Love bridges age gap between Filipina wife, 41, American husband, 82
Maria Divina, 41, plays with her six-year-old twins, Ollie and Lexie, in the living room of their sprawling mansion in Houston, Texas, while Robert Warmington, 82, lovingly looks on. Maria and the twins then join Robert to watch the Super Bowl on television.
Maria lovingly looks at her husband of nine years, never questioning their love for each other despite their age gap. She believes that compatibility and maturity are needed to make the relationship work. Age has nothing to do with it.
Love at first sight
Maria is a fine arts graduate from the University of Santo Tomas and a successful entrepreneur in the Philippines, while Robert Warmington is a retired oral surgeon and a philanthropist. They met in September 2007 through a common friend. Both were looking for lifetime partners.
“It was love at first sight,” Maria recalls. “He is debonair, with a whiff of fresh air. Most of all he is a devout Christian.”
Maria’s family did not approve of the relationship and wanted her to cancel their engagement. Yet, despite the disapproval especially from her mother, she would not give up Robert. Robert’s children from a previous marriage were also apprehensive. Eventually, both sides gave in since they realized that the couple was deeply in love.
“Robert is the love of my life. He makes me lively and safe. I was 33 then and I knew what I wanted,” Maria says.
Maria flew to United States to become Mrs. Maria Divina Warmington. They exchanged vows on October 30, 2008 in a lavish ceremony in Houston attended by family members and friends.
Age may not be a hindrance, but adjustments are a must to make any relationships work. Decision-making is one of the crucial parts of being married. Partners must discuss the pros and cons in every decision because it will affect their life. Maria also believes that lifestyle and priorities must be agreed upon by the partners to avoid arguments. But Robert was amazed at her congeniality and hospitality, traits Filipinos are known for.
“We never really argue over things. Being emotional is a woman’s prerogative, and he would always try to understand and give comfort. The same way that I would give in when I know I’m wrong,” Maria shares.
Maria says that she gave up some of her independence too, as well as the practice of “Filipino time.”
“I was quite independent before I met him so decisions were only made by me with a few consultations with my parents. Being on time was one fault on my end and is hard to change. Filipinos are known for being late most of the time,” she smiles.
The Warmington twins, Ollie and Lexie, were born on April 28, 2010. Maria is hands-on in raising their children, from preparing their food to driving them to school. She also manages House of Mai Enterprises, an online store, while Robert is into the stock market and buy-and-sell. To keep himself fit, Robert watches his diet, exercises and plays golf.
Maria grew up with nannies because both of her parents were doctors who were always on call even at night. The twins are fortunate to have both parents raising them. However, Maria says they train the twins to grow independent also.
The Warmingtons stayed in Thailand for quite some time. They also travel to different countries to relax and expose the twins to different cultures so they will grow to be more open and tolerant of diversity. The twins also celebrated their fourth birthday in their mother’s hometown in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.
“Our businesses do not require us to be always away. We have more time with the kids and enjoying their childhood,” Maria says.
Prepared for the inevitable
Although Maria does not imagine a life without Robert, she prepares herself for the inevitable.
“Given his age, it is always the norm that he might be the first in line. Whatever it might be, life has to go on. I have to prepare myself to be a one-parent to my twins, giving them the proper upbringing they deserve. No spoiling but full of love with an iron hand to keep their path straight. The same upbringing that my parents gave to me,” she says.
Comes the time when the twins are in college and Robert may not be around anymore, the twins must be independent so she can enjoy life and travel the world.
Maria advises couples who are in the same situation:
“Go for someone who understands you, encourages your strength and accepts your weaknesses. No judgment. Maturity comes with understanding and acceptance. Just be yourself, know what you want and be satisfied. Life has full of surprises, and you never know until you take it and do the plunge. Then love blossoms.”