2012 — In a dim-lit ballroom, our guests enjoyed fresh fruit and decadent chocolate. They patiently awaited the joining of our families in a testament to our love with the most sacred ceremonies in Hinduism. The altar was a floral mandap in the stunning shades of blush pink, surrounded by candlelight, and draped fabric, each detail I had envisioned for a decade. We sat under a crystal chandelier, adorned in traditional attire, with the presence of Agni (the divine fire), and serenaded by Sanscrit scripture. We wedded in the motion of forever. But, we divorced.
For the outsiders and the family members alike, it gets very uncomfortable, and it gets complicated. It gets challenging to acknowledge the issues that make us human. But for that couple, for that family, it’s an all-out crash-and-burn situation. And it hurt like hell.
The Layers Behind a Wedding
We celebrated with a thousand guests, yet less than 90 percent stayed true to relations. For my ex-husband and I, it was an eye-opening experience of all kinds. I became especially attuned to the lack of genuine fellowship in our communities. Most of my relationships were just a facade. During a time in my life, my ex-husband’s life, and our son’s life, when we needed some of our people the most, they walked out.
One thing is for sure; I am not alone in this sentiment. Historically, our culture has buried authenticity and replaced it with pride and survival, and what is missing is a genuine connection. It’s time for a transformation.
Luxury has indeed understated real work, failure, and success in modern relationships. With the average South-Asian wedding exceeding $200,000 in expenses, the checkbook is not the only thing worn out. Many of us have the honor of attending these lavish wedding ceremonies. We enjoy the extravagance as we snap beautiful images. Sharing the air in such intimacy, we are all present to the love and majestic qualities that make up the auspicious occasions. Soon, the newlyweds move on, away from the spotlight as they joyously begin their new life. In a way, guests disconnect from the newlyweds.
The Underlying Truth
The glitz and glam draw you into the illusion of perfection, but many relationships become much more dynamic after marriage. The couple’s early years will include some of the most challenging moments of their relationship. Living together for the first time. Testing what it means to be genuinely compatible. Questioning if they do have the same values. These are not impossible feats but are unlike the romantic courting season before the wedding. Yet it is necessary to overcome the likely next transition – starting a family.
It matters not if you are fifteen years strong, two years newlywed, or five years post-divorce: there is a sure-fire bond of love that formed many years ago, and it continues to transform. Although some of us may love with everything we have from a distance, most of us stick it out through the ups and downs. It takes courage to admit that you have relationship struggles that are slowly eating away at your existence. Notably, in a culture where asking for help or acknowledging problems is perceived as the last line option – because hey, what will they say?
The Path to Healing + Love
Each human will experience success and failure throughout their lives, and each encounter will add depth to who they are. That’s what makes being human so unique, that we are the same, at the level of being human. We all need uplifting from time to time, especially the ones that had it all together, especially the ones that had the perfect love stories, especially the ones that had the most trendsetting wedding ceremonies, and especially the ones that lived the ideal lives.
Fortunately, many people in our lives stood the test of time and friendship. If only, all the people I truly loved made that decision, too. Still, I’m thankful our families are all doing well despite the circumstances. We remain hopeful as we tread into new territory with the utmost grace. Without question, it was with the gentle, kind gestures that will never be forgotten.
You may only have one opportunity to acknowledge the struggle in the lives of your loved ones. Instead of curious gossip and unsolicited advice, be there for others. This concept isn’t just concerning my life and my divorce, but with our shared human experience, professionally and personally. We walk out on people all the time. When they lose their jobs, have a chronic illness, or when we don’t agree with their path in life. Lean into the discomfort and proceed with love.
Commit to standing for loyalty. We must probe when our loved ones seem different, and we must stand for the undying love that we all value so highly – because the world needs you at your highest frequency of love and joy. Choose love, eternal love for you, for us, for our children, and our longevity as a society.
Read more about how to show up for people during stressful circumstances on Asmini’s blog post.