KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir shared today the secret to her parents’ six-decade-long romance on the 91st birthday of her father and Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
She explained that her maternal grandfather, Mohd Ali Taib, had insisted that her mother Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who had met Dr Mahathir very early in university and started dating him since, hold off on marriage pending her graduation.
“My parents entered into marriage knowing and accepting each other’s character very well.
“I think that’s the secret to their long, affectionate and happy marriage,” Marina said in a Facebook post today.
Her parents will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in August.
Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah got married when they were 31 and 30 respectively, which Marina deemed to be progressive given that it was considered a late marriage for their generation.
However, it was that same factor that was the cornerstone of their strong and affectionate marriage, because a long courtship allowed the two to get to know each other, according to Marina.
The couple also cultivated an affectionate lifestyle for the rest of the family, Marina recounted, with the elderly and children openly and proudly hugging and kissing one another.
“In our family, my parents encouraged much affection among us. From young, we always kissed and hugged our parents and the elders in our family.
“My parents are also demonstrative towards each other, at least when they’re with us. They still hold hands at this age,” she said.
Marina added that Dr Mahathir always held his wife’s opinion in high regard and vice versa.
“My parents set a standard for what makes a happy relationship for us all. It’s based on a great deal of respect, trust and of course love for each other. He respects her opinion as much as she does his,” she said.
“I remember one aspiring female politician once saying to him, ‘Men are so lucky, they don’t need their wives’ permission to enter politics.’ And Dad turned round and said, ‘Who says?!’
“That’s the secret to 60 years”.