I am sure if you have ever traveled to a European country, you’ve noticed how old couples there are different than old couples in the middle east or Lebanon for example. The couples that roam around Europe actually hold hands. They flirt, and laugh, and dance together. Maybe you’ve even wondered how come they are different.
When was the last time you saw a Lebanese grandma and grandpa hold hands while walking around Downtown for example?
They don’t because they think it’s 3ayb. Better yet, the majority of old couples don’t really act like they love each other at all. As if it’s wrong to still love your husband. Often times your Teta will complain about your Jiddo. Either his snoring, or his nagging, being cranky, or getting old. She will flaunt how she is better and how the kids love her more. Your Jiddo will also complain about your Teta probably for being a nagger, or getting fat, or well old. You might hear that she didn’t finish school because of him. You might also hear that he didn’t succeed because she was too demanding of his time.
They are not all so bad, but the majority are. Your mom and dad are probably similar but at a less advanced stage. Your mom tells you how “all men are like that” you have to “tekhidyon 3a 2ad 3a2leton” and all kinds of women are better we’ve gotta suck it up. You get the general notions that most older couples are together for the kids and for social image.
You have even noticed that even you amongst your friends, you and your close friends will discuss similar things. Simple things or big things. Being late, drinking too much, not being fun enough, not getting along with your friends, working too much, not being romantic. You feel it’s normal to really dislike many things in your marriage, well because we believe marriage after a few years changes and it becomes “3ishra” and you just gotta handle it.
This doesn’t seem to be the same case if you move across countries. I have lived in the States and it’s very different there. For example, mothers in Lebanon will dread the day the children travel. Multiply menopause by no sense of purpose and you’ve got one crazy mama on full attack of daddy who starts to lose it. Hopefully he doesn’t go and marry someone else (inexcusable! but does happen when a man feels like, well, he doesn’t have a husband role but a father role only)
Couples in the U.S or Europe anticipate children travelling or moving out and will work on their relationship and travel together. Does this mean European or American marriages are perfect? Absolutely not. They are worse in other aspects. I am simply stating my observations on specific aspects of marriage.
I have no idea where I read or someone told me that a couple are a “Team”. I know I’ve heard that before, but it started to brew in my mind a bit. I started to think about the way I am with my colleagues. If my colleague on a project did a mistake, do I say “Oh guess what, this guy on my team made a mistake? He’s so stupid” Of-course not. I start working on fixing that mistake because at the end of the day, the project will either succeed or fail. The manager’s not gonna care. The end result does.
Then I started to think of all the times I complain to my friends that my husband is the reason I am late. “He was showering” Or “He had a phone call last minute as usual”. That is not something I’d say if my colleague made me late to a meeting. I’d say sorry “we” are late.
The more and more I thought about it, the more I realized and noticed this habit in people. I started to notice very common negative words that I hear from people “immo mdalle3to” or “bayyo mjannano” or “tale3 mna2naf la bayyo” ect. ect.
I started to think of the times I have heard “he” held me back, and “she” doesn’t support me. All the times I’ve heard responses to questions such as”I wanted to potty train but my husband doesn’t want to yet” or “I wanted to breastfeed longer but my husband didn’t want me to” These things grow over the years until an old couple no longer thinks of themselves as a “team” but as 2 individuals trying to do parenting better. I started to think how I have never ever talked about my best friend to a single person on earth, because of this “pledge” of friendship. You never talk about your girl best friend, everyone knows that. Is this the case with our husbands? Not too sure.
The Tip: Treat your Husband as your Team Member
Since then, I have pledged to treat my husband like my team member. My team member on the most important project on the planet. My team member to succeed in life. Succeed in having a good career, in emotionally growing, in handling the pressures of life, in raising a good family. In being happy. I believe we can be one hell of a team if we want to. I must admit, he is one hell of a team member. When he gives me feedback it’s for me to improve and win at life and not to get at me. When I mention his downfalls I don’t undermine him, I undermine our team.