Whoever thinks the club is the last place to find a future spouse has obviously not heard about Datuk Wan Fusil Wan Mahmood and Datin Jude Khadijah’s luck by chance meeting at the famous Tin Mine some 37 years ago.

In this three-part series, we speak to three society couples – who have been married for decades and are still very much in love – about how they met and what it takes to make relationships work. This is their story.

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Fairy Tales Are Real

Since time immemorial, little girls grew up believing in fairy tale endings while boys were busy being boys. Thus it is for Datin Jude Khadijah, who found her Prince Charming in Datuk Wan Fusil Wan Mahmood. 

As in any fairy tale, it was love at first sight. “For my husband, mind you. It wasn’t love at first sight for me,” smiles Datin Jude, hostess with the mostess, the truly deserving recipient of Malaysia Tatler Most Gracious Hosts 2013 and wonderful mother to Wan Farah Diyana Fusil and Wan Natasha Fusil.

“We first met at the Tin Mine disco in KL Hilton on the Christmas Eve of 1982 and were introduced by a mutual friend. I was a stewardess with Malaysia Airlines and was going to participate in the Miss MAS contest the following day,” she recollects the encounter that would alter her life.

Datin Jude didn’t think much of this man she just briefly met, won the beauty contest and went home. Datuk Wan Fusil made his move, he got her number from their mutual friend and called her. And that was how it all began.

“I never thought I would be married to this man as I was only 19 and he was 32. When I was not flying, we would go out and he often picked me up in a Volvo and occasionally a sports car. Our destination, the good ol’ warung where the food was simple and tasty,” she says.

One day, she was asked to dress in her best dress because he was going to take her to The Chalet at Equitorial Hotel. “I remember picking the cheapest dish on the menu because I suspected he worked as a driver and had just gotten paid!” She laughs.

She then confided in her best friend that she