The Joys of Marriage

IMG_0523AN OPEN LETTER TO MY BETTER HALF

ON THE OCCASION OF OUR SILVER WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

Ever dearest Jane,

          On June 29, 1991 we stood at the altar of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) before God and the world to profess our marital vows. Twenty-five years ago today I am still fiercely in love with you and when I look into your eyes I see nothing but tender affection and intimate fidelity. Best of all, our inexhaustible love for each other is personified in our delightful children who make our divinely ordained union more meaningful, joyful, and hopeful.  

            How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

            According to Victor Hugo “the beauty of the soul spreads like a mysterious light on the beauty of the body” and I cannot agree more. Indeed, every waking moment by your side is waking up to a vision.  I love opening my eyes at first light to witness crepuscular rays streaking through our bedroom window suffusing you as you lay in bed, making your fair skin glisten in exquisitely subdued shades of pastel pink and vanilla. The phenomenon is both dazzling and mesmerizing. I would often dismiss it as nothing more than optical illusion until the same magical moment gets repeated every day. I remember one morning when your son and I waved goodbye at you before our morning commute. He was about 7 or 8 years old back then when he remarked at your loveliness and effulgence as you basked in the sunshine. To me it was not at all surprising. His observation merely confirmed what I have always known: your pulchritude is undeniable. Your alluring charm has completely captivated me. I am Superman and you are my kryptonite – any attempt to resist your enchantment is utterly futile.

            I am no Adonis nor a Don Juan by a long shot but you certainly make me feel like one when you guard me from the glance of other women with the tenacity and ferocity of a lioness. If looks could kill… It’s a miracle I’m still alive every time you catch me furtively leering at some damsel across the street while I’m driving. How you can even tell when all the while I’m wearing my polarized Oakley is anybody’s guess. How I wish I could invoke immunity (from your scrutiny) by virtue of a healthy philogyny. That is why your fetish for smooching my neck every time I come home from work makes me wonder if it is really my irresistible pheromones or just your subtle way of sniffing for evidence, so to speak. Either way, I absolutely have no objection to luxuriating in your adulation.

I have another confession to make: your long, flawless silken legs are like runway lights that light up my life and every time I see you in long, skinny jeans my breath comes in short pants (pun intended). I am smitten beyond words. So, step aside Victoria’s Secret Angels, make way for my bombshell!

But kidding aside, to remain attracted to the same person after two-and-a-half decades is probably rare in this day and age. Ours is enduring love, romance and passion.

I am continually awed by your gumption and your astounding ability to think outside the box when dealing with practical problems. Even our children are blown away by your fantastic creativity and unorthodox, yet effective life hacks that often defy logic. I also will never tire of your sensibilities and sagacious counsel. Your wisdom combined with your foresight and uncanny presage is unbeatable. Your uncompromising forthrightness is also a virtue I admire especially as it comes very handy in situations when speaking hard truths is indispensable.

I also find your childlike innocence both mystifying and adorable. What mother of a 24-year old still has an inveterate predilection for Tinkerbell and other Disney movies on Netflix? Like the heart of a little child, mutatis mutandis, this is perhaps the most searching light of all when it comes to you and certainly your most endearing trait that I have grown affectionately fond of.

You honor me in so many ways. You tell everybody how marvelous I am and how incredibly fortunate you are when, in fact, it’s the other way around.  You trust my talent in making you blush in shame and laugh to tears at my silly antics, as well as my intelligence in figuring out how to make the internet work (but to be honest, dear I simply had to reset the Wi-Fi router). More importantly, you honor me completely by being the mother of our beautiful children. They are your perpetual gift to me and I can only reciprocate by an unabashedly unbridled uxorial devotion.

You comfort me when things don’t happen our way or when our best laid plans do not come to fruition. You often remind me to look at the forest and not the trees, figuratively speaking.  Many times, too, it is just a gentle caress or a loving gaze that lets me know that you are there and that is all that really matters. You are my wellspring of hope from whom I draw inspiration and strength. With you by my side I am indomitable.

            You set your mind on things above and pray like there is no tomorrow. I often catch you at night with a rosary in your hand. A certifiable prayer warrior, you are an indefatigable intermediary and intercessor.

We’ve been through good times and bad. As in any relationship, many days were ineffable joy, while some days were spiritual battle as we struggled to find God’s hand in the demands and challenges of daily living and living together at the get go. But we emerged like gold tested in fire. We have learned that marital life requires a lot of kindness, forgiveness, self-sacrifice, understanding, and mutual respect. We took comfort in the knowledge that in every season is divine reason and now we are soul mates forever.   You and I are not perfect in every way but we certainly acknowledge and enjoy the fact that it is exactly our imperfections that make our relationship beautifully imperfect and perfectly beautiful. We have chosen each other and, by the grace of God, our decision is infallible. We have also learned to trust each other – not to be perfect, but to be present for each other. Together we have walked the road of life “walking side by side, hand in hand, facing the horizon” (to borrow the words of my college professor back in the day, the late Fr. Joseph Galdon, SJ).

            Thank you for your unconditional love, for putting up with me and never giving up all through the years. Thank you for our three wonderful children who never fail to amaze us and bring us honor. They are proof that if anybody deserves a medal around the neck it is you, and it is me who should be it. =)

Happy anniversary, honey. May our 25 years be the prologue of our happily ever after. You are my heaven on earth and the queen of my heart. There is nothing I wouldn’t give for the sacrament of every present moment with you.

I love you. Forever.

John

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