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In the Name of God بسم الله

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Marriage Is Not Meant to Make You Happy, It’s Meant To Make You Conscious

A  healthy marriage begins with healthy expectations.

Brianna Wiest

There are few things in society we’ve imbued with quite as much expectation and meaning as marriage.

We grow up thinking the hardest part will be finding the “right” person, who we assume will be the key to a happy life. The more right a person is for us, we think, the less suffering we will experience.

And, generally, people do pair up with other people they believe they’ll be happiest with (even if, in some cases, that happiness is more about security, status, or tradition than love). But sometimes, people choose who they thinkthey’ll be happiest with only to find out they are incorrect.

This isn’t because they’ve committed to the “wrong” person. It’s because their expectations were an ideal, not a reality. These unrealistic expectations can wreck you if you let them.

The work of marriage is not about whether you find and keep your most ideal counterpart. Marriage is about what you do when you discover you can be with the most perfect person for you—and still find yourself frustrated, exhausted, dragged down, and at your wit’s end.

We choose romantic partners through unconscious “love maps.” These are cues, ideas, and suggestions we pick up over time to piece together a concept of the right partner. We gather these through experiences: familiarity, family ties, failed relationships, trauma, other people’s beliefs, our own ideas about who we are and what we should do in life. Then, of course, there’s sexual attraction, which people often confuse with compatibility.

We attach ourselves to people who most significantly mirror our strengths and wounds. We do this because there’s comfort in the familiar, and because the essential purpose of long-term partnership is to assist us in growth. If our lives are about becoming ourselves, then our closest partners can be our greatest teachers.

Marriage won’t do the work for you.

The magic of marriage is that it’s not meant to make you feel happy in that dopamine-laced, movie-ending kind of way. It’s meant to make you aware of yourself, and the more deeply you can grow, the more joy you will experience.

It’s counterintuitive, but the less you expect marriage to make you happy, the more it will.

We often say our failed relationships teach us more than anything else. But it’s our ongoing relationships that can really teach us the most. Our interactions with others show us who we are, how we behave, and what we are doing. They can be the most enlightening medium for self-awareness. There is absolutely no relationship that does this more than a person with whom you commit to build your life, home, and share a sexual and intimate relationship with for the rest of your existence.

Your life partner is an asset to you in the evolution of your becoming, but that partnership is not the whole of your becoming. You can choose to see marriage as a gift, as an incredible privilege. Marriage gives us our walking partners, not our paths. When you view your partner less as your savior and more as the person you get to hang out with until you die, you’re more likely to forgive their shortcomings and accept that they’re not, and never will be, perfect.

Our partners don’t exist to satiate our every emotional need. They exist to be companions — separate, but equal — at once our responsibility, and yet very much out of our control. Learning to love them better is essential. It gives so much more than it takes. When we can strip away the assumption they should be different from who they are, we find something beautiful underneath: harmony. Which is what we’ve been hungry for all along.

Marriage will not always make you happy, but it will do something even better. It will give you an opportunity to find happiness in peace, in letting go, in learning what’s worth fighting for, in figuring out how to love an imperfect person, in seeing what commitment is and what compromise feels like.

Marriage won’t do the work for you. That work is yours—always and forevermore. The real work is not about finding the right person. It’s about becoming the right person

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Marriage and love are entirely separate subjects. Ideally, you should love your spouse and your spouse should love you, just as ideally anyone who must live together and work toward common goals should love each other, but love is not necessary for marriage and marriage is not necessary for love.

Our modern society needs to learn how to love.

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Love is the decision to consider the needs and wishes of another person significant, even, perhaps, as important as your own needs and wishes. Nothing more, nothing less.

Within a marriage, that love can be expressed in many ways, from cooking food to earning money to provide for the other to sharing hobbies to physical intimacy, but you can actually do all these things without love and you can love without doing these specific things. (Obviously if it's just a feeling it's meaningless so you have to do something!)

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1 hour ago, Islandsandmirrors said:

In my understanding, love is still a taboo that exists within society and its cultural (often negative) view of love masking as Islamic. That falling in love or pursuing someone you have romantic feelings for is somehow against Islamic teachings, and that romance and love and passion are unreal, or is something that only exists in movies

What did I just read? Which society is that?

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33 minutes ago, BowTie said:

What did I just read? Which society is that?

Go on reddit and you’ll see a million comments about how love is fairytale. 

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20 minutes ago, Islandsandmirrors said:

Go on reddit and you’ll see a million comments about how love is fairytale. 

