Turkish couples, some celebrating platinum and diamond wedding anniversaries, credit the power of love for their strong relationships as Turkey celebrates Valentine’s Day.
Halil and Ayşe Dindar welcome another Valentine into their marriage which now spans 74 years. While they may be in the twilight of their lives, Halil, 91, and Ayşe, 93, have never lost the love they had when they married all those years ago.
Living in the western Turkish province of Bilecik and working as farmers, they kept their marriage vows, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer. These days, they help compensate for each other’s weaknesses and “guide” each other, with Halil serving as his wife’s eyes after partially losing her sight in old age, while Ayşe listens since her husband has hearing problems. The couple live with one of their three children and have 18 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
The couple married in 1948 in an arranged marriage, but say they never had a disagreement. “It’s about getting along,” Ayşe says when asked about the secret to a happy marriage. “The husband should not raise his voice and the wife should do the same when they have a dispute,” she told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Sunday.
Temel Ahmet and Hacer Gözde are celebrating their 46th year of marriage. The couple, who moved to a care home in the southern province of Adana seven years ago, say they have never lost their love and respect for each other over the years. “Marriages these days don’t last long because couples can’t tolerate each other. If you get angry at your spouse, you should shut up and wait for your anger to go away,” says Temel Ahmet. He says couples in our days are get-rich-quick, which causes fights when you don’t earn enough.“We had nothing for years, no house or car, but we raised enough money to buy them. You can’t be happy at home if you fight over money,” he says. Hacer Gözde says they’ve had their fights over the years, but “time flies” once you learn to “understand”.
For couples with disabilities, the key to a lasting marriage is to support each other, like Mustafa and Armağan Kayıkçı. A couple living in the northern province of Zonguldak say they are a perfect match. Married for 26 years, Mustafa, who is visually impaired, and his wife Armağan, who suffers from orthopedic issues that make it difficult to walk, say they overcome challenges with the love and respect they have for each other . “I fell in love with him when I first saw him and was happy to get married,” Armağan Kayıkçı says of her husband. “We’ve been through tough times, but our marriage has stayed strong because we have love,” she told AA. Mustafa Kayıkçı says that although he has never seen his wife, he knows by heart “how beautiful she is”.
Sevinç and Celal Bozkurt, another couple living in Düzce province, say their love “knew no handicaps”. They met during vocational training 18 years ago and decided to get married despite their families’ opposition. “Love is about overcoming challenges. It’s been 18 years and now we have two children. Our bond of love has never ceased,” she says.