Salama and I were asked to give a talk about the first year of marriage. As we prepared we started to reflect on everything we did during our first year together, all the memories we had, the adventures we went on, and the problems we worked through. Then an interesting question come up, we asked each other if we would have done anything differently.

Should we have lived with our parents at the beginning of our marriage? Should we have spent more time traveling? Should we have had kids so early? We had only been married just over a year when Salama and I were blessed to find out she was pregnant with our first son Khalifa.

At first we started to think about all the things we would have changed during our first year together, we would have moved to a different country and lived for a few months, we would have travelled more, we would have prepared an apartment for us to move into after we got married, to be honest we almost changed the entire year expect for one thing, our kids.

Then we asked a different question, would we be the couple and family we are today if we hadn’t been through what we went through? Would our relationship be as close? Would our love still be as strong? The answer was probably not, because every experience has built the marriage we have today, every hard experience or experience we would have changed in our first year together has made us appreciate the blessings we have that much more today.

Living with our parents had made us appreciate living by ourselves and having our space together, having kids early has made us appreciate the connection we have with our kids as we are all still young, not traveling as much has made us love traveling today where we take advantage of every holiday to go on an adventure.

The truth is we would all want to change things for the better when we look at our past, but we forget that going through all those things in our lives is what makes us stronger, it’s what shapes who we are today, and I am happy where are today because there is no other place I would rather be than by her side.

My answer is no I wouldn’t change a thing about our past, it had good moments, it had bad moments, but I would do it all over again for the rest of my life to feel the way I feel today, and I know it’s worth it because you are still by my side.