Sister Chat: Celebrating Valentine’s Day with the Rawbought Sisters
It’s been a busy start to the year, with the launch of our first-ever Kids’ Collection and our brand-new Carezza Lace Lingerie Collection, just in time for Valentine’s Day. This year’s Valentine’s Day is quite special for us as Boutaina, is celebrating her 10th wedding anniversary with her partner, while Soukaina will be celebrating her first-ever Valentine’s Day as a newly-wed.
Let’s see what the Rawbought Sisters have to say about love, self-love and relationships!
Is Valentine’s Day a big thing for you? Do you expect or do something special on this day?
Boutaina: Valentine’s Day has never been a big thing for my husband and I. I never considered it important, so my husband hasn’t felt the need to celebrate in a big way. He usually just gets me flowers to mark the occasion. After our first child started to attend school and learn more about Valentine’s Day, my husband now gets me flowers and gifts on behalf of the kids. We definitely have started to make it more of an occasion after we had kids, for their sake.
Soukaina: I would say both yes, and no. My husband and I like to celebrate everything (me more than him, if we’re being honest). I say I don’t expect anything but I secretly do, and he knows it! We usually dress up nice and go out for dinner on Valentine’s. So I’d say we do like to do something special but it’s more of an opportunity for us to just be together, and hopefully receive flowers. Since our anniversary is near Valentine’s Day, he does get me gifts as well to mark that. I’m all about receiving the love on that day.
Amira: Before I was single, Valentine’s Day wasn’t a big thing for me. But my family and my sisters have been making the effort to show me lots of love and affection on this day, by sending me flowers and spending the day with me. It’s something that really made me realise that love is everywhere and in comes in many different forms. So I would say Valentine’s Day has become a very special to me in the last couple of years.
What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year?
Boutaina: We’re spending the day together as family this year! Everyone’s invited for a Tandoori night at my place. It’s really an excuse for all of us to get together and have yummy food.
What are your love languages? Do you think it makes a difference in your relationships – romantic and non-romantic?
Soukaina: My love language is Quality Time. My husband and I get really busy with work on most days, so I really value the time that he puts aside for me. And I’m the same way, with both him and the rest of my family. The way I express love is to give my time and spending it with them in person. It definitely makes a difference in my relationships because even just sitting and talking is a good bonding experience for me.
Amira: I would say my language is definitely acts of service. I think it’s come from seeing the Boutaina and Soukaina’s relationships and how their husbands are so loving and attentive to them and their needs. My parents’ relationship has also been a huge influence in how I view love. So I definitely appreciate acts of service as a way of receiving love. I don’t think you need to have the same love language in a romantic relationship. You just need to be aware of your partner’s, so you’re effectively showing them your love in a way they can receive and appreciate.
Boutaina: Mine is quite similar to Soukaina’s. 10 years on, love looks a bit different. I don’t feel like I need my husband to give me his time, but I like it when he’s physically there for me. We can be in the same room, doing our own thing, but I still feel the love when he’s beside me. Another way that I feel the love is when he shows his affection to our children. The way he takes work off my hands when I’m busy and prioritises me in his own ways, that’s how he expresses his love towards me, which I really appreciate. So I’d say my love language would be a combination of acts of service and quality time.
How do you define love?
Boutaina: Love to me is loyalty. It’s a big show of love when you’re loyal towards me and my loved ones, and are there for them when we need you. It’s something that I’ve learnt observing my parents’ relationship and the way they raised us. We know that no matter what happens, we can always turn to them and they’ll be there. And this is something that I see with my own children and my sisters. They can go without seeing them for the longest time, but when they do, they give them 100% of their quality time and support, and my kids know that their aunts will always be there for them. That is what love is to me.
Soukaina: Adding on to that, love to me is also about compromise and sacrifice. I really do feel it’s something that you do for the people that you really love. The way I show love to my loved ones is to try and put their needs and wants above mine where I can.
Amira: To me, love is very much about commitment, whether it’s towards your partner or your family or friends. If I love someone, I’m 100% committed, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m still going to love them the same no matter what. No one’s perfect, but nothing’s going to make me question your place in my life. If anything happens, it’s more about what can we do to fix the issue and move past it. My definition of love is more about unconditional commitment.
What does self-love mean to you? What do you do to practise self-love?
Boutaina: I honestly haven’t thought about self-love in a long time, so I’ve almost forgotten what it means anymore. I guess, if I were to define it in my life, I would say getting an hour or two out of my day to get a blow dry, or to spend some time putting together jigsaw puzzles is a way for me to get some me-time in. Spending time with my sisters and parents is another way that I make myself happy. When I’m with my parents, I become a child again! I’m not a mum, I’m not thinking of my own responsibilities. I really get to relax and laugh freely. So I would say that’s how I show love to myself.
