They say “Experience without learning is better than learning without experience”. That is why we searched for a lady who could provide us with the best of her experience in a successful marriage that has lasted long. Fetooh Ahmed Al Dalali is a model to follow: her marriage lasted more than forty years, resulting in 4 children and 5 grandchildren. She’s a graduate from Kuwait University, Department of Arts and Education, an activist in the field of social work and founder and member of Loyac Board of Directors. She got married at the age of 24 years and recently celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary. We discussed with her, her marital experience, the reasons behind her success and the advice she can give to couples preparing to get married.
Fetooh Al Dalali summarizes her idea on marriage with a quote for Gibran Khalil Gibran: You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
Marriage and stability
For the generation to which Fetooh Al Dalali belongs, marriage was part of the life cycle. Every girl used to prepare herself to become a wife, and work at that time was not the goal or the target she seeks after or the future she aspires to. Marriage for each girl was linked to the idea of stability, children, companionship and life partner. Fetooh Al Dalali never looked at marriage as a contract that gives her freedom like many girls of her time. She has been raised within a family that respected her independence and gave her freedom.
After marriage, many things occur in the life of Fetooh Al Dalali that pushed her to change her priorities. She says: “Change is a life norm and everything in this world changes. What have changed in my life after marriage are the priorities. After some time of marriage, the focus stops being limited to the relationship between husband and wife, but extends to other things, such as the children and the relationship with the family and how to consolidate it and draw a material and moral future to all the family members. In more precise terms, travelling and going out are no longer the basics, they become a secondary part of the marital relationship.”
The basics of a successful marriage
For every successful marriage there are foundations that must be taken into consideration to establish a strong relationship. For Fetooh AL Dalali, the first thing is to choose a good partner with our mind and not our heart. The wife should be totally aware of her husband’s nature and personality and never try to change it because if she does so, he will become a different person from the man she decided to marry and love.
She stresses on the fact that it’s very important for all couples to always talk, share and discuss general issues not just family and children matters.
Divorce rates have dramatically increased recently and in this context, Fetooh Al Dalali explains that marriage is no longer the target of the girl or even the man for their preoccupation with other issues related to the future, success and independence. That is why when they face the first obstacle in their marriage, they run away or choose the easiest solution that is separation and divorce.
She notes that in Kuwait, unfortunately, some traditions force the girl or the man to choose their life partner according to their parents’ terms and not theirs; that is why divorce becomes their only final and available getaway since they never got a chance to choose their own life partner.
Fetooh Al Dalali considers the parents responsible in some ways: The mother focuses on thinking about the party, the dress and the wedding and neglects to clarify the concepts of marriage for her daughter. The same thing applies on the father who should at least explain to his daughter what a man wants from a woman, he does not play his role at its best.
We derive from each relationship according to Fetooh Al Dalali many lessons, and the most important lesson Fetooh has learned from her marriage is that it was a stable experience that has helped her accomplish many things and become the woman she is today.
Advice and memories
Fetooh Al Dalali advises the couple preparing to get married to be fully aware regarding the fact that they are two different people and that marriage is not a relationship between two people, but also between two families, friends and two completely different lives. Fetooh Al Dalali shares with her husband many memories the most beautiful of which is how they have faced crises and overcame them together; and comes on top of her experience, their stay in Kuwait during Iraq invasion in addition to a large amount of shared life events, the birth of their children, birthdays, travels around the world and new friendships.