Meet the Patels (spoiler alert)

meet the patels

If you can’t tell by now, I love movies, books, online media, etc, about relationships and dating.  I watched this sort-of documentary with my future mother-in-law. The main idea of the film is that the guy breaks up with his girlfriend, Audrey, because she’s not Indian and decides to embark on an adventure to let his parents do an arranged marriage.  From this proceeds many dates via the modern version of Indian arranged marriages, Patel’s own attempt at online dating, and even an Indian speed-dating convention.

The movie, despite feeling a bit fabricated at times, raised a couple key points about dating that need to be shared:

  1. There is no one right way to find your spouse.

How many of us would be truly willing to try an arranged marriage?  I can’t think of one friend who would.  We cannot fathom the idea of making such an important decision on such limited knowledge. And yet Patel’s parents did, and his relatives did, and they were happy marriages.

Despite the fact that online dating has been around for over a decade at this point, many people still do not want to give it a try, finding it almost as foreign as arranged marriages.  Trust me, I understand.  I hesitated to do it, wondering somewhat petulantly why I could not meet my husband a “normal” way.  But that wasn’t how it was to happen – Pat and I never would have crossed paths, and certainly not in a social occasion that would have allowed us to get to know one another.

2. We don’t always know what we are looking for

Watching Patel go through all of his dates, it amazed me that he would meet beautiful girl after beautiful girl, but none of them were right.  Well, the problem is that he thought that what he wanted was an Indian girl, someone who shared his culture.  But what turned out in reality was that what he wanted was his ex, Audrey, a white girl who would disappoint his parents.

So often we have an image in our heads of what the “perfect” husband or wife will be or look like or act like.  We go after that image, without even stopping to question whether it’s what we really want, or if we’re basing our decision on our true priorities.

3. Rejection doesn’t mean that the problem is you.

I will continue to beat this drum because it’s so true, and yet we women often are hyper self-critical and assume that we are the problem.  I had sympathy not for Patel, but for all those girls that he dated, when really his heart wasn’t into it!

To me, this just underscored what I already learned from online dating – when it doesn’t work out, when you don’t get that phone call after the first date, when the person doesn’t respond to your text, the problem is almost always them and not you.  You don’t know that other person’s heart, so don’t jump to the conclusion that you are the problem.

4. Even when we get what we think we want, it may not be.

So here’s the spoiler – at the end of the movie, Patel finally tells his parents that he’s actually in love with Audrey and the end of the movie shows them making food together, looking for all intents and purposes like they were going to get married.  But guess what?  That wasn’t the real ending!  I finished the movie and immediately googled to get more information about Patel and Audrey…only to find that he had actually married someone else.

Only God knows how our story will be written.  So be willing to try new ways to find Mr. or Mrs. Right and hold your search with open hands.


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