4 Lessons in 4 Years of Marriage

My husband, Ahmed, and I have known each other our entire lives. Our parents were always such good friends and our interest for one another sprung from there. We were both born in Marietta, Georgia by the same nurses (and at home…no really), and we’re about 1 year apart. His family then settled in Missouri and my family in California. We got married on July 6, 2012 and had our wedding reception on July 8, 2012 here in California.


Which means we have been married for a whopping 4 years. Meaning: we’re still very new to this wonderful journey of marriage. However, we have learned some of the basics of marriage that I’ll share with you. In this day and age, it is important to establish a true friendship with your spouse. Someone you can laugh with and someone you can share all your pain with. Someone you know will never judge you and will always cheer you on. Someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses, and knows what buttons to never push.

No one can really prepare you for marriage. They may give you great advice, but the fact of the matter is everyone is different, and therefore, every marriage is different as well. So going off of that fact, I’m sharing with you some of things I’ve learned from my own marriage. So here are 4 significant things I’ve learned:

  1. We are all different. This is really important because when you first get married you’ll start to notice a whole lot of differences. Not bad differences, but just natural human differences. Things such as cleaning habits, eating habits, sleeping habits, etc. We all need to be mindful and respectful of our different habits. They do play a significant role in your marriage. For example, I love to stay up late and have a not-so-normal obsession with coffee ($$). Ahmed on the other hand, is an early bird and his cleaning skills are 100 times better than mine (amazing really).
  2. We have entirely different personalities. This probably could have gone with number 1, but I think it is important to discuss on it’s own. This can refer to whether you’re outgoing or shy, or how you cope when you’re upset or happy. There is a whole lot to consider when it comes to personalities. The key is to pick up on these cues from your spouse and the bigger key is to be respectful. You’ll start to realize when they need their space, or when they want to talk.
  3. Appreciation is key. This is huge. When you get married, you are choosing to spend the rest of your life with this person. You are moving out of your parents’ or guardians’ home and all that you’ve ever known, to create a new life with this person. You and your spouse are coming together with your different life experiences and you’re assuming new roles in a new household. It is important to be mindful and appreciate all the things your spouse does whether it’s solely for you or your marriage as a whole.  One thing you should also remember is that no role is superior to the other. Don’t ever make your spouse feel that they don’t do enough. However, you should both be aware of balance in the relationship. It’s not all about taking, you have to give just as much.
  4. Communication is extremely important. As with all relationships, communication is probably the key to a successful one. It is important to discuss with each other your expectations, your dreams, your fears, etc. However, one important thing to add is to be mindful of your tone. Without the right tone, communicating is simply pointless. If you are expecting something from your spouse, you need to communicate it to them in a respectful, calm tone. It is also important to note that if you need to discuss something serious, you and your spouse need to find the right time to sit down and talk. Springing a serious discussion on your spouse will most likely cause an argument.

So there you have it, 4 things about marriage coming to you from a not-so-newlywed newlywed. Remember its all about being mindful and respectful. We are all created different and we have all experienced different things in life. If we’re all mindful of our natural differences, our relationships would be that much stronger, inshAllah. Remember to always be patient, and take the time to show your appreciation for your spouse. Marriage is truly a beautiful journey. May we all marry our best friends and live happily ever after in this life and the next, inshAllah.

P.S. Ahmed and I recently started a YouTube channel to share our journey as a Muslim-American couple. Check out our first video here! Videos coming to PMW’s YouTube channel soon inshAllah.

Marwa Diaf

How to Pick Your Honeymoon Destination

Deciding on your honeymoon destination is one of the many difficult decisions you have to make when getting married. At most, your honeymoon will factor three things: time, money, and interests. We hope the following will help narrow down your choices. Ask yourself: Do we want to?

honeymoon destination
Photo by Andrea Vincenzo Abbondanza courtesy of Unsplash.


  1. Save or Splurge
  2. Miles/Points or Cash
  3. Cheap Eats or Fine Dining


  1. Travel Time <12 Hours or Day+
  2. Limited Time or Open Schedule
  3. Domestic or International


  1. Land or Sea (Cruise)
  2. Island or Inland
  3. Package or Own Itinerary
  4. Relaxing or Activity-filled
  5. Adventurous or Prudent
  6. Explore Culture or Do Sightseeing
  7. Nature or Vibrant City
  8. Resort or Private Enclave
  9. Beach or Mountains

These are the main things you should think about when trying to decide where to go. This should help you really narrow things down and come to a decision you’re both happy with. Happy planning!

How to Guarantee a Perfect Honeymoon

A few insider secrets to get you started. First: Talk, Talk, Talk! Talk to your would-be-spouse, talk to friends, talk to travel experts. The purpose in the initial conversations is just to share and learn expectations, find out from others what worked for them or did not, and also get some expert help if needed.

Among the many decisions you will make, deciding the honeymoon will be an important one. It is one where you learn to listen, explore, then narrow the options down, until you figure out what works for both of you.  Share your dreams, as well as real world realities. Perfect honeymoons don’t just happen, they have to be thoughtfully planned and then of course a few prayers also help.

Photo by Lukasz Jakubowski courtesy of Pexels Stock Photos.
Photo by Lukasz Jakubowski courtesy of Pexels Stock Photos.

Ideally you want your perfect honeymoon to be a combination of romantic, fun, and memorable. Are you looking for unique or something tried and trusted? On the Mainland, Hawaii, Caribbean, Europe, Mid-East or Asia (not to forget going down under, Australia/New Zealand)?

