February is commonly considered by many as the “love month” or the ” month of hearts”. Traditionally, February 14 is Valentine’s Day or araw ng mga puso. Usually, people wonder and are most often happy but not surprise especially when the nice information is disseminated about couples having experienced enduring and never-ending love and affection for quite a long while. So, what takes? The answer and advice, of course, are expected for successfully married couples to share and spill secrets of proven long-lasting love and relationships.
In this romantic month issue, I have freely undertaken the initiative through its contributing staff by researching and reaching out to proud Filipino Canadian couples who are married for at least 50 years. The informal poll is done via pandemic- protocol restricted virtual Q & A process.
The friendly, accommodating respondents, who have been married between them for 180 years, are named under aliases, to protect their identities. The 3 couples shared their ideas and ideals by answering the same serious 3 questions about achieving happy marriage and maintaining a good relationship. Herewith are the highlights of the findings that are summarized and presented under each of the 3 questions posed:
A. What is the “recipe”, if any, of your long-lasting marriage?
1) Marita and Jessie, married for 55 years, with 4 children: Marita: Open communication. Frequently, we try to talk with each other. Sa aming nakaraang pagsasama, he was a company security officer and a radio broadcaster for more than 25 years– which means that talagang lagi siyang busy . And I was a city administrative staffer … so we had to communicate often.” Jessie: Well, we certainly love each other. Galing kami sa mga magulang who were faith-focused folks who taught us the sanctity of marriage and loving one another. We respected them at sinunod at binigyang halaga ang kanilang mga payo. We valued and lived the norms they gave us and so we had no problems.”
2) Josie and Anton, married for 58 years, with 5 children: Josie: “I don’t really know if there are any secrets. Pagre-respeto at pagmamahal sa isa’t isa. Truly, we are best friends.” Anton: “We don’t do a lot of debate at home. We try to get along most of the time and we got along pretty well. We do things together. We go to the movies — we don’t like the movies anymore — but we just got along. I stopped going anymore to my barkada at inuman at iiwanan ko siya sa bahay. She seldom goes to her amigas without telling me on the other hand.
3) Yolly and Jorge, married for 67 years, with 6 children: Yolly: ” Mayamang pag-mamahalan at mabuting pag-sasamahan. That is the big secret. We like to do most of the same things … like go on pasyalan, go out-of-country travels, go to the movies, go to parties and socialize with friends.” Jorge: “Loving one another at mahabang pasensiya, and knowing and understanding kung ano ang mahalaga sa buhay namin .”
B. How do you best reconcile and resolve any conflict or disagreement between you, if it arises?
1) Marita: “You have to hear what your husband has to say and try to put yourself in his shoes. Also, pakiramdaman mo kung ano ang saloubin ng iyong asawa.” Jessie: “I may not always be right and I had to realize, na sa bawat hindi pagkakaunawan, there’s an acceptable point of view to arrive at a common ground.
2) Josie: “Pag-usapan, talk it over. If you don’t get it to resolve today, talk about it kinabukasan sa umaga o sa hapon or next tomorrow.” Anton: “We have so few conflicts at hindi parehong pagkaka-unawan, but we talk about it. I express my side and she expresses her, resulting in better understanding and resolution.”
3) Yolly: “Jorge doesn’t argue and doesn’t fight. Masiyadong mahirap kasi kapag pareho kayong nag- sasagutan para lamang may masabi ka at baka mauwi sa masaming salitaan sa isat isa.” Jorge: “Tumitigil at tahimik lang ako. We both dropped it but we work it out and we get along. We discussed and go forward. We’re both understanding and can appreciate bawa’t punto vista, and we try to correct those problems. It’s a win-win na paraan. ”
C. What’s your best advice to younger or just-beginning couples, whether married or not?
1) Marita: “Try to be aware of how your husband or partner feels about any given situation, mabuti o masama. Always try not to be all about yourself. Mutually, try not to stay angry over little things. In other words, huwag na huwag ninyong palala-kihin ang maliit na bagay.'” Jorge: ” Personally, one good thing I’ve learned over time of my early marital life is that if I can do to keep the peace at home is to pray and seek competent advice sa mga aking kaibigan. Leave the rest to your wife. It’s been useful and definitely, I would do it again. You do the same, mind you.”
2) Josie: “Try to understand each other at huwag sana kayong matutulog sa gabi na may sama ng loob sa isa’t isa. Baka mabangungot ang isa sa inyong dalawa. Joke only.” Anton: “Trust in the good Lord and put trust in each other. Try to do the right and best thing all the time. Often, the wrong thing is the more attractive and easiest thing, but be reasonable and careful. Have always a realistic, meaningful, and productive relationship.”
3) Yolly: “Think about the vows na kanilang naging sumpaan. Don’t get easily get mad or upset about something and say, “Ayaw ko ng ganito at ganiyan, dahil that’s not what you promised. Maging responsable at mag-bigay respeto sa isa’t isa.” Jorge: ” Avoid getting into big arguments. You should never have a lot of talking spats at kung mayroon man, you, as a husband should keep your mouth shut. Your wife can’t argue by herself. If you have children at home, you wouldn’t ever want to let them hear about uncontrolled or unnecessary arguments na puedeng pagsisihan ninyo sa huli.
Finally, the word COUPLE to many lovebirds means Communication, Optimization, Understanding, Patience, Love, & Empowerment. Hence, I hope that the above exemplars and expectations are purposefully reasonable and challengingly realistic enough for every couple’s desire and dream of a meaningful pagsasama bilang mag-asawa habang buhay.
Tony A. San Juan, OCT-Retired