On happiness and being with the one you love

The candles flick in the warm breeze that circles in our courtyard. Glasses of wine sit on the table in between us as I watch with growing nerves my partner open the last of her birthday presents – the engagement ring that I have wrapped up. I had, in my mind’s eye every intention of getting down on one knee but in the end all I could manage was to meekly mutter the words, will you marry me, as she finishes unwrapping.

My nerves intermingled with a sense of excitement that I cannot do justice to with the words on this page.

Through this one symbolic, public and to become legal declaration I found a happiness that is hard to explain in any rational sense. In a way nothing has changed, we are still living together happy, content and confident about the future. But, love – and as such this declaration of love, engagement – is not rational. It is something much more special than that.

In the following 24 hours I have found an immeasurable amount of happiness at just glancing across and seeing a ring on her finger, of knowing that we have the rest of our lives together.

But in the midst of this happiness, I cannot help but to reflect on the millions of people across the world that are denied this basic happiness.

To give just three examples that spring to mind:

When I was living in the West Bank I met Palestinians who, because of the permit system that has been imposed by the Israeli government, were separated off from families and loved ones. Indeed, in January 2012, the Israeli Supreme Court endorsed a law banning Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs from obtaining Israeli citizenship or even residing in Israel.

This is an example of a state separating people who are in love, denying them the basic happiness of being together.

In my home country of the UK we have an immigration system that keeps families and loved ones apart. I won’t go into the technical details here but I would encourage you to read these testimonials of people who have had their lives ripped apart by arbitrary new immigration laws.

Once again, an example of a state separating people who are in love, denying them the basic happiness of being together.

Where I am currently living, Uganda, the state deems it illegal for couples of the same sex to not only marry, but to even be together. Uganda is just one of 76 countries around the world where homosexuality is illegal.

Once again, an example of a state separating people who are in love, denying them the basic happiness of being together.

With a small amount of research, you can find laws and customs around the world that keep millions of people apart. Why?

This is not a well researched policy blog about the need for immigration law reform, but an indignant reaction to state’s knee jerk acceptance that they have the authority to keep people who are in love apart.

I cannot explain to you the happiness that I have felt not just over the last few days, but the last decade that I have been with my now fiancé.

A happiness that I want everyone to be able to experience.


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3 responses to “On happiness and being with the one you love

  1. Congratulations! And thanks for drawing attention to the plight of others less fortunate in this most basic of rights.


  2. Coral

    Congratulations, Steve and Anya! I wish you all the happiness in the world – if anyone deserves it, you two do. All my love to both of you! x


  3. Manda

    a great blog Steve, and wish you both all everything you wish for yourself. In the end, love is better than the alternative!!


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