But isn't it a fairytale though? I thought it wasn't real, just a movie thingy... 

Oh and "Ali's wedding" was a good laugh, from the moment I saw the opening scene I knew it was going to be a good one... 

Edited by Ali~J

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2 minutes ago, notme said:

We need a "rolls eyes" reaction.

The funny thing is though, I wasn't even joking....

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On 7/12/2019 at 11:53 AM, notme said:

My apologies for making light of it then.

It was precisely the attitude that islandsandmirrors was describing.

Expecting love to be some magical fairy tale causes so much disappointment. People need to realize that love is a choice and a set of actions, not some fluttery feeling. You have to work at it, or it won't work.

The other extreme, not believing in love at all, is just as damaging. It causes cynicism, selfish attitudes, and throw-away relationships.

Sorry I think there's some misunderstanding here...

I also said before that love isn't like a fairytale thing. And to be honest I'm also not prepared to work for something which is just going to cause stress.

It would be my greatest dream to be with the perfect girl [insert description here of "perfect"]. But it's real life we're talking about here, not a dream and that girl of dreams isn't coming ever. I've accepted that....

And btw Islandsandmirrors said:

On 7/12/2019 at 9:08 AM, Islandsandmirrors said:

In my understanding, love is still a taboo that exists within society and its cultural (often negative) view of love masking as Islamic. That falling in love or pursuing someone you have romantic feelings for is somehow against Islamic teachings, and that romance and love and passion are unreal, or is something that only exists in movies. In my opinion, while many Muslims may be happy in their marriages, they don’t know how to have strong emotional, romantic connection with their spouses in the same way that Non-Muslims have

Partners should bring out the best in people not the stress in them and I don't see that happening in front of my eyes, so what's the point of working at it [a relationship] if there's no benefits? Maybe some people can be actually be happier alone than with someone else, not because they don't want to be with someone else but because there's no hope for them and they'll only end up hurting themselves with unrealistic expectations and idiotic dreams.

But the problem I can think of with that [being single] is once again the cursed desires and that all that nonsense but libido dies down and castration is an option here too... But it'd be so much simpler if there was just a switch to turn desires off, I for one would be a million times happier... 

Now I hope I'm not misunderstood again... *crossing my fingers*

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IMO there are different aspects involved in a perfect union:

- Physical attraction and gratification.

- Being on the same mental/intellectual wavelength.

- Sharing or working towards common life/health/religious/family/financial/future goals. Or the ability to respect ones differences.

- Effortlessly enjoying each others company irrespective of how different your interests/hobbies/outlook towards life/personalities/cultures/sense of humour may be.

- Mutual respect.

- Motivating and supporting each other to achieve your goals/aspirations as a couple and as individuals (e.g. career aims/overcoming a phobia or addiction etc).

- Having the blessing of both sides of the family for the union.

Now in the practical world this is probably unattainable. Of course it is expected that there will be glitches and upheavals in all relationships, but long term love is mostly unrealisable in marriage (or it's one sided where one partner ends up feeling resentful towards the other for a myriad of reasons). Most marriages I see appear to be no more than a business contract where both parties are fulfilling their duties (at best). That includes the British white couples I know. I'm not looking at the world through bitter lenses. I often wonder how middle class British white couples who had the choice of marrying whoever they wanted end up so miserable together ten years into marriage. It would appear that love is only alive in movies, books, poems and songs. I know all newly married couples say "that won't e-v-e-r happen to us", but sadly, (with very few exceptions), even the couples that started off ecstatically in love, end up in that predicament ten years down the line. Even the people that appear to be 'madly in love' are mostly feigning it for public appearances. Please note I'm not referring to young love here. I'm referring to long term relationships/marriages across the board and in all cultures/religions. 

Edited by Aflower

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1 hour ago, 3wliya_maryam said:

don't agree with arranged marriage. I know that its also an Islamic thing,

Is it though? 

1 hour ago, 3wliya_maryam said:

I have always wanted to know the guy fully before even getting to marry him

Then where is the intrigue and mystery? You should know that he is a good person, but what about discovering and learning about each other within the marriage? Sounds like more fun :)

1 hour ago, 3wliya_maryam said:

I would love to get married or even engaged when im 19 or in my early twenties, if Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) wills

That's good mashaAllah, 19 is a good age. I wish it could be easier for youth to get married without so many obstacles. It's be great if you could get married, and also pursue your education simultaneously. inshaAllah khayr. 

Sorry if my post is :sign_offtopic:

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:salam:

Love for your spouse evolves with time, just like a kid's love for his parents does when he grows up. 

