Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Eternally beautiful

Posted on November 01, 2006 by jimparedes

Humming in my UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes
The Philippine STAR 11/05/2006

Exactly 29 years ago on Oct. 29, Lydia and I walked down the aisle. She was 20 and I was 25, both of us wide-eyed but so sure of ourselves and our decision to stay together forever as we plunged into matrimony. We were sure, the way young people tend to be certain, that it was going to be an adventure. But little did we know that it was going to be a big one, probably the biggest one we’d ever know.

Getting married is like signing a blank check. You have no idea how much it will cost you. You are committing an unquantifiable amount of material and emotional capital – time, money, patience, sacrifice, and an infinite number of things you have not even begun to imagine that you must deal with eventually.

Many of them are real minefields as Lydia and I, like all couples, soon discovered. There are the in-laws, kids, expenses, the balance between career and family life, personal habits, sex, jealousy, etc. There is also the process of arriving at a “negotiated settlement” on how to deal with things like getting along with each other’s friends, child rearing, spending habits, religion, hobbies, and how much “independence” the partners should be allowed. The institution of marriage, as we inherited it, was very complicated.

One of the things I found out much later in our married life is that there is a difference between a love affair and a marriage. A love affair has a dynamic that is different from a marital bond. Generally, love affairs are not meant to last. They are meant to have a beginning and an end. Why? Because they are about two separate people bonded by romantic, oceanic feelings of what seems like love. They live for the intense feeling, riding it as far as it will go and split up when the thrill is gone.

Marriage, on the other hand, is the experience of life by two people as a couple. Many times, new couples discover that they are not an easy fit, as Lydia and I discovered early on. That’s why in a marital relationship one must necessarily give up big parts of himself/herself to the union to get a payback. While one may still want some privacy and independence, one cannot have them without a large dose of a shared life. From the start until the end, marriage is about two people experiencing one and the same lifetime.

It starts with romance and the sexual thrill of being with each other, but you can only count on those for so long. Anyone married for more than 10 years can attest that there are times when the attraction which seemed so strong when you first laid eyes on each other as single people can be non-existent for long periods. Viewed from the perspective of a love affair, that is certainly not a good thing. One may feel like the journey has reached a stretch of uninteresting flatlands. The joyride is over.

But from the perspective of a long marriage, this is simply a hiatus of sorts, or may even be the first signs of a qualitative change in the way one loves. It can be disconcerting at first but if you stick around long enough, the picture starts to get clearer. While gone may be (from time to time) the breathtaking highs and exhilarating moments, something else may be happening. Author M. Scott Peck put it so well when he wrote that “the death of romantic love can be the start of true love.”

In our early years, Lydia and I felt that being married meant we had to do something dramatic all the time to keep it going. But as we got older, the doing often gave way to just being. Where before, love had to be “proven” by the sparkling diamond on her finger, or the great trip abroad, or the special dinner with wine in some plush place, love in our 29-year marriage feels no compulsion to prove itself as dramatically. Having long walks, conversations after dinner, holding hands during long drives, snuggling in bed or just simply being together – sometimes without even talking – have often taken the place of all that. While sex can still be as great as ever, the truth is, as an older couple, we have discovered other ways to remain interested in each other. There is not only comfort but magic in the “ordinary,” as one realizes that love can be expressed in simply caring or supporting each other’s steps towards personal and spiritual growth.

One of the big recent highlights of our journey as life partners was Lydia’s big cancer scare three years ago. We felt so helpless as we tried to deal with the fear of losing each other. But we took it on as a couple. As far as we were concerned, we both had cancer. Those were days of great emotional upheaval. Ironically, they were also moments of calm and assurance. Even as we cried about it, we also learned that we loved each other enough to willingly suffer together because, paradoxically, by doing so, we eased each other’s pain.

