I’m 52 years old. To this day, my Pakistani mother says things like, “You should get a husband,” because that’s truly how her world works. When I was young, my mother would explain to me that each of us will be given a partner based on our kismet ― our fated life story written on a star.
So when my mother was married off to my father in an arranged marriage, it was her kismet and no human can change that. They have now been married for 55 amazing years. They believe that because they did all the things they wanted ― achieved great career and financial success, raised three pretty amazing daughters and continue to enjoy each other’s company ― that is proof they actually are each other’s kismet.
Love, however, was explained to me differently. My mother would say, “When you bring a pet like a puppy home, do you immediately love him, and does he immediately love you? No, you growwww to love each other. That’s like marriage. You need to train your husband: live with him, and then you will grow to love him and he will grow to love you.” This is real to her. Husbands are trainable like dogs. Also you just “get one.” These are the messages I grew up with in my home.
But, outside my house, as an American girl, the messages I got were wholly different. Countless Silhouette romance novels, movies, country music (Randy Travis … swoon!), and even my closest friends whose own parents fell in love and got married the American way, convinced me that true love was real. It is real, right?
I didn’t believe in kismet and I wanted to believe in American love, but I have come to the conclusion that preordained kismet ― love that you find with your heart ― and marriage ― a government-sanctioned partnership ― are two different things, can be mutually exclusive, and are not what I’m looking for in a lifelong partnership. The person or people you choose to build a life with might not be the person or people with whom you share your heart, and it’s unlikely that the stars will reveal their knowledge readily.
Whether you’re a man or a woman or nonbinary or any other gender, I’ve come to believe it’s all about PENISES. But let me back up…
When I was younger, I thought I would just “get a husband” and an arranged marriage wasn’t out of the question for me, but I still wanted to fall in loooooove. The endless parade of Pakistani medical students who began showing up randomly at my home in my teens were definitely not…