As the Cedar wood around me.
The forest gives me gifts,
That I work on endlessly.
via Flickr http://flic.kr/p/mq2cmB
Being a woman from the Middle East I always hear of men having to build their home before proposing to the woman of their dreams, unfortunately this habit has been lost over the years with the help of real estate and gender equality in some cases, but not everywhere.
Walking through a village or having a conversation with an old man, you hear his stories of years of work and endurance to build, by hand, a home for his future wife and children to live in.
Walking into these homes you see how personalized these spaces are, not just in the interior decorations, but in the basic architecture of the place; a man that loves watching sunsets will build a house with an outdoor seating to watch the sunsets from; and you notice that this room or space in particular is bigger than any other in the house. Same goes for a man that enjoys spending time in the kitchen will unconsciously make the space bigger, and divide it in a smarter way than a man that doesn’t care much about this space.
I met a man nearly 5 years ago, that finally got through to the woman of his dreams; that man works as a chef in a small restaurant off Hamra street, a restaurant where only hotel guests usually go; so they got engaged, and weren’t married until a year ago when he had finally finished building an apartment over his parent’s house for him and his wife.
The length of time that they take before being able to move in with a loved one tests their love in one way, while it also shows how well that man understands his future wife’s needs by providing her with spaces she enjoys spending time in, as well as common places where both of them can spend time together, and build a family.
The difference between this old habit and the new trends of renting or buying ready-made apartments or houses is the test of trust, knowledge, and time that each couple has to go through before committing themselves to each other; and as I have noticed (I won’t say statistically since I couldn’t find any study about it), from the people I have met to those I have heard of; neither of these couples (if not one or two) have gone later through a divorce; while couples that simply buy or rent end up having trouble sharing the spaces, or meeting in the same one, concluding their relationship into a sometimes ugly divorce.
Now I’m not saying men have to go through that habit again; though sometimes it is quite cute and romantic, but since we women have become more independent and thrive for equality of genders, I think the wait between an engagement before the wedding day is safer, as to learn more about the other, and both find a place that suits both of their needs; that being a personal space and a common one.
Still it keeps me wondering; how can a house become a home if each wall and corner isn’t personalized enough from the beginning of the journey? You might say its habit and building new memories on each centimeter of the space; but maybe there’s something more I haven’t figured out yet between the lines.