x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Married life: Keys to successful marriage

The secret of a successful marriage? Finding the right man is a start.

I never thought of myself as the marrying type.I never fantasised about the pouffy white wedding dress, I never had a preference on what the menu did and did not contain and I never tried to catch the bouquet at weddings. In fact, I was the one conveniently "in the bathroom" whenever it was time for the bouquet toss. Forging a career, seeking fame and fortune, seeing the world, buying shoes - those were my interests. It never occurred to me that I could have both: a full and satisfying life hand-in-hand with a wonderful marriage.

Some of my past sentiments regarding weddings and my indifference to them came in handy: an elaborate, colour-co-ordinated wedding for some 160 guests came together in under three weeks, and the wedding dress was found after approximately 27 minutes of shopping. Certainly, I suffered my fair share of "bridezilla" meltdowns, but it was always because I could hardly wait to get to the part that comes after the wedding and the honeymoon. I was surprisingly eager to embark on my adventure of marriage, and not stiff with anxiety as I had always thought I would be should the day ever come.

Why? Because I am one of those lucky few who got to marry their absolute best friend. That, I believe, is the key to a successful marriage. It may seem presumptuous of me, this claim to be an expert on marriage after just a few months as a newlywed, but my unwavering optimism, coupled with the fact that I am happier than I ever thought possible, are both contributing factors towards the confidence behind my words.

More than a romance, more than an adventure, more than a relationship, yet certainly all these things, marriage is a partnership; a meeting of minds that truly just get one another. Mr T gets me. He knows when an ice cream is the only solution to all my problems. He understands my irritability when I come home after a long day at work, and gives me those 10 minutes to snarl and sulk until I feel calm again. He is willing to listen when I ramble on for 30 minutes on the changes and developments behind Scarlett O'Hara's character in Gone with the Wind, and then does his research the next day before e-mailing me his opinion on her motivations. He downloads the e-book version of a novel I just can't seem to find in a single bookstore without me ever mentioning my futile search.

He gets my quirks and annoyances and fears and secret joys, he records them and memorises them and uses them to prove to me that I have found the perfect companion for this adventure we call life, and it's the most incredible feeling in the world to get to share the adventure with someone who just wants to make you happy, because that is his source of joy. And you get that, because you are right smack in the middle of the same boat.

So really, I'm a lucky girl, despite the burn scars on hands from learning to cook, moments of post-nuptial depression following an overly-hyped wedding and wider hips from way too much caramel popcorn consumed at way too many movie theatres - a favourite pastime of Mr T's and mine. Look at it this way. Out of more than a billion men in this world, I found the one who always remembers to keep the toilet seat down. In fact, thanks to him, I'm never going to understand the generalisation I have heard all my life about forgetful men and errant toilet seats and irritated women.

This is what winning the lottery must feel like.