Love in Afghanistan


Before marriage, a girl dreams…

I will find a man who

loves me more than anyone in the world
gives me all the happiness I wish for
helps make all my dreams come true
takes care of me
brings a smile to my face
washes my tears if I cry
notices my sadness and happiness without words
understands my needs without being told.

After marriage, a girl learns these were only wishes.

An Afghan husband expects her to

love him completely
do only what he wants
cook delicious food every day for him
respect all of his friends and family regardless of their behavior
never ask for extra money
stay always at home
never leave the house without permission
agree to everything he says
smile, even when she’s sad
live only for him until her life comes to an end.

By Yalda N.

Photo by Jason Tanner.


  1. Mahnaz says:

    I understand what you say Yalda jan. But, there are a few good Afghan guys there also. Be careful in your choice, if you are not married yet. Talk with the guy you want to marry beforehand and tell him you want mutual respect. If a woman stands for her rights, she will succeed. If she keeps silent and be passive, people will take advantage of her. Nice poem. Thank you for writing.

  2. Shannon Ghaznavi says:


    Upon reading the dreams of love that an Afghan girl has I immediately started smiling. Reading your expectations made me smile because I believe that every girl has these hopes no matter where she lives in the world. Then I read your reality and I instantly became saddened. Not because I am ignorant to the fact that there are men out there who treat there wives so cold, but because I fear that Afghan women don’t have a fair say in deciding not to marry these men.
    The fact that these men could treat their wives like servants and not feel any remorse just further affirms how the Afghan society has accepted this behavior as norm. It seems hopeless to think that Afghan girls could find husbands that would reciprocate their love. Yet, I will remain hopeful and pray that you and every unmarried Afghan girl that you know, finds a husband that has purposed in his heart to treat his wife with love, respect, and fairness.

  3. Krystina says:

    Your poem was very interesting to me because it addressed gender roles in country, no necessarily the war conflict. The role of a man in each culture differs, but most of the time he is seen as dominant. As countries become more modernized, women more are accepted in society and/or men and women are seen as equals.
    I see a connection in your poem to women of all ages and from everywhere. Most young girls fantasize about getting married and their “prince charming”. We don’t take into consideration the reality of companionship. It’s not always as romantic as we hope for. Your determination in the beginning shows hope to find someone who appreciates you. I hope you won’t settle until you find someone who respects and loves you.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Dear Yalda,
    Your poem initially poses a true idea that every girl wishes to find a man who would love and respect her and make her dreams come true. After continuing to read the poem, it just sucks that an afghan husband has completely different expectations. No woman should be treated poorly and it’s always a girl’s dream to find her “prince charming”. Even though in Afghanistan that proves to be more difficult it is possible. Perhaps since it is more difficult, finding a decent Afghan husband can be that much more satisfying. I think finding a great man to love and support you is hard and especially when circumstances and life throw curveballs at you, it can be even more difficult but once you find that one true love, nothing else matters. Finding the one that you want to spend the rest of your life with is the best feeling in the world.
    Your poem speaks out to many young women and even though being in Afghanistan or some other country similar to that, finding that one guy can be the best feeling. Your poem might be sad but there’s a happy tune to it as well. Good work
    Stephanie Low

  5. I Am Duncan says:


    When I was reading your poems I thought I was having a conversation with a friend… In the States! Love the before and after dynamic! When we are single we dream of being married and once married, our dreams are nothing like reality. Men everywhere, take women for granted and lose sight that we are people too. Most women, have a yearning to please and take care of their significant others, but in the process men stop doing the same. It’s so amazing how women continents apart can have the similar experiences.

  6. Pei-Li Yu says:

    Dear Yalda,

    What a girl want does not mean it is just fantasy, but the true relationship that people should have. However, the world is distorted by many different kind of evil things, the concept of how to treat a girl is no longer like the expectation that most of the girls have. It does not mean we should give up on the expectation we used to have, but to communicate with others and try to find the mid-point of both expectations. I can tell the Afghan husbands have expected a total different understanding of how a guy should treat his wife, and indeed it is sad to know the concepts they are holding are not similar to the concepts the women are holding. But there must be a way you can talk to your husband and find the balance between his expectation and your expectation. We are all human beings, one of the differences between human beings and animals is we communicate. Through communication, we understand the needs of each other. I believe there is a way you can communicate with your husband without making him feel offensive. Believe in yourself!

  7. Anthony says:

    It is very true but alot of people. i beleve that people expect somthing after maraige then after they become married it just isnt what you expected. alot of men expect a women to stand behind him instead of beside him and that can be very hard thing for a women to deal with and from a mans perspective i dont like to treat women that way. Id rather we treat both of eachother the way we would like un evenly.

  8. shadia alrajhi says:

    Dear Yalda,
    Hi, my name is Shadia and an international student at Saint mary’s college of California. I am a sophomore year majored in biology. My plan is to go to dental school afterwards. And I come from similar culture as yours where love is consider as one of the taboos. I understand your words, but there is always that someone who is in the same page as you. That someone you think is different than the others. That someone who see you beautiful by just the you are. Just wait for this person do not waste your time to look for the perfect one because there is no perfect at the beginning, once you love him and you love every single part about him, you would see him the perfect one in your point of view. It is not a miracle it’s only need time. Our life is not a movie where girl is waiting for the prince to make her happy for the rest of her life. There is always the happiness and the sadness whether with this person you love or not. Love yourself and understand the others and you will find the person who will appreciate that.

  9. You are right Yalda
    I am also Afghan you attentive me to my mistakes believe me these all are that we wants , but we do not think about what our wives wants or wishes.
    thinks for remind me,

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