Though an arranged marriage may seem like an antique idea to some people, it is still popular, especially in poorer countries. It is pretty cut and dried, arranged marriages are business deals, cash and/or goods for wife and children. Like this story, I gave her father a set amount to marry his daughter and the deal was finalized between him and me. It was only later after we were husband and wife that we began to love one another. Someone once estimated that over half of marriages worldwide are arranged and while the US divorce rate hovers above 50 percent, the divorce rate for arranged marriages is closer to 4 percent.
My wife and I married in June of 1993 within her religion and the wedding itself took place in the living room of her father’s house. Here was this gorgeous girl dressed in a white dress with a red bow tied around her waist standing next to me as we said our vows. She had spent the morning at the beauty salon getting ready for the moment she would leave her father’s house and go into her husband’s. I promised to protect, provide for and be faithful to my wife, she promised to be faithful and to obey me. For us it is still a matter of honor, in early 2020 we will celebrate our 27th anniversary.
After our honeymoon was over I noticed a change in the way she was treated and addressed when we went back to visit her family. People were polite to her and were very careful to address her as Mrs. (my last name). While we were engaged my wife-to-be had spend a lot of time practicing writing her new name before our marriage; when we moved into our apartment I found a writing pad filled with her married name signatures (I still have that writing pad) in our luggage. I have never understood the ridiculous purpose or reasoning of hyphenating a married woman’s last name with her maiden name or for her to keep her maiden name after marriage, to do so is a sign of disrespect towards her husband.
Once we had settled into married life we began the slow and extremely frustrating work of getting the legal US immigration process completed which took us another sixteen months (the US embassy was the biggest pain in the ass by far in that miserable process). She got her “green card” and became a naturalized American citizen within the first year after coming to the States.
When my job was finished we had a lot of accumulated household stuff to get rid of (which did not please my wife), shipping was outrageously expensive so was out of the question. We distributed as much of our stuff as we could among her family (which pleased her somewhat), sold some and gave the rest to the neighbors. When it was time for us to actually leave I hand carried all of the required paperwork for immigration onto the airplane and we departed for the “land of the free”. Years before I had arrived in country with a single suitcase and passport, now I left with luggage for two, one pretty green-eyed young wife who belonged to me and quite a bit more cash in hand.
This seems like a good place to stop this story, we are still married and are as close to happily ever after as can be expected. I now have gray hair, wrinkles and little bit of belly…my bride also has gray throughout her brown hair and is chubbier that when she first came to me, but we have each other.