And They Lived Happily Ever After, Or Did They?
Since we were young children, every fairy tale has ended up with the prince and princess getting married, usually after a short love story. It always ends there and we don’t get to see their lives past their wedding day! So is it really happily ever after? Is marriage the beginning of a love story or is it the end of a fairy tale?
Is your married life now what you expected it to be like? Or did you ever regret your choice deep inside but were too scared to admit it out loud? Where did we go wrong?
Marriage experts claim that it all goes back to our immature misunderstanding of “real love and the concept of marriage”!
Yasmine Farouk Khalifa, certified trainer, life coach and a family counselor, currently living in Dubai, gives us a few tips. Yasmine has been in the training and coaching business in the Arab world for the past 10 years.
Is there a difference between the kind of love we experience before and after marriage?
“This question actually opens up two important aspects of love: Stages and pillars of love. Usually we get mixed up between the stages of love and the pillars of love! Let me start by the stages of love. It all starts with what we call “infatuation” that usually happens at the beginning of any relationship before marriage. When one person is attracted to the other, a special hormone is released in his body. The release of such hormone is the one that gives the butterfly feeling in the tummy whenever you see that person. Once you get to spend more time together, you get used to him and his company, the release of this hormone decreases a bit. With the responsibilities and demands of marriage, it becomes very difficult for that hormone to be released without us exerting so much effort.”
Could that be related to the amount of effort the couples make before marriage to impress one another versus taking each other for granted after marriage?
“Exactly! Couples shouldn’t stop exerting so much effort to impress one another. None of them should be taken for granted, otherwise their love will die too soon! Couples should also be aware that they both have different emotional needs that need to be fulfilled in order to live a happy life together. As for the 3 pillars of love, which we also call them the triangle of love, at least one of them usually gets lost amid all the responsibilities of the marital life! These are: 1-Understanding one another and sharing the same vision in life. 2-Intimacy which requires that you always work on your looks to stay attractive in your beloved’s eyes. 3-Commitment of the two of them towards this relationship.
We need to find out which pillar did we go wrong on to know what went wrong with this relationship.”
Many wives complain about feeling that their husbands have become their best friends and there is no longer any physical attraction between them?!
“This is so common especially when the husband is not working on the second pillar of the love triangle or isn’t giving his wife the attention she needs. You can’t expect love to always shine in a relationship with no effort. It needs a lot of effort to sustain that love! Any relationship constantly needs to be revived. One of the things that helps is whenever you two feel too stressed out from all the responsibilities around you, go do something crazy and wild together on your own without the kids. Bring out the child in both of you and set the adults aside for a while. This will help bring back that spark of love away from the seriousness of your demanding life together. We also need to understand each other’s different wants and needs and make time and effort to fulfill them. God described us as garments to one another.
A garment’s role is to:
1- protect (secure each other)
2- beautify (bring up the best in one another)
3- honour (helping each other to achieve your goals)
4- give you warmth (being that shoulder that you can lean on when you are tired, stressed out or in pain)
How would you advice a couple who feel that they have become so different from one another?
“Males and females were meant to complement each other, thus they aren’t carbon copies of one another. Each partner should work hard on oneself instead of expecting change from the other partner. When you work on your problems in your marital life you realize that you are facing yourself, your fears, your inner challenges and self consciousness. It is tough, I know but worth the trouble. I’d also recommend that you both discuss together the purpose and goal of your marriage, your expectations of one another, how do you think you can overcome these obstacles you are facing? How would you like to bring your children up? What core values would you like to instill in them? What are the standards you want to overpass and never sacrifice in your marriage? When you share your vision and roles in life, you start to feel connected again and you are back on track!”
What are the most common family issues that you face in the Arab world?
“The two most common problems I always face are :1- Miscommunication between the couples and 2- Problems resulting out of parenting issues especially with teenage children, when both parents don’t seem to agree on a parenting style or values to instill in their children. It is not easy to find a couple that are able to communicate their feelings to one another to create that bonding and understanding between one another. ”
And what is the toughest family problem for you to deal with?
“When a spouse is involved in another relationship and only one partner is willing to work on fixing their relationship while the other is resisting.”
“Each couple has to understand that love will definitely fade out if you neglect your spouse or if you don’t constantly work hard on your relationship. Men are children trapped in big bodies. They still need the attention and praise that you’d give to a child. You also need patience and tolerance which is very hard to attain in our modern world where you get all what you need at the tip of your fingers. We are used to getting all our exact needs delivered to our doorstep in no time. We have to understand that working on a human relationship needs much more time, effort and patience. We aren’t machines or goods!”
So dear wives and husbands, don’t take things for granted. This love that you have created together needs maintenance, or else the engine will crash. To maintain this love, you need to read the manual, understand the safety instructions, how to use and how to identify if there’s something wrong with it. Invest your time, money and effort on this relationship and this vehicle will safely take you to the end of that road.