What today's society tricked people into is to make them believe that 'Love' starts with a romance thing. Because that's the first stage that movies show you, they never go beyond.

I think a love story can start a stage beyond, that would probably be what people here labelled 'conscious' marriage.

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2 hours ago, realizm said:

:salam:

Love for your spouse evolves with time, just like a kid's love for his parents does when he grows up. 

What today's society tricked people into is to make them believe that 'Love' starts with a romance thing. Because that's the first stage that movies show you, they never go beyond.

I think a love story can start a stage beyond, that would probably be what people here labelled 'conscious' marriage.

I respectfully disagree that this applies in most cases. In some cases maybe. I rarely see a long term couple who even genuinely smile when they see each other after a whole day - yet they do when they see their children. The love for a child and a spouse are, and should be, two completely different types of love. One is platonic and nurturing. The love for a partner should include elements of passion, romance and solace too. Though I do understand the analogy that you are referring to. I've often observed that long term partners seem to share a sibling like relationship and vibe at best. IMO love should start with a bit of a crazy romance because attraction can't be forced. Either there's chemistry or there isn't. Either there are sparks flying or there aren't. If marriage doesn't start with romance I can only see the relationship emerging into a platonic union with the passing of time. That's just my take on it.

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3 hours ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

In this thread, it looks like a lot of you are making the mistake of equating love with romance. 

I've been married twice. I've been with my current wife for 10 years. Statistically, we're an anomaly in the west. We're the weirdos. 

Love is not romance. Romance is bringing your wife flowers for no reason other than they're her favorite. Romance is intimate dinners in low light conditions. Romance is walks on the beach just after the sun goes down. 

Love is saying you're sorry, even when it isn't your fault. Love is listening to your wife snore, keeping you awake.  It's knowing when to pick your battles. It's knowing that she's gained weight but you still tell her she's beautiful.  

A good marriage will not bring you constant happiness. Couples that act perpetually happy in front of people are usually hiding something. A good marriage will, however, bring you a simple joy that always exists in the background. 

My wife has made me mad enough to want to leave her plenty of times. For some reason, I still want to be her husband. That's love. 

(Note: As I said, I've been married twice, so I'd only trust 50% of what I say.)

That is just plain adorable. Bless you guys

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Love exists... it’s not a fairy tale

Though, who agrees here that love can come after marriage? Even without knowing your spouse too well beforehand?

In my personal opinion, I think it could for some people and others maybe not.

I don’t even know what I want anymore, whether to fall in love with the man I marry first before marriage or to just get married and then get to know him more... stuff is confusing.

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5 hours ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

In this thread, it looks like a lot of you are making the mistake of equating love with romance. 

I've been married twice. I've been with my current wife for 10 years. Statistically, we're an anomaly in the west. We're the weirdos. 

Love is not romance. Romance is bringing your wife flowers for no reason other than they're her favorite. Romance is intimate dinners in low light conditions. Romance is walks on the beach just after the sun goes down. 

Love is saying you're sorry, even when it isn't your fault. Love is listening to your wife snore, keeping you awake.  It's knowing when to pick your battles. It's knowing that she's gained weight but you still tell her she's beautiful.  

A good marriage will not bring you constant happiness. Couples that act perpetually happy in front of people are usually hiding something. A good marriage will, however, bring you a simple joy that always exists in the background. 

My wife has made me mad enough to want to leave her plenty of times. For some reason, I still want to be her husband. That's love. 

(Note: As I said, I've been married twice, so I'd only trust 50% of what I say.)

Hmmmm... interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. Guess one can't have their cake and and eat it. Haha. It's a shame that we have to be conditioned to believe that romance, love and marriage can't be shared and experienced with the same person. Does this thought process/reality explain why so many men have a wife and a mistress? One for love and then one for romance? The same of course applies to the women too. Marriage material men, and a romantic fling on the side so to say, to satiate the soul. This psychology/reality will explain so many of the marital issues that crop up on this site. 

Edited by Aflower

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1 hour ago, Aflower said:

Does this thought process/reality explain why so many men have a wife and a mistress? One for love and then one for romance? 

Loool now the men have a new excuse to have a secret wife, other than feeding a widow. 

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On 7/12/2019 at 7:08 PM, Islandsandmirrors said:

Instead of this being an article or thread written for advice, I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about love. Your expectations of love, your experiences, and if married, what you’ve done for your spouse to put him or her first. 

