An Arranged Marriage …

Did you know that people in arranged marriages report just as high levels of relationship satisfaction — and sometimes more — than those who chose their own spouses? You can peruse the research here if you’re curious.

… and Family Therapy cohort.

An arranged Marriage and Family Therapy cohort.

That was us. That still is us.

There are 30 of us in the Class of 2020 at San Diego State’s Marriage and Therapy Master’s Program. We were an arranged cohort. We were placed together solely because we happened to apply and be accepted into the program at the same time. Beyond that, our initial commonality ended.

As a cohort, we spanned a wide swath of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and overall background. We were young(-er), we were old(-ish). We came from all parts of the world (except maybe Antarctica … I’m not aware of any of my cohort-mates being part penguin). We were gay, straight, everything in between, and everything beyond. And we were dropped headlong into a program that plumbed the depths of our emotions.

We had no choice but to learn to depend on each other for strength and support. And so, we rose to the challenge. We worked together, and we struggled together. We studied together, and we partied together. We shared both our personal accomplishments and our personal tragedies with each other. We embraced each other in every sense of the word, and we became a family in almost every sense of the word (aside from actual biological relationship — but that’s a pretty minor detail, all things considered).

Ultimately, we chose to depend on each other. In the same way that partners in an arranged marriage can choose to love each other and become a family, we chose to love each other as well. We were arranged as a Marriage and Family Therapy cohort, but we chose to become a family.

That’s why it was all but bittersweet to finish our last class together yesterday. It was exhilarating to be done with classwork. Yet, it was sad to know that this would be our last official time together as classmates.

20-05-05 Last ClassIt was also pretty anticlimactic that our last class was conducted via Zoom, but … well, we’re not the only ones shaking our fists at COVID at this point.

With that, I’d like to share some thoughts with my MFT family:

Over the tumultuous ride the last two years of my life have been, I couldn’t imagine having a any other group to turn to for strength and support. You made me laugh, you made me cry, you called me out when I was due for a callin’ out, and ultimately, you were the best arranged family this 40-something dude on, like, his fifth career could have been stuck with. I love you all, and I hope we remain close for decades to come.

I also want to thank the SDSU faculty for their support, especially through the shenanigans of the last two months.

And of course, I have to thank Melissa most of all. I learned to share so much of myself with my MFT family, but I also wouldn’t have been able to do any of that without Melissa’s support these past two years, without Melissa so openly welcoming me being … uh … emotionally non-monogamous with her.

Finally, to my mom, who needs some catching up because she wasn’t around for any of this:

I finished, mom. I am now on my way to becoming a licensed MFT. I wish you’d been there for this. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. You were already there for my last four or whatever careers. This just feels … weird, though. You were the one person who was with me for literally my entire life, and now you’ve missed literally my entire life for the last two years. I love you and I miss you, mom.

And with that, I guess it’s time to look forward to our next steps. During quarantine. In the middle of a pandemic.

Yeah, this should be interesting. Anyone need a therapist?

Wait, no. First …

Anyone know a therapist looking for an associate?

And then …

Anyone need a therapist?

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