Editor's note: The author does not wish to include her name on the story out of concern for her family's anonymity.
(CNN) -- It was like any blind date. I had dressed in my Saturday best and walked to my favorite brunch restaurant in West Los Angeles to meet a guy -- let's call him Raj -- for the first time.
I recognized him from the pictures I'd seen, and we greeted each other with smiles and a firm handshake. We had e-mailed a few times and spoken on the phone to confirm our plans. He was polite; he didn't sit down in his chair until I did, and he paid the bill. Our conversation was casual to begin with: favorite movies, music, plans for the summer. No one would have guessed this setup was to be the start of an arranged marriage.
Most Westerners may think the concept of arranged marriage is backward or antiquated -- and if you watch the old Indian movies, it can come across that way: two people meet once, or not at all, before their wedding day and then are forced to make a marriage work without even being consulted about their partner. In my family, at least, that was rarely the case. My parents met and spoke before their wedding day in India and were asked whether they each saw a future with the other.
It's easy for me to rebel against this tradition my family has maintained and say, "That was then, this is now." But despite having been born and raised in America, where arrangements like this are far from a cultural norm, I understand their perspective. All they want for me is security.