My Arranged Marriage

"Knowing what you know today, if you could do it all over again, would you select medicine as a career?"

An allegory from my journal in response to the above question from a resident well-being survey:

My Arranged Marriage

One day I woke up and realized I was married.

I had had an arranged marriage. We met when I was very young and grew up together. Our families got along very well and would always be bound together with or without our vows. I always felt the need to be with her well before I came of age. Never did I understand what such a commitment meant. In my mind, however, she was the only one.

The day eventually came when I told my family I was ready. I dressed up in my suit and visited her home. It hardly seemed a deal at all. We belonged together, and we had my parents blessing. Even as I sat before her, I was not in love. But what did that matter? A fondness filled my being. I took the Oath and fulfilled my destiny.

The years passed, and we advanced through the trials of life together. Some times, she would overwhelm me, and I would hate her. Other times, she would fulfill me. Always, she would challenge me and push me to my limits. She shaped who I was and made me better. I did my best to serve her and make her better too.

After so many years together, I changed, and my gaze started to wander. My friends and colleagues would see us together and ask me why I was with her. Soon, I found myself asking the same. With so many other options, why should I stay?

She seemed to resent me too. No matter how much I gave her, it seemed to never be enough. I thought I was better than she, and she thought she was better than I. The mist of fondness seared by heated light of each passing day.

I told my parents of our troubles. They told me I must not give up because things would get better. That our relationship would work out. So, I went back to her and pressed on.

Time flowed by like a river, each moment an identical whole made up of completely unique pieces, until nothing was the same. The realization was abrupt due to the subtlety, but by the time it occurred, everything had changed. I loved her.

I was never and would never be IN love with her, but I loved her. Not the passionate love of a deluge bursting from an emotional dam that would soon run empty, but like a constant mild cool drift that would always keep me there beside her. That is love.