Eventually the long distance chapter came to an end, which leads to the next one: engaged. Abd-Allah first brought up wanting to marry me very early on. The first time he said it was during one of our late night phone calls, I freaked out and hung up, then pretended my battery died… (probably shouldn’t have, but we were 19). When the time came though, I said yes. It was New Years 2014 and we were 21 years old. I know a lot of people get married at that age (some younger, some older), but I was ready to be engaged, not married. Everyone is different. Some people are happy just being engaged, some get married right away (wedding or no wedding), and some don’t end up staying together. No matter what anyone else expects, it’s important to move forward at the pace that’s right for your relationship. I wanted to treat ‘engaged’ as another chapter in our story and enjoy it, instead of rushing through it the way we were expected to. So we had a 2-year engagement, and thank God we did because planning a wedding is a struggle - trust me, you'll need patience with each other during wedding planning.
It was fun calling him my ‘fiancé’ that’s for sure, because when else can you say that.
“First comes love, then comes marriage...” They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, and boy are they right. Whether you’re married or moving in together, they are both big (very similar) steps, because it’s like gaining a permanent roommate and having to learn how to live with each other in a different way than you’re used to. At least that’s how it was for me. Looking back at that chapter of our story makes me realize just how DUMB our arguments were (lol), one argument was over a plug-in fan I threw out (apparently it was his favorite fan, but I thought it was ugly). In the moment, it doesn’t seem dumb (that fan was really, really important to us) but what I’m getting at is it’s normal to argue…
Weird to say since most people cringe at the idea that Abd-Allah and I argue. I get the “but you guys always seem so happy together” — we are, but nothing in life is perfect. Setting the example that silly little arguments are not normal (or don’t exist) is setting up other relationships to doubt themselves (not just in marriage but every chapter of a relationship). It’s far more romantic to dream of finding that person who will complete your life, rather than to imagine a relationship that involves time, energy, and investment. No matter what you see or think is perfect #relationshipgoals, all good relationships always require work. It’s not once you get to the finish line, that’s it. Marriage is not the end game, having a healthy long-lasting relationship is. I’ve learned that as long as we get over our fights and communicate, treat each other like friends, laugh together, respect each other, care more about what we feel than what others will think, then it’ll be just fine — because to me those should be the true #relationshipgoals.
3-year mark (anniversary ‘19)
Which brings me here, celebrating our 3-year wedding anniversary (3½ if you’re counting the Egypt wedding), 5 years since he proposed, 8 years since the start of long distance, and going onto 10 years since our story first began. After all these years I can honestly say that there is beauty in the imperfections of each chapter. Now that I can look back on it all, it’s like watching two kids figuring life out together. I hope one day I look back at our current arguments and roll my eyes at how dumb they are. Nothing is perfect, with each chapter love grows and you understand each other’s language of love better. I’m not a sports person, but he is always telling me his thoughts on it. It took me a while to realize it’s because he just loves to tell me everything on his mind — that’s a form of love. It’s noticing the little things as much as the big things, because the little things are valuable. They are the moments when you realize your partner genuinely wants you to be happy and that’s pretty close to perfect.
…and who knows, maybe my lessons don’t apply to you at all — but it’s okay to talk about the struggles, it’s okay to admit that as cute as ‘high school sweethearts’ sounds it was not all perfect. It’s okay to say relationships take work, because they absolutely do. And when you see #couplegoals on Instagram don’t resent them but understand it’s just a photo, be happy for them. It’s okay to admit that no matter how great your relationship is, there are sometimes ups and downs. Sometimes we bicker like roommates and suddenly we’re laughing and playing hangman. It does not take away from how much I love my husband to admit it’s not always perfect.