UAE nationals Khalid Ebrahim Yousuf, a construction engineer, and his fiancee Aida Al Busaidy, an account executive, speak to Jyoti Kalsi

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Khalid Ebrahim Yousuf is a construction engineer in the UAE Army. At 30 he was beginning to think he was never going to find the girl of his dreams — till he met Aida Al Busaidy. The bright eyed, ever smiling, talkative and lively UAE national just turned 22.

She studied journalism in the United States and works as an account executive with a Dubai-based public relations and advertising company.

For Khalid and Aida love has grown from respect for each other and despite the difference in their ages they think alike and share the same dreams.

Aida Al Busaidy
After I came back from the States, I wanted to go into advertising, but my boss suggested I was more suited to public relations. My first assignment after joining the company was Dubai Shopping Festival 2004, which was a good learning experience. Since then I have handled Gitex, the Mentor Foundation project and other major events. I feel I am in a place perfectly suited to my abilities and future goals.

I met Khalid two and a half years ago during an evening out with a group of friends. I thought he was nice, but there were no special sparks. We did not meet again because I left for the United States three days later.

We met again when I returned after finishing my studies and became closer when I learnt that Khalid had worked in the same camp as my dad, who is also in the army.

I realised how serious I was about him when I wanted to tell my mum about him. She was happy but also concerned because my parents have a liberal outlook. They believe that education is very important and have always given me a lot of freedom. She asked him a lot of questions about his intentions.

I was upset that even though I had talked about him to my parents, he had still not spoken to his parents about me. But then on my 21st birthday he threw a surprise party for me. Without my getting an inkling of it, he managed to get my entire family, my friends and his family together for the party. So my first meeting with his family was quite unconventional. The best surprise of all was he proposed and presented me a ring. It was a wonderful moment and I had no intention of saying no.

We read the Nikah six months later and will soon have the big ceremony. I am not keen on an extravagant affair, but it is important for me that all our family members and friends are present to share our happiness on our special day.

We have many common interests such as watching movies. He shows me he cares in many ways. He used to come along with me for interviews during DSF and would wait patiently while I did my work. I rely on his advice while dealing with government departments. He often comes to my office and is friends with all my colleagues and calls me at work to remind me to eat on time and drive safely.

What I love best about him is that he is so real and honest with no false pretences. He is very romantic and has done many sweet things such as leaving a rose and a teddy bear in my car as a surprise. We are both stubborn and have arguments, but he tells me that no matter what happens our love is bigger than everything else.

I used to be hyperactive, hot tempered and a tomboy. Now I am much calmer and more feminine. Careerwise, I am ambitious and feel that as a UAE national I have many opportunities to do many different things. I want to go on The Apprentice and see if I can make it. I have told Khalid that I want to have five children and a Cadillac Escalade, which is my favourite car.

I believe that couples should be equal and be like friends. Also they should not take each other for granted because love is a constant reassurance. To me the important elements of a marriage are honesty, understanding, support and sharing the same values.

Khalid Ebrahim Yousuf
I have been in the UAE Army for 13 years and enjoy my job as an engineer because we learn something new everyday. The first time I met Aida I was struck with her energy. I am quite reserved with new acquaintances and I really liked that she was friendly, talkative and smiling.

I respected Aida because she has done things that most UAE women do not do such as studying in the United States and doing it without the help of the government. After she came back, I got to know her better and saw that she takes good care of her 5-year-old sister, does a lot of things at home that girls her age, especially career girls, do not do nowadays. When I looked at her I saw not a girlfriend, but a wife.

I am a sporty person and like to go out, have fun, go to exhibitions and see new things. I had thought it would be difficult for me to find a wife with similar interests, but Aida had the perfect mix of tradition and modern outlook.

We have common interests and always agree on where to go out. We never plan our outings but we always have fun together, even if we land up in a boring place. I trust her completely and she was one of the first people to drive my custom-built car.

From the first moment I had no doubt that she was the right person for me and I immediately told my family that I have found the person I love and want to marry. Aida’s mother had many questions, but that is her right and it showed me that her parents care about her so much.

Aida has changed me in many ways. She has made me realise my responsibilities towards my family and now I spend more time with them. I have a passion for cars and love to design my own customised cars. But I had always considered it a hobby.

Aida has made me feel this is a special talent and I should do more with it. Thanks to her encouragement and belief in me I took part in an auto race and we now have other plans in this area.

I believe that she should not waste her studies and continue working after marriage because she enjoys her job. I feel that with things becoming expensive, a second income helps to improve the standard of living. But she should work fewer hours to spend more time with the family and for herself. She wants five children and I have agreed as long as she can handle them. And I am working on getting her dream Cadillac. She does not know how to cook, but luckily both our mothers are great cooks.

I have left the planning of the wedding to her; my only request is that she must sing at the wedding. Even after marriage I would like us to go out on weekends because I believe that a change refreshes the relationship.

Love is based on respect and trust which are the important pillars of a marriage.