File - Celebrating Valentine's Day.
CAIRO - 14 February 2020: It’s Valentine’s and love is in the air, and Hollywood and Netflix will both make sure you get your share of romantic movies this season. For most of us the endearing, passionate and at times awkward conversations we see taking place between love-struck characters onscreen will remain just that: quotes and sweet words that have nothing to do with reality.
This month we share the experiences of three real-life couples who have found
love in unlikely places, who have enduring marriages and who have their own special
quotes to go along with their stories.
Yasmine & Mohamed
“I was 33 when I met him. Divorced, broken, with zero self-confidence after finally ending an abusive marriage, I was almost certain that all men are the same,” Yasmine El-Ghazaly begins.
She says she first met her husband Mohamed on a rock ‘n roll Facebook group; and it was only when she noticed a number of close common friends between them on the group that she plucked up the courage to reply to his Facebook message.
“I mean, who in their right mind can [imagine] meeting their life-partner online and on a rock ‘n roll group on Facebook? But I sure am glad I went ahead and replied to his message! I got the best husband I could have wished for in return,” Yasmine says.
After the Facebook chats came the long phone calls and finally they met in person. “Mohamed would call me up to suggest meeting over coffee or a movie and
I would reply, “Sure, but I am in Siwa hiking and riding bicycles” or, “That’s a great idea! Wait till I come back from St. Catherine because I’m over there running.”
“He was very amused at how different I was and he understood how these eccentric activities were a big part of my life,” Yasmine adds.
Mohamed is a women’s rights champion who works as a counsellor in the judiciary system in Egypt.
Yasmine admits he is a very unique male combination that she has never seen before.
“He defends women’s rights and knows a lot about this field in Egypt, even
more than me. We courted briefly then decided to try marriage again for the second time for both of us.
He too was divorced and never really thought of getting married again. We
were both afraid to fail again. We were both in our 30s, he has two kids with him fulltime and neither of us wanted to fail and get our hearts broken again, still, we decided to test our love for each other and try. So we got married,” Yasmine recalls.
Both Yasmine and Mohamed bore baggage from previous abusive hurtful relationships, so they were trying to avoid making the same mistakes and they were both
investing in this relationship. “On my side it was very challenging to be a fulltime stepmother without having children of my own and hence no experience with
kids, but thankfully, no experience was really needed, my heart spoke to his children’s hearts from the first moment we met. Motherhood comes in so many forms, not necessarily through blood ties, and I now consider them both no less or different than children of my own,” Yasmine recounts.
“Our married life is certainly unorthodox, but it works for us. I am very emotional, he is more rational. I love adrenaline rushes, he enjoys calm serene activities. I am athletic, he enjoys reading books. I spend my free time hiking, he goes to philosophical
debates. We are both metal-heads, although I am way more dedicated to going to metal and rock gigs and concerts than him. We are different, but at heart we do resemble each other,” Yasmine explains, elaborating that they are both unselfish, compassionate and giving.
“In the end, what makes the good days outnumber the bad days is how keen we are to make each other happy even if we do not do everything together,”
According to her, it’s not about having a lot in common, as much as it is about trusting your partner and doing your best to make them smile, even if you are
not doing everything together.
“In our home I will go on hikes with my friends for two nights or more and my husband will take over my duties at home, with a smile while he misses me but understands that this is part of the personality he loves so much and it’s also his way of showing his
love to me. In reciprocation he may opt to travel alone with his friends or engage in any other career or leisure related activity that can consume his time with us as a couple, however I will gladly support him knowing that he is happy, even though I miss him. I
am the wife who runs marathons, rides bicycles, hikes mountains, lifts weights, hates the kitchen, hates shopping, wears mostly sports gear instead of fancy heels and he loves me the way I am,” Yasmine says.
Asked to describe her story in one quote, Yasmine says, “We take a step up and a step down at the same time, always.”
Radwa & Ezz
“I think destiny played an important role in our love story and marriage,” Radwa Abdelmoneim says, describing her relationship with her husband Ezzeldin Ibrahim. A silver aficionado, Radwa was visiting a silver store near her house five years before she met her future husband. “The owner was a lovely cheerful man in his 60s, and after I chose some pieces he said to me ‘you are so beautiful, have fine taste and I will pray to
God that my son will have a bride like you,” Radwa recalls.
A year after, the kind shop owner passed away and Radwa moved to a new house and didn’t visit his store again. Four years later she met Ezz at the gym of the Gezira Club and it was love at first sight. “I felt I had seen him before, not just his face but I felt I’d
known this soul before,” Radwa recalls.
Ezz was in the silver business but it never occurred to Radwa that there could be a relation between him and the late lovely shop owner, until he asked her to
accompany him to one of his stores, only to to find out it was the same store she visited five years ago. “I told Ezz about the lovely man I saw in this store, and I found out that it was his father! Our love was arranged by God, a result of his father’s prayers. Ezz has
the same kind soul as his father,” Radwa says, adding that her marriage was built on love, support and sharing from day one.
“Ezz discovered my artistic talents, encouraged me to start working with him in silver designs and I truly found myself in this,” Radwa says.
Today, Radwa and Ezz have been married for 13 years and have three kids; Ibrahim, Rukia and Omar. “Before I met Ezz I used to enjoy reading quotes about
love but I never thought that my all-time favorite (“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other”) would describe my own experience,” Radwa says.
Mohamed & Nabila
Mohamed and Nabila have been married for 40 years. “Our marriage was an arranged traditional one, without an amorous love story, but in the first year I discovered that I’d fallen in love with her,” Mohamed recounts. “Nabila made me know what love is, she is
my first and last love,” he says.
The businessman recounts that the best and the greatest love is born as result of hard work and dedication, and doesn’t usually happen at first sight. He describes how Nabila, who chose to be a homemaker, endured a lot of hard circumstances at the beginning
of their joint journey. “That’s why our marriage managed to survive for 40 years,” explains Mohamed.
“That first click can happen very easily, but the challenge is to continue and keep the love alive. Nabila and I simply did that,” Mohamed says.
“Nabila made me him realize the true meaning of Ghandi’s quote, ‘Where there is love there is life.’ For me where there is Nabila there is life.”