In this day and age, many wedded couples are considered extremely lucky to stay married longer than their next mobile phone upgrade.
I’ve witnessed marriages crumble to pieces. I have friends who worked awfully hard to stay married and friends who hardly worked to save their marriage but I am not one to pass judgment.
Staying together with someone—married or not—is a mutual decision. It’s about compromises, tons of it. It’s about respect, an endless reserve of it. It’s about trust, a steady stream of it. More importantly, it’s about love, an eternal supply of it.
That’s what I learned from my parents’ marriage.
I will be the first to acknowledge that their marriage was and is not issue-free. In fact, I am as certain as the sun rises and sets each day that their marriage had been battered, hammered, pounded and pummeled by problems bigger than what they can tackle.
Among their four kids, I am probably the only one who remembers vividly the toughest hurdles they had to jump over to get to where they are now—50 years of challenging but blissful journey together, hand in hand, heart to heart.
They’re celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year on Nov. 21.
Their willingness and desire to stay together helped them breeze through heaps of difficulties. Of course, having four kids to look after factored in but I believe it’s actually the love, trust and respect they have for one another that kept their marriage—our family—intact.
I have nothing but unreserved respect and admiration for my Dad. His tenacity and zeal to raise his family amid unnerving difficulties are emulation-worthy. He is a cliché of what a virtuous father should be; he’d rather go hungry if it meant his wife and kids won’t—that’s the kind of husband and father he is.
My mom, on the other hand, is a character. She’s a loving mom and an equally loving wife but she’s had—still has—idiosyncratic qualities that one can either unconditionally love or passionately hate. We all, especially Dad, just decided to love her and all her quirkiness unconditionally.
Unconditional love: those are the key words that make for a lasting marriage; the fuel that gives couples the resolve to grow old together. This is what Mom and Dad selflessly share with one another that carried them through unbridled stages in their married life.
I can’t be any happier to have witnessed a journey such as theirs … ours. Theirs is the proof that marriage is not a contract but a validation that two people can, indeed, grow old together in a loving and caring relationship even when the odds were exceptionally against them at times.
I love you Mom and Dad. Thank you for not giving up on each other even when there were times that walking away seemed to be the easiest thing to do. Thank you for staying married not because you have to but because you want to. For everything that I am and for everything that I will be, thank you.
Most of all, thank you for being unwitting testimony to the power of unconditional love and its abilities to triumph over any adversity. Thank you.