Married At First Sight? Why Arranged Marriages Work For Some But Don’t For Others…

My grandmother arranged my marriage to my first husband.  I didn’t want to marry but my grandmother pushed me into it.  I wasn’t alone in the unwanted weddding business because my twin sister was also pushed into marrying her first husband. 

Perhaps because my grandmother believed that women should be married early because she was, our grandmother who had taken the place of our mother was keen on insuring that my sister and I were financially able to meet her needs after the death of her husband.  

My sister and I were the primary caregivers for my grandmother.  It wasn’t a job we wanted but one that fell on us.  My grandmother believed that everyone should be married whether they were happy or not.  I’m certain that many of her married years weren’t blissful but having never worked, my grandmother had little choice to change the direction of her life. 

We rarely discuss our ex husbands for a very good reason, the experience was traumatic.  Both of our first husbands had violent tempers. Discussing the possibility of divorce with our grandmother was never a good experience for my sister or I.  

When I finally filed for a divorce after yet another brawl with my husband, my grandmother warned me of the hard road I would be paving alone with my son who was a toddler at the time.  My fear was that my son would one day be the punching bag that I had become.  

Sadly, my grandmother was right.  My divorce became a child custody battle that drug on for years and the expenses forced me to work two jobs in order to pay the ad Lidem attorney, my attorney and counseling for my son.  It was a war and if you’ve never been involved in a custody battle, you will never fully comprehend the stress involved in not only the parents but also the children.  Divorce is a death blow to families.

Many of my readers know how strongly I suggest trying to mend a broken marriage before running off to file for a divorce.  My reasons are based entirely on my own experiences.  Getting away from a volatile marriage was one of the most difficult experiences that I’ve ever survived.  The depositions the accusations and the blame of why the marriage failed bounces from one spouse to another.  If you don’t have a lot of money to fight a custody war- you can lose your child.  

Throughout my custody battle, my grandmother begged me to go back to my husband.  If not for my sister helping pick up my son after school while I ran from one job to the next, i don’t know how I would’ve made it paying my bills.  

Although my twin sister never had to go through a custody war for her daughters, she endured much suffering at the hands of her first husband who even burned her hair off to humiliate her.  While I lived in the city, Cindy lived in the country and worked on a dairy farm building it brick by brick.  Her gas was monitored and visits to the city to see me were rare.  I had lost my sister to Roy Anderson and it would take me a year to finally get her back.

Many of our followers, twins and friends recognize that Cindy is country and I am city but Cindy became country due to her marriage.  Humor became her way of dealing with a life married to Roy that she didn’t want to live.  By the time I realized how desperately unhappy she was, I made an escape plan to get her back.  Saving my sister from a marriage ceremony I wasn’t allowed to attend involved a getaway car, my VW Beetle.  

It wasn’t the best getaway car but it wasn’t the worst.  By the time we returned to the city, Cindy felt safe for the first time in a year.  My sister didn’t attend her own divorce hearing because she didn’t want to be in the same room with Roy.  Because she Failed To Appear, she forfeited her share of the dairy she had helped to build brick by brick.

Between Cindy’s first and second marriage, she was raped while leaving work and Leigh Ann was 2 years old at the time Cindy met Larry Mahaney.  Larry had apparently shown up at the wrong funeral and rather than leaving, stayed for the memorial and introduced himself to my sister at our grandfathers funeral.  

Of course, my grandmother loved him but I didn’t and I’m not so sure that Cindy did either.  As usual, my grandmother pushed for a quick wedding since Cindy was a single mother.  Since Cindy and Leigh Ann lived with me, Larry moved in after the wedding.  I never got along with Larry and it wasn’t because I was jealous of him.  Larry was secretive and odd but it would be years before I would find out why he was so weird.  I kept an eye on him around Leigh Ann because I didn’t trust him but also because my twin sister, half sister and I had all been abused as children by a relative.

I’m guessing that if Cindy hadn’t married Larry, my grandmother would have never pushed me to marry Robert and “get out of the picture” with Cindy and Larry.  Within a few months of meeting Robert, my grandmother had decided that “wedding bells should be ringing.”  Her reasons were based entirely on Robert’s father owning a business and his stable employment.

Moving away from the home I had created with Cindy and Leigh Ann that had my furniture and decorations was a sad day for me.  Larry was (of course) thrilled to finally get rid of me.  Cindy was pregnant with her daughter, Stephaney Mahaney during the courtship with Robert and having a difficult pregnancy.  Whenever I wasn’t working, I was with my sister while Larry was at work.  

