39 Years Of Marriage: Growing Old With My Wife
Inspired & Blessed

39 Years Of Marriage: Growing Old With My Wife

May 8, 2024, 12:35 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


Early this morning I happened to wake up in bed, with my wife, Malou, still soundly sleeping beside me. Her arm across my chest, I could feel her soft warm breath on my face. Her hands, already quite sturdy due to hard work, have remained soft. I cannot avoid calling to mind how those hands had bled when she washed my trousers long ago. I can’t fail noticing likewise some few crease lines on her forehead and her few hairs turning gray. “Oh, how my beloved wife has softly aged! And me too,” I muttered with a sense of contentment in my heart.

I fancied on these thoughts as I’m reminded once again of our 39th anniversary of elopement (we had our church wedding a year after) this May 9. Ahh, we’re already 39 years – not of putting up with each other, but of constantly putting love into our marital life.

A lady friend of mine, who’s married with grown up kids, told me that it’s best for couples, in order to protect or save their marriage (as “familiarity breeds contempt”, or so it is), to sometimes live separately at a distance so to realize their longing for each other. 

I beg to disagree. Because for me and Malou, we have never slept separately on our discretion, save only for exigent reasons like work travels on my part. And, mind you, for the life of me who have spent some 11 long years in the seminary and have been used to sleeping alone and engaging in “alone moments”, now after 39 years of marital life, I find it hard enough – really hard! – to sleep without Malou beside me. That’s why, whenever I’m in a hotel on work-related travels, I feel required to take some few beers to be able to sleep alone – and with the lights switched on. 

Candidly so, for 39 years and forever more, I can only crave to sleep beside my wife – and I can only long to grow old with her. 

Yes, our love story – quite an open book to our friends and acquaintances – was hatched, not made perfectly in heaven, from likely odd beginnings: me being a former nearly-to-be-ordained priest and my wife as an ex-future nun; me as whence a fresh-from-the-seminary college instructor and Malou being my former student. 

What led to our elopement? I won’t be tired recalling once again our fateful romantic affair. 

Around two months before our elopement, we had a secret fast date one late afternoon on a bay shore (staring at the bay’s horizon, holding her hands, and whispering “sweet nothings”) and we became oblivious of time, that around 7:00 pm and having already exceeded the mandated 6:00 pm curfew time set by her Lolo to be home, I was forced to get the help of my parish priest along with my colleague college instructor, a lawyer, to accompany me and Malou back to her Lolo’s residence.

Malou is from Davao and she was then staying or under the custody of her strict and disciplinarian Lolo, who was a city councilor.

So, on that fateful night, I and Malou, my parish priest, and my lawyer colleague, were in front of her fearsome Lolo, who was clad in a night robe, and a bulging tuck on his waist which I suspected was a gun. After all the nerve-wrenching verbal exchange – the berating of her Lolo, my parish priest’s intercessory pleadings, my curt apologies while standing behind my parish priest, and Malou’s unabated crying – her Lolo decidedly announced that Malou would be sent home to Davao. 

This chilling apprehension of losing contact or not seeing Malou anymore if she leaves for Davao precipitated some disquieting thoughts in me. I knew I wasn’t ready yet to go back to the seminary. I knew also that I wasn’t prepared yet for marriage. But I deeply felt too that I didn’t want to lose Malou – I have fallen in love with her, I swore!

In time, thus, I knew of one solution: Elopement! I tried to hatch our elopement plan, thought out its details, and quickly worked on its needed preparations – and well, the rest is history.

Indeed, on hindsight, my heart’s desire to grow old with my wife already had a foreboding even on the first night of our elopement 39 years ago. Before lying on bed and even excited enough for the most romantic moment of my life, I invited Malou to recite the biblical prayer of Tobias and Sara (Tobit 8:10) on their wedding night: “Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us. Let us both grow old, together in health.”

Lastly, having gone through the best and worst of times, I and Malou never believe that the best days are over – they are always happening every day, today, tomorrow, and FOREVER. 

For this reason, thus, on this special occasion of our 39th elopement anniversary, let me dedicate the following lines to my dearest Malou:

O MAHAL KO, kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ang aking mga luha ay mauunawaan, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para umiyak?

Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ang aking kaluluwa ay magkakaroon ng pakpak, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para lumipad?

Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ako ay tutubo at uunlad, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para sumubok?

Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ako ay kikilalanin, paniniwalaan, at tatanggapin bilang ako, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para ako ay maging ako?

O pinakamamahal kong Malou, sadyang sa iyo at tanging sa iyo lamang ako tutungo at nais makapiling hanggang sa dulo ng walang-hanggan.

Pinakamamahal kita, O aking kabiyak!

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