The online wedding

Two young Syrians found love against the odds

January 20, 2016

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© UNHCR/J. Chen

Minear, 30, and Khoula, 21, grew up in the same neighborhood in Dara’a City in Syria. But they had never met. And by the time Minear decided he was ready to look for a wife, he was a refugee, living in Jordan, while Khoula still lived in Dara’a.

It took his mother, her mother, and WhatsApp to bring them together. “My mum didn’t know many Syrian families in Jordan,” Minear explained. “But she remembered a friend she had worked with in Dara’a who had a daughter, a university student, and beautiful.”

His mother said she would find out more. And a call was arranged.

As soon as Minear introduced himself, he asked if Khoula’s parents were forcing her to talk with him. She said no. “My dad gave me the freedom to do what I want.”

And what they both wanted was to stay in touch, even though it was difficult. The phone connections were spotty and their calls were frequently dropped. So they took to WhatsApp, an instant messaging mobile phone application.

“I didn’t care if it was WhatsApp … or whatever. I just wanted to talk with her.” And he wanted her to send a photo — but that took a bit of persuading. Minear says, “It took me days. The connection was slow enough, but she was even slower.” And he smiles at his wife.

They quickly agreed to become engaged, but then reality set in. He was in Jordan, she was in Syria, and they had no idea of where and how to meet so they could be married. And it began to look as if that would never happen.

When Khoula announced that she was possibly moving to Turkey with her family, Minear decided there was no time to lose. He asked Khoula’s father to draw up a marriage contract
(negotiated through WhatsApp), and made plans to bring his bride-to-be to Jordan.

The first attempt failed. “But if you really believe and have patience, you can make it happen,” said Minear. And at last, there he was, at the airport, waiting for the fiancée he had never met. “It was a very good feeling.”

They were married shortly afterward in a small ceremony attended by family members and friends. Minear still marvels at their good fortune. “It was something impossible, but it happened,” he said. “If you are patient, and you really, really want it, good things can come to you. Something beautiful.”

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