The birth of Stephaney finally “outed” Larry for the jerk he was.  Larry wanted a boy and left the hospital upon hearing the baby was a girl.  Stephaney’s name is based on Stephen the name Larry had chosen for his son.  The birth would create the downward spiral of the marriage.  Larry started working out of town more and more and suddenly became violent at home.  After enduring Roy, Cindy was no longer the scared wife and would pick up whatever she could find to defend not only herself but also, her two daughters.  

Larry was probably shocked when Cindy grabbed a hair brush to whale on him and the “incident” resulted in Cindy moving to an apartment near my grandmother with both of her daughters.  My grandmother (of course) was pushing Cindy to fix the marriage but it wasn’t Cindy who had the problem, it was Larry.  

I never liked Roy or Larry because they both resented my relationship with my sister.  Even my husband Robert and his family couldn’t or wouldn’t accept how close my sister and I actually were.  To “separate” my sister and I, shortly after I married Robert, his parents transferred him to San Clemente from Fort Worth.  I was horrified about moving so far from my sister and my nieces.  

Perhaps to ensure that I didn’t run back home to Texas, Robert left my car with his parents.  I called Cindy everyday and although Larry was paying the rent and car payment for Cindy and the girls, I knew he was up to something and after a few months of crying jags, finally talked my husband into allowing my sister and the girls to come visit me in California. I’m sure my meddling mother in law wasn’t happy about this but didn’t ask her permission.

It was on the visit to San Clemente that Larry finally showed what a POS he was by leaving a message on my home recorder stating that “there isn’t really anything for you and the girls to go home to.  I’ve emptied your apartment and will no longer be paying the bills.  I have another family.”  

Standing in my kitchen listening to the message with my sister and the twins, Cindy decided to fly home to her apartment and find out what was really going on.  She loved having an apartment to herself with the girls and being away from Larry.  Nothing in her apartment belonged to Larry because when they had married, everything belonged to Cindy or I with Larry showing up with only a tv and a bed.

I drove Cindy and the kids to San Diego to fly home and drove back to San Clemente not knowing what my sister would face in Fort Worth.  Looking back, I wish I had flown back with her to face the empty apartment.  Larry had stolen Leigh Ann and Stephaney’s clothes and toys.  Cindy’s clothes.  Our furniture and even the food.  

Larry left nothing not even a spoon or an ice tray.  Larry wiped Cindy out and I know that standing in that apartment in the home she had created for her daughters, my sister was devastated.  Cindy had no job or way to support herself and now she had no food or clothing for her children either.

I was on the first flight out of San Diego to DFW after Cindy called me.  With no “real plan” in place, my arrival in Fort Worth began with a visit at my grandmothers house that didn’t go well.  My grandmother sternly told my sister and I that the only thing Cindy could do to save her family was to go “kiss his ass.”  I was lit.  

Larry had tried to beat my sister and had stolen everything that didn’t belong to him for his new family.  My hope was for Larry to burn in Hell.  But, Larry had forgotten something.  

The car that Cindy had been driving was parked behind the apartments. My plan came into play.  I loaded my devastated sister and her confused kids into the car and headed to California.  There was nothing left in Texas for Cindy and it would take 2 years to get my sister back to her old self again.  Cindy was shell shocked and frightened about the future but she didn’t need to be because I would get her back on track.  I would be the rock my sister leaned on during times of devastation in her life.  There’s a reason that we are so close and the reason is that we have never had anyone aside from ourselves to count on.

Her depression and anxiety after enduring the years she was married to Larry had literally robbed her of any self esteem.  Cindy and the kids lived with me.  Cindy enrolled in school while I watched the kids and for the first time in many years, my sister was finally happy.  Driving the car we had taken from Texas, she had saved up enough money for her first apartment and things would quickly go downhill for my sister again.

The first shoe to drop was when Cindy arrived at her new apartment to find that our grandmother had somehow talked the building manager into letting her in while Cindy was at school and I was taking care of the kids at my home.  No one told Cindy that grandma had decided to ruin everything my sister had worked so hard to build by showing up uninvited to move in on Cindy.

