Thoughts of a groom's father whose son is getting married today

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Philippine Star

Today, I am not writing about politics, nor about the APEC, not even about the terrorist attacks in Paris. I am deep in reflections on the wedding of my eldest son today. This is not the first marriage among my five children. My third and middle son got married two years ago. He was the first to give me and my wife a grandson who was named in my honor and in my son's honor too, since he is carrying my name. Last year, my daughter got married, too, and this year, the eldest is the third to wed. As I await this day, various thoughts came to my mind, and I want to share these thoughts with you.

I have not been a perfect father to my kids but I have always been a faithful husband to my wife. I have read somewhere that the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother, and really love her faithfully and in a real sense of the word. That is the main message that I want to give to my eldest son today. If he wants to have a strong family, the first and most important mission of a good father and a good husband is to remain a very good husband, not just a good husband but a very, very good husband to his wife. It is easier for a very good  husband to become a very good father than for a good father to become a good husband. I have 37 years of experience to make my testimony admissible as compelling evidence.

When a husband remains a very good spouse, he makes his wife happy, secured, and inspired. By then, the wife will be motivated to take care of the kids, mold their character and nurture them into healthy, well-behaved and ready to live a full and balanced life, ready to interact with others in a very challenging world, and in unpredictable times. I have been married to my wife for 37 years, and this coming December 23rd, during our anniversary, we shall be in the Holy Land and we shall renew our marriage vows in Cana. That is the example I am giving to my eldest son and to my two other children who have already gotten married, as well as the two remaining unmarried son and daughter.

During the wedding dinner tonight, to be attended by our close friends and relatives, I will pay tribute to my wife for raising five very well-mannered, respectful, and balanced children who are all successful and accomplished in their respective fields of law, banking, human resources, marketing and advertisement and corporate social responsibility. I always credit my wife for these accomplishments because it was always her who went to all the school activities, although I too attended all graduations, all baptisms, all confirmations, all first communions and all father-and-sons encounter. It was my wife who attended conferences with principals and guidance counselors, although I was also active in the parents-teachers associations.

My son who is getting married today also passed those turbulent years of fraternity hazings and troubles with classmates and rival frat wars. There were times when I got so exasperated and sent him to Hawaii and the US mainland to live with my parents and siblings. There were times when he had to work as casual worker in the US but that was our way of molding his character. My wife always told me to keep cool and accept all those challenges as part of parenting. She even made the two of us attend a 17 weekend parenting seminar in Ateneo. Although there are no formal schools to become excellent parents, there a lot to learn from others. And we did learn all for the sake of our children.

Today, we stand proud, happy and grateful to the Lord, first of all, for making all things beautiful. My advice to my son is to love his wife as if she remains his blushing bride for all the years to come. To stand by his wife even against his own parents and his own siblings, if a choice really has to be made. To be a husband is to be strong, to be faithful, to be hard-working, to remain constant and unwavering. In the face of the many temptations and pains that life at times offer, to remain brave and persevering, to be true and to be trustworthy. When everything has to be given up, like riches, friendship and profession, hold on to love. Treasure it. Indeed, at the end, only three things remain: Faith, Hope, and Love, and the greatest of them all is love. Much more than politics, much more than  APEC or world peace, the most important is family. That, to me, is what matters most.

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