Till Death Do us apart...

Mar 31, 2010

There are love stories and there are unusual love stories. These days there is a heated debate going on,  on premarital sex, extramarital  sex and live in relationships, marriage etc.,  Recently I came across this newspaper story with the headline ‘couple for 74 years die within 3 days of each other’. As they say picture speaks better than words and the photograph of the couple Ted and Mary Williams holding hands  caught my attention. 74 years spent together as husband and wife was even difficult to digest leave alone living them.  There is more to the love story of this couple from London.  They were both admitted to different hospitals for different age related ailments.  Being alone in the hospital Mary did the best thing of writing a love letter to her husband asking him to see her.  Ted responded with equal alacrity and was then transferred to Mary’s ward and he spent the final hours holding the hands of his beloved wife and she died three hours after Ted had arrived blissfully holding the hands of Ted during her final journey.  Three days later Ted breathed his last.  It was the classic case of “till death do us apart”, but with oodles of romantic elements.    

It was such a touching story, heart rending, so romantic and I felt I have not come across a more romantic incident than this in real life.  Even our masala movies both Hollywood and bollywood could not depict or match the intensity of the love of this couple in any of their movies.  It is said that Ted and Mary fell in love as teenagers and were inseparable for next 74 years, a feat that cannot bettered by anyone considering that we are living in a world of relationships of convenience. 

We are living in a world of everything instant.  We hear about instant live-in, quick marriages and instantaneous divorces and it is hard to believe this kind of unusual love story has unfurled to remind us that relationships can last longer and can be fruitful one.  There are examples galore especially in celebrity circles that marriage as an institution is slowly but steadily collapsing.  Remember pop singer Britney Spears marriage to her childhood sweetheart Jason Allen Alexander lasted just 55 hours. Bay watch boobs Babe Pamela Anderson has been divorced more times that the number of years she has spent together in matrimony with different partners.  There are numerous instances of similar kind but celebrities always grab eyeballs and make news as compared to ordinary mortals. 

The love story of Ted and Mary should be an eye opener to modern day couples especially in our country as marriage as an institution is crumbling and trends indicate that there has been a significant rise in divorce rates in India.    No denying the fact that in our own country there might be many instances of couples spending a major part of their lives as couples (thanks to the prevalence of child marriages. Incidentally considering that Ted and Mary were 90 and 87 years old respectively when they died theirs too is a child marriage). What sets this couple apart from the other contenders is the intensity of their love that bonded well with the passage of time unlike the Seven Year Itch many marriages suffer from these days. (Remember the movie by the same name immortalized by Sex Diva Merlyn Monore and her famous red frock?)  Now of course from seven years it has come down to 7 months and even to 7 days and who knows what next?      

This is very much evident from the fact that divorce rates in India are increasing at an alarming rate.  With the favourable court judgement with regard to Section 377 and Supreme Court’s recent remarks on live-in-relationships there is certainly a paradigm shift in people’s attitude towards relationships and the institution of marriage.  Divorce rates are higher in love marriages as compared to arranged marriages which again is a subject for separate discussion. 

While there is no successful formula for a successful marriage the most important ingredient for the successful marriage life is complete trust in each other. Without trust and faith in marriage there would be so much insecure behavior floating around such as, distrust, doubt, suspicions, lying, jealousy & possessiveness.  The foundation for a successful marriage lay in the willingness of the couple to respect each other, accept each other’s follies,  follow an open door policy of communication and of course in showing lots of love and affection.  It is love and love alone which can negate the negative factors and help move on as companions for life. 

It pays well for couples to remember that no human being is perfect.  Conflicts and differences of opinion in fact add spice to an otherwise mundane relationship.  But those conflicts should not become too often or cross the danger line.  Very often inflated egos prove to be the undoing in a relationship.  Couple will do well to remember that egoistic attitude will spell doom for a marriage or relationship if it is to last for life long.   There are many marriages which border on relationship of convenience, which many feel is better than the bitter divorce.  

The saga of love story of Ted and Mary will certainly be an inspiration to all those who believe in relationships based on love, respect, understanding and mutual admiration. 

by Florine Roche - Daijiworld Media Network
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Comment on this article

  • Oswald, Mangalore

    Mon, Apr 05 2010

    Hello Florine,
    It is not "till death do us apart" but "TILL DEATH DO US PART" meaning, till death parts us. These are the last words of the marriage vows pronounced by the spouses made in Catholic as well as Protestant marriage rites in English.

  • Antony Roche, Brahmavar, Udupi

    Fri, Apr 02 2010

    Hard believe that it took ploace in such a country where marriages are not lasting for long. Thanks Florine for such a wonderful write up. I told my wife that we will follow in the steps of Ted and Mary,and then someone will write about as well with our old and new pictures!

