Saturday, February 14, 2015


It is a challenge these days to find couples who have been HAPPILY married for at least fifty years. Note the word HAPPILY. Many older couples remain together but there is no love lost between husband and wife, and it is plain for all to see. There is little or no communication, even less physical touch. It is like two strangers living under the same roof out of convenience. For these couples, the spark of love has long died, never to be rekindled.

It takes a lot of hard work to nurture a relationship, a lot of give and take to reach that stage where one simply can't live without the other. They complete each other. Each is the other half, and they fit perfectly together.

Like this elderly couple. The photo is one of my favorites - a tender moment captured in time. I happened to be behind them one fine morning. With their backpacks and walking shoes, they looked all set for a day out in the city. I couldn't help noticing how he held her hand all the way and shielded her from passing vehicles. How sweet!

Loving, caring husbands are a dying breed. So are loving, caring wives. Perhaps it all boils down to incompatibility. They were not meant for each other in the first place.

It is, therefore, such a pleasure for me to introduce two couples who are blessed to have found each other to share their life's journey with. Here's what they have to say about staying happily married, in their own words, and specially for our SeniorsAloud blog readers.

Picture perfect couple Mrs J (Mdm Surjeet Kaur), 73, and Mr Jagjeet Singh, 80. They have been married 52 years.

Secrets of a long lasting marriage - by Mrs J

1. Expect to have lots of challenges as you both grow in years ... familiarity does not really help .. but don't take each other for granted especially as a woman I want to feel appreciated for manaqing the home and taking good care of the household. It's a never-ending task and responsibility but if appreciated the sky is the limit. I am thus appreciated for a LOT OF WHAT  I do and it is expressed in many different loving ways.

Mr and Mrs J have two sons and five grandchildren who keep them very busy,
but they enjoy every minute of bonding time with their grandchildren.

2. Both must help in putting the house in order. Every woman appreciates it when the man chips in. Mine cooks excellent chicken curry ... the family calls his curry with a signature name: 'Dada's Special Chicken Curry!'  'Dada' means paternal grandpa.

3. Frequent short weekend getaways together to stay romantic and in love.

4. Do things together. We do Nordic Walking. Although he is a golfer we make sure there are two days we Nordic Walk together in Lake Gardens...

5. Keep busy. Give space to each other to breathe and do their own things, so you have no time to get on each other's nerves. The busier you are, the happier you are...No time to be picky.

Footnote: Mrs J and I have been friends since the 1970s when we started our careers as teachers. She has the distinction of being the first senior I interviewed way back in May 2008 for the article 'Forever Young'. In recent years, Mrs J has developed a passion for Nordic Walking and calls it 'the best total body workout for seniors'. She is the country's first and possibly only certified Nordic Walking instructor. If you are interested to learn more, you can contact her at 03-7610 2714, or 012-2005 276.

No half-measures when you love someone - by Tony Lee

Still lovey dovey after all these years! Wish we had more old school gentlemen like Tony and fiesty grandmas like Suzanne.

Tips for a happy marriage:-

a)  The secret to a happy life is giving God the first part of the day, the first priority to every decision and the first place in your heart.

Tony is now 92,  and Suzanne is 90. They have been happily married for 67 wonderful years. 

b)  Of course every life should have some mystery in it and I am thrilled that mine takes the form of Suzanne. She has been all that I want as a partner on life's journey.

c)  We don't  pray to God so that He will change His mind. We pray to God so that we will change - and if we change, our situation can change.

d)  Love is a decision! You will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don't or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology.

e)  You do not marry someone you can live with; you marry the person whom you cannot live without.

Footnote: I first read about Suzanne when she was featured in The Star article 'Fit As A Fiddle' in Feb 2012. I was so inspired by what I read that I contacted Tony shortly after. We have been in touch via email ever since. Suzanne has created her own unique daily regime to keep in shape and in good health, and they certainly have worked for her. For more about Tony and Suzanne's fitness tips, visit their blog at


Over in Singapore, to commemorate the golden jubilee of the republic, and to celebrate Valentine's Day, 50 pioneer generation couples shared their love stories in book. Four couples were interviewed by The Straits Times about what it takes for a marriage to last a lifetime. All images below are from The Straits Times.

Mr Chong Siew Chin, 78, and Mdm Eng Theng Sing, 81. Read more at
Mr Syed Mohammad Syed Umar Shahab, 83, and Mdm Sharifah Noraini Syed Hussein Alsagoff, 77. Food plays a big part in their marriage. More at
Mr Mahn Singh Bajaj, 87, and Mdm Suhinder Kaur, 85. Being able to compromise is their binding secret. More at
Mr Lim Sai Meng, 91, and Mdm Poh Boon Quee, 86. No harsh words even after six decades together. More at

And the 2015 award for the longest happily married couple (81 years) goes to....

..... Dale and Alice Rockey. Both are 99 this year, They first met when they were teenagers and married just after six months later on December 29, 1933 during the great depression. 

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