Married for 60 years! Couple shares 5 secrets for a happy marriage

Married for 60 years! Couple shares 5 secrets for a happy marriage
PHOTO: Her World

"I love Mary so much, I still want to be her husband in our next life." Isn't that the sweetest thing you've read all day?

1. SPEND TIME TOGETHER

"I guess you could say my wife Mary is my first love. As kids growing up in the same kampung - her dad owned a rubber plantation in Yio Chu Kang and my family were his tenants - we'd play together. And as teenagers, we worked side by side in the plantation - I was in charge of tapping the rubber trees while Mary had to record the amount of latex collected - and enjoyed long chats as we went about our work.

Looking back, they're such wonderful, precious moments, as are the memories of our nightly walks to her house after she finished tuition at my place (she lived just next door). Luckily for me, Mary's parents were very protective and didn't allow her to attend school because it was too far away - that meant I could see more of her!"

2. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY "I LOVE YOU", BUT YOU MUST SHOW IT

"When it comes to love, I believe actions speak louder than words. I don't say those three words to Mary, but of course I feel it, and I make sure she's well taken care of. Whenever we're out, I'll walk behind her so I can support her if she falls. I also carry a stool (this doubles as a walking aid) so she can sit when she's tired - her knees tend to ache if she stands or walks for a long period of time.

A few years back, while we were on holiday in Taiwan, a young lady asked if she could take a photo of us. I was puzzled because it was raining and we were in the midst of climbing up a flight of stairs - I didn't think the moment was picture-worthy.

However, the lady said she'd spotted us and thought it was really sweet to see me supporting Mary with one hand and sheltering her with an umbrella with the other. She explained that she wanted to capture the moment to show her husband so he could follow suit."

(Koon Chin and Mary, whom he describes as "the prettiest girl in the kampung", on their wedding day.)

3. GIVE AND TAKE

"We married in 1956, when I was 20 and Mary, 19, and we both learned that being together is a lot more harmonious if we don't fuss over the little things.

We don't fight often because we make a conscious effort to let things go. The couples of today's generation tend to stress over money, but money isn't the most important thing in life. Even though Mary's family was wealthier than mine, it was never an issue for her. All that mattered was that I loved and cared for the family.

That said, on the very few occasions when my wife is unhappy - and I'll know she is because she'll be unusually quiet - I sit beside her, gently touch her and try to make her smile. I'd like to think that our five children have learned from our example because they rarely fight with their spouses. Hopefully, our 11 grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren will follow suit."

4. CELEBRATE EVERY MILESTONE

"Each milestone reminds us of how far we've come as a couple and we like to celebrate with a bang.

Back in 2006, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary by throwing a dinner party for our family and friends at Braddell Heights Community Club. Just last year, we renewed our wedding vows in the presence of our children at the Golden Jubilee Love 50 event, which was organised by Family Life Champions (Marine Parade and Mountbatten).

If we're healthy enough to celebrate our 70th wedding anniversary, we'll definitely make it a grand aff air. We celebrate not to show off, but to encourage the younger generation to stay committed and faithful to their partners. The older you get, the more you realise how important it is to cherish your spouse. I love Mary so much, I still want to be her husband in our next life."

5. NEVER STOP DATING... AND ALWAYS HOLD HANDS

"Oh yes, we still go on dates, and I chauffeur Mary around in the car my son bought for us. We go to East Coast Park and shopping centres, and to Chinatown for the good food. We also head to the community centre every Tuesday, where I'll sing songs with other old folks. Mary doesn't sing, but she'll sit next to me and listen. And, although I'm 80 and Mary, 79, we still hold hands like young lovebirds!"

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