  • Lohit avinash, moodbidri

    Thu, Apr 01 2010

    Really heart touched.Thank you Florine

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore - U.S.A.

    Thu, Apr 01 2010

    I have read with great interest the love story of Ted and Mary. In these days - the so called modern times, marriages - more particularly marriages of convenience do not last very long. Rarely we see golden and diamond wedding and even Silver weddings are not so common. Under the prevailing scenario it is wonderful to see Mary and Ted having lived seventy-four blissful years together.

    Florine - I tend to think that the secret is more than just TRUST. Yes Trust is an element which is essential but that apart love, understanding and a spirit of forgiveness also form essential requirements of Happy Marriages. The story cited by Florine almost appears like a fairy tale.

    Florine fourteen years from now if my wife and I survive I suggest that you interview us then as you did for our diamond wedding and I assure you that I will provide you with plenty of material for a good story.

    Kudos to The Writer. May Mary and Ted enjoy Eternal Rest.

    Joe Gonsalves

  • donald, toronto

    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    It is really a wonder to read the story of this old couple in this modern age where materialism has overtaken all moral values and man is arriving to a stage who does not believe what is next when our life ends nobody can tell were our spirit will finally rest because we lack faith in scriptures and don't bother what our anscesters toiled for and passed on to us the rich moral values and faith in religion.Certainly something big is waiting in this world to happen to teach mankind a lesson,I am only sorry for the future of the present young generation what all challeges they may have to face to servive in this world which is leading all nations towards the destructive path.

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    Generally the arguments, fights and misunderstandings are common in marriages at young age. As the partners reach old age all these ego, misunderstanding, arguments will vanish and the life becomes smooth. These old couple will be left for themselves...even the children will be busy fighting their life ...??? It is very simple to break a relationship and very difficult to maintain it. By breaking a relationship both are the sufferers..!!??? Ego, anger, jealousy & doubt shall not shall not enter if the relationship should be successful.

  • Kusuma Kumari , Nellore/USA

    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    Yes these days many couples dont understand what real love is I have seen couples getting divorced in 2 months that too after love marriage I cant understand why these days people divorce so easily May be they are very much money minded and love minded All couples I should start loving and should not run after money

  • adshenoy, mangloor

    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    The "LOVE" and the "STORY". The story is a story. The love part certainly questionable. Its certainly human behaviour. It changes all the time. The "belonging" perhaps makes sense to the continued marriage bond and sanctity.
    Its certainly true marriage breakdowns are increasing at an alarming scale in India. Its a pandemic in western society even after falling in love, knowing each other for years and living together for years and years. What happened to the love they displayed once.
    Peope sign pre-nuptial agreements even before marriage in the west. Where is the trust if one makes marriage is a deal, negotiation and mundane partnership.
    It baffles my my mind why Indian culture once reverred, is breaking down, The bollywood stars and the like are venturing into marriage breakdowns.
    Get married to belong to each other and not with high expectations and glamour and material things. These things dont pay, marriage lasts, bonding strenghtens, and belonging bonds.

    There is nothing called perfect relationships. If one makes imperfect relationsips into perfect ones, trust me thats a LOVESTORY to read, follow and cherish.


    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    Dear Florine Roche, an eye opener article for the couple.Keep it up and Good luck

  • Prakash Melwin, Moodubelle/ Bangalore

    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    I appreciate the author bringing in a good example of real successful love story. I do believe that real love always works and has the ability to face anything. When we say western culture, I myself have seen few of the families in the west who take care of their children and also their parents just like in India. Of course the proportion may be less compared to India. We may be bit influenced by the movies and have preconceived notion. There is nothing like modern or ancient when we talk about love. Love has multiple meanings. What matters is how an individual perceives it. Marriage has so many variables, but most important is the understanding between the couple. The more you understand and accept the other person as is, more you love them and that is definitely going to work.

  • Anil Pinto, Mumbai/Abu Dhabi

    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    I was really touched reading about Ted and Mary. What a beautiful life lived in each others company and love.

    Marriage is indeed a very beautiful relationship and the cornerstone of our families, Society , country and eventually the world. Unlike its cosmetic appearance which tends to portray the "Happily Ever After" image, its a relationship which calls for a lot of understanding and sacrifices. Of course its not easy especially when it concerns two different individuals with perhaps different likes and dislikes, tastes, social interactions etc. However, Keeping the objective of loving each other ahead of everything else keeps this relationship going strong.

    Its also very important to pray for your marriage. Prayer reinforces the bond helping the couple to bypass minor differences in view of a larger objective.

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    A good one Florine but too difficult to believe it to have happened in a country where Royal marriages split over extra-marital relationships. Prince Charles' marriage to Diana is one such a blot to the love stories of England.

    Thank you for bringing to us this beautiful example of a love story.

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