In my understanding, love is still a taboo that exists within society and its cultural (often negative) view of love masking as Islamic. That falling in love or pursuing someone you have romantic feelings for is somehow against Islamic teachings, and that romance and love and passion are unreal, or is something that only exists in movies. In my opinion, while many Muslims may be happy in their marriages, they don’t know how to have strong emotional, romantic connection with their spouses in the same way that Non-Muslims have, or like born-Muslims who have been raised in Western countries, because many don’t see its value or feel awkward. Marriage is seen primarily as a duty to many—and the sense of duty, in my opinion, kills connection. Viewing marriage and marital satisfaction as a duty would make one see halal outlets (like marriage) as a burden and not the relief that Allah has intended it to be.

Many Muslims stay married because of the sense of duty, and not because of deep friendship, strong feelings of romantic attachment. It doesn’t help that culture encourages arranged marriages as the “purer” and more preferred method of marriage, where detachment from the opposite sex is heavily enforced. This notion is ridiculous to us American, Canadian, Australian, or British Muslims, who connect with others naturally, male or female, for the sake of connection and not derived from any bad intent, as it is often assumed by others who have not been brought up this way, that have been brought up segregated. 

What’s inspired me to write this was an article and also watching Ali’s Wedding, where duty and heart are at odds. As a result, here’s a thread in which I would encourage others to talk about love. In talking about love—maybe through a letter to your future spouse, or sharing past experiences with love, or just offering one’s thoughts on friendship, love, and passionate romance, to name a few—maybe we can open up dialogue and cultivate the non-judgmental attitude that this forum so desperately needs and hopefully, become more comfortable with expression once you are married. 

To love someone and have wish to marry her or him is not prohibited by Qur'an. Asians are mostly introvert and it has, thus, become a cultural thing while Europeans are extrovert which is also not bad. Asians couples who are happy enjoy good relationship. 

 

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On 7/12/2019 at 12:28 PM, 2Timeless said:

I've come to the conclusion that love is a luxury. And those who have it are very lucky, and need to appreciate that

Love is not and never will be a "luxury", love is a responsibility that is taken for granted. It can be somebody's anchor and  if it taken for granted, it can lead to devastating consequences.

Love for your children is a responsibility, love to your parents or spouse is a duty, love of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is worship and love of oneself is self-respect. Tell me which one of these is a luxury?

However, sex/lust is definitely a luxury in my humble opinion.

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17 minutes ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

Love is not and never will be a "luxury", love is a responsibility that is taken for granted. It can be somebody's anchor and  if it taken for granted, it can lead to devastating consequences.

Love for your children is a responsibility, love to your parents or spouse is a duty, love of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is worship and love of oneself is self-respect. Tell me which one of these is a luxury?

However, sex/lust is definitely a luxury in my humble opinion.

Sex/lust is not a luxury. Sex can be a mere mechanical process devoid of love, passion, sensitivity and emotion. Sex within a committed, stable and loving long term marriage where there is still a real physical attraction towards ones partner is rare, and therefore could possibly be regarded as a luxury. 

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12 hours ago, Aflower said:

Hmmmm... interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. Guess one can't have their cake and and eat it. Haha. It's a shame that we have to be conditioned to believe that romance, love and marriage can't be shared and experienced with the same person. Does this thought process/reality explain why so many men have a wife and a mistress? One for love and then one for romance? The same of course applies to the women too. Marriage material men, and a romantic fling on the side so to say, to satiate the soul. This psychology/reality will explain so many of the marital issues that crop up on this site. 

If you can't romance your spouse, why are you with them?  Sex?  Children?  Contrary to popular belief, marriage doesn't exist just as a pressure valve where you can FINALLY have sex. You've just relegated your spouse to the same status as a sex toy. What're you going to do when your toy can tell you it doesn't feel like it?  Or it's sick?

In the Christian Church, marriage is a vocation just like Holy Orders (becoming a priest or nun).  There's a reason it's a vocation and a sacrament. Because it's hard to do and difficult at times. 

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51 minutes ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

Love is not and never will be a "luxury", love is a responsibility that is taken for granted. It can be somebody's anchor and  if it taken for granted, it can lead to devastating consequences.

Love for your children is a responsibility, love to your parents or spouse is a duty, love of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is worship and love of oneself is self-respect. Tell me which one of these is a luxury?

However, sex/lust is definitely a luxury in my humble opinion.

Romantic love is a luxury though. How many people can  say they found their "soulmate" and the person they love from the bottom of their heart? How many people die lonely and sad because of the absence of that sort of love in their lives? 

