Updated: Nov 15, 2017
Been wanting to write this post for a long time. So here goes!
1- There is no equation for a successful marriage.
No one will argue that compatibility is an essential factor in any successful relationship. But compatibility on paper is a different story. Human beings and human interactions can't be simplified into a black and white mathematical equation. Compatibility isn't measurable by using lists and profiles on background and family. These things can point to potential areas of future conflict but don't guarantee the success or failure of a relationship. Two people can look perfect for one another theoretically, but never get along in real life. Likewise, two people might seem incompatible but still have a successful marriage. This is why it can be dangerous to focus on checking boxes when evaluating whether someone would be a good spouse. For example, you might believe that you could never be intellectually compatible with someone with no university degree. But what if you met a self-made entrepreneur who travels the globe and reads more books than Matilda? Having a degree wouldn't seem so important anymore. So don't reduce people into check lists. It's unfair and mean.
This song completely summarizes what I think about this subject:
2-Beware of stereotypes and generalizations
When I got engaged to my husband (and even before then) I was told a lot of things about 'men'. These all boiled down to this image:
Men are instinctual animals. They don't think with their heads and only value food and women. Beware Alwia, given the chance a man will deflower a woman in a blink of an eye. Tame the beast with an array of delectable meats...
...and oh, they like the color red (but I think this one might be true).
Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. But I did end up starting my relationship on the defensive.
This was a bad idea, because when my husband didn't howl like a wolf at everything I threw his way, I started to think there was something wrong with me and with us. Nothing was wrong except my expectations. Ladies! Don't listen to those old aunties. We all have them, and they will warp your brain with stereotypes. The last thing you want is to start a relationship with misconceptions. It goes without saying that all men are different. And while some might fit certain stereotypes, we shouldn't generalize.
3-The whiny wife or husband
Sit with a group of Arab women and watch the fireworks explode. Everyone loves to complain about their husbands and if you don't join in, you will be labelled as the sad naive little fool that you are:
It's because you're still in the love bubble. Just you wait a few more years...wait till you have kids.
Seriously, it's not just an Arab thing, people love to complain about their spouses. It's like this weird ritualistic bonding thing.
I've yet to come up with a satisfactory intellectual reason for this. But, what I have noticed is that after tuning into these sorts of conversations, I always end up getting into an argument with my husband. Negativity feeds negativity, and you need to be careful not to get sucked into it.
4-The importance of being kind.
Sounds obvious, but we always forget it. I really believe that if a couple is always kind to one another, a huge number of problems can be avoided. That being said, you can't be kind without being respectful or considerate. So really, you need to be kind, considerate and respectful.
5- Learn your languages of love
Cheesy? Yes. But very true and important. People express their love in different ways. So what you might interpret as a lack of love could be an inability on your part to understand the other person's language of love. Learn your languages people: gift giving, acts of service, verbal affirmation, physical contact and quality time together. It was one of the best things I did.
I would love to know what everyone else thinks about this? What have you learned after getting married?