I think the biggest misunderstanding I had with relationships is that love comes naturally, if you are with someone you love then things should simply be and feel good all the time. We forget that love is a verb, it is an action that must be taken every day to keep a relationship strong.

Things change so fast, at the beginning of my marriage love was so simple, just being young, energetic and together was enough to keep the romance and adventure alive. We were always out, always traveling, always exploring, we thought this was how it was going to be forever, so easy, so effortless.

Over the eight years we have been married the one thing we can tell you for sure is that on the journey of building our careers, raising our family, and growing individually, keep our marriage healthy has been one of the toughest tasks, but that is not to say that it hasn’t been one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of our lives.

I think the best way to describe love is to simply tell you what it looks like to us in our day to day lives, so here goes:

1. Love is coming home exhausted after work and still going on the “Date Night” you planned, where you would rather just sit on the couch and binge watch “Game Of Thrones”

2. Love is when Salama calls me every morning literally one minute after I’ve left the house for work and starts the conversation with “Hey, what are you up to?”

3. Love is making fun of each other 95% of the time

4. Love is pranking each other about 25% of the time

5. Love is putting the kids to bed, laying on the bed beside them and having a conversation through text messages every night until they fall asleep.

6. Love is about having at least one meal together everyday

7. Love is about not sleeping if you are still arguing. (Even if the sun come out)

8. Love is about understanding that we each have dreams for our individuals lives, and there is nothing we want more than the other’s support

9. Love is about never letting the other person feel confused about how you are feeling

10. Love is about knowing exactly how the other partners likes the coffee or tea

11. Love is about finally being able to laugh at the other’s little habits that used to annoy you

12. Love is about surprising your partner by letting them sleep for an extra hour in bed since you are taking the kids to school

13. Love is about your partner being the first person you see smile in the morning, and the last person you see smile before you sleep.

14. Love is about looking at an older couple walking together hand in hand and saying “One day that will be us”

I guess what I’ve learned through our marriage is that the act of love is a series of little habits you do every day, it’s about the unique things that make your love special and different, it’s about creating feelings of joy that go between you and your partner without even thinking about it. These are the habits that have kept our love strong and give us confidence when we look at each other than we will be together all these years and will keep us together for the rest of our lives inshAllah.