Opinion

Beat ‘Tigermania’ with unconditional love | Nandell Palmer

The yuletide season is here. But in less than two months, lovers will be celebrating Valentine’s Day.

And it is my wish that by that date, the Tiger Woods saga will have died its natural death.

In the meantime, many husbands and beaus will have a lot of explaining to do with regard to trust. But ladies, try not to be so hard on your man, especially if he has had a good track record of trust. Don’t let Tigermania tarnish your good relationship.

Believe it or not, despite what the media would have you believe, there are many caring husbands out there. Numerous marriages have undergone great difficulties throughout the years, and those couples are the better for the trials.

Some husbands no longer have the svelte, winsome brides they married 35 years ago, but they would never trade their older damsels for the eye-candies on Rodeo Drive, Madison Avenue or the Champs de Élysées.

I am so encouraged whenever I hear of couples who are weathering the storm or making a difference in their relationships. I am yet to find a couple that has the perfect relationship, but enough wonderful marriages abound today that could whittle down the Tiger Woods global sensation to the size of his golf ball.

Never will I ever stand in judgment of Tiger. If anything, I can only offer him my sympathy and my prayers. All of us could do with a second chance once in a while. No doubt, “mulligan,” a golf term, basically means you get a second chance to hit a good shot and your first shot doesn’t count against you. It is a term Tiger is cherishing these days.

Tuning out this media madness, I will seek to find more stories that will uplift me and my marriage. The tabloids will never let men forget that we are just one fling away from a soiled marriage.

Recently I had a long conversation with a friend in Toronto, Canada, and she told a heartwarming story about one of her high school teachers who remained unwed until she was 71. I couldn’t wait to research this further.

Phyllis Carrington and Kenneth Tam attended the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Kingston, Jamaica, between 1949 and 1951. At the end of their studies, Tam earned a bachelor's degree, returned home to his native Trinidad, got married and raised three children. His wife died after 50 years of marriage.

Carrington, from Barbados, received her bachelor's degree and remained in Jamaica, where she devoted her life to teaching, singing, painting and raising "thousands of children." In May 2002, after being apart from each other for all those years, Tam wrote a letter to The Jamaica Gleaner, the major newspaper, in search of his college “friend.”

They made contact, and within a month’s time, the couple announced their wedding date. They got married and had an intimate reception among 25 family members and friends. The new Mrs. Tam had been longing and planning to return to Barbados for her retirement. Instead, her 72-year-old groom moved her to Trinidad.

Before Tam’s first wife died, she personally gave him her blessing to marry his former friend whenever he was free to do so, he said.

When asked about this unusual nuptial, Mrs. Tam said, "I'm not scared. I will be with my friend who is kind, warm and considerate. I know he is a man I can trust. He has so many wonderful qualities. He gave up his business and devoted himself entirely to caring for his ailing wife. How many men would do that?"

Despite so many years of being out of touch with his classmate-turned-wife, Tam said he knew her better than she knew herself. This is one of the reasons why it was so easy to seek her hand in marriage. But he also shared some other reasons.

"I can only appreciate and like someone if my mind can meet theirs. If I can talk to that person and get a sympathetic and intelligent response; if I can share with someone and find companionship, then I'm pretty happy," he said.

After seven years of marriage, Phyllis Carrington-Tam went home at last. She died this past October, and her remains were interred in her beloved Barbados.

I know men today who are so in love with their wives that if their spouses were to be disfigured by an accident, the love would only get deeper. Their love is not only skin deep. And just like how Tam took care of his ailing wife until the end, these guys would do it with no regrets.

Men, we need to hear more of these powerful stories. Tell them in songs and poetry. And share them among one another. Older men ought to mentor younger men. It is high time that we passed on this legacy to our boys, too.

Trust me, if your wife knows that she has your heart, there will be no need to flatter her with those $70-per-dozen roses come Valentine’s Day. Your love, respect and devotion to her will become the perennial roses that will never wilt. Happy holidays.

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