Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Indian Wedding - Why We Decided to Get Married

The funny thing is that neither Anil nor I had ever planned to get married.

I did not see a point in institutionalizing a relationship, and it was always my believe that people should only be together as long as they want to, and not because once in a spur of a moment they made a promise to stay with each other "no matter what".

Anil was also disillusioned about marriage, though likely for slightly different reasons.

So how did it happen that we got married?

We are not really sure :) Anil says that I tricked him into getting married, and I say that he tricked me ;) You can judge for yourself which of us, if any, is right on this one:

Around two years ago, Anil was moving from one place to the other, and in between he stayed at my place for around two weeks. Before he moved in, I remember being somewhat scared about how it would go, but this feeling went away quickly as we had fantastic time together. It felt like being on holidays, and we both thoroughly enjoyed a chance to share daily activities with each other.

Few months later, the situation repeated and again Anil stayed at my place for a few days. I believe that this is when I raised the question whether he would be (potentially, one day) interested in moving in together. His answered shocked me: He said that we would have to get married first before we could live together.

I definitely did not expect such answer from my open-minded boyfriend, who, as far as I knew, had never planned to get married. And at that point in our relationship, I do not think either of us was ready to make a such big commitment. 

I tried to convince Anil that it makes sense to live together before marriage to see if our lifestyles and expectations were compatible, but he was inconvincible. He claimed that the fact that I wanted to first live together meant that I was not sure about our relationship (which was not true), and that I wanted to "test him" (also not true). From my point of view, moving in together would simply be a next step on the way to being together forever.

Anyway, all those discussions got me started thinking about a possibility of marriage, and one day I concluded that if one does not get married, one will always think if one should do it or not (which I consider to be a waste of mental energy). So I decided that it is a lesser "evil" to get married.

I asked Anil what did "getting married" mean to him and I again got shocked by his answer. I vividly remember asking him that question while we were watching a movie, as I was expecting him to say "Oh, I would not make a big deal out of it, I would simply go to the City Hall and sign all the necessary documents". Instead he said that he wants to have a typical Indian wedding ceremony... When I asked him what precisely it meant, he could not tell me as, even though he attended quite a few Indian wedding ceremonies, he never paid attention to what was happening during them... (Later, I got shocked even further to find out that there were 5'000 guests at his brother's wedding ceremony. Quite different from the simple City Hall marriage ceremony I imagined...)

We dropped a subject for several months, during which our relationship got stronger and stronger. We reached a phase during which we both felt that the most important thing in our lives is to be together, and everything else is secondary to that. And this is precisely when our problems started.

Anil's mother flipped out when she found out that he is planning on getting married with a WHITE WOMAN and she started a massive campaign aimed at convincing Anil to break up with me. For the longest time (I guess around two months) I had absolutely no idea about it, as Anil did not want to burden me with it. I do not remember how it happened that one day he finally told me what he was going through with his mother (she was calling him several times every day and whenever he picked up the phone they were having hours long arguments about me).

When I found out that his mother was not happy about us being together and that she was making his life a hell, I asked Anil if he wanted to break up. But he said he didn't. We had several more discussions on the subject, and each time we were close to breaking up - either because he or I couldn't stand the tension. During one final conversation, we decided to stay together, and subsequently I introduced Anil to my parents who were visiting the US, and we planned a trip together to India, so that I could meet Anil's parents.

Many people think that we made a mistake by not getting married before we went to India. In general, I would agree with this statement and to any Indian - Westerner couples who have "problematic" parents, I would recommend getting married BEFORE you introduce your partner to them.

However, in our case despite the pain and drama that we went through, I think it was better that I met Anil's mother before we got married. Thanks to that I saw her at her worst and I could make a conscious decision that I still wanted to be with Anil, despite his "baggage".     

The other positive thing that came out of that whole situation was that both of us had to fight extremely hard for our relationship, which I think will be good for us long term. Many psychological studies support the notion that the more difficult it is to get something, the more we appreciate it. In case of human interactions, it usually translates to stronger and longer-lasting relationships.

The time we spent in India was so difficult and painful for both of us that after we came back from there, we even ended up splitting up for a couple of months. But in the end we realized that even though we could, we did not want to live without each other. So around year ago, we made a final decision that we want to be together and we picked the nearest date that worked for both of us on which we got married. It all happened so fast, that likely some of our friends had to question if we were doing the right thing. I think we did, but only time will show if I am right.