And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13
(c) Jo Christian Oterhals

The above quotation is very famous passage from the Bible. Even as a Muslim, I find certain passages from the Bible to be greatly comforting and inspiring – this is one of them. It is my great belief that marriage should be based on love and friendship, because the spouses should not only be in love, but also be the best of friends to each other.

Whilst watching a surprise wedding show on Netflix, I was deeply moved by the stories behind the people. Actually we both, my wifey and I, used up a lot of tissues as the episodes were just so moving.

For me, the most touching story came from one of the presenters, Mr. Thai Nguyen. Not because he was weeping in some of the episodes, but because of the cultural background that has prevented him from marrying his fiancé of over 13 years. And that go me thinking of the past.

I created you from one soul, and from the soul I created its mate so that you may live in harmony and love.

The Noble Qur’an 7:189

The Teenage Romantic

When I was young, there was no gay marriage. Actually when I was really young, being gay in Finland meant you’d be classified with a mental illness (until 1981), and only in 1995 the legislation banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. 1 9 9 5 !

Just to give a reference to you is that Internet kind of begun that year, and Kendall Jenner and Timotheé Chalamet were born, and Dean Martin passed away. So, 1995 isn’t that far away!

But the truth is that in 1995 I finally gave in and accepted that marriage and children were not in the cards for me. It was the last day of high school, in February, as we were going to have a study break before the matriculation examination, when I finally accepted that I had had a crush on my classmate since the first day of high school, for almost three years. In a world where there was no internet as we know it, I felt completely alone with my thoughts.

Surprisingly enough, it was 2002 when the Finnish parliament approved a law, allowing same sex couples to get into a “registered partnership”. But even so, I didn’t really feel that there was someone for me. Instead, I ended up performing handfasting ceremonies for some of my friends.

(c) Pouria Afkhami

But Something Happened?

I met my wifey in Prague. And after a few months of knowing each other, we move in together, and two years later, we got married, or registered partnershipped. And when the Finnish law changed, we converted our registered partnership into marriage.

But not everyone can. Usually it is the law of the land preventing this, but it can also be cultural background, fear of disappointing the people around oneself, and a multitude of other reasons. And that made me feel so very emotional for Thai. They have been together for over 13 years, and due to Thai’s parents and their disapproval, they cannot yet get married. And that is so wrong. These human made restrictions should not stand in the way of two souls wanting to share each others lives.

We, me and my wifey, are lucky in a way that we life in the sensible Europe, and in the Nordics. We got married at the magistrate’s office, and hosted a small gathering for the immediate family and a few friends. In hindsight, it was small because we were quite short on funds, and actually made almost everything ourselves – we crafted the invitations, and thank you cards, my wifey cooked all the foods (I helped!) and she made sure that the food never ran out during the party – her own party!

And when we started to talk about renewal ceremony and were looking for places to host a bigger party, the whole COVID situation started. The country we were living in at the time, closed down overnight for months. Now, several years later, the cost of even normal life has dramatically increased, so there is no extra for me to put into a ceremony that I know my wifey would deserve.

But I would still say we are lucky as I have the luxury of complaining about a second wedding ceremony being thwarted by external situations as there are such fantastic people like Thai, who has to suffer and wait to tie the knot with his fiancé due to cultural issues.

What Now?

For our ceremony, I have faith that in the future we can finally renew our vows – and this time we don’t need to do the catering and everything.

But more than that, I hope that we all can work together to make the world a better place for anyone who loves someone else and cannot marry them, or even live together. The world today can be cruel and uncaring, and that is reason enough for us to create a bit of happiness for people around us. Because Amor Vincit Omnia! ❤️

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s