This may sound flippant, if not cruel, but looking back, I can say that if I could only guarantee survival, I would recommend cancer to everyone because of what it has done for Lydia and me. It has been such a rare opportunity to meet and accept unconditionally the hard-to-take faces of love that we often run away from. Yet when we bit the bullet, we opened ourselves to greater depth and began to see the face of the Divine in the other human being we had chosen to love. Only then did we realize that all the suffering made sense.

In the end, the very suffering we undergo turns into something eternally beautiful.

Here’s a video tribute I made for her which we showed on her advanced birthday party and our anniversary last October 29.

* * *

0 to “Eternally beautiful”

  1. Royce says:

    Jim, this recent posting is beautiful and heartwarming. A successful love story indeed.

  2. triccy says:

    Such a beautiful love story you’ve shared with us, Sir Jim. Thank you so much.

  3. may says:

    you have no idea how this post warmed my heart…i love love stories. thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and God bless you both with more years of joy, peace, and love 🙂

  4. kampuput says:

    “as far as we were concerned, we both had cancer.”

    wow. that’s so touching.

  5. balikbayan_box says:

    Happy Birthday to Lydia and Happy anniversary to both of you!

    What a beautiful entry and video you made for her. I just watch the video tribute as well as your Lumisan na Siya video at YouTube (c/o of Ala).

    More power and God bless.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to you both! and Happy Birthday tita!
    What a beautiful read! 🙂 .. and most refreshing as usual 🙂

    ..but I just realized more/again that marriage is such a difficult thing to “get into”… Parang I’ve gotten so used to myself already that I dont think “living one life time together” will make me happy..

    *sigh*… maybe i just need to meet someone who’ll change my mind :))

  7. Paul Farol says:

    Such a wonderful post Jim. I feel so happy to have read it to my wife this morning. We hugged afterwards. haaaay!

  8. Paul Farol says:

    I’m so glad to have read your post today. I read it to my wife. And after a long sigh, we hugged. We know exactly what you are talking about, though the circumstances were quite different.

  9. Jim says:

    Royce, Triccy, may, kampuput, balikbayan box—salamat!

    Doranne–getting hitched is pretty much like what we believe in creativity class. Jump and the net will appear….many times!

    paul farol–yes, though the circumstances may change, love is the same story. We extend ourslves to another till there’ no more other, and no more self.

  10. VICKY says:

    a great love story and still growing stronger and stronger everyday. You are a lucky couple not to undergo the trauma of ‘divorce’ and separation which seems to be the norm nowadays. that cancer scare cemented your relationship, while in others it could break it. You must be two strong characters, 2 individuals who got together for a great goal…wishing you a forever ever after that will continue till eternity…naks! i do- your relationship is a great model to couples of today.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful video, it shows so much of how bautiful your family is. I can feel the love.

    Congratulations on your anniversary and happy birthday to Lydia. Its the first time I got a closer look of her and she does look like Ala.

  12. Anonymous says:

    congratulations, sir jim!

    it is rare to find these days a marriage as inspiring and as strong as yours!


  13. Royce says:

    Jim, I’m reposting my email to you as you suggested…

    Yehey, I was first to comment on your latest posting in your blog. Belated happy anniversary to you and Lydia. You have such a lovely family indeed!

    On the PDA. I just watched the elimination night show. I was glad that Emman got Chad’s vote. I was surprised that Joan voted for Emman too. I thought it would be boys vs. girls. Hahaha.

    Emman really deserved the vote because of his excellent performance and determination. Chai, on the other hand, could have chosen a much nicer piece to sing. Some of her past performances were really outstanding.

    Did you see what they did to Kristoff at “Super Ingo”? they turned him into a Vampire. Hahaha. I wonder if the network took him in as a bit player at that series for his many fans, and the all important “ratings” for the show. I heard that Super Ingo’s rating went up. Hmmm, I wonder…

    As for Michelle, I think she’s on the verge of being shown the door. Oooops… She’s just too nervous during performances although she has talents on her own.

    Thanks to the faculty. Rosita really deserved one more crack at the pot. Also, just like what you guys said to her, she represents all the domestics around the world and the downtrodden. If only she’ll kick the “self pity” syndrome, she’ll be all right. Don’t you think so?

