Jul 17, 2024

February  16,2024 – Ah, love! It makes the world go round. In fact, it is celebrated around the world on February 14. 

In the medieval ages, it was known as St. Valentine’s Day in honor of a priest who married couples in order that the husbands would not have to go to war.  But its origins apparently go back to the ancientRoman Festival of Lupercalia.  Held in mid-February to herald  the arrival of spring, it included fertility rites,  notably,  the pairing of men and women, by lottery.A Pope’s decree at the end of the 5th century, however, put an end to this practice.

Today, the religious aspect is irrelevant but the significance of a relationship between men and women lives on. Now commonly referred to as a day for lovers, Valentine’s Dayconnotes romance, the expression and affirmation of a deep attraction for the other.So we have the spike in sales of red roses, cards with huge red hearts, boxes of chocolates – and dinners by candlelight.  Isn’t it romantic? Very often, this emotional attachment replete with excitement and mystery turns into love and, in many cases, this love results in a wedding. As an old song goes, love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, and you can’t have one without the other.

This aura of romance has made Valentine’s Day the most popular choice for weddings in the Philippines.  On average, 13,000 couples tie the knot on this day, many of them in civil ceremonies. There have even been en masse weddings – last year, 63 couples were married on this day by the mayor of San Juan City.

 But when the romance settles into the mundane everyday togetherness in a couple’s marriage, what happens? On average, marriages in Canada last 15 years.  In 2023, there were 5.6 divorces per 1,000 couples, usually in their early to mid-40s.  In the Philippines, divorce is still not legal but there is the possibility of annulment (more common among movie stars).

What causes the failure of a marriage?  Apparently, love alone is not enough to keep it going. There must be mutual respect and commitment, and the willingness to work at it.  And, of course, the romantic niceties that hold these together.  But, perhaps most of all, a sense of humour that puts everything in perspective.

Years ago, my husband (Peter) and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.  Our three children, as they do on special family happenings, put together a magazine (The Flach Express) for the occasion.  With their spouses, they wrote an article: Dos and Don’ts for a Successful Marriage.  Here it is, 17 years (and 7 grandchildren) later.  Peter and I have been married 56 years, our children and their spouses have been married for 24, 20 and 18 years respectively (yes, there will be a silver wedding anniversary coming up this year).  So these rules must be working! Just remember, laugh a lot and don’t take yourself too seriously.  However, just to be safe,  keep in mind a psychologist ‘s caveat : “Poke fun at your spouse – carefully.” And huwag kayong mapikon.

Do's and Don't s for a successful marriage

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