In a world where almost 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, it’s easy to be a cynic about everlasting love. Even our favorite movie stars—the very people on whom many of us (foolishly) base our fantasy love lives—perpetuate public disappointment with the dissolution of their so-called “rock-solid” unions. “Golden couples” like Tom and Nicole, Brad and Jennifer, and Ryan and Reese all called it quits after a handful of years together, which makes us wonder, “If these beautiful, powerful, perfect couples didn’t make it, then who can?”

But sustaining a long-term commitment has nothing to do with how physically compatible or socially beloved a couple is. Rather, it’s about the everyday maintenance work that each partner puts into the relationship after the embers of young passion have cooled. This is how your parents, grandparents, and even some of you have been able to keep the fire going in your marriages for so many years. 

On that note, here are some true-to-life testaments to lasting partnerships that will inspire you to cherish your spouse, perfect or not, as you slowly, gracefully, grow old together.

Married 10 years

golden_couples_eric_valee.jpgValee: While 10 years may seem short to people from our parent's generation, it is sad to note that in this day and age, couples part ways even before their 5th anniversary.  So 10 long years together is something my husband and I are very thankful for.  For us, our marriage is already golden, in the sense that we consider it very precious. Our friends tell us that we are not a normal couple because we don't fight.  They are concerned that we may not be confronting our issues and that our feelings are just bottled up inside.  But that isn’t true; we make a conscious and deliberate effort to communicate on a regular basis.  We definitely have our differences, but we make it a point to sort them out in a loving manner.  Before we got married, the former president of the company where I work graciously offered us several sessions of marriage counselling.  He gave us a piece of advice which has guided us through our 10 years together: "Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional."

Another secret to the longevity of our relationship is laughter.  Yes, after 10 years, we still make each other laugh. Plus we have a weekly date night! Magkasama ng isang dekada na, at maraming dekada pa (We’ve been together a decade, and we’ll have more decades to come).

Married 10 years
golden_couples_ado_minette.jpgAdo: My wife and I are still a young couple, married for 10 years. However, I would like to think that we are a “golden couple,” not because of the years we have been together but because of the quality of relationship we share. When we were newly engaged, we planned and decided on what our marriage would look like—some sort of “strategic planning.” We wrote down our vision statement and brainstormed on our core values as a couple and family. We even came up with dos and don’ts and discipline goals. Everything is written in a blue spiral notebook which we still review from time to time. Here are some examples of what we wrote down:
  • We will always forgive, no matter what. 
  • During an argument, no one is allowed to walk out. 
  • We will never say that we don’t love each other. 
Yes, there are valleys and mountaintops here and there, but at the end of the day, we both know that getting married to each other was the best decision we ever made.

Married 15 years

golden_couples_ardy_tingting.jpgArdy: Tingting and I went through the fire from 1999 to 2000 when she experienced her battle with lupus. When that happened, we had only been married for 5 years. The encounter with the disease bonded us like two steel rods that had been twisted and molded together—it was like we literally “went through the fire.” So now, whenever there are other trials that come our way, we look back at what we've already conquered together with God’s grace, and we think, "Wala 'yan compared to 2000." Everything else seems trivial. 

We've been married 15 years to the day, and we've lasted this long because of each difficult experience that we shared. We have a bounty of happy experiences as well, but going through the “fires” side by side is what really puts the capital T in “together.”

Married 26 years

golden_couples_mike_yayang.jpgMike: My wife and I are very different in terms of temperament, interests, likes and dislikes.  But there are a few things that we tried to practice throughout all these years:

  • Watch your mouth.  Never say anything to your spouse that you would regret later.
  • Protect your privacy.  Many Filipino marriages suffer because of the practice of kids sleeping with their parents.  This is a death sentence to romance in marriage.  Our kids were off to their own rooms at the age of one. 
  • Put your spouse first. 
We are just so blessed that after 25 years of marriage, we still enjoy each other.  I still look forward to going home to see my wife—and I still enjoy waking up next to her in the morning.  We enjoy having Sunday lunch together as a family and enjoy going on holidays together if we can afford it.  Our last big holiday was in Coron—great time!

Married 39 years

golden_couples_willie_winnie.jpgWe’ve known each other for 45 years and been married for 39. We have been able to weather the roughest times—we even separated once, but came back together. Now after so many years, we are still here, standing strong, and looking forward to many more years as husband and wife. There is only one secret to the stability of our marriage: we both met Jesus Christ. When we made Him our Lord and Savior, He changed us and enabled us to love. We have occasional fights, even serious ones, but somehow God makes sure that we turn back to one another in forgiveness.

Married 40 years

golden_couples_ramon_cecilia.jpgCecilia: I guess we lasted this long because of the space and trust we gave each other.  When Ramon was much younger, he would go fishing for days with his friends.  He would even join tournaments.  Some of my friends were sceptical about him being away from me for such prolonged periods of time. But I always trusted him and would even prepare the things he needed for the tournament.  As for me, Ramon always say yes when I want to go out with my friends—there’s no time limit.  He always bids me goodbye with an, “Enjoy, and ingat!"

We both believe we are co-equals in this marriage, especially in decision-making.  We don't impose our wills on one other.  We talk about the pros and cons to decide what is best for us. And we never quarrel about money. Also, we believe that there is no perfect marriage.  We each have our own flaws. We have our ups and downs. Now and then (but very rarely), we still have arguments because of small irritations.  But at the end of the day, we know that we are more than just husband and wife; we are best friends.

Married 45 years

golden_couples_paul_ludy.jpgPaul: People say the romance is no longer there for couples who have stayed together this long. We beg to disagree. The romance continues and will continue till our last days as we find ways to please each other, being sensitive and responsive to the other person’s needs. As the cliché goes, “The best is yet to come.” Ludy and I can say that indeed the best is still going on with us.  Forty-five years of marriage is a long, long time. By this time, many couples are no longer married. Some are married but to different partners. Some are living-in with others. Ludy and I chose to remain and live as one because we committed from the beginning that separation is never an option. Although it wasn’t totally smooth—we hurdled through times of conflict—it has certainly been a great and blissful forty-five years.

Married 54 years

golden_couples_jess_rosario.jpgWe celebrated our golden wedding anniversary last January 8, 2005. We are now on our 54th year together as husband and wife. Never did we consider the option of a separation.  We knew that we were in this marriage forever, not only for our sake but for the sake of our children. To succeed, we had to give each other a lot of space and allow for a lot of mistakes. Of course, raising 8 children together brought about a lot of natural bonding on its own.

Got your own stories of enduring love to share? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!
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