Earlier this summer, during my long absence from the busy world of social media, I was gearing up for one of the most important moments of my life. I was getting ready to ask a very special lady if she would like to spend the rest of her life with me.
There was something oddly paradoxical about the whole thing. In my head, there was such a loud, logical and persistent “yes!” as to whether I was prepared for such a huge step. Yet, at the same time, there was a quiet whimper of fear in my heart, a voice that I learned never to ignore, no matter how quiet it was.
“What was that fear? Why was it there? Should I be concerned?”. These questions nagged at my heart for quite some time this summer. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these fears were the last whimpers of a lingering past that I was too afraid to let go of. I was afraid of growing up, and I was worried about what the future had to bring, because I don’t know what’s in store for the future!
This was the “moment of zen” that I reached one night. As I worked away for many hours each night on preparing a very special proposal for this girl, a feeling of certainty began to take over. I must have gone through a dozen different ideas of how I would ask this question until I decided on the story that was as unique to her and I as can be.
Let me introduce you to the love of my life: Nardine Bekhit.
Who Is She?
Nardine is a wonderful girl who is passionate about helping others, in a variety of ways. She’s a biomedical sciences graduate who is currently studying to become a chiropractor, enjoys music (which includes Arabic, thanks to me!), yoga, and exercise. She is an incredibly hard-working and talented girl who puts 110% in everything that she does, and is actively involved in her church community in Toronto. You might recognize her as a regular face at the annual Kids’ Convention, where she regularly writes scripts and acts in some of the best plays I’ve ever seen!
She is also incredibly devoted to God. Never before have I seen a girl who knows more about our church’s history, our faith, and our culture and traditions. Her devotion to God extends beyond just knowledge of the church: she’s constantly reading and expanding her mind on how to better herself as an individual, as a servant of God, and (since we’ve started dating) how to be a better wife. So, in short – she likes to read. Need I say more?
Last, but not least, is that she’s an incredibly beautiful girl. Of course, I knew that when I first started dating her, but it’s something that people have told me after the first time they meet Nardine. I often wonder how a girl as beautiful as she is agreed to go out with an ogre like myself. But whatever her reasoning was, I’m glad she took the chance, because she has changed my life since then!
How did we meet?
Nardine and I met while she was studying Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Interestingly enough, the very first time we met was in my own backyard for a Labour Day BBQ I hosted years ago. As I later discovered, this was the first home she visited in Ottawa after moving from Mississauga, and it also happened to be the last home she visited in Ottawa before moving back to Mississauga in 2014.
So…what’s so special about her?
I’ll be honest, when we first started going out, I didn’t know that much about Nardine. She was exceptionally quiet, reserved, and was a science kid. On the other hand, I was a more outspoken, sociable individual who doesn’t know the first thing about “the sciences”. Not to mention – she can’t stand politics! (Oh, the horror!). It seemed like an odd match…at first.
But all it took for me to fall head over heels in love was a date that lasted only a few short hours. Beneath that reserved exterior was a profoundly loving soul, with enough compassion and kindness to make you love everything about life. The more we spoke during that first date, the more I realized that she’s not the kind of person who seeks to judge or put down. She’s the kind of person who wants to build you up, and she’s ready to offer whatever she has to help you do that.
And this is something she has proven to me time and time again during our relationship. Her love can sometimes be so concrete that she gives me lasting symbols of her love. For example, she designed the logo for this very blog, my show “The Rizk Assessment”, she watches every episode of my show (without exception, and regardless of how boring/uninteresting I am), to name a few examples.
But the most concrete example of her love came last summer. After failing the bar exam, I was devastated and worried. I was so shaken to my core, and worried about losing everything that I had – especially her. Yet, without hesitation, she looked me in the eye during that moment of weakness and whispered “you’ll never lose me. I’ll always be here for you”.
I’m usually a very stoic guy. But that soft whisper really made me weak in the knees.
You talked about the differences…but what do you have in common?
There are many things her and I share in common. At the root of that common ground is the desire to help others to glorify God. Sure, we may approach that goal in different ways, but we do share that common ground. It’s the common view that her and I have in order to help each other and those around us to the best of our abilities.
There is also a desire to improve each other in many facets. Despite the undeniable love that we have for each other, Nardine and I know that there are ways that we can improve. Having someone you love push you to better yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually is an incredibly powerful motivator to always be a better person, while at the same time, it is comforting to know that this person will love you no matter what your shortcomings are.
Nardine and I also share a common trait: we defy the conventional. No, I’m not saying this as if to say that we’re the most forward-thinking people you’ll ever meet – but her and I don’t like to simply do things because that’s the way everyone else does it. We both like to think critically, assess and question the reasoning behind a lot of conventions. For me, this was something very surprising to find in a fellow Egyptian, since we’re often victims to the traditional ways of thinking for fear of the unknown. This is demonstrated in our career choices: I chose to be a lawyer, while she chose to be a chiropractor. Both professions have their obstacles, and many people in our community might shy away from these careers because of preconceived notions, but we share a courageous attitude to approaching our careers with pride and excitement at the opportunities they bring.
Last, but certainly not least, Nardine and I share a love for children. As I mentioned earlier, Nardine has an incredible ability to love and be compassionate, and she has demonstrated this time and again through her annual commitment to Kids’ Convention in her native Mississauga. Every year, she puts on plays and commits a lot of time and effort to writing up exceptionally original scripts for plays that the children can really enjoy. That kind of dedication goes beyond a motherly desire to nurture children – it demonstrates a desire to foster an intellectual growth for the child from an early age. I am hoping that, someday, I will be able to foster that growth in my children from an early age, and knowing that my future wife will have the same passion (with the experience to back it up) is incredibly comforting for me.
Any last words of wisdom?
Nardine has taught me a lot about who I am, and more importantly, who I can be. I hope that everyone has someone in their life who can show them that, whether it’s a significant other, or a sibling, or a parent, or whatever it is. I’m very happy to have this person as my best friend and future wife, and I can’t wait to share the rest of my life with her. I only hope that I can be as inspiring to her as she has been to me!