By Lisha Gomes | Opening Doorz Editorial | October 23, 2019

Anacleto and Esmerelda Fernandes said, “I Do,” on January 28, 1961. Today, after 58 years of married life, five children and seven grandchildren, they still have that fire burning within for each other. For them, marriage is a “Heaven on Earth” provided you want it to be that way and you work towards it.

Opening Doorz to Anacleto (86) and Esmeralda (81) who say that the biggest reason they were able to complete 58 years together is, their love for one another and God’s unending blessings.

Bombay to Goa, tryst with destiny…
Anacleto Fernandes had a date with Goa, every two years during the summer vacations. Exams done, his parents would pack their bags and move to Goa for the summer break. It was after his SSC examinations, that his father asked him to ‘take a break’ and relax in Goa for some time. Like most Goans, Anacleto, too, loved to dance and at every wedding in those days, boys would ask girls for a dance. It was a bold move since many a times; the request would be turned down! During his six-month stay, he attended many weddings, but found no one to match up to his twinkle toes.

Then one day, at another wedding, Anacleto ran into luck; he found a dancing partner who not only matched up with his moves, but his speed as well! The girl was Esmeralda Fernandes, who stayed in Goa. Initially, he just considered her a partner who was good on the dance floor, nothing else. But Esmeralda had other ideas—she had taken a liking to him. Back in those days, even talking to a girl in Goa was taboo. Hence, they restricted their romance to just eye contact!

Taking the leap of faith…
For Anacleto, his mother was everything to him, and when she told him she liked the girl, he knew she had intercepted their ‘eye contact’. Later, when his dad asked him if he wanted to marry “that girl who he liked in Goa”, he was in for a shock; he did not know his dad also knew. His dad told him that “everyone in Goa knew.” Even though he got the green signal from his parents, he was apprehensive about tying the knot because of his financial status. After deliberating for a while, he put his trust in God and took the leap of faith and married Esmeralda. “I knelt before the Altar on my wedding day and told God that she was His gift to me and I promised to love and care for her for the rest of my life,” he reminisces. That faith in God has what has kept them together for 58 long years as Man and Wife.

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“I knelt before the Altar on my wedding day and told God that she was His gift to me and I promised to love and care for her for the rest of my life,” says Anacleto Fernandes

Battling the storms…
Their Financial situation was one of the most persistent problems they faced; Anacleto was the only working member of the family and they had five children to care for. Another major storm they had to overcome was that of losing their seven-year-old daughter, Judy, in 1976. It was a shock they took a long time to come out of. “It happened all of a sudden,” remembers Anacleto as though the incident happened just yesterday. “It was a Sunday and we had all eaten mangoes. All of a sudden in the evening, she kept throwing up and no one knew why. Only after her postmortem report was out did we come to know the she had ‘Encephalitis’ which was because of some germs in the mangoes.”

After that incident, they wanted to move from the house they were living in with their brother and his family, because the place reminded them of their daughter. However, his brother, who had two children, was very supportive and convinced them to stay back. They stayed together in the same house for 29 years, before finally moving out.

After his retirement from Bombay Port Trust, he had to undergo a bypass in 2006 and even though they did not have the money to do so, God stepped in. Even though he had retired his company helped him tide through this crisis. “God has taken care of all our problems and has never let us down,” he says.

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“Today, I do all the daily marketing which my wife used to do earlier. I have kept my promise I made to God, kneeling at the Altar on my wedding day,” says Anacleto Fernandes.

Family always comes first…
Spending time together with the family has been their priority. “You have to spend time together to keep the love between the family alive and growing,” says Anacleto, adding, “We always spent time together in prayer every evening. We never slept without praying together, especially reciting the Rosary, which is what my children do even today with their respective families.” For big feast days, the entire extended family would come together to celebrate. “Families today need to spend more time with each other,” says Anacleto.

Marriages today in their Opinion…
According to them, marriages today are crumbling because both the husband and wife are working and at the end of the day the husband is not helping the wife with the house work. “Couples today need to be more understanding towards each other and contribute equally. When we got married, I was working, so I did not help in the housework. But, after my retirement, I started helping in the housework too,” he says. Throwing light on how a marriage should be approached, Anacleto says, “When couples decide to get married, they should not think of anything else and just take their partner to be theirs. They shouldn’t even consider divorce to be an option. Today, couples don’t try to understand each other and if they can’t resolve problems on their own, it is always okay to consult someone who cares about them and want to see them together.”

A Message for today’s couples…
“When problems come around, always pray to God, because He is bigger than all your problems and He will always have a solution. Love and acceptance are also very important. Couples should accept their partner the way they are or think about their partners flaws before getting married. There should be acceptance,” he says. Another important aspect he highlights is to take your in-laws as your own family. “Once you consider your in-laws as your family, as your own parents, you will never have a problem with them. And love your partner without any expectation.”

What Love means to them 58 years after they first danced together…
For them, love is spending time together, helping each other and supporting each other. “Today, I do all the daily marketing which my wife used to do earlier. She is not in a position to do so now and I have kept my promise I made to God, kneeling at the Altar on my wedding day that I would love her and take care of her for the rest of our lives,” beams Anacleto as Esmeralda, sitting besides him smiles in agreement.

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11 Comments »

  1. Loved the article. Wonderfully described the love they have for eachother. Thank you for sharing. Love you Dad n Mom.

  2. Beautiful article. It is a blessing knowing them and always nice to watch them dancing. Very warm and loving couple. God bless them !

  3. Wow !!! That was an excellent piece of writing, encapsulating an ongoing journey of 58 years of love n togetherness and marital bliss … Simply Beautiful. You truly are a wonderful couple – an epitome of the marriage vows, “I will love you and honour you all the days of my life.”

  4. Very touching and truly inspiring.
    I am so privileged to know you personally dear Aunty and Uncle.
    Wishing you many more years of togetherness.
    May the bond you share of love and belief in the Almighty, be an example and a way of life for our generation.

  5. Feeling blessed all the time to be the second child to my wonderful parents. Such a well written article that brought sweet memories back n reliving our well spent, joyful, singing n memorable days with our parents, siblings, cuzins friends n neighbours. Dad n Mom filled our lives with love n good memories; never felt the need for anything. Taught us thru their own lives to love n respect others n reach out in service. Thank you Jesus.

  6. 💐What a marvellous blessing from our Lord Jesus, God bless you Uncle & Aunty, have a wonderful time 💐 love 💓 from all of us Diago Audrey Nikhil & Vinay

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