|L.C. land Ada Belle Brownell, Oct. 26, 1953|
Note: the following is an excerpt from the book
IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU
(Book summary follows)
Is falling in love an unavoidable dive, or a decision?
By Ada Brownell
Would you like your parents arranging your marriage? That still happens in many foreign countries. How would you guys feel about not knowing who your bride is until the ceremony is over and you lift the veil to kiss her? Some men experienced that.
An 11-year-old girl, apparently from Yemen, recently made a passionate plea to her parents to stop pressuring her into an arranged marriage. The resulting video caught international attention.
In 1960, the Encyclopedia Americana reported more than one half of the total female population of India married before fifteen years of age, and sometimes while they were still infants. In the western provinces of India, a bride remained at home with her parents until she went through puberty. But in Bengal, girls commenced their married life at age nine.
In some countries, a hopeful suitor would give a girl’s father a certain amount of money or goods like cattle or sheep for his daughter, and sometimes the bride brought a dowry of property to her bridegroom. The amount depended on the status and economic circumstances of the families involved.
Historically at the engagement, the suitor often gave an ornament of some value, which signified his pledge. That was the predecessor of the modern engagement ring.
IMAGINE WORKING SEVEN YEARS FOR A WIFE
In Old Testament times, many marriages were arranged.
Jacob met Rachel leading sheep and was so smitten he kissed her and wept (Genesis 29:11). Perhaps it was on the cheek. Who knows?
Jacob stayed with Rachel’s father, Laban, a month, working for him like a ranch hand. Finally, Laban asked what Jacob expected to be paid, and Jacob told Laban he was in love with Rachel and he agreed to work seven years for her.
Finally there was a wedding feast, and after the ceremony, Jacob discovered he had been given Rachel’s veiled older sister, Leah, instead.
He protested, and Laban said he couldn’t give the younger daughter before the older girl married.
Despite having a wife, Jacob worked another seven years to get Rachel. In Old Testament times, God allowed men to have more than one wife.
IMAGINE GOD GIVING A MATE
Abraham arranged the marriage for his son, Isaac, and a servant picked her out. You can read the story in Genesis 24. He must have been worthy of the trust, because the servant traveled some distance to find her and then asked God to show him the right girl out of the dozens of women who came to a well to draw water.
“Oh Lord, God of my master,” the servant prayed, “Give me success and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey. See, here I am, standing beside this spring, and the young women of the village are coming to draw water. I will ask one of them for a drink. If she says, `Yes, certainly, and I will water your camels, too!’ Let her be the one you appointed as Isaac’s wife. By this, I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
As he prayed, a beautiful young woman, Rebekah, arrived with a water jug on her shoulder. She went to the spring, bent over, filled her jug, and straightened. Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a drink.”
“Certainly, sir,” she said, and she quickly scooped water from a dipper. When he finished gulping the refreshing liquid, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough!”
She emptied the jug into the watering trough and ran down to the well again. She kept carrying water until the camels’ intense thirst was quenched.
The servant watched Rachel in silence. When the camels finished drinking, he gave her a gold ring and two large gold bracelets.
The servant stayed with her family and told them about how his prayer was answered. But Isaac wasn’t even there.
The father gave Rebekah to the servant, but only after Rebekah agreed to go.
Isaac saw the servant coming home with someone. Excited, he raced out to meet them.
When Rebekah saw Isaac coming, she dismounted, covered her face with a veil, and ran to him.
Rebekah became Isaac’s wife and he loved her, the Bible says. She was a special comfort to him because his mother had just died.
WHY ARRANGED MARRIAGES SURVIVE
There is a reason arranged marriages work: Falling in love is an act of the will. Cupid doesn’t shoot you with a poison love arrow and “twang!” you’re a goner. Love happens to you because of several circumstances.
1. You are around the person of the opposite sex frequently (that’s called propinquity—what happens when you are near in time and space).
2. You desire someone in your life.
3. Your God-given instincts are telling you to create a family.
4. The person will build your ego. You think, Won’t everyone be surprised I have a boyfriend? Won’t everyone be impressed with how pretty she is or how handsome he is? Won’t everyone be impressed because of how popular he or she is? He’s so tall he makes me feel so feminine; or, she has such a great figure it makes me feel great to walk beside her. She or he treats me so nice it makes me feel special.
5. Because you decide to fall in love to create excitement in your life.
6. Because no one better is available.
7. Because you have similar interests.
8. Because you are lonely.
9. Because someone else thinks it’s a good idea.
10. Most important: Because while you were in the womb God had a plan for both of you, and your love is so strong you feel you can’t live without one another (Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalms 37:33).
