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Just one rule to make your marriage a success

on February 3, 2014

–          ‘Oh, he doesn’t eat béchamel pasta!’

That was disastrous for me five years ago. How come the one I was marrying did not eat béchamel pasta? And even worse, what he preferred was the kind of the Egyptian vegetable stews I never happened to like!

–          ‘Oh, he doesn’t like reading’.

It was the nightmare that kept me awake all days of my engagement. Books were crucial to my life. They represented knowledge, culture and mindset. It wouldn’t have mattered if he had loved politics and I loved romance books. It wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t place books on top of everything. The least was that books were something in his life. They were not! On the contrary, books were a waste of money! This marriage couldn’t be possible for me. And if it were, it would end up in divorce in few years.

–          ‘Oh, he loves George Wassouf’.

For those who don’t know, George Wassouf is a singer who is called the ‘sultan’ for some people. But for me, he was the most detestable voice I have ever heard. If it happened that a microbus (a very usual transport means in Egypt) driver played his tape, then it meant that it was the worst day of my life! And to my great luck, drivers loved playing his tapes a dozen times. So some stanzas would get refrained in mind and I would go crazy then; trying to hit my head to the wall. So imagine that my to-be husband loves this singer out of all the singers mother earth had given birth to. I was doomed.

Yes, we had nothing in common!

But I didn’t terminate the relation. I proceeded. And whenever I overcame a difference/obstacle, another one was looming. His family was different from mine. His temper was literally the opposite. To my biggest surprise, our chemistry grew. Some emotions moved. The heart beats rose when he rang me in the morning. My ribs shrank when he was sad. It occurred to me that I might be afraid to be a spinster. I thought maybe I had grown a liking to engagement rings and wedding dresses. That wasn’t me, no way! So what was it?! Him. He was very accepting, very loving. He never objected like Eastern men to my going outs. He never answered my usual question ‘what are the characteristics of your dream wife?’ by the usual answer ‘I want her to be submissive’. Well, he did once. But I didn’t hear it. I was in love with him. Such a heavenly man … Well … one second … I am lying!

He did show some objections, he still wanted an easy wife, he still criticized my sophistication!

We got married. And it was big. After our marriage, we fought for what to hear in the car. We struggled in our daily food choices. We lacked the common topics to discuss. We had arguments on how complicated I was. We had contradictory opinions on subjects. We had good times rarely and hellish times frequently. I was not the woman he dreamt of. He was not the man I dreamt of.

I would look at him while watching TV wondering if he had ever thought of holding my hand and saying romantic words. I would wait for him in my sickness to come and hug me and smooth my hair. But he usually came and shouted at me because I did not take the antibiotic as I was such a ‘careless’ woman. And it occurred to me that it might be the ‘relation’ that really attached us together. After all we had fun! And I waited for the moment when the desire withered and life got bored and monotonous to take the decision to separate.

Now I have written 644 words describing the melancholic status of my marriage in an article entitled ‘Just one rule to make your marriage a success’, so you must be saying now ‘are you kidding me?’

In fact, my life didn’t turn monotonous. I didn’t have a divorce. I didn’t separate mentally or physically. And he still loves veggie stews and George Wassouf and thinks books are a waste of money. And I am still not the submissive wife nor the delicate type of person.

Despite the big gaps, I watched some soccer games with him and enjoyed. He bought books with me (paid the money and mocked me). I cooked delicious veggie stews in some days when I ate very little and in others I made my béchamel pasta when he ate very little. I skipped the nagging and endless discussions and retreated to my own space (usually with a book) when I felt there was no solution to the issue we are addressing. I accepted that at some points I couldn’t stand him and instead of provoking him, I made friends with my emotions and talked with them. After all it is fine to dislike some attitudes. It is fine to hate a person and love him. It is fine to be far at some point. I even made friends with the fact that he would never say romantic words to me. I made friends with the fact that he didn’t like my independent attitude. Although he never talked about it, he too made friends with the fact that I would go to cut my hair short when I knew he loved it long. He made friends with the fact that I could spend a fortune on books and blocks. He made friends with the fact that I might refuse to obey his advice and walk my own path.

And it was so simple and clear. Our marriage succeeded because we gave each other a space for the differences. We accepted the little we shared and enjoyed it to the utmost and tried to please each other by disregarding the differences.

I would simply force myself beside him in the couch with a book in my hand while he watched his soccer game. Our minds were in separate locations but our hearts were linked.


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