Soul bonds and arranged marriages

Čt 16 června 2022

Comment on the Reddit thread “Soul bonding fics with depth?” by ZappyFence discussing “Error of Soul” by Materia-Blade)

Can you elaborate? As someone who read it, I'm still not sure what people mean when they say this.

In the end every soul-bond fanfiction story is a story of imposed/unintended relationship.

We, here in Europe (and consequently in America, and from that via Hollywood to the whole world), are persuaded under the influence of our individualism (and perhaps the Romantic movement of the early 19th century) that the best reason why to build a life-long marriage is mutual infatuation with each other, and that the best spouse anybody can find is the one which we find on our own in strict isolation from anybody else.

The often quoted claim (which certainly originally was not by Albert Einstein) “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” (or I like the alternative formulation of the same thought: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”), and insisting on this individualistic romantic love as a foundation of marriage, despite almost half of marriages ending in divorce, says something about the collective insanity of our civilization.

It wasn’t always so and what’s even more interesting, not everybody hated it. I am a Czech (a man, if it matters), and I live in Prague, but I attend an English-speaking international church here, so I have friends from all over the world. I have been haunted for long time by a talk I had with a slightly distraught and sad lady in her twenties, who was from India (somewhere around Pune). She was sharing how sad and depressed she was: not only from the general homesickness and insecurities of life abroad, but also, how she put it, that she would like to find a boyfriend and she misses help of her parents in looking for him. That actually stunned me: it doesn’t have to be either the fight with a marriage arranged by Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her total domination, or clear individualism and everybody only for themselves, it could be cooperation and family helping one of its members.

I think better soul-bond stories could investigate this issue. The book by the Christian missionary Walter Trobisch “I loved a girl” (highly recommended) cites an African wife who said “You, Europeans, put a hot pot with a stew on cold table and hope it will stay hot as long as possible; we put a cold pot on stove and it will heat up”. And that’s the perennial question about what makes a good marriage: compatibility of spouses or their willingness to work on their relationship? What’s more important? I have been married for over quarter of century, and I still don’t know the answer to this question.

Could Harry and Hermione in this situation just sit down and decide, that even though they didn’t want to be together originally, now when they have to be, they could make their marriage work? Could they be happy together nevertheless?

I think it would make a great story, but I am not able to write it and I would prefer if it was written by somebody from a culture where arranged marriages are still common.

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