Wednesday, July 17

A decade of bliss


My wife Wuan and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary last Friday.

We marked the momentous milestone with a quiet candlelight dinner together. We have never done this before. In the previous years, we allowed it to slip by without any fanfare because we were either too busy with work or too tired to even think about it.

I was determined to make the occasion a memorable one this time. After all, how many more ten years do we have in our lives? The least I could do was to make this anniversary count. I also wanted to do something out of the ordinary to alleviate our anxieties over my failing health, even if it was just for a while. This was the perfect opportunity for that respite.

She had no inkling where I was taking her. I only told her we were going out for dinner. At the restaurant, we were given a table that overlooked the dazzling vista of Kuala Lumpur’s skyscrapers. The magnificent Petronas Twin Towers were only a stone’s throw away. The nightscape was spectacular. The soft ambient lighting in the restaurant really set the mood for a romantic evening.

There were fewer of such tall buildings when I came to this city to meet her for the first time eighteen years ago. How much this city has grown over the years. Thinking back, I wondered where I found the courage to travel by myself in the physical condition I was in. I guess being in love drew out the strength I never knew I possessed and emboldened me to do something I never thought possible.

I took a long look at her as were waiting for the food to be served. Although we have both grown older, the years have been kind to her. True, we have both aged and put on some extra pounds here and there but she is still as alluring as the first day I laid eyes on her. On the other hand, my laugh lines have burrowed deeper and I have almost a full head of grey hair now.

I am trying to get used to the idea that I am a husband and that I have a wife. Until now, we still banter and act like we did in our early years together so much so that it is difficult to believe we are married. I guess we have not grown out of the lovey-dovey stage yet and hopefully never will. It is more interesting like this.

Believe it or not, we have never bickered in the ten years we are married and the eight years before that when we were dating. That is what I love about our relationship. There is no pressure to be anything else except ourselves. This is the beauty of her. She does not make demands. She accepts me as I am.

“Give me a report card on how I fared as a husband after ten years,” I requested as we gingerly dug into our food. I wanted to know if it was difficult for her to live with a person like me, physical attributes and all, and the areas I could do better in our relationship.

“No, it’s not difficult,” she said. “I just have to adapt and learn to do things differently.”

That is what she has been doing. Over the years, I have become more and more reliant on her for many of my daily activities as my independence gradually declined.

She has never once left me struggling by myself. She was always there, no matter how busy she was, to ensure that my needs were never neglected.

She has worked her life around me. Because of my strict dietary requirements, she wakes up at five to cook my lunch before going to work every morning. Hers are the hands that dresses me up and do the things I cannot do. She walks on my behalf to run my errands for me. She appears to be tireless and many times I have wondered where she gets her strength from.

“In fact, you have encouraged me to develop my interest in photography, made me learn to cook new dishes, and not forgetting that you are my best friend whom I can confide in as well as share similar interests together with,” she continued.

Hearing those words made my heart tender. That is Wuan for you, always seeing the best in me despite all she has to do. She has given so much of herself and asked for little in return. Her humility and devotion humbles me. Truly, she has lived up to her wedding vow of holding and comforting me through sickness and in health, and more. I wished I could say I have done the same for her too.

The evening ended with both of us in a chirpy mood. We agreed to make it a point to commemorate our wedding anniversaries every year from now on. They are going to be our little victory celebrations for having conquered another year together.

With her beside me, I am certain we can make it through any storm that may come our way. Someone up there must really love me to send an angel like her into my life. She completes me. May we be granted many more decades of bliss together.