Ask Marwa: My daughter is 18 and wants to get married

Date posted: January 14, 2010

Dear Marwa

I met my current husband when I was 16. We fell in love and dated for 2 years then we got married when I was 18. We left Egypt and now we have been married for 20 years. We have a daughter who is turning 18 in a few months; she is in love and wants to get married. When she told me that she wants to get married I was furious! I suddenly realized that I do not want her to make my mistake. I got married when I was exactly her age and now I am a 38 year old wife, and mother, who hates her life. I feel that I was robbed of my life; I never dated as a teenager, I never knew how it feels to have a college sweetheart because I was already married when I went to college, I married the first man I fell in love with, I had a daughter when I was 20, I never got a chance to work, I never got a chance to explore the world and what life has to offer, I never travelled anywhere alone, I never lived on my own – I have never lived at all. I listen to my friends from my school days talk about their lives and I envy them for their experiences – good or bad! I do not want this life for my daughter. My husband is a great man; very responsible and very loving but I do not love him anymore. I am even considering getting a divorce.

Dear Ola,

Let's agree on some basic facts first before I proceed with my reply to you
1) It is never too late to start over
2) You do not own your kids
3) You have them as you make them (your kids)
4) They are entitled to make their own mistakes
5) Your role is to offer guidance and advice

Having said that, I will start first by talking about you and your dilemma; you are going through a midlife crisis. I am not denying you the right to feel angry but I just want you to slow down before you toss your boat. Do you realize that you are a woman with the life experience of a teenager? Do you realize that if you get a divorce, you will be an easy prey? Do you realize how innocent and na?ve you are? Do you realize the mess you are about to create? You will fall in love with the first guy who will flirt with you – like a teenager. You will give your trust to the first guy who promises you his love – like a teenager. You will make the mistakes of a teen at the age of 38 – you will make a complete fool out of yourself and you will get hurt badly.

If I were you, I would renegotiate a few things with my husband like getting a job, going back to school for post graduate studies, taking a few days off with your friends, taking charge of some financial issues at home, increasing your responsibilities, and having some space.
As for your daughter, your role is to show her the side of the coin that you are so familiar with. Tell her the pros and cons of your experience. Advise her to wait. But there is nothing else you can do. She is her own person whether you like it or not.

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