    We’ll truly miss you, Jim, when the PDA is over. Any chance you and the guys record a new album for your global fans?

  14. Royce says:

    P.S. The video tribute you did was just great! I truly admire your love and dedication to Lydia.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I always thought I’d marry young. I’m now 25 and I don’t feel like settling down anytime soon. Marriage after all is a decision, and just like you and Lydia, one just had to be absolutely sure.


  16. Edong says:

    wow, can’t believe that the few moments spent on reading your post can do wonders… for me

    thanks for the story, got to make a post for my wife as well…

    God bless you and your family.

  17. GreenMangoes says:

    Sir Jim!

    If I may ask for some personal questions:

    What was the part from yourself and hers that was given up for the marriage?

    About PDA, Paano niyo po pinipigilan ang inyong luha na tumulo kapag kayo’y nalulungkot sa pag alis ng isang estudiyante or when a very sad sprung out from your students? Is it all because of you being as an experienced man? Or does crying with them won’t help their personality to be strong when difficult times arises?

    AND I understand finally, from this post on how suffering does makes sense in all walks of life. Mejo naguluhan po ako dati when I have read from Paulo Coelho’s “Eleven Minutes” that we are enjoying to see suffering each day. From media down to our own lives. that we, according to the book, are masochists of all sorts. But that was according to the book’s characters.

    Your post helped me see and comprehend the vital part of having this suffering as an unremovable feeling. That a brush of suffering would make us see and feel Love more.

    If I could recommend books po:

    Recently, I’ve been reading two books that tackles about marriage, love and the in-betweens of having a relationship. I don’t know if you have read these:

    “Waiting” by Ha Jin
    “Love In The Time Of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Thank you po for sharing this post! Ang sarap ng pakiramdam na halos araw araw may natututunan akong maliit pero importanteng bagay na hindi ko po gaanong natutunan sa Colehiyo. =)


  18. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever thought of conceptualizing your love story in a book? It would be such a great read especially in our society nowadays were divorce or separation is becoming such a trend. I think that monogamy in our present society is non-existent or it’s just that people are having a hard time committing with just one person. What do you think?

    I hope you and Lydia will continue to inspire so many people. God bless to you and your family.

  19. Ckayen says:

    thanks for sharing Jim, truly an inspiration for young couples. Indeed, making marriage work is a decision not a mere feeling…will surely read this post with my husband, your love story is written by someone with the divine powers, I am im in 3 years married now and never been happier- its challenging though but I think this experience adds on to my fullness in LIFE….so I welcome all the odds…anyway, this what makes LIFE a LIFE..I am living in fullness…!

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

  20. nysa says:

    Sir Jim,

    you made me cry… This was the second time though… The first time was when you guested in Sharon, and Sharon asked you about your wife.. I was shocked that your life is in that situation.. Now, I know why you are living in Australia. But i surprised me more when you cried.. I really love, and respect guys, who cries for love… I can see your pain, but also hope…

    I love you Sir Jim, and don’t worry, GOD will guide Ma’am Lydia, and your kida, and also your marriage even in the next lifetime…

    more power! belated happy anniversary!

  21. Jim says:

    To everyone,

    I am honored by your letters and your kind words for Lydia and I. However, I find myself quite embarrassed at the perception some of you may have that we are a perfect couple and that our marriage is always super and all that. Just to clarify, we are far from perfect. I certainly am no saint. We do have things going for us but we are not immune to problems that married people face.

    Yun lang. I just wanted to bring things down to a more real level.

    Vicky– yes, we are lucky so far to be together. We work hard at it.

    leah– salamat.all my children look like her actually. I feel like I was adopted. heh heh.
    royce–yes, PDA is something to watch. I’m not ready to lose any of the kids right now but I guess I have to get used to it. In case you want to know, part two of the APO Tribute album is being recorded right now. Watch out for it.

    hanne-yes, one has to be absolutely sure that one is ready to take the big risk.


    greenmangoes–sometimes I really have to hold back my tears with these kids since I have so much empathy for what they go through. I have to be strong though.

