I remember the first time I learned about arranged marriages. I thought to myself that they must be loveless and passionless and just downright miserable. I mean, who really wants to spend the rest of your life with someone you don't really know? It seems so risky. If you don't get along then you're stuck in a loveless, miserable relationship for the rest of your life. You could divorce or cheat, I suppose, but nobody really wants that. Most people would rather pick the right one in the first place.
The couple in this YouTube clip had an arranged marriage and were able to make it flourish into a loving and lasting relationship. The steps they took to make their relationship last are great steps for everyone in a relationship. Below are four things every couple can learn from this arranged marriage that will make their own relationship happier.
Be respectful of each other's differences
Oftentimes, you expect your spouse to have the same views as you do and you want your spouse to agree with you most of the time. That's what makes you "compatible." This compatibility is so important that most people would never dream of marrying someone else unless you thought they were compatible with you. But in this couples' arranged marriage, there was no way to test each other's compatibility before marriage.
Instead, the couple had to learn to respect each other. They undoubtedly had their differences but they didn't take each other's differences as an insult. They were respectful to each other and allowed each other to have their differences — free of judgment and criticism.
In order to have a truly healthy relationship, you need to be respectful of each other's differences. Instead of being critical or angry at your spouse for not having the same views as you, be respectful of your differences. You can still love each other if you're different.
Turn respect into friendship
Great relationships are not just physical or romantic. There's a healthy dose of friendship in there, too. The couple in the clip were able to form a friendship out of respect for each other. If you can have a bond of friendship with your partner, you can foster that friendship into something even more fantastic. You will look forward to each other's company.
Do things together — alone
This couple found time to spend with each other — alone. They had a routine of getting coffee together every Sunday, taking their dogs for a walk, etc. These routines are great for couples. It helps you establish an identity as a couple and not just as parents.
Doing things together alone also helps you keep in touch with your spouse through the years. Your spouse is a different person when they're 40 than they were at 20. If you don't spend alone time together, you could miss some of the critical changing they do (just like you'd miss some of the change in your kids if you don't spend time with them.)
Get over anger
When things go bad in your relationship, it's easy to get angry about them. But too often, we stay angry about them and it forms a canker in the relationship.
The wife in this arranged marriage described the anger that she had toward her parents for forcing her into this arranged marriage. It could have been easy for her to stay angry instead of trying to make the best out of her situation. But she chose to make the best out of her situation instead.
Instead of being angry at your spouse (for whatever reason) try to work through your anger so you can come up with a solution to your problem(s). Sure, you might want your spouse to fix it first or you might feel like you deserve an apology but that's your anger getting the best of you. Learn to let go of your anger and make the best of your situation.
The couple in the clip were able to turn an arranged marriage into a loving and abiding relationship by doing some of these things mentioned above and it worked for them, there's no reason it couldn't work for you.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.