The other day I was driving down to my local supermarket and a large SUV stopped behind me at the traffic light. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a local couple who couldn’t keep their hands of each other. It made me smile, especially when the lights went green and he took a long time to drive off.

It made me think back to the time when my husband and I first got together, which is almost 11.5 years ago. I remember sitting in our common living room (we were flatmates) and thinking that nobody would see us holding hands under the table. I remember sneaky kisses and mid nightly trips to each others room. It was such a special time, but I also remember the uncertainty; does he really like me, is this going to work, what will we do when I need to go back home again? We met during my gap year and 5 months after I left to go back to the Netherlands, he left South Africa to come and live with me. 

It also made me think of a very special friend of us. He is getting married this year. He is so excited and happy. We have yet to meet his fiancée, as she lives in Iraq and it is hard for her to come and visit. Now before you start thinking this is an arranged marriage, it is not. They were introduced to each other by their mothers and lightning struck! In some respects they will follow the traditions of their religion and they will not live together before they are married. Initially I did have my reservations about this. Like most westerners I feel that it is important to get to know each other and live together before getting married. However I have since realised this view is short-sighted. My own parents in-law barely knew each other when my father in law proposed and my mother in law left all she knew and moved half way across the world within weeks!

I think that the real key to a successful relationship is communication and the willingness to make sacrifices for the other person. It’s a game of give and take and wanting to make the other person happy. If they are happy, you are happy. This, and having separate duvets is all you need to love happily ever after. Image

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