My grandmother had moved Cindy’s possessions to the kids room and my sister after years of being beaten down by two idiot husbands, didn’t challenge her.  I wish she had.  My grandmother and I hadn’t spoken since I grabbed Cindy and the kids and left for California.  I hated her for blaming Cindy for the marriages she effectively had forced her into. I also hated her for never taking our side among other things in our lives she hadn’t bothered to protect us from as children.  There are many reasons for my sister and I not loving our grandmother and all of them are based entirely on her abuse of our kindness or determination to try and make her love us.  It didn’t matter what we sacrificed to make our grandmothers life better, she would never love us and viewed our relationship as an all for her and to Hell with us benefit to herself.

Cindy’s phone is how Larry found her and the car in Temecula.  Larry had apparently been checking for her to get a phone and when she did, found her address.  On Christmas Eve while at church with the kids, Larry stole the car with the car seats, strollers and Christmas presents after ransacking her new apartment in California.

After the blow of grandma moving herself in and the tragedy in Texas, my sister was once again, devastated by life and the selfish people who continued to take advantage of her.  Without a way to get to school, my sister had no idea how she would provide for the kids.  Through the grace of God, a church member donated a car to my sister.  It was and probably always will be, the greatest blessing that Cindy has ever received.

My sister never had any idea that Larry had filed for divorce in Texas.  To make matters worse, Larry had “claimed” to have possession of Stephaney in order to “skirt” child support.  We wouldn’t learn of this until moving back to Texas.  Larry never paid a dime of child support on Stephaney.

For years my sister refused to date.  Who could blame her?  After enduring so much, my sister had little time to meet anyone and with my grandmother a permanent fixture in her home, Cindy had very few opportunities to meet anyone and my grandma liked it that way.

A car accident and subsequent year in bed recovering from a 360 operation to repair her back and spine would change the way my sister allowed my grandmother to control her life.  My sister was effectively, crushed between her church car and a gas pump by a GE Utility truck.  In seconds, her life was changed forever while driving to work.  At the time, the only thing my sister had to look forward to in life was spending time with me and her daughters.  Losing the ability to walk and living in a hospital bed changed my sisters outlook on life.  She had always put herself last and everyone else first.

By the time we had managed to walk the mall for a few months, dance classes were the next step in restoring my sisters mobility.  Steve Daniel, saw my sister and was immediately, smitten.  A few months later, my grandmother would try to run him off but for the first time in my life, I stood behind Steve and pushed for the marriage myself.  I knew Steve would take care of my sister.  I knew he would be the husband that she had always deserved and, I was right.

Cindy and Steve raised Leigh Ann and Stephaney while eventually deciding to move my grandmother out of their home.  It was a decision that shocked our family but let’s be honest, there wasn’t anyone else standing in line to move my grandmother in with them!  The reason my father and aunt had “snuck my grandmother to California and moved her into Cindy’s apartment” was to move the responsibility of caring for their aging mother onto my sisters shoulders.

Maryssa and Makenna have been raised since they were born by Cindy and Steve.  The twins are a second generation of unpaid child support for my sister.  Cindy has faced many challenges and, she’s a survivor.

Arranged marriages are common in other countries but not so much in the USA.  Merging two people from completely different backgrounds into a marriage can be a potion for disaster but occasionally these marriages work because the families force the couple to “hang in there.”  Traditionally, the reasons for this are entirely financial.

Many of our Twin Friends in other countries marry twins.  These marriages work because only a twin can understand a twin relationship.

Cindy’s husband Steve was familiar with twins because his mother was a twin.  He understood the dynamics and close relationship of a twin family.

My husbands best friend is a twin.  They’ve been friends for 50 years so he is familiar with twinning as well.

Neither of our husbands are jealous of the relationship my sister and I share.  It’s an important element of a strong marriage.  There are no meddling mother in laws for Cindy and I anymore.

There isn’t a grandmother pushing the buttons of our lives and forcing us into choices we didn’t want to make.

Leaving a marriage is difficult for women far more than it is for men because the challenges of raising children and financially providing for them alone are a struggle.

The statistics for arranged marriages aren’t good when parents or grandparents choose the spouse.  

We survived difficult divorces and perhaps because of this, put more effort into our marriages.

I’m fairly certain that if something were to happen to my husband or even Cindy’s husband, my sister and I will never remarry.  It’s a choice for anyone who loses a spouse and our husbands are both quite older than us.

We finally found Life Mates who care about our well being and rally to make being married a joy but they weren’t found for us, we found our husbands ourselves which may be why we made our marriages work.

Having someone else choose your spouse isn’t for everyone…