How far are you willing to travel? The further by air, the more jet lag and time you need to recover. How far is the hotel from the airport, city, and places of attraction?

Don’t be shy in letting airline, hotel and other staff know you are on your honeymoon. It can pay dividends.

Pay attention to detail for example, airline seats, cruise ship cabins, size of bed, king/queen, logistics of getting to or from the airport, cruise terminal. For cruises, make sure you know what is covered including one way or round trip air-travel.

If you like to pack in a lot of activities, that’s okay, but allow down time also. Whether that be sleeping in or taking a siesta. Get recommendations for restaurants from local tourist boards, hotel staff, cab drivers, and of course, online reviews.

These are some of the keys to a perfect honeymoon. However, the greatest secret just as in wedding planning is to allow for the unplanned. Baggage may get delayed or lost, there may be a mix up in reservations, you may get two twin beds instead of the king, one of you may get hurt or become sick, the lights may go out, a natural disaster can strike. Not that these are the worst that could happen, but wait for it, you could get into an argument that escalates.

A honeymoon is a great immersion experience for your marriage ahead. If you let go of expectations, are willing to laugh things off, you will have the perfect honeymoon.

Honeymoon Checklist and Timeline

There is already an added stress when traveling whether it’s domestic or international. Now, add in the pressures of the perfect honeymoon and you may be a little extra stressed. Not to worry, we decided to create this handy honeymoon checklist and timeline. You can easily print this and keep it with you or hang it on your refrigerator, that way you can check off everything as you complete it.

honeymoon checklist
Photo by HENG FU MING available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

8-12 months prior:
Discuss locations
Discuss budget & time
Research travel-warnings
Apply for or renew passport

3-6 months prior:
Book airline reservations, hotel, car rental or cruise
Consider travel insurance for health, weather conditions and property
Research destination for vaccinations
Research any medical precautions you need to take
Explore halal food options and/or any other dietary restrictions
Check luggage allowances
Research travel visas

2-3 months prior:
Apply for a visa
Buy luggage
Get PMW’s Honeymoon Kit ready
Get vaccinations and/or any prescriptions

1 month prior:
Confirm travel, seat assignments, and special meals
Research and buy any adapters or voltage converters
Check bank accounts and credit cards for sufficient funds
Prepare and plan any romantic gestures
Take cash in US Dollars as well as local money ($100-$300)
Ask family/friend/neighbor to check your mail, bring in your paper, watch your house, water plants, take out trash, etc. or register at the post office and newspaper to stop delivery
Pay bills or set up automatic payment
Purchase prescriptions and toiletries
Research with your bank to check ATM fees and or credit card transaction fees
Explore cell phone options that give you the best fees or package
If required, apply for an international driver’s license

3-5 days prior:
Start packing
Make copies of itinerary, travel documents, credit cards, list of valuables, house key and share with family and/or friends
Confirm travel reservations and print flight schedules, hotel and other itinerary
Check weather reports for destination
Pack last minute medications and toiletries
Grab some great reading material
Set up voicemail and “out of office” auto-reply for email accounts
Label your luggage inside and outside in case your bag is lost.
Make sure phones/cameras are charged, and bring extra memory cards
Share or throw out refrigerated food and trash the day before you leave

Day of departure:
Set thermostat and light timers in your house
Double-check you have passport, driver’s license, and cash
Allow time for check in and security (1 hour domestic, 2 hour international plus margin)
Make a travel prayer
Enjoy your honeymoon! Please let us know if we have missed anything. We want to make sure everyone has a stress-free and beautiful honeymoon inshAllah.

3 Major Muslim Wedding Dress Themes

In a previous post, 11 Absolutely Gorgeous Wedding Dresses, we covered the beauty of the Muslim wedding dress. In this post, we wanted to help you determine the key themes and criteria to consider for your wedding dress, and show you even more gorgeous dresses.

There are 49 Muslim majority countries in the world. However, Muslims are also of the largest minorities in Western Europe, America, India and beyond. From the 49 countries, we came up with the three major themes that you will find in a Muslim wedding dress.

  1. Western White. Most white Muslim wedding dresses are modest with long sleeves and hijab. This is used not only in North America, Europe, but also Turkey, Iran, and the Middle-East. However, many Arab weddings (for example) have gender-separate receptions and therefore allow women to get their hair done and wear a sleeveless wedding dress.
  2. South Asian. Colors are usually red and green in combination with other vibrant colors. You will also find most covered in gold and jewelry from head to toe. This is common in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and other regions.
  3. African. Africa is a huge continent where there are many variations from white to vibrant colors and patterned wedding dresses.

Wedding dresses can be variations on everyday dresses like the abaya, baju kurung, kaftan, shalwar kameez, to more elaborate like lehngas. Through fashion-fusion some dresses combine traditional cultural elements with Western fashion. Besides color and other themes, it is important to consider the time of year, weather, and if the wedding is being held indoors or outdoors. 

Measurements for a wedding dress are very important and below are the key measurements to take when having a wedding dress customized or designed.

Muslim Wedding Dress

Let’s take a look at some gorgeous designs!

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo courtesy of Samaah

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Twende Harusini

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by @ramaphotovideo and Makeup by @rukhsanabeautyplace

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Studio Hope.

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Studio Hope. Dress by Nzinga Knight.

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Twende Harusini

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Studio Hope. Dress by A Dressy Occasion.

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Studio Hope. Dress by A Dressy Occasion.

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Studio Hope.

Muslim Wedding Dress

Photo by Twende Harusini

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