What I’ve learned from my parents’ long-distance marriage

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Sandra Sunio, Staff Writer

High school sweethearts and long distance relationships — to many people, not very many actually last. People outgrow each other, the love fades away, and trust and loyalty no longer exist. However, if the love is true and the same amount of effort is reciprocated between the two, it just might work.

My parents have been making it work for the past 32 years. Like many typical romantic movie plots, they started off as best friends in high school. My mom said all the girls had a crush on my dad, and my dad said all the boys had a crush on my mom — both of them said they always ignored the others because they only had eyes for each other.

The long distance part of their relationship started immediately after high school when they parted ways for college. After graduating from college and working as a nurse in the Philippines for a few years, my mom was soon petitioned by my aunt to come work in the United States while my dad was working out at sea. They both worked for a few years before finally deciding to get married in 1997. My mom still had to keep working in America to support their soon-to-be family. Two years after their marriage, I came into the picture, making it a long-distance family relationship.

Not only did my dad have to be separate from my mom, but he also had to be separate from his children. Since I was two months old, we’ve been visiting the Philippines annually to visit my dad, which also means we have to say goodbye over and over again.

My dad has never been to America due to complications in the petition process, and he probably will never be able to come to this country. However, my mom still hasn’t lost hope; she takes every opportunity she sees that might bring him here. She’s gone through hoops to try to bring us together — from paying millions of dollars to going through numerous interviews with the embassy. Unfortunately, nothing has worked.

My parents’ love prospers through daily Facetime calls and our annual summer vacations. Although they are physically separated, they managed to raise two children, build their dream house, and maintain a loving, playful relationship and marriage.

Inevitably, they have their differences, and they do argue sometimes; however, no matter how heated the argument gets, they always find a way to fix things. Although they are 7,000 miles apart, they have definitely mastered the art of communication through the years.

Whenever my mom advises me about relationships, she often tells me to find one like hers because my dad was her first and last for everything, and my mom was my dad’s first and last for everything. She always tells me to wait until I know that he loves me and will never leave me, and once I find him, I must keep and cherish him.

From their relationship, I’ve learned that trust and communication are essential to a healthy relationship. I’ve learned that true love means to trust your partner, communicate with them through misunderstandings, and love them as a person. I’ve learned that your lover should also be your best friend. It’s not all about going on dates or buying each other gifts; it’s more about growing with each other and helping each other succeed while still focusing on yourself and individual growth.

True love means never giving up on your partner. As cliché as it sounds, with trust, loyalty, and communication present, love knows no distance. If both partners grow together with the same goals in mind, the love can be everlasting.