A little love can definitely be arranged

Roseville couple discovers matrimonial bliss
By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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For some couples, family members meddling in their relationship is a recipe for disaster. But for Viral and Rachana Patel, their family’s matchmaking turned into matrimonial bliss. Viral and Rachana grew up near Surat, India 150 miles north of Mumbai. Although they were raised only two miles from each other, the two never met until they immigrated to the United States as young adults. In line with Indian tradition, Viral and Rachana met through family friends with the hope and intention that they would marry. “I had seen several other prospects, but it wasn’t ever right,” Viral said. “It never felt right until I met Rachana.” Although their marriage prospects would be arranged, Rachana and Viral had the option to choose their spouse and turned down several prospects before agreeing to marry. A common misconception about arranged marriages is that they are forced and love does not play a role in many arrangements, Viral said. “We had the option to not have it arranged at all,” Rachana said. “But it’s tradition and this way you know you’re marrying a person that is compatible with your family and your beliefs.” Families look at a number of factors before selecting possible spouses for their children because of the belief that a marriage is not just between two people, but two families. For example, in India there are 14 different dialects and several religious sects. It is important that the couple and the families can communicate and share religious beliefs. “The family will look at age, the types of food they eat, they ask about my job and whether I can support a family,” Viral said. “Also are our birthdays and horoscopes to see if we would be compatible. Everything is taken into consideration before so there is no undue burden on the couple later.” Viral, at the time living in Grass Valley, and Rachana, then living in Virginia, began forming a relationship through phone calls and e-mails. The two met in person only twice before agreeing to marry in February 2008. “I knew I wanted to marry her because I wanted to tell her everything,” Viral said. “I thought about her all the time and wanted to be with her.” Rachana said that unlike several other prospects her family had selected, Viral was less interested in her domestic abilities and focused instead on her interests and who she was. “I could be comfortable with him because I wasn’t concerned with the things I couldn’t do, like cook,” Rachana said. “He liked me for me and who I am.” The couple’s family held an engagement ceremony in June 2008, officially announcing the couple as engaged as well as the arranged wedding date based on the pair’s lunar calendars. The wedding, a three-day event in Indian culture, was held January 2009 in the couple’s home village, surrounded by hundreds of friends and family members. After the wedding, Rachana left her family and home in Virginia and moved to Roseville to live with her new husband. In the six months that they have been married, Rachana and Viral said they have learned a lot about love and each other. Rachana, a self proclaimed “neat freak” is learning to be more understanding living with Viral, who is learning to be more tidy. Both say they have learned more about each other since their marriage, which has been a lesson in compromise, cooperation and love. “You learn that love grows, and you learn to love,” Viral said. “We loved each other before and we are learning everyday how to love each other more.”