Even love for Allah is a luxury. If you think about it, not everyone has the luxury and privelage of knowing Allah and submitting themselves to Him. Not everyone is able to act on that accord, and for that reason, love really is a luxury.

Love for one's child, on the other hand, I think, is not a luxury. Especially for women. Unless you're a sociopath and have 0 emotional capabilities, you will love the child you carry for 9 months. 

I think desire and lust isnt a luxury because anyone has that capacity. Anyone can desire any other person. The problem isnt desire or attraction, many people would fit all the characteristics we each desire. The issue is love. How many of us can say we've found the one person who we find desirable physically and mentally and love romantically and have all those feelings reciprocated?

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20 minutes ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

If you can't romance your spouse, why are you with them?  Sex?  Children?  Contrary to popular belief, marriage doesn't exist just as a pressure valve where you can FINALLY have sex. You've just relegated your spouse to the same status as a sex toy. What're you going to do when your toy can tell you it doesn't feel like it?  Or it's sick?

In the Christian Church, marriage is a vocation just like Holy Orders (becoming a priest or nun).  There's a reason it's a vocation and a sacrament. Because it's hard to do and difficult at times. 

You wrote earlier that "love is not romance". I took this to mean that in your opinion love and romance are mutually exclusive. Hence I asked for you to clarify - which you have now done above. 

I'd be shocked if anyone married just to have sex/children. Even the most regressive thinking ppl know that there is a lot more that marriage involves. 

Edited by Aflower

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1 minute ago, Aflower said:

 You wrote earlier that "love is not romance". I took this mean that in your opinion love and romance are mutually exclusive. Hence I asked for you to clarify - which you have. 

They're complimentary, not the same thing. But, they're also not exclusive to each other. Romance can increase love and love can bring you to want to romance. Romance is the "walking on air" feeling for the first 3-6 months. It starts to wear off after that. Romance can bring that feeling back for a short while. 

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11 minutes ago, GabrielWithoutWings said:

They're complimentary, not the same thing. But, they're also not exclusive to each other. Romance can increase love and love can bring you to want to romance. Romance is the "walking on air" feeling for the first 3-6 months. It starts to wear off after that. Romance can bring that feeling back for a short while. 

I know a very cute old couple (late 50s) who are still very romantic towards each other. The husband writes poetry for his spouse and the wife blushes upon hearing them. They go on walks together in the evenings whilst holding hands and they laugh at each others jokes. The wife suffers from arthritis so the husband does the cooking whilst the wife directs him. You can see that they genuinely care for each other.  It's very endearing and reassuring to know that good old romance can survive the test of time and tribulations. 

Edited by Aflower

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4 hours ago, Aflower said:

Sex/lust is not a luxury. Sex can be a mere mechanical process devoid of love, passion, sensitivity and emotion. Sex within a committed, stable and loving long term marriage where there is still a real physical attraction towards ones partner is rare, and therefore could possibly be regarded as a luxury. 

In my opinion, you are sort of spitting hairs. Sex isn't everything nor is it promised in a relationship. For those that have it, it can be a luxury however it should be described and defined as a privilege. But what is far more important in my eyes is the trust in each other and bonding that leads to attraction and the physical aspects of love and that is not a luxury. That's effective communication, honesty and hard work in one package. 

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I just read everyone talking about romance and that it doesnt exist or its luxury or complimentary. Honestly there is nothing called romance out of love or genuinely romantic. If two lovebirds were romantic at the beginning it will be lame after a while.

Romance is just basically putting an effort into the relationship. Remembering your significant other, bringing something they like, taking them to somewhere they wanted to go to etc..

if you don’t want to put an effort in a marriage then don’t get married. And unfortunately that is the weird people in our societies and I’ve seen it a lot on this forum where they tell an 18 year old boy to get married because he has sexual desires. Marriage has become a tool rather than stability. 

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I do believe that compatibility is important. Some people have the ability to bring out the worst in you while others can bring out the best in you. I know that there are two qualities which I cannot stand in people: Promiscuity and cruelty and these 2 qualities are often found together. I have been bullied so much by such people, I think feelings are mutual, they also hate people like me. My ex husband was extremely cruel and promiscuous. After my divorce, I knew I shouldn't marry someone with those 2 qualities. But the guys my family has been suggesting are all like my ex husband. I guess only gay men are modest and kind. Majority of men are cruel and flirt. I think if you get married to someone you are compatible with, you can have a good marriage at least for few years. If you get married to someone you are not compatible with, then marriage can fail just after couple of months of living together. 

Edited by rkazmi33

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