up I’ve come to realize the truth that love is never simple and very rarely so perfect it goes unquestioned.  My analytical brain is constantly mulling over the pros, cons and what-ifs.  I must admit that the thought of being tied down to one man is a bit scary.  Am I making the right decision?  Are we as good for each other as I’d thought?  What if I were to commit myself and then later meet someone who is more for “right” for me?   Is this what my heart really desires?  Feelings, as it turns out, are unreliable and inconsistent.

Love is a decision.  Upon asking various friends for romantic advice, this phrase came up more than once.  I was always quick to dismiss it because at first glance it appears to suck all the beauty and romance out of love, transforming it into a calculated move that is most beneficial to both parties involved.  Unromantic as it may seem on the surface, embracing this truth may be one key to a truly fulfilling marriage.  Marriage itself centers around a choice.  The bride and groom and saying to each other, “I choose you, no matter who I meet in the future, no matter what changes.”  When things get tough, they choose to stay together and work it out.  They choose to act out of love for each other, even when the spark is not there.  They promise to be there for each other.  Feelings are so fleeting.  If we followed them we would be with a new lover every few weeks or months or years.  We fall in and out of love.  If we were simply following our feelings, we would break up and make up and move on all the time.  I want true love.  I want to settle down with a man I know loves me more than anyone and will protect and encourage me.  If I really want this, though, I will have to make a decision.  This lesson was made all the more clear in a scene from the movie The Lakehouse in which Sandra Bullock’s character, Kate, has a conversation with a hospitalized little girl about her mother’s multiple boyfriends.
Says the little girl, “’There’s always something better coming around the corner,’ that’s what she says.  Maybe that’s what that lady should do; wait for something better that’s comin’ around the corner.”
“Maybe,” replies Kate.  “But if she’s not careful she could spend her whole life waiting.”
In Runaway Bride, Maggie asks Ike, “Do you think there’s one right person for everybody?”
To which he wisely replies, “No, but I think attraction is too often mistaken for rightness.”

We all have two choices, either choose a mate that you trust and love, or live your whole life searching and running from pasture to pasture seeking the greenest grass.  The latter sounds quite unfulfilling.  Now I am certainly not encouraging the reader to quickly commit because a poor or abusive match can be just as bad if not worse than constant searching.  All I’m saying is if you have found love, and found your significant other to be most of what you need and want in a spouse, then committing to them is something you should consider.  A life of searching is filled with excitement and lots of ’new loves’ but the searcher will end up alone.

This in mind, we have to ask ourselves, what do we really want?  What do I really want?  I’ll admit there are times when I miss the freedom of single hood, or yearn for the excitement of fresh attraction and new love, but what I really want is a reliable partner.  The strong sense of independence and (hopefully) subsequent flattery of flirtation can lead to the tantalizing mystery of a budding relationship.  I miss those butterflies, but if I were to follow them, they would lead me in and out of many relationships, for as soon as I started to settle down they might at any moment take flight and I would find myself searching once again.  So it is clear I have a choice to make.  I can live a life of passion and fleeting romance, or I can settle down.  This of course does not mean I would be settling for less, just that I would be making a decision to stop searching and pour my all into one good relationship.  What do I need in a partner?  I need a partner who will listen to me, understand me as best he can, respect and agree with the views I am passionate about, share the same faith as it is the basis of our existence and reason for our actions, encourage and inspire me, is excellent when it comes to communication, and really truly loves me.  In Monsoon Wedding, Aditi and Hemant did not know each other long enough to discover all of these positive traits, but the virtues each of them displayed showed great and important strength of character.  Aditi showed it by coming clean with the truth about her infidelity at the risk of great humiliation and the loss of her groom.  She told him simply because it was the right thing to do.  Hemant responded to her admission in a real, honest way, but ultimately forgave her.  Not only that but he didn’t hold her mistakes over her head, didn’t tell anyone, didn’t bring any shame upon her, and didn’t seek revenge. Rather, he found a common ground with her, offered her forgiveness and continued to offer his hand in marriage, leaving the ultimate decision up to her.  What should her decision have been?  His kisses were good, but who’s to say she couldn’t receive a great many good kisses from other suitors?  Would they love her the same as he?  His kisses were sweet, but his forgiveness was sweeter.  His understanding, grace, and willingness to relinquish control, and her honesty and humility are traits that said a lot about who they really were as people.

