Finding LOVE at Age 46

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more; that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” — Noah to Allie in “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks

Whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special someone or all by yourself, stories of love — all forms of it but, most especially the romantic kind — will keep being created. The best love stories will keep being told through the end of time.

It’s not hard to understand why we love ‘love stories’. They evoke so much human emotion, raw and pure, the only kind of truth that can only be spoken by our souls. It is the story that touches our lives or, at best, one in which we play the role of the lover, partner, friend, soulmate. The role is relative to somebody else and does not exist without the other — always remembered and never to be forgotten.

No boyfriend since birth

Is there a right kind of love? Is there a right time for love? This is the love story sought and now lived by Marifel Somera-Orden who, after all, did not “grow old alone and lonely,” her fears in her own words.

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Not so long ago, Marifel longed for her own romance too. She spent decades thinking to herself, “How come other women had men to call their own and I don’t?” Nobody courted her, and, in all terms, was living the life of a ’dalagang Filipina’ (colloquial, means ‘never been touched and never been kissed’) who was an inch close to becoming ‘matandang dalaga’ (old maid). “I started thinking that maybe something was wrong with me.”

“Who would comfort me in times when I feel miserable?”

Now married with a good man by her side, Marifel will finally be spending Valentine’s Day with her very own special someone. “There was a time in my life when Valentine’s Day was never a good day for me. I pitied myself as I envied the ladies walking down the streets, bouquets on one hand and chocolates on the other. That was why I would often just stay at home, watch anything but a romantic flick on tv, and binge on junk foods.”

Her plans for this year’s Valentine’s? “We’ll have a quiet dinner, nothing fancy. We’ve just recently spent for home improvements so we promised not to gift each other but, we’ll see if I get flowers for Valentine’s.”

When the love bug strikes

Marifel had a number of communities where she belonged to but, stayed put in the same place of work for decades. It was the last place she or anybody who knew her would have thought she’d find the one who would win her heart.

Marifel and, her husband, Erwin, were work colleagues. Erwin joined the same company in 2009. “I didn’t like him at first,” she confessed. “He seemed to me like he had walls built around him that nobody could tear down.” Both frequently argued over the stuff that mattered at work but, mostly, over little things that most people wouldn’t care about. Soon enough, their officemates began to notice their love-hate relationship and started teasing them.

“It wasn’t until 2011, during a business trip in Palawan, when I realized, that I was absolutely attracted to Erwin.” It was one of many work-related trips that they’ve shared before then. This one in particular allowed them to get to know each other better. “We stayed at a farm inside a rural university. We didn’t have tv so there was nothing else to do after conducting the trainings.”

So, they ended up telling each other stories night after night. “We’d lie down on the same bed, hands clasped and skin to skin.” “Nothing kinky happened,” she would immediately clarify, “but those moments made me feel electrified”. “Those were the first few moments of my life to be so intimately and dangerously close to a man. I remember feeling giddy and it felt good!”

“On the final night of our stay, I felt sad because that meant our evening conversations would be over soon and I’ve grown to look forward to the habit.” Habit it became. Once they were back in Manila, Erwin and Marifel would continue talking for hours every night.

The proposal

The two would spend many years and many other adventures together before they made it official that they were an item. “In March 2014, while we were off to spend time together at the Manila Ocean Park, he asked me, ‘Are you taking me seriously?’ and all I could manage to say was, ‘huh?’” Then Erwin told her, “Basta seryoso ako sa’yo at pakakasalan kita (Never mind, just trust me that I am serious and that I will marry you)”. Marifel’s breath was taken away, “Heaven!”

It wasn’t until December 2015 when Marifel got formally proposed to.  While the two were attending a Christmas get-together dinner, Erwin pretended to be sick. “So, I checked up on him, who allegedly was resting at an upstairs room.” She didn’t expect to find Erwin to be kneeling on the floor with three red roses in hand, red petals all around, asking her, ‘Will you marry me?’ “That was just the beginning of wonderful times ahead of us,” Marifel exclaims.

Asked about how it felt like to finally find the love of her life, Marifel relates, “I feel happy, content and at peace”. “I am finally home with my one and only.”  She says that she feels an unexplainable joy inside of her and she knows that it was God who answered her heart’s desires.

Life as a married woman

On 16 July 2016, Marifel and Erwin were joined in Holy Matrimony to their happiness and to the joy of their families and friends.

“Married life is blissful, exciting, comforting. It gives me joy and peace. I feel safe and protected.” “Some lust is a must,” she adds as she bursts into laughter. “It can’t be perfect though. We have those moments when nobody would want to stand down. We’ll wait until it’s calm to iron out our differences but, we never let a day pass by without making up.”

“My weaknesses are his strengths and vice versa.” Marifel and Erwin create more happy memories by taking long drives, out of town trips, eating in their favorite restaurants, and  just spending time at home seated close to each other while listening to good music and holding each other’s hands.

Finding true love

To women who feel stuck and are in the same place where she was before finding the love of her life, Marifel says to, “Pray for the man who deserves you. God hears your heart’s desires and will grant it in His perfect time. Keep believing even when it seems impossible.”

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“I had three wishes for my love life,” she recalls. “First, I wished to marry a best friend. Second, I wished for a man who will take me for what I am and love me for who I am — with all my bad moods and my excess cholesterol,” she says as she breaks out to a loud laughter. “Lastly, I wished for someone who will be proud of me and shout out to the rest of the world how much he loves me. I got all of it.”

After she accepted Erwin’s marriage proposal, Erwin let everybody on Facebook know that 2015 was the last Christmas he would spend as a single man. “He is not that type of expressive,” Marifel says.

Believe in the power of love

The famous classic writer, George Orson Welles once wrote, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” That’s why you must keep your faith and keep finding love in and with people around you. Romance is but a chance but to keep sharing your love will always be a choice.

What is your love story? Share your story with us by commenting below.

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