    A favorite quote I have on suffering goes something like this: ‘where youn stumble, there lies your treasure’, from Joseph Campbell. In suffering do we find great beauty if we pay attention.Thanks for the book reco.

    Ckayen–Hope this somehow helps you and your husband through the years. Yes, marriage is something one never masters. It’s ALways a learning experience.

    nysa–thanks a lot. I really appreciate your message.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sir Jim!

    Soon enuf.. maybe I’m just looking for the right place to jump 🙂

  23. sachiko says:

    Hayy.. i really like the music you chose for this wonderful video. And the more i look at Lydia,the more i am convinced na ‘swerte si Jim,she’s so beautiful,fan ako!

    I wonder what her first reaction was when she watched this video? And were you the one who took the last pic,galing. 🙂

    From sach whose anniversary is on the 30th of this month,too. 22 years. 🙂

  24. Anonymous says:

    wow! what a wonderful love story!

    happy anniversary and here’s to more years of blessed togetherness.

  25. Bass Poet says:

    Hi Jim,

    I read your blogs religiously to keep my life centred, loosed and casual. I try to absorb your sharings and ideals like a sponge with a green scrubby parang Scotch Brite. To figuratively explain what I meant – the sponge part is to absorb whatever you impart to us and the Green Scrubby is to filter your blog ideals and sharings to suit my needs. Puwede mo rin ikumpara sa papel de liya.

    Your recent blog strike me deep in my heart. I am newly married for 14 months and my marriage is still in infancy stage. Your real accounts and experiences as a married couple made me realized that we as a married couple have similarities within your married life experiences.

    I admire your honesty and openness in telling us your marriage is not in a perfect state. However, I feel really honoured and blessed to understand and grasp the real essence and everyday complexities of a married life in reading and digesting your recent blog.

    I feel like a better husband and soul mate to my wife already after reading your recent blog. I can’t wait to share your recent blog to my wife.

    Mabuhay ka!

  26. Neve says:

    A friend of mine just told me about your site and it amazes me just how you still manage to keep up with blogging while you’re very busy and occupied. TITO JIM (haha, sorry po feeling close), I just want you to know that I admire your being such a loving and caring father to all the scholars at PDA. Sobrang nakakatuwa po kayo. Parang ang sweet-sweet nyo po sa kanilang lahat. Ang great-great nyong daddy! Your kids must be super duper lucky to have one very intelligent, amazing, wonderful, and just everything else that’s positive FATHER. You’re great, I swear. Keep it up! 🙂 – NEVE

  27. maria elizarah says:

    Hello Jim!

    This entry is married life itself put into words. I could relate and I could validate the thoughts you have shared herein. Your readers, including me of course, are lucky that you can articulate real life situations very well into writing.

    You and Lydia are so special indeed that you have kept the bond strong over the years. I could imagine the efforts and everything you both have put into it. I wish you and Lydia to stay healthy, happy, and always in love with each other.

    Finally, I’d like to share the blog entry I made for our last wedding anniversary, shallow it is, but when you are married for quite some time and still very much in love with each other, you just want to tell the whole world 🙂


  28. Jim says:

    doranne–senfd me an initation when you ‘jump’. OK?

    Sachiko–That was the music we chose for our wedding. Yes, I took the last shot.

    jo, bass poet–salamat

    neve–I owe some credit to my kids. They are wonderful enough for me to want to do my job as father to them.

  29. Amor says:

    i had no idea that you are a very good writer as well as a very good singer. i have read one article you wrote about the painful decision to leave the Phil. to seek greener pasture abroad, and the article struck me because i had been in the same situation. i have been an avid fan of your group since you began your singing carreer. after reading your article i can say that i made the right decision when i married my husband 32 years ago. you have a very beautiful family. i will look forward to reading more of your articles. – AMOR of California

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