Celebrating 50 years of love-filled marriages, these Fudan couples recall how they met each other.
Love is by no means an exclusive experience for young people. This year, 61 senior couples who worked at Fudan University celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, demonstrating love in its tangible form.
To celebrate their golden wedding anniversary as well as the Seniors’ Day (also known as Double Ninth or Chongyang Festival that falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month), we invited 4 couples out of the 61 to share their love stories as well as their secrets of staying in love.
Lin Han ♥Tong Bing
Tong Bing, a reputed professor at Fudan School of Journalism, met his wife, Lin Han, in 1966. As Lin Han recalled, she was squeezing through the crowd on the campus of Tsinghua University when she suddenly caught a glimpse of Tong. “He was right there in front of me,” said Lin Han, with a blush on her checks. “It was like a classic movie scene.”
It didn’t take long before she found out that Tong Bing was a warm-hearted, passionate young man, and these qualities remained and transformed into deep love and responsibility throughout the 50 years of their marital life that followed. “Few men could equal my husband in caring for their wives,” said Lin Han blissfully. “He voluntarily takes on household chores such as washing vegetables and cooking meals. He never lets me do that.”
Although they had to maintain a long-distance relationship after getting married for as long as eight years, when Tong studied and worked in Renmin University of China, Beijing, whereas Lin Han remained in Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, their care for each other did not fade in the least. As Lin Han recalled, during the time, some of her valuables were stolen by her neighbor, who was arrested by police. The neighbor’s mother wanted to take revenge on Lin, keeping harassing and threatening her. It was such an awful time for Lin Han. She asserted, “If Tong Bing was there with me, he wouldn’t let me get hurt in the slightest!”
Years later, Lin Han has become a professor at Fudan’s Department of Environment Science and Engineering. Throughout the years, Lin has been acting as the assistant of Tong. So far, Tong has published articles totaling almost 20 million characters. And each character, Tong said, was typed by his wife for him.
Yan Zhiyuan ♥ Lin Yizhen
In 1968, two years after the first encounter between Tong Bing and Lin Han on Tsinghua campus, another young man, Yan Zhiyuan, entered a shopping mall in Xinghua, Zhejiang Province, where he met Lin Yizhen, who turned out to be the love of his life. “She was a saleswoman in that shopping mall,” recalled Yan. “When she caught my eyes, I knew that she also captured my heart.”
In order to get acquainted with Lin Yizhen, Yan became a frequent visitor to the stationery department she worked at. He bought lots of stationery from her, which many years later was given to their sons when they were old enough for school. “Luckily, she had made up her mind to marry me before transferred to the department of clocks and watches which I couldn’t afford any more,” giggled Yan.
Their ensuing 50 years of marriage demonstrates that soul partners can help each other grow into the best version of themselves. As the grandson of Yan Fuqing, a distinguished scholar in public health and the founding father of Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, Yan Zhiyuan embarked on his career in medicine at Fudan.
There were 16 years when both of them worked at the Institute of Radiation Medicine of Fudan University, and Lin Yizhen accompanied and supported Yan with the best she could. “My wife undertook a lot of domestic responsibilities so that I could focus on my work,” said Yan soulfully. “I’m forever in her debt.”
Lin Yizhen, however, doesn’t think of what she did for him as a sacrifice. She said, “I knew he was the one that I could rely on and that he was doing something important. And that’s it.”
Both devoted to the development of medicine in China, this like-minded pair have decided to donate their bodies for medical research in Fudan.
Dai Bin ♥ Chen Wenji
Chen Wenji, the former director of Fudan University Archives, is also able to recall, after all these years, in detail his first encounter with his wife. “She stood at the junction of Beijing East Road and Tibet Road, in a white shirt and a blue skirt,” said Chen Wenji. “She looked so beautiful,” he added with a smile.
This white-shirted girl, Dai Bin, then a teacher of the Elementary School affiliated to Fudan University, became his wife only half a year later. “The wedding was far from romantic though,” Chen Wenji explained. “When we got married, there was no wedding, no bridal gowns, no house of our own. It was just a simple ritual.”
Despite the simple beginning of matrimonial life, they filled their humble home—a small room in the dormitory building for faculty and staff—with unending love. One winter, when Dai Bin was hospitalized, Chen Wenji brought this wife the food he cooked himself, in case Dai dislike the food offered by hospital. “He was 60 years old then,” Dai Bin recalled. “And despite snowy days, he brought meals for me. I’ll never forget that.”
Xue Beihua ♥ Li Wenjun
Nor will Xue Beihua forget the old bicycle that her husband Li Wenjun bought for her. Knowing that Xue loved bicycling but could only afford renting bikes, Li bought her a bike as a gift after they got married. “The brand of the bike is Forever (Chinese: 永久, pinyin: Yong Jiu), a well-known brand loved by Shanghainese,” said Li Wenjun. “And the word ‘forever’ also symbolizes that our love will last that long.”
Both professors of macromolecular science in Fudan, Xue Beihua and Li Wenjun further confirmed their unbreakable bond with each other with their shared passion for macromolecular research. “We rarely express love explicitly,” said Xue. “We just accompany each other during the most difficult time, in our research and in our life.”
Indeed, the four couples’ love stories are nothing like those epic ones you heard before. But that’s what long-lasting love is like. It is a bond between two souls, who will always trust, support, care for and accompany each other throughout their lives.