They say love knows no boundaries, and the touching story of how a 28-year-old man in Indonesia fell in love with a woman 54 years his senior over the phone and ended up marrying her despite objections from both their families seems to confirm the old saying.
About a year ago, Sofian Loho Dandel, a 28-year-old warehouse worker from the Indonesian island of Mantehage, received a call from an unknown number. Upon answering, he learned that the women on the other end of the line had dialed his number by mistake, while trying to call someone else. Only instead of hanging up and moving on with their lives, the two started making conversation and getting to know each other. Little did either of them know that they were talking to their future spouse.
"A year ago, I received a phone call from an unknown caller, I answered and we came to know each other," Sofian recently told Indonesian reporters. "Since then, we have constantly kept in contact without knowing her age. I had never dated before, I felt in love."
So, after months of conversations over the phone, Dandel decided it was time to finally meet the love of his life in person. So he traveled 120 km to Lelema Village, in South Minahasa, to see Martha Potu, the woman who had turned his life upside down. He had never bothered to ask how old his lady friend was, so Sofian admits that he was more than just a bit shocked when he was greeted by an 82-year-old grandmother.
"I did not expect Martha to be as old as this," the 28-year-old told Tribunnews. "However, we are truly in love and we have both decided to continue with this relationship."
A few month later after their first face-to-face meeting, Sofian and Martha decided it was time to take their relationship to the next level. They got engaged to be married, and met each other's families to deliver the big news. Sofian invited his parents to meet his bride to be, but didn't tell them she was old enough to be their mother.
"We didn't know his fiance was a grandmother. We are very surprised but what else can we say," the man's mother, Magdalena, 60, said. "We saw them so in love with each other so we agreed with his choice. If it's meant to be, it is meant to be."
Sofian and Martha's wedding took place on February 18, and news of their unusual relationship spread on Indonesian social media like wildfire. They have been visited by media publications from all over the country, and have happily shared their love story, hoping to convince people that love cares little for numbers.
82-year-old Martha told reporters that she lost her first husband 10 years ago, and she had been praying to meet another men to spend her old age with ever since. Her kids had long settled in Germany and Saudi Arabia. "I prayed to God to grant me a another chance, and asked for a husband who can take care of me at this old age," she said. "I did not expect God would choose Sofian."
Despite the big age difference between them, Sofian believes that they will be together for as long as they live. "Just as the preacher said, 'til death do us part'. We will be loyal to each other as long as God allows us to live," he told Kompas.