How can one measure true love? Talking to couples who have scored a half-century when it comes to a successful marriage could be a good start, so we talk to celebrity couples to find out what makes them stick together through thick and thin, for years.
Most of them say that respect for partner, patience, freedom and most importantly, understanding, are the key factors.
High-profile couple — Milkha Singh, the best sprinter the country has ever produced, and Nirmal Kaur, former national volleyball team captain — looking back at 55 years of marriage, say understanding and patience ensure a smooth and successful relationship.
“Every couple will have its share of arguments. What is important is that they resolve them mutually and at the same time leave them behind and proceed,” says Nirmal Kaur.
Their romance, however, got off to a rocky start as Singh was a Sikh and Kaur a Hindu. “The then Punjab chief minister Partap Singh Kairon was the one who came to our rescue. He convinced Nirmal’s father,” says Singh.
Commenting on the recent murder in Delhi of photographer Ankit Saxena, who was killed by the family of his girlfriend as they had objected to the relationship, the couple feel 55 years ago people were more tolerant, something that’s missing today.
Kaur feels women are more expressive and advised them to “show more emotion.” Both Singh and Kaur are unanimous in their opinion that women are the ones who play a major role in long-lasting relationships.
Renowned Punjabi writer Gulzar Singh Sandhu and Dr Surjit Kaur believe the best thing about their 53-year-old relationship is their friendship.
Recalling their first encounter, Sandhu says she was older at 36 and he was 32.
Interestingly, Kaur, had decided in her late teens that she would not marry. “I took the decision after witnessing the discrimination that women face. But when I met him, I was enamoured with his (Gulzar’s) views,” she says.
Both were from different backgrounds – Kaur came from an affluent family and Sandhu’s family was involved with agriculture. “Nothing, however, came in the way of our marriage, there were no problems,” Kaur adds.
The couple feels their relationship has withstood the test of time as both are independent and mature when they got married. “Girls get wedded at an age when they have no understanding of what it means and hence they face problems,” says Kaur, who now runs a non-governmental organisation.
The good Samaritans also believe in empowerment through education. Though both of them don’t have children they have undertaken the responsibility of educating their nephews and nieces and caretakers and their children.
Both of them advise young couples to sit together and listen to each others’ views and requests before getting engaged.
Married in 1962, advocate Jaswant Singh Laylpuria and mathematics teacher Bhuphinder Kaur Chawla have been there for each other during ups and downs in their relationship. Both of them credit the longevity of their marriage to Laylpuria’s mother.
Since both were working, they could not figure out who would nurture children and look after the house. It was then that Chawla’s mother-in-law stepped in and gave her the much-needed freedom to continue her career.
Chawla soon went on to win the state and national award for excellence in teaching at the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, where she also served as the principal.
“When she was speaking during the national award felicitation ceremony, she made it a point to mention my mother,” says Laylpuria.