In hundreds of chick-flicks, the  love-interest proves their valiancy by some great romantic gesture, but that simple moment of honest humbleness said so much more about the hearts of the couple.  The biggest risk of an arranged marriage is that the person you marry could turn out to be both incompatible with you and also not as good a person as they seemed to be.  This is why I am so comfortable with the Aditi-Hemant marriage.  It seems that big risk is not so risky.  Chemistry, attraction, communication, trust, and forgiveness are all present.  All else can be ironed out.

All this may seem far removed from our free-spirited American culture’s marriage rituals, but it comes down to the same issue.  Ultimately at some point you must make a decision based on what you know of the person, whether to marry them or not.  I do believe there is something to be said for the development of a deep friendship with your beloved to ensure compatibility, but in the end you must consider their character.  Is he good for me?  Am I good for him?  Are we good as a team?  Indian arranged marriage seems to allow for both parties to ask all those questions, it just bypasses the relationship and subsequent friendship.  It might be argued that they have cut out a crucial period, but I think it’s worth pointing out that they have at least skipped ahead to the most important part of the decision-making process.  Perhaps more American marriages would last longer if the couples had spent less time getting to know one another and more time discovering the true character of their potential mate.  Perhaps love and arranged marriages are not so very different at all.  In any case, the Aditi-Hemant union looks like it will be a successful one.  They have my blessing.

Monsoon Wedding IMDB page:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265343/

(a)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arranged_marriage_in_India#Low_incidence_of_divorce_in_India

(b)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arranged_marriage_in_India

(c)Suhag: which is sung by the bride in praise of her parents and the happy days of her childhood and in anticipation of happy days ahead.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punjabi_wedding_traditions

Q:  Who are you?

A:  I am the kind of woman who watches the movie with commentary the next day… and enjoys it (if it’s a good one); the kind who soaks up trivia and seeks understanding to better appreciate the cinematic arts.  Is who I am really all that important?  If you read my blog, you will get glimpses of who I am, but this blog is not about me.  It is about what I see and feel and think to understand.

Q:  What is this blog about?

A:  Though this will technically be my first blog post, the purpose of this blog is to critique movies.  No.  It’s more than that; deeper.  I want to shed light on movies.  Sure I’ll mention acting skill & believability, screen shots, camera angles, usage of symbols, themes, etc, but I want to delve into what the movies make the viewers feel; the messages to be received from them, the suspected correlations between fiction and real life (or other works of fiction).  I believe there is much more to many movies than the empty laughs of surface entertainment.

Q:  Why haven’t you blogged yet?!

A:  I have a tendency to procrastinate.  In fact, as I’m typing this I am intending to save it unfinished and come back to complete & publish it later.  I don’t mean to make excuses, but I think it might be worthwhile to explain, although somewhat cryptically, the reasoning behind my taking forever to post my first critique.  I have decided for my first post to be on the movie Monsoon Wedding, a film that unexpectedly spoke to my heart and God is using to help me along in my journey through love.  I believe a big reason why I have yet to even begin typing its review, is that I need to get some things ironed out in my own head.  My head is still battling my heart in some ways.  I am young and confused.  Soon though, I hope to actually type that up.

Q:  Why did you create this blog?

A:  I suppose I could trace the genesis of this drive several years back… back before I had any intention of ever starting a blog… back when the sharp points of scissored fingers first pierced my heart.  If you have never seen Edward Scissorhands, you have missed out on something wonderful.  As with most new movies I see & appreciate, I started asking other people if they had seen it too.  I was baffled by the responses I got.  Most said they hadn’t seen it or didn’t remember much about it, but probably the most aggravating response was this one:  “Yeah I saw that.  It was funny!”  I should also mention that for some unknown reason I found it located in the ‘comedy’ section in Blockbuster.  Edward Scissorhands is a drama.  It is a dark tale of discrimination and the purity of love.  It is a social satire, frightening close to accuracy.  As with many serious movies, there are elements of comedy, but they are clearly not the defining feature of the film.  I had thought… I wish that people would understand.  I want to be able to convey to others what they may have missed when they watched the film.  It seems today that many people are somewhat A.D.D..  They watch movie after movie and maintain that so many of them are ‘just okay.’  They enjoy movies with lots of laughs at silly escapades- antics that are able to satisfy their quickly waning attention spans.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy a good comedy, but I think there is a lot more to be acquired from the fruits of the cinema.  There is a lot that goes into the making of a feature film; many aspects to consider.  Think about it.  Casting. Location. Wardrobe. Camera angles.  Lighting.  Acting.  Directors are offering their unique vision for the public to enjoy.  It is a damn shame that so many people overlook so much of what is beautiful about the movies they are blessed to witness.