Real Wealth Is Love


I had never met my fiancé until the engagement had already been arranged by my parents. The first time we met, we went sightseeing in Kabul at the gardens of Bagh-e Bala. My mother and my cousin came too, since culturally new fiancés shouldn’t go alone.

When we came back to my home, he shook my hand and said goodbye. This was the first time that I felt love.

I was sixteen and I believed that I loved him, but I was not able to express my feelings.

My heart wanted me to say, “Do not say goodbye! Stay with me!” But I was not able to ask him to please come into my house.

I wanted to say, “I love you,” but instead I said, “Goodbye” with tears in my eyes.

In my culture, it brings shame to a family if their daughter expresses her love to a boy. But if a boy expresses his love there is no shame to his family.

When we got married four years later, I was able to show my love.

I love my husband with all my life. Whenever I am traveling outside the country for my work, I really miss my love and know that I truly love him.

I also know that life is my love. I have reached my goals, and all of the success in my life is due to my real love. My husband supports me always and wants all of the happiness possible to come into my life. We are able to resolve all of our challenges in our life. We have six children and one grandchild and I know for a fact that there are kind and supportive hands behind me, and my success, at home and in my career.

Real love means wealth and a way to obtain our goals. Our culture’s issues with girls requires that girls do not show or express their love. This is why in our country there are so many failed loves and one-sided loves.

By Mariam

This work was supported by the Fetzer Institute.


  1. Dearest Mariam: Thank you for sharing with us all of these blessings. I am so happy that your life is filled with this love. How blessed to have such a loving, supporting husband and all of those wonderful children (and grandchild!). I have read this piece many times now, and each time I am left happy and grateful. Wishing you continued love and happiness.


  2. Mary Guterson says:

    How wonderful for you to love your husband so dearly. And I am so happy that you are able to show your love now, as you were not able to when you were younger. My culture is so very different from yours–thank you for this look into your life. Without your writing these words, I’d never know about your world.

  3. Valerie Wallace says:

    Dear Mariam,
    You’ve written a love story about true love despite cultural barriers. I’m so happy that you found love with your husband – when you were 16, four years later, and every year after. Your husband is also so lucky to have you as his wife!

  4. Mariam, I hope that in the future girls will be allowed to express themselves as beautifully as you have done here.

  5. I’ve often thought that the only real thing we can have in this world is love. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Keya Mitra says:

    Such an amazing piece, Mariam, about love. Just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.


  7. Dear Mariam,
    Your Love story is just so Beautiful and Simple with a Happy-Ending and the way you wrote it, Expressed the Real Meaning. My Prayers are with you and your Husband and the Rest of your Family that May Love and Care always be the Dominating Factor in your Relationship. Have a Blessed and Healthy Life!

  8. Jacky Nie says:

    Dear Mariam: I like your story when you talked about your first time meeting your fiancé. You never understood love until you saw your husband when you were sixteen. You did not know how to explain this feeling because love was strange to you. In your culture, girls are not allow to express love to a boy. Now you have been married to him for four years and you are able to express your love to your husband. You appreciate your husband for the support to your life. Both of you are able to solve life challenges and overcome them with love. Culture limited the opportunities for girls to express their love and caused the results of many failed loves. You are very lucky because you have met the love of your life. I really liked your bravery for sharing your love story.

  9. I am incredibly glad for your happiness, and that you can now express your love for your husband. I am very happy that you have got such a caring and supportive husband. I love how you have the freedom of being able to do whatever you wish to do as some people don’t have that privilege. I hope that your children can also express their emotions freely and find love like you have.

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