I’d like to recognize all angles in this relationship by not obsessing on the negatives but also appreciating the positives. We signed up for both, didn’t we?

     Marriage or in our case Union is happy even if it is difficult, to be honest. Even if Jhois and I share the same number and kind of chromosomes, we are not an exemption to life’s tribulations especially in our relationship. Unless you married your own clone, it will remain challenging but even so, there are moments in a day when we also hate ourselves for doing or being someone less than what we expect so conflicts will always be there. It’s a non-escapable reality, somehow. The only consolation that you can extract from it is that, at least you are arguing with your most favorite person in the world. Imagine a different scenario if it would be the opposite. It would feel like an insurmountable yet necessary kind of hell. Having a spouse isn’t something you can easily get away with. S/He will always be a part of every aspect of your life. 

     Every time I see couples celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary, I feel like rushing to my room and getting my pen and paper to jot down notes on how they were able to achieve that because that is something I aspire for my life, too. Jhois and I are North and South Poles. She’s the sunny weather while in my natural element, I’m the rain. I’m sometimes a drizzle, other times a downpour and wishfully, not a thunderstorm. You don’t want to see that but we all have those moments, too. She’s a comedienne who can easily make people laugh. She can easily find humor in everything and can carefully (one of her traits that I love the most) crack a joke without undermining anyone. It’s not cheap humor. In fact, I can say she can intelligibly weave scenarios and see those in the light of comedy. I’m a carer and in doing so, I sometimes make people cry. I hope in a good way, of course, as a way to release the pain they’ve been hiding for so long and also, please note that it isn’t my intention. Sometimes, it just happens. It’s the natural flow of conversation when you’re truthful enough that it’s easier for you to share what matters most to you. 

Your smelly soiled socks are either making me cry or making me high. They should come with some form of a label or a warning! Their smell is hair-raising!

     She cracks jokes to make herself feel good, too. Ironically at times, I cry to make myself feel good. The releasing of inner tension is as significant as the romanticizing of the daily hilarity of this so-called life. I guess, you can consider that she is my Alter Ego or in other psychological term, my Shadow Self and I am Her Shadow Self, Her Alter Ego. She sometimes pushes triggers that I didn’t know I have and in the same manner, I press triggers that she didn’t know she has. Since I am more adept in the training and teaching fields (both entirely different, believe it or not, you can google it), communicating is my niche. On the other hand, she’s groping for words to better express what she wanted to convey to me. There are times when we look as if we’re playing charades because I want to help her find the right words to use. Her careless use of words, sometimes just babbling what comes first to her mind can easily lead me to tears. 

     However, I can assure you that now she has improved a lot in this Department or maybe, I have improved too in understanding that some people including her cannot articulate themselves in the most appropriate way they wish they could. Everything’s a work in progress. We continuously evolve every day. I’m thankful for those triggers that emerge as we go on in our relationship because they point us directly to our unhealed wounds. Triggers make us more aware of that inner work we need to process on and in doing so, can provide us the recovery of what was lost to us (due to a past experience that terribly hurt us) and growth (to gather and acknowledge all these pieces, even the painful ones that complete us so it can usher us to become more loving individuals).     

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Papa Nardo (Leonardo Parungao Hementera) & Nanay Linda’s (Rosalinda Lopez Hementera) Wedding


     We’ve been exposed in the mainstream media that a lasting marriage has to be fiery passionate all the time or romantic, just like how the pages from a fairy-tale book would describe. A few from the millennial generation would probably agree that the secret ingredient in loving marriages that last a lifetime is strongly rooted in friendships. Having the capacity to see your lifetime partner as your equal, as an extension yourself, and as a co-pilgrim or a co-explorer of our given lives is such a blessed if not, a privileged position to be in.
     The story of Papa Nardo and Nanay Linda is not only a story of a loving friendship throughout the years but also a story of two people who find inspiration from each other and decided to become better than who they were, together.
     Papa Nardo caught sight of Nanay Linda in front of the Church during the Holy Week who was busily selling halo-halo and other goodies for all the church goers then. He was observing her from a far and couldn’t find the words how she could stand there under the heat of the sun and still managed to smile and enjoy serving her customers. For one thing, he was intrigued how she managed to endure it while relishing what she was doing at that time. She seemed to be inexhaustible, as if she was battery-operated because her energy never faded. Papa Nardo’s curiosity led him to observe her more in the succeeding days, trying to find the source of her strength. His curiosity was satisfied by his keen observation that it was love that made her tireless in accomplishing every bit of service in selling food goodies to all the churchgoers in town.
     Papa Nardo wanted to know her more. He found ways to get even closer to her. He found means on how to get her attention despite of her busy schedule and daily sales target. Nanay Linda’s sibling became the bridge for them to know each other more. He learned that even if Nanay Linda had not completed her schooling, she managed to earn and saved a huge amount of money for her own family. Papa Nardo was inspired by Nanay Linda’s dedication for her family that she was willing to sacrifice herself, get out of her comfort zone and keep challenging herself to become better. It was something Papa Nardo aspired for himself to do even if that means, conquering the very thing he feared the most.
     With Nanay Linda’s inspiration, Papa Nardo felt confident to finally complete his schooling but since he was afraid that people might laugh at him for having to do it late as compared to his peers, he decided to get evening classes, instead. In this way, no “Marites” or rumormongers would ever dare find faults at him and he would be able to focus more on his studies.

On the 22nd of April 1972, Papa Nardo and Nanay Linda tied the knots for good. They managed to keep inspiring each other by creating businesses that can serve the people in their town. Papa Nardo managed to get his college diploma. He finished a Banking and Finance Degree in Wesleyan College and was able to work in Solid Bank for a time until they both realized that they actually enjoy working together. Why not create a little world where they can serve their townsmen and see each other more often? It was in this realization that they actually combined their skills, talents, and efforts by working and serving the town as a dynamic duo.

With two beating hearts of an inspired couple, they created businesses that serve people well. They took the world as their stage where they can showcase and share their strengths in making the lives of everybody around them better. The desire to share the love that they have for each other to their customers and townsmen made them feel challenged yet humbled in purpose as they continuously cherish all they have built with their children and grandchildren. 

Papa Nardo and Nanay Linda’s love story has gone through the fire of hardships as well, just like any other couples. In the end, like what they did, they did not only ask themselves, “Who I want to live with for the rest of my life?” but rather, they asked, “Who is this person I cannot live without?”, “Who is this person I cannot dare wake up without him or her by my side?”, “Who is this person I cannot allow a day to pass by without sharing all the things that happened to me, good or bad?”, “Who is this person I cannot miss not seeing every minute of my every day?”, or “Who is this person I cannot miss not hearing his or her voice every single time?”. 

     And we all know that why we are reading their story today is because their answers to these questions have been the same for the past 50 years. Their answer is always each other’s name, and we are here, blessed to celebrate and witness their love as precious as gold that endures for a lifetime. 

I wonder what makes love last.
Is it when You go off into the blue?
Or is it when We becomes the death of Me?

All I know is this.
Whenever I’m with him,
I’m Me-er than I could ever be.
He keeps saying this to me.
That when he’s with me,
He’s more of himself
Than he could ever be.

Our Selves do not dissolve nor disintegrate.
If anything, they get amplified to the nth.
We have created a safe place called Home
Because we found a home within ourselves
Whenever we’re together.

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