So I watched The Man Who Knew Infinity last night and I saw devotion in spite of. Granted, this couple never dealt with infidelity through dating websites. But despite being faced with different circumstances, not only did the two in this movie not know one another, not only did they struggle through a distant marriage while he was in England and she in India, not only did they have his mom working against their marriage the entire time he was away, but he also died shortly after returning to India and she NEVER remarried, as is the expectation in their culture.
Which led me to do a superficial researching of statistics with regards to arranged marriage. Now, the two in this movie were equal in age, whereas in the real story he was probably 22 when he married her and she was probably 9. This seems unfathomable and completely and understandably illegal to our culture, but I didn’t make this up, I am just relaying them. He then died when she was 21. And she never remarried. She lived for 95 years and so for 74 years she remained his wife, posthumously.
According to Dr. Utpal Dholakia, quasi-arranged marriages are thriving in India, despite the advances of modernity and the assimilation by the Asian cultures, arranged marriages continue to be a driving force socially. Quasi-arranged marriages are described as immediate or extended family vetting potential candidates on factors including; caste, finances, personality, family, and others. After the initial vetting process the “couple” is given a chance to “court” one another with chaperones and then possibly spend a few dates together alone. This process of arranged courtship may last anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks, but is usually faster than most reality tv show relationships.
The astounding thing about this process is that unlike in America, where divorce, even among Christians, is as high as 50%, liberal estimates cite the success here as close to 99%. Which is truly mind-blowing. They say in Christian circles that the more Christians attend church and spend time with God together, the more likely they are to last long-term. Bible believing and church attending Christians have much lower divorce rates than typical statistics, but no numbers even come close to a 99% success rate.
Dr. Dholakia says that some of the reasons for this success rate could be the decreased expectations and the increased awareness of long-term factors at the beginning of the relationship. These things drive commitment because they did not make decisions based purely on emotions or physical attraction, but had long-term goals in mind.
But in the end, their religion and their commitments to one another drive them to stay together despite. Despite facing struggles. Despite some calamity. Despite possible distance. Despite a child dying. Despite health issues or financial problems. Despite religious disagreements. Despite family or friends or society. Despite self. Despite all. They stay. They sacrifice. They love. The practice love. They don’t just speak it, they do it. Even when doing it is the hardest thing in the world, they do.
And none of this is meant to judge her. Because she tried. And if she gave everything she had, and if she prayed for as long as she could until she felt God answered her as only He can, then she is right to move on, and right to remarry, and right to have kids with him. But to me, I feel like the battle wasn’t over. I feel like there should have still been some fight left in us. And when emotions defeat commitment, and when the noun defeats the verb. And when selfishness defeats selflessness. Love loses. I demonstrated this in the worst way. I left. I was selfish. I stopped battling. I let emotions overcome commitment. I was a horrible person. I said I stopped fighting but even when I had given up, as is often the case, He continues to fight on our behalf until we are able to again. And ultimately He claimed victory in my heart. And I love them both more for it.
What I learned from Hinduism is that God’s will is absolutely absolute. And of course I did not practice this because I spat in His face for years. I attempted to corrupt that which is incorruptible. I hurt her and I hurt myself. I destroyed a beautiful thing by crushing it, by disowning and disavowing, by arrogantly ignoring. I may not believe that Hinduism is the religion of ultimate truth, but I have learned that sometimes the most beautiful truths are those that God reveals to you in the most unexpected people or circumstances. A mathematician, his mate, and their movie. The Man Who Knew Infinity is still teaching lessons about the God who created it.