My mom noticed my dad on the first day of their post-graduate medical internship program. My dad swaggered into the room and unknowingly sat on a chair with a broken leg. Because my mother was a fair woman with somewhat Caucasian features, when he looked up, he immediately saw her. Later on, he pursued my mom relentlessly. Effort could have been my dad’s middle name.

My mom has a very funny story of how my dad used to make his moves. He told her one day he was going to take her to a posh restaurant for a dinner date. However, he claimed they had to pass by the college where his sister taught so that he could introduce my mom. When they got there, he introduced her alright but, when my mom pretended to look away, he quickly whispered to my aunt that he wanted to borrow money for his date! When they were already seated down to dinner in said posh restaurant, my dad gallantly ordered an expensive plate of pasta for my mom… and water for himself. Apparently, the money my aunt gave him was only enough for one expensive meal.

My mom still laughs whenever she tells this story. They married right after they passed the Medical Boards. He was my mother’s first boyfriend.

On their third year of surgical residency, they were earning less than Php 3,000 pesos each and already had three children, delivered roughly one year apart from each other. They decided to sacrifice residency and enter government service. It was a move borne out of necessity but my dad, I think, liked it. He was a passionate man. My mom used to say, albeit not too happily, that he was a man who firmly believed he could change the world. He served as Chief of Hospital in several district hospitals in a span of nine years. My mom, on the other hand, grew up kind of well off. She was a city girl through and through. She never wanted government service and never liked going to the mountains. She stayed as Municipal Health Officer of a mountainous municipality for close to twenty years. She, who had abhorred going to rural areas, pursued a Master’s degree in Public Management and in Public Health.

There is this theory in relationship psychology, which I firmly believe to be the foundation of any healthy relationship. It’s called Matching Hypothesis. On an extremely shallow level, of course, physical attraction still rules. However, on the level below that, outsiders would say that opposite personalities attract. But, for me, sharing the same set of beliefs, principles and values on a deeper level is what truly makes any kind of relationship work. There are certain non-negotiable values that we subconsciously look for in a partner or even just a friend. Perhaps because we know that we have to have that similarity in our belief systems for us to actually agree and coexist harmoniously. Or maybe because we know that a partner’s exemplary belief system could influence us to better ourselves. Or perhaps because we want someone who knows how to have a decent deep conversation because, come on. If you enjoy talking to a person, why would you not want to spend a lot of time with him or her?

But what do I know anyway? I’m, like, the most active fellow of the medical association, FSJAI – Forever Single, Just Accept It.

 

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