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HOW I MARRIED THE MAN WHO TICKED NONE OF THE BOXES

A story of love and self discovery

Random Image: A black Muslim couple

I look back at the dramatic turn my life has taken in the last three years and a picture of the stunned faces of my beautiful friends as they walked into my apartment one beautiful evening flashes through my mind. What was it exactly? I really can’t tell what their emotions were but one thing is for sure; they pretty well expected me to be wallowing in a dungeon of regret.

For as far back as I can remember, my life was heading for the clouds; a young pretty girl growing up in an influential middle class home and pursuing a law degree at university with great prospects of a bright and promising future or so I thought. I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what I had dreamt for myself. My goals included marrying the man of my dreams after setting up a brilliant and lucrative career. He was going to be a successful entrepreneur, posh and influential, flawless accent, doing well in the looks department (for me, that mean 6ft tall, dark and well-built) and of course, be ready to build his life around mine. But, reality checks! My life did not unfold as I had planned. It got even better.

I had always heard about people who after years of trying to find their paths in life end up discovering that what they thought they wanted did not fit into who they really were. I guess I can categorically state now that I belonged to this group. Mine is just a slightly different experience as it didn’t take me so long to figure that out and so, I didn’t have to learn from my own mistakes. Deep inside me, as I etched out a perfect plan for my future, I tried to ignore the peeping tom; that innate natural desire for a beautiful and stable family where love and warmth radiated. It was obvious that there were two different personalities in me and both were fighting for supremacy. For the greater part of my early youth, the part of me that wanted to be a top class successful career woman reigned supreme and nothing was going to get in the way.

All the while, I worked hard towards making my dreams come true, freelancing part time, working as an intern at reputable law firms, hanging out with friends and building connections as well as enjoying spinsterhood. A lot of marriage prospects came along. I gave many of them some shot, tried to make them work and after series of heartaches and disappointments, many of them came crashing down like rockets falling from space. The guys that ticked a substantial amount of the boxes were nothing to write home about. Were they just a bunch of wrong guys? Or was I looking in the wrong direction? Maybe there was something wrong with me; something lacking in me. It was just so unfortunate that I always thought I was enough for any good man (of course! Who ticked all the boxes) to want to walk the eternal path with.

Then one evening in 2014, while bonding with a book over a cup of black Ceylon tea, my phone rang. The number on the screen was strange. I wouldn’t have answered that call but a stronger voice told me to press the green button. And so I did. It was a young man. He had met me a month before at an aunt’s place and was interested in getting to know me better. I was cold. This man wasn’t who I wanted. He didn’t fit my profile. He didn’t tick any of the boxes. No way! I wasn’t going to have another conversation with him. I ignored his calls after that day. However, he kept sending messages. At first, I was irritated. But later on, like magic, his messages began unlocking something in me. I said to myself on one of those days “You’ve never gotten it right with any man and here you are pushing away the one man that’s dying to get your attention.” I decided to answer his phone call the next morning and the first thing I said into the receiver was “Who are you and what do you want from me?” The rest is history.

He wasn’t an entrepreneur, wasn’t posh and influential by my previous definition, didn’t have the kind of flawless accent I was dying to have in my dream man, wasn’t six feet tall nor was he dark. But he was ready to build his world around mine. He was straight to the point with his answers to my questions. He said to me “I know who you are. I know all about your dream man. I know I don’t in any way fit into his shoes. I don’t even make six figures yet. But I am ready to give you everything your dream man may not be able to give you. I will be as plain and as honest as I can, and if after everything, you still find me unworthy, then I’ll at least be glad that you ever gave me some part of your time.”

I didn’t know what to say. I guess I just gave in for no reason other than that I didn’t want to push him away without having a valid excuse. The next couple of months found us on a number of chaperoned meet ups and as each day passed; I began to question my ideals, my goals and my dreams. I began asking myself who I really was. I found that this young man was bringing out the other side of me or better, the truer side of me that I had been trying to bury for as long as I can’t even recall. I wasn’t walking with my head upside down. I was walking with my two legs and thinking with my brain and as I began to explore this rather new personality of mine, I found that I could breathe life and savour its sweetness. I became happier and contented and I was no longer finding fulfillment in the rat race; the never ending thirst to reach the topmost echelon of life. I just wanted to be loved; a natural true love. I wanted the warmth of a man with whom I could steadily grow and I wanted a family too and yes, I still wanted a career, but one that fitted into this beautiful life I was seeing right before me; one that wouldn’t jeopardise a happy family life.

Less than two years after, I got married. I married the man who ticked none of my boxes. My family and friends were not too pleased. To them, it was the craziest decision ever. How could I marry someone who according to them wasn’t “high profile”? I couldn’t look into most of their faces anymore because all I could see was disgust. They would wait. I know. They would wait for me to come crying, to come running into their arms and telling them horrible stories of how much I regret that decision. But in the end, it has become a fairytale in reality as I can now sit them down and tell the story of how that decision mapped out a more beautiful life for me. For what more does a woman want than a real man; compassionate enough to help her build her dreams, give her a warm and cozy home and knows just how she loves her coffee.

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