Here’s a heartwarming love story, the kind movies are made of!
81-year-old Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Yusof and 75-year-old Datin Khairiah Khairuddin’s met each other unexpectedly.
More than four decades ago when they first met, both were coping with personal hardships – Dr Khairuddin had just lost his wife to breast cancer and Datin Khairiah was struggling to come to terms with the breakdown of her marriage which made her depressed.
It was a suggestion by a friend to meet Dr Khairuddin that brought them together –“He would talk about what he was going through and I’d talk about what I was going through and we fell in love,” Datin Khairiah Khairuddin told The Star.
Although Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Yusof was a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, he was known to be a good listener.
“Losing my wife was a tragedy in my life and when you go through something like that, you don’t even think about falling in love again“, he said.
“But God was great… he sent me Khairiah as a patient. We were good for each other and we got along well. Love came a few years later and after some time, I knew that she was the one I was going to spend my life with”, he added.
Their marriage, however, faced opposition from both sides of the family. At that time, both of them had two children of their own. According to Datin Khairiah, when it came to her parents “their biggest concern was that, as a Chinese, I would have to convert to Islam to marry Khairuddin. My father warned me that he could end up taking four wives and asked me where that would leave me.”
It didn’t end there – Datin Khairiah’s brothers were sent to meet Dr Khairuddin to enquire about his intentions who in return “confirmed that, yes, he did want to marry me”.
Yet, her father wouldn’t budge. “Khairuddin made three trips to Penang but my father simply refused to see him. On the third trip, he decided to turn up at my parents’ home. He told my father, ‘Mr Kong, whether you like it or not, I am going to marry your daughter’. And that’s just what he did!” she recalls.
Her mother, on the other hand, travelled all the way from Penang to Petaling Jaya to meet them and talk them out of getting married.
Eventually, Dr Khairuddin’s love and determination won!
He recalls a funny incident involving Datin Khairiah’s mother – “Her mother is a lovely lady. When I heard her comment that I could not speak Chinese, I protested and then I asked her, in Cantonese, if her periods were regular. That was the limited Chinese I knew to converse with my patients. She was taken aback and asked me to say no more. But she gave me the green light!”.
At the time they were married, their children were very young – aged four, five, six and seven. Through it all, they continue to remain close.
She highlights the important elements in a marriage – compromise and of course, love.
“When we fight, sometimes he gives in and sometimes I give in. But in our day-to-day lives, I put him first and did this without expecting anything in return. He was a doctor with the government service for more than 30 years and was very busy. He had no time to look after the children or to worry about the household and so that became my job. I buy all his clothes for him and even the cars are in my name because I am the one looking into all these things,” she said.
Dr Khairuddin beams with pride over the achievements of his wife, a teacher by training who was mostly involved in social work such as working with urban poor women during her time as a consultant in UNICEF. She also has an artistic flair in batik paintings.
He believes that marriage is all about acceptance – “…..when you love someone, you have to learn to overlook things. If things don’t meet your expectations, you must accept and adapt. And you must embrace imperfection in all its guises.”
At the end of the day, love conquers all!
Watch the loving couple in an interview with The Star below:
*Featured image sourced from The Star