This is our story, mine and my husband’s; while we were getting acquainted
Before we became a couple and when we suffered through loss and pain
When we lost each other after having a baby and when we found each other again.
When we think about it, it is quite unusual that our paths didn’t cross long before they actually did. We worked in the same city, we were both enrolled in a Master’s degree at the same time in colleges right next to each other, we both took classes in the evening, hung out in the same Starbucks and strangely enough, our cousins were married to each other and lived in the same country as us. We could have met countless times, in various situations, but never did. Weird for a small place like UAE.
Ours is a very traditional meeting story. We were introduced by our parents, who for some reason assumed that we would be perfect partners for each other. After meeting him once to decide if he was normal enough to be introduced to his daughter, my father told me some of his defining characteristics. Education, age, height, general appearance, only son, oldest child, three sisters and that he was wearing nice shoes. I don’t understand that part either.
Anyway, we met each other in traditional Pakistani fashion. He was invited to my parent’s home with his relatives, supposedly to give us the opportunity to get to know each other. We were both super nervous, but I hid it better, being on my home turf. Obviously we didn’t talk much that day. He claims that he didn’t even get a good enough look at me. I took a good look at him, asked him about his work, told him about mine, talked about traffic and then acted bored. After he left, I had literally no thoughts or opinions about him. My family was another story. They LOVED him and kept bringing him up every chance they got while I pretended to be uninterested. Long story short, our parents asked our respective opinions. We both said…meh, which to their ears sounded like an enthusiastic approval and we got engaged.
Now we spent hours talking on the phone. Mind you, this was before smart phones were common, so our engagement is considered as the most expensive time in our mutual history. I felt that he was a man ready to fall in love with his fiancée. I, on the other hand, was a little cautious with how I progressed. However, no matter how slow I took it, I couldn’t ignore the fact that he was very impressive. He was a self-made man, very well-educated, well-traveled, articulate and worldly. He enjoyed his work and loved his friends and family. But most of all, he seemed to really like me. Flawed, neurotic, spoilt me.
Within two months, on his extreme insistence, we had signed the necessary documents stating that we were married, even though we still lived apart. That was a very interesting time in our life. Married but still dating, sneaking out of work to have lunch with each other, quarreling for the pleasure of making up, even holding hands was new and exciting.
And finally, seven years ago on this exact date, we were officially married and started building a life together. The first year saw us making huge adjustments to accommodate each other. He was so used to living on his own that sharing his space, his wardrobe and his bathroom with another human, let alone a girl, were extremely difficult for him. I, on the other hand, was still quite apprehensive about this whole marriage situation and found it hard to trust him completely. We had some great times too, we traveled together, shared our childhood stories and discovered a lot more of each other’s personalities. I could see that he was madly in love with me despite all my imperfections and the very obvious fact that I was constantly unsure about us and our future.
Then one year into our marriage, we suffered a loss. And no one on earth knew the intensity of that loss as he and I did. No one cried like we did and no one could comfort us like we could comfort each other. If I could define a time then I would say that that was the time when I fell in love with my husband. I saw how sensitive yet how strong he was, I saw what it means to have a man actually hide a woman behind him and shield her from every negative word, thought and action. He saved me then and he has been saving me ever since.
A year later we moved to KSA and this was the second time in our life that we made huge adjustments. But still, life was good. We quite liked each other’s company, we were both working, having fun and travelling. However, getting pregnant again was not happening for us, no matter what we tried. And we tried a lot of things!
Then one afternoon, a doctor said something to us that crushed all our hopes of ever having a child. Naturally, I was devastated. I wept and screamed and questioned God’s will and once again, the only other person in the whole world who felt my pain, who possibly wanted to weep and scream louder than me, held me in his arms and asked me, “Am I not enough for you? Can you not live your life with me alone?” I fell in love with my husband. All over again. We stayed like this for hours, talking softly about how our life will be from now on, how we don’t need a child to make us a family. We said a lot of things, but also left a lot unsaid. Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” played in the background when he asked me, “Are you ready for this adventure?”
Then one day out of the blue, after four years of being married and having almost accepted the idea that it will just be me and him for the rest of our lives, I got pregnant. Contrary to what people around us thought, it was not a magical time at all. We were terribly stressed about losing our baby again and as the pregnancy progressed and my daughter grew bigger and healthier inside me, we grew more and more anxious. Until the day we held her in our arms and for a few hours, we were the most relaxed we had been in a very long time.
As I delved deeper into my role as a mother, I started to drift apart from my husband. I spent hours obsessing over my daughter’s feeding and sleeping routines and it annoyed me that my husband wasn’t as invested in these matters as I was. I could see that he missed the old me, the person who was his closest confidante and his partner in late night binge eating. But I had gone far too deep on my path of motherhood and had left his wife and friend at a strange crossroads, which was still visible but out of my reach. He waited. At times, anxiously and at other times, patiently.
I wish I had thought of this sooner, but it was only around the time that my daughter turned two that I started to focus on us again. I envisioned our future, when our daughter will be gone to study and live her own life. Will I still like this man then? And more importantly, will he still like me? When I think about us, I see that we have all the necessary potential to grow old loving each other. We enjoy talking and spending time together, we find humor in the same things and we have very similar aspirations and values. We just need to stay connected and keep tapping into the qualities we admire in one another. This realization helped me find my way back to where I had abandoned our relationship and there I found him waiting, asking me again, “Are you ready for this adventure?”
Thanks for reading. Cheers!