When a friend invited a few of us to her village, Voskevan, yesterday, we couldn’t refuse her invitation. After all, village life always ensures good company, good food, and good vibes. But I didn’t imagine that I would meet an 80-year-old couple that would inspire me more than the breathtaking sights we witnessed throughout the day. Around 10 pm, after a full day of feasting and hiking, we headed to the house of our friend’s relatives, Gurgen and Annman Marmayan, in Noyemberian for a nightcap and some coffee. The first thing I noticed when I met the older couple was that even at their age how strong and sharp they are — and how their love is still so palpable, even after decades and decades together.
I had to know their story: Gurgen and Annman met in the third grade and have been inseparable since. Gurgen told us how they would share snacks together in school. Whatever he had he would give some to her and vice versa. They’ve lived in the Noyemberian village since and have raised children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren under their roof. In reference to once living with her husband, both her parents, and her in-laws, Annman joked that she was one soldier with five commanders. I joked that the same scenario would never work today. To that Annman said she was never an egoist, she never let her pride get in the way.
Of course, before heading out, I had to ask them what the secret to their long-lasting love is because let’s face it, we all want an epic marriage like that. “Love,” Annman responded. It seems so basic and so obvious, but it really resonated with the group. She continued, if you love someone, you will even love their annoying cat. Gurgen added respect. Love and respect are the reasons why Annman never complained about her “hard” village life and why even at 80 years old she still finds the inspiration and energy to do everything for her family — even milk a cow at 11 pm for fresh milk the next day, no big deal. Love doesn’t know city versus village life, it just knows heart and soul. And it was so refreshing to see a couple that lives and breathes true love and in turn inspires the next generations of Armenians.