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In Pakistan, we believe in arranged marriage and it is the expectation that most people will marry the person their parents/family choose for them. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own version of a love story.

I still remember the first time I met my husband. It was in the middle of the summer and everyone was taking an afternoon nap. I happened to be awake when someone knocked on our door. My cousin had mentioned that he would be stopping by, so when I heard a knock I assumed it was him.  It is not customary in my country for women to open the front door to strangers, but since everyone was sleeping I did something silly. I looked down at the small space between the door and the floor. There I saw the “red” shoes. The shoes are called “Sri Sapilee” meaning “red,” but are actually brown in color and resembled shoes that my cousin wore. So I flew open the door. Except it wasn’t my cousin.

There stood the young man that would soon become my husband. I quickly said hello and ran to wake my mother to let her know someone had come.

Shortly before our run-in at the door, his parents had approached my parents asking for my hand in marriage. My father agreed, having known the wearer of the “red” shoes and his family. My husband-to-be started coming around more often after that. According to him, he was trying to find excuses to come to our home so he could “accidentally” run into me. 

The day we were married, my husband and I talked for hours about anything and everything. Prior to this moment, we had barely said more than a few words to each other and nothing ever more than a “How are you?” But after this day, we became best friends. It was the foundation of our relationship and now over 18 years later, we are so in love. It sometimes feels like we just met. He is the reason I am confident in myself and have been able to navigate moving to a new country and raising my kids here. We have both given each other space to grow as individuals and have supported one one another through thick and thin. 

We have told our kids about our first meeting but sometimes we dramatize it to make it sound like it’s a story straight out of a movie. And they all know that I married the man with the “red” shoes.

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