Their love story began in 1983 at the University of Santo Tomas, in the school they attended. Both were graduating students when they met; he was from the Faculty of Engineering, and she was taking up Secondary Education, Major in English, in the next building. They were both active in school organizations; they got to know more about each other in one of them—Pax Romana. Sooner or later, they started going out as a couple.
After college, he worked for a manufacturing company as a technical engineer. She was, on the other hand, absorbed by the university as an English professor in the College of Nursing. Eventually, in July 1985, they decided to get married. Their wedding was all set to January the following year, but one incident put their faith to the test.
In November 1985, his mother endured a stroke. She was hospitalized for weeks until the family decided to bring her home. She was in a coma, and remained like this through Christmas and New Year. Until two days before the wedding, she passed away. The bride was willing to give up the wedding ceremony the last minute to allow the family to mourn over their loss, but there were mixed reactions from the elders. Some gave them their blessings for them to proceed with the wedding regardless of the situation, while others opposed to the idea. In the end, the wedding still pushed through.
Their wedding day was a combination of well-wishes and sympathies from their friends and loved ones. The father, who remained by his deceased wife, missed his son’s wedding altogether. The groom understood, and did not bear grudges. Perhaps statistics would tell that the position they were in was one-in-a-million. Some perceived the situation as bad luck, but to some, it was still a blessing.
If their marriage was dictated by fortune, then they would not have celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary this year. Two years ago, on 11 January 2011, my parents celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. They had no intentions of having a grand commemoration of the occasion, but Fr. Gerry, a family priest friend, insisted that they—at least—make it special. Much to his persuasion, the two were convinced that they have a renewal of vows. My dear readers, if you may recall, this was the time when we were faced with an adversity. My parents had little to spare to grace the occasion, but with the mercy of God and help from some friends, they were able to invite a few people to serve as witnesses to their reunification.
There is not enough words to express how much I admire the relationship of my parents. Through the years, they have remained the best of friends and exercised teamwork, not only in their marriage, but in building a family. They are not perfect, but many (including my friends) saw them as ideal couple. Mom and Dad have occasional bickering, but they know how to deal with their problems on their own without neither of us, children, getting involved (unless we are the subject of their concern). In the 27 years of their marriage, not once did I see my father lift a finger at my mother nor did he raise his voice to prove a point. When the going gets tough, they communicate.
What I admire most about Mom and Dad is the fact that they live a prayerful life. It is not just about going to church every Sunday to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It is putting God in the center of their lives, above all things. If I may share, my mother had been praying for her future husband since she was in high school. She asked God that she be given a man she deserves to be her lifetime partner. Dad was an answered prayer. In abundance of supplications, they offer thanksgiving and praise. In times of trouble and uncertainty, they seek comfort in God’s compassion. They pray together.
With everything that our family had been through, we remain grateful. Thankful for the gift of life, and appreciative of whatever we have or we don’t have. Through the years, we have learned the best lessons life has to offer. When we fall, we get back up. When you’re up there, however, you don’t forget where you came from. Mom and Dad has found a medium to share God’s blessings. This may not be in the form of wealth, but this is considered more valuable to most people. Through the Family Life Ministry in our parish, they are able to serve God by giving other soon-to-wed couples like Miggy and I an overview of what marriage is like. By sharing their first-hand experiences, they are able to influence future husbands and wives to nourish and sustain their married life together. They give back through evangelism.
You know, sometimes, coming from a family with a healthy relationship and disposition in life can be a disadvantage, too. You tend not to understand other people when their situation is so much different from yours. You don’t get why there are broken families when every thing can be dealt with sans the damage. How can one say you’re only being idealistic when what you have in front of you is reality?
I write this in honor of my parents. I need not wait for another 25 years to recognize them as wonderful persons, together and individually. They deserve all the praises as a married couple, as parents, and as other people’s friends. Eventually, my brothers and I are going to settle down, and start our own family. I am heading towards that direction in a few months, and being the eldest child, I am not worried about my parents. I am certain that even when they’re old and gray, they will remain the same loving couple as they were the first time they laid their eyes on each other.
If these aren’t enough reasons to believe in marriage, I don’t know what is.