Soukaina: I think it just means giving yourself the time and the space to focus on things that are important to you. For me it’s making sure I am always doing something active as I feel that has a direct affect on my mood and my mental headspace- I also feel it helps with my confidence levels. I like to take the time with my skin care and hair care and pride myself in loving my body and doing these small things for it. On the other hand, I allow myself to have down days and to be home and do nothing and not be so hard on myself when I do have those kinds of days!
Amira: I’d say I’m the opposite! I’m very in touch with self-love, and making it an active part of my life. I’ve figured out what exactly what makes me happy and unhappy. Going out for walks brings me a lot of peace and clarity. While I love going out to meet people and be with my friends, I do like to spend a Sunday evening by myself to decompress. Another way I like to show myself some love is dressing up. The whole process of choosing a cute outfit and putting on makeup really lifts my mood. I do balance that out with going without makeup for a while, chilling in my Rawbought PJs to appreciate how I look without any frills either.
What is a piece of advice on marriage or relationships that you’d like to share with your sisters?
Boutaina: Having the spark with your partner is very important. That is something very key to making your relationship work. You will go through many ups and downs throughout the years, and the spark between the two of you will play a big role in keeping you together and happy. I would also say that the physical and emotional compatibility is equally important to making your marriage happy. Having some sort of long-term plan is also extremely important. Just love isn’t going to be enough, you will need to plan certain things about your future to see if you’re on the same page. I’ve also seen that when you have children, your priorities as a couple completely change and there’s so many things to consider.
Is there a magic secret to making marriage work?
Boutaina: Not at all. It’s a work in progress every single day. We’ve seen our parents, though married for almost 40 years, still work on their marriage on a day-to-day basis. What works today, might not work a year from now. Loyalty and respect is absolutely key to making it work, so that is something that needs to be worked on every single day.
As entrepreneurs who work long hours, how do you set aside time for your partners/yourself?
Boutaina: I have to admit, my husband and I are very bad at this. The only time we have to ourselves is after the children have gone to bed, but most of the time we’re still in meetings and still working. The good thing is that when we’re together, we don’t need to have much conversation. Just being next to each other and around each other gives me the comfort and security that I need. I wouldn’t say that this ideal though. I believe strongly that you should set aside time for your partner, even if it’s something simple like dressing up for a meal or playing board games together etc.
Soukaina: I think for me it’s easy as both my partner and myself always work from home. We try and make sure that after dinner is our time either making dinners something to look forward to or watch our favourite tv show. Friday date nights are a must and we always go to bed together at the same time. In terms of time for myself, I have a rough idea of how my week will be and plan the things I want to get done personally around my work schedule. This usually means late nights!
Amira: I’m quite a schedule-oriented person. I keep count of how many times I need to see my parents in a week, how many times a month I need to check in with my friends and such. While I work long hours throughout the week, being an entrepreneur also means that I have the flexibility of moving things around to prioritise my social schedule when I need to.
What’s the best part about being married? And what’s the best part about being single?
Boutaina: For me, it’s really having someone there around me all the time. It gives me a lot of comfort and happiness when I have my husband around me. It’s great having someone to laugh with, yell at, have a good rant with and just not being alone.
Soukaina: Similar to Boutaina, I just enjoy having someone by my side for everything. I love sharing every adventure with my partner and love having someone to come home to every day and just someone to always count on. It also helps to have someone who is happy to cook for you and clean when you’re having a lazy day!
Amira: I’d say the best part about being single is the freedom to whatever I want without question. I get to decide everything for myself, from the night’s dinner to how long I get to work or stay out. I get to live my life on my own terms without having to answer to anyone.
Does being married feel different? Do you feel like you’ve changed?
Soukaina: I feel zero difference being married just forget in forms now to check the married box! In terms of changes, I feel the only difference is having a new set of parents and family and embracing their culture and traditions. Other than that, I just feel like I’m living with my long term boyfriend.
What’s your advice for people who are single this Valentine’s Day?
Boutaina: Really enjoy it! Savour the time that you get for yourself, it’s not going to last. Take this time to do whatever you want to do without any pressure. Just enjoy yourself!
Soukaina: It’s really the perfect time to be selfish. Eat chocolates in bed, meet some girlfriends/ guy friends, go to the spa. Do whatever YOU want to do. Send some flowers to your mother/ sister/ daughter and show some love to people who wouldn’t expect it! I don’t think Valentine’s Day is really a day only for couples but it’s just a day to celebrate love.
Amira: I’d say that don’t think of Valentine’s Day to be solely about romance. It’s an occasion to celebrate love in all forms, so tell your parents, your siblings, your friends, your dog, anyone, that you love them and send them a nice note. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to reciprocate and shower you with love as well.