By Hannah Neumann
One day in my Christian Scriptures class we were talking about arranged marriage within biblical cultures.
Back then there were, and even all over the world today there are cultures in which parents arrange marriage for their children.
In these cultures, If a poor and small clan who stands very little chance against an enemy or strenuous circumstance has a daughter, they will likely look to arrange marriage with a man from a wealthy, populous, powerful clan, so as to unite forces and gain protection through the arrangement.
See, in these cultures, marriage is less about the love between two people, and more about the unification of two tribes. You see, even if this daughter has absolutely no intimate feelings for this man, or perhaps even has somewhat negative feelings about her intended suitor, she will accept the arrangement so as to protect and honor her family.
Now, I am not disregarding the corruption present in many of these culture’s values and ways of life, however I do find these arrangements very admirable on behalf of the couple to marry. These children put aside their own independence, thoughts, longings and desires in order to not only satisfy, but to ensure security, protection and longevity for their family through this alliance.
While I do not wish for my parents to choose my life partner, (though to be honest they’d probably do a much better job than myself) there is a selfishness in America, not in terms of marriage necessarily, but brought to my attention by thinking about the differences between cultures in terms of it.
In America, young adults are taught to do what pleases them.
People say, “do what makes you happy” or “follow your dreams” or “think about your future.”
These are all very agreeable and encouraging words of advice, however I think sometimes people exploit these ideals and focus so much on their own path that they forget to turn around and appreciate the very people who worked hard to help them get started on it.
I’m not suggesting that Americans should begin to search for their partners with their parents’ desires in mind, but there are other ways to return to them the things they have given us.
If your parents work hard to ensure success in your future, do you not owe it to them to succeed?
There are parents who spend their lives working hard and saving their money so that one day they can send their child to college. I once knew a guy whose single mother worked dawn to dusk, day after day for years in the hopes that she could make just enough to send him to college and give him a shot at the luminous future that she never had herself.
His mother spent every last dime to send her son to his first year at the best university she could find within her budget in conjunction with financial aid.
After the first few months of school, her son began to crumble under pressure, succumbing to his heavy workload and decided to drop out and live at home.
While I understand what it feels like to lose hope and want to give up, I don’t understand how he believed he deserved the opportunity to do so.
His mother put everything that she had into this venture, therefore, regardless of his personal trial, he should have felt obligated to make her proud, and to eventually, return to her everything she had given him.
Did he not owe it to his mom to make something of himself and represent his clan in the most admirable way possible?
Did he not owe it to his mom to believe in himself as she had believed in him?
Do we as children not owe it to our parents to give back to them everything they have given to us?
I’m not suggesting that these arranged marriage values are a better way of life than ours. I just believe that Americans need to gain a stronger sense of importance and dedication to family, of loyalty to the clan, of unity and reciprocation, and that in this, we shall discover protection, strength, honor and success for one, and for all.
Hannah Neumann is a freshman journalism major from Dripping Springs. She is a staff writer for the Lariat.