Saira Khan: We should celebrate strong marriages and people who stick with it”
More relationships break up at this time of year than at any other time because of the stresses of the festive season.
And this year has seen divorce rates around the world soar.
But instead of focusing on separations, how about celebrating those people who have held it together through thick and thin, and honoured the vows they made?
Marriage is sacred. But it takes a lot of soul-searching to decide to stay committed to one person for the rest of your life once you have made that promise.
Today, some people are still fighting for the right to marry the person they love. Some people are even fighting for the right to choose who they want as their life partner.
Sixteen years ago, at the age of 34, I married the person who I was (and still am) in love with, and in a manner that suited us.
It wasn’t easy going against religious obligations, cultural boundaries, parental expectations and societal norms.
It was heartbreaking at times, but fundamentally necessary for my personal happiness and mental health.
The pressure to please others should never be a factor when you decide to get married.
Others saw our differences – colour, religion, culture, background. I saw only love, common values, upbringing and a person who was strong enough to respect me for who and what I am.
I believe in marriage with all my heart, but it’s not easy. We’ve both come so close to calling it a day at times.
But what has saved us on numerous occasions is everything we did that day – December 17, 2004 – when we made vows to be there for each other through the good, bad and hard times, in front of the people we love.
It’s okay to have wobbles, arguments, differences – and at times wish the other half would go to hell! It’s okay to have time off, make mistakes and even get help.
That’s life, we are human, and marriage is not about perfection. It doesn’t come with a handbook. It’s unique and it’s what you make it.
Instagram couples go through the same rough times as everyone else – they just don’t share them publicly.
This year, more than at any other time in my life, I appreciate my marriage and the family we have created around it.
I’ve had the companionship and support of my hubby Steve to help me through the months of uncertainty and constant changes. Our marriage has certainly been locked down in lockdown.
I don’t take my marriage for granted. I make an effort to be a good wife and mother, yet still finding time to meet my own needs and be independent.
Some people believe you don’t need a piece of paper to solidify a commitment, but for me it cements the vows we made and will make me stick at it no matter what.