Some Pharisees came and asked Jesus, “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for any reason?”
“Haven’t you read the scriptures,” Jesus replied. “From the beginning God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:3-6KJ)
There may be dozens of other reasons you fall in love, but even if you aren’t conscious of why it is happening, you allow yourself to love someone else. It’s a decision. If love happened spontaneously without your will being involved, people who are greatly overweight would have as many proposals for marriage as others. So would the handicapped or someone with facial deformities or pure physical ugliness.
I once knew a young woman whose father was quite wealthy, but one of her eyes was noticeably higher than the other. She was an old maid, at least the last I heard. But she was a sweet, talented young woman, and really not so bad-looking.
WHAT IS LOVE?
It seems Americans don’t know the meaning of love, although it’s before us all the time.
Well, we do know how we want others to love us, but many aren’t willing to give that kind of love back. We want others to love us unconditionally— the way God loves us, no matter how we look, how we act, or what we do.
God talks to us about love in 1 Corinthians 13. The Bible chapter is read during many weddings—but most couples don’t absorb what it says or promptly forget it. That scripture passage tells us if we don’t love others, we’re like clanging cymbals—all noise and little music. The fellow who tries to persuade his girlfriend to have sex before marriage is like that clanging symbol. If he really loved her, he wouldn’t think of stealing her chastity. If he really loved himself, he wouldn’t want the sin, the guilt, the possibility of disease, the guilt of an abortion, or perhaps bringing a child into the world whom he would be required by law to support until it turns eighteen.
There is no such thing as a “love child” born out of wedlock. It is a “lust child” if it was conceived before the wedding. Of course, this isn’t the child’s fault, and it should be loved no matter how it was conceived.
The scripture tells us, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8).
Spiritually, marriage is a union between a man and a woman so they can enjoy, love, and protect one another, and also to protect the family. Children need a father to help guide, discipline, love, and financially support them. Children need a mother to nurture them, guide them, discipline them, and love them.
Even biologically, the object of marriage is to ensure the survival of the species and of the race, according to Drs. Abraham and Hannah Stone’s A Marriage Manual.
God invented marriage and the family when he made Eve for Adam and they began to have children.
Marriage is a wonderful thing, and there is nothing more romantic than a guy and a girl vowing before God and the public, “I will love you and you only until death parts us.”
Americans probably talk and sing more about romance than any other society. We are allowed to choose our own mates, instead of our parents choosing them for us. Yet, half of all marriages end in divorce.
Just like falling in love in the first place, staying in love involves the will. We decide we will love our mates even when they get bald, fat, ugly, wrinkled, or sick, or we’re broke. We decide we will love them even when they’re grumpy or angry.
Some people say, “Our love just died,” or “It was a mistake in the first place.”
Perhaps. But in most cases, if both ride out difficult times, the passion will rekindle, romantic sparks will fly, fireworks will go off again, and the romance will be deeper and more satisfying than it was in the beginning.
I know. I’ve been married several decades, and even though it’s all about commitment, there still is romance and deep love.
As a reporter, I collected marriage license records from couples who remarried each other after divorce. There were about a half dozen when I contacted a few and interviewed them for a story. Most said the same thing: “Although we know we’re not perfect, we couldn’t find anyone better after we divorced. We were still in love and knew what we were doing the first time. Being apart was worse than dealing with our problems and learning how to make a marriage work.”
Storge is the Greek word for natural affection between a parent and a child. Marriages need the three other types of love: phileo, the type of affection we have for friends; eros, romantic love; and agape, God-like unconditional love. Except parent-child affection, all the others are a matter of the will.
When you begin to court, look for real love.
 A Marriage Manual (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), 3.
IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU
By Ada Brownell
Will you be the person you dream of becoming, or the person in your nightmares?
Ready or not, you are headed into your future.
Would you like to achieve your dreams of being all you can be inside and out? Would you like to deposit good information in your brain you can spend and invest in your future?
Read or listen to Ada Brownell’s book, Imagine the Future You.
This author, who taught church youth for more than 30 years, spent a good hunk of her life as a journalist interviewing successful people who achieved great things, but also met and wrote about those whose lives had become so entangled with baggage they needed a miracle to turn them loose. In addition, she has picked brains and studied how to believe in yourself and things greater than you.
You need this book. E-book, paper and audible. Great narrator.