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Instead, the glimpse these couples gave me into their lives made me completely re-evaluate my understanding of what this institution is all about, and what it means to be in love.If the secular understanding of love were true, then none of these couples should be happy.Engaged couples approached their nuptials not focused exclusively on how each could achieve as much personal happiness as possible, but also with an eye toward how to honor their birth families as well as their new families by marriage.

They did have input into the decision-making process, and did meet their future spouses a few times before making any commitments, but the process was directed by their parents.

The majority of these friends were from parts of India where that kind of thing is common, and I had a ton of questions for them about how it all worked.

It led to a lot of fun and interesting discussions, and what I learned would eventually shatter my notions of what the institution of marriage was all about.

The typical secular American viewpoint is that marriage is about "love," and love is a feeling.

They adhered to this crazy notion that when two people come together in the name of something greater than themselves, and each is willing to sacrifice some of his or her selfish desires to make the other's life easier, that that is what real love looks like.

And they said something else that was surprising to me at the time: That when two people enact this version of love, day in and day out, the feelings come.They hoped for the same exciting feelings that American culture calls "love," but they didn't see those emotions as definitive of the concept.They saw love as an , one that's rooted in mutual self-giving and self-sacrifice.How would you know if you and your potential spouse would have fun together?If you only met him or her a few times, how could you be sure you clicked?To the modern American mind, the entire foundation of a marriage was positive feelings, and so entering into a marriage in which you weren't sure the feelings were there seemed like a recipe for disaster.

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