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On the eve of Valentine’s Day, several Unificationist couples in Los Angeles are packing their bags for a trip to Korea where they are celebrating the romance of arranged marriage as only they do. They include Yoshio Akuzawa from Rosemead and Christine Haugen from Germany who were introduced to each other by their Unificationist parents a year ago. They will say “I do” along with thousands of other couples at a stadium near Seoul on Feb. 12, 2014.
The Church’s annual mass wedding in Korea, will be joined by satellite wedding events in several U.S. cities including a ceremony for a local couple in Pasadena at the Pasadena Church parsonage.
Akuzawa, 30, whose father is Japanese and whose mother is American, and Haugen, 29, born of a Norwegian father and German mother, are taking their vows in a religious ceremony. They are both adult children of Unificationist couples who were matched in late 1970s and married by Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon in 1982. In today’s Unification Church marriages are arranged by parents of the bride and groom, although in some cases, marriage advisers help suggest the arrangement.
“It took a long time until the whole matching thing worked out for me because I was looking for the ‘right’ partner until I found out it’s all about me becoming the right partner for someone else,” says Christine Haugen. “I created a bucket list for myself for “things to accomplish before turning 30″: That included “getting engaged,” going to the Blessing ceremony in Korea and moving to California so with the help of my parents I uploaded my online matching profile available to other Unificationists and shortly after that a parents’ couple contacted my parents, followed by their son and me talking through Skype and e-mail. In our church your parents help arrange your marriage. My parents also participated in a ‘mass wedding,’ and they didn’t know each other before they got married. Yet, I can see how strong my parents’ marriage is despite difficulties. For me a marriage is not just for you; it’s about bringing different cultures together and through that contributing your part to create world peace.”
Says Akuzawa, “the blessing is important to me, because I feel as though it’s something that my parents fought like hell to be able to give to me. My parents, True Parents (Father Moon and Mrs. Moon) and God have given so much for this to be available to me and my generation.”