One of the most intereting facts I learned about the family of my friend’s landlord is that the oldest son has an arranged marriage. He only met his new bride a few times before they were married. The marriage was arranged because the younger brother had met a young woman and wanted to get married, but in this culture the oldest brother must be married first.
I tend to think of arranged marriages as a thing of the past. But many countries around the world still hold on to this tradition. In my Western mind set, an arranged marriage may even have a negative connotation. But there are many Albanian women who welcome an arranged marriage to a good young man, from a nice family. And there are even still older women who are known for their match-making. It made me think about how Albania is changing so rapidly on the surface, but down below there are a number of cultural roots that hold deep.
How do you learn to live with a man you have just met, married and moved in with his family? This brings all new meaning to learning to live together. Who cooks? Who cleans? Who has authority in the house? What happens when a young man is a new Christian and his family wants to arrange his marriage to a young woman who is not a believer? This is happening to another young man we know. How does he honor His father and his mother and honor God is his faith? These are not easy questions but they are the ones we seek to find with a God who is grace-filled and loving.
It is opening my eyes to the process of learning to live together. Just this morning, I broke up a fight between Tyler and Austin. We had to have a long talk about learning to love and respect each other, even when we don’t agree or when we don’t like what the other person says or does. It doesn’t get any easier the older you get. Even if you are not under the same roof, learning to live together is a life long adventure.