Let’s Talk About Marriage



Mr. Tacio, who hails from Davao, is a correspondent of the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest. He is the first and only Filipino journalist to have been elevated to the Hall of Fame in science reporting by the Philippine Press Institute. In 1999, the Rotary Club of Manila bestowed him the

Journalist of the Year award. He is also East Asia’s contributing editor of the People & the Planet based in London.

For comments, henrytacio@gmail.com

“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.” —Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary: Lessons from Cana and Calvary

In his book, How to Live Longer, Dr. Willie T. Ong listed marriage as one of the strategies for a longer life.

“Statistics show that, on the average, married persons live longer,” Dr. Ong explained. “For single persons living alone, they may have no one to attend to them in cases of emergencies. Also, single persons may have less social support. On the other hand, married persons find fulfillment in their spouse and kids.”

Marriage usually starts with love. Although there are people who marry for some reasons (like money and prestige, among others), love is the starting point. You know it’s real love when you experience what singer Bob Marley says:

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you.

“When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.”

Or to quote the words of Robert A. Heinlein, author of Stranger in a Strange Land: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

If you find your true love, that’s the time you have to marry the person. In other words, wedding is the next chapter. In A Kingdom of Dreams, Judith McNaught wrote: “The groom always smiles proudly because he’s convinced he’s accomplished something quite wonderful. The bride smiles because she’s been able to convince him of it.”

That statement may seems funny but true. Here’s a more meaningful reason, as stated by Wendell Berry in Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays:

“Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things. They say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and its own. It gathers around them because it understands how necessary, how joyful, and how fearful this joining is.

“These lovers, pledging themselves to one another ‘until death,’ are giving themselves away, and they are joined by this as no law or contract could join them. Lovers, then, ‘die’ into their union with one another as a soul “dies” into its union with God. And so here, at the very heart of community life, we find not something to sell as in the public market but this momentous giving. If the community cannot protect this giving, it can protect nothing…”

Just like life, marriage is not a bed of roses. It is a rollercoaster ride; there are ups and downs. As philosopher Socrates said: “By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

Henny Youngman has another point of view. “Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who’ll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness?” he asked. “It means you’re in the wrong house, that’s what it means.”

Unknowingly, one of the things that can save a marriage from being ruined is to praise each other. But more often than not, a spouse usually finds something wrong with his or her partner.

And so it came to pass that a married couple came to a counselor for advice. No sooner were they seated than they started speaking at the same time in a duel of criticisms. When they finally stopped for lack of breath, the counselor suggested that now they tell each other all the good they see in one another. There was total silence.

Then each was given a pen and a sheet of paper and told to write down something praiseworthy about the other. Neither of them wrote. They both sat and stared at the paper. After what seemed like forever, the husband started to write something. At once, the wife also began to write — fast and furiously.

Finally, the writing stopped. There was silence again. The wife pushed her paper over to the watching counselor. He pushed it back signaling that she was to give it directly to her husband. She reluctantly shoved the paper half way across the table. He took it and in turn, slid his paper towards his wife.

Each began to read. The counselor watched. Soon after, a tear slid down the cheek of the wife. She crumpled the paper in her fist and held it tight. That proved that she treasured the sudden revelation of good things her husband had expressed about her. The whole atmosphere of the room changed. There was no need for anything to be said. Praise had healed a thousand wounds.

“The husband and wife left arm in arm,” wrote Carlos Valles who narrated the anecdote in The Next 500 Stories.

Here’s an advice from Ogden Nash to make that marriage successful: “To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.”

July 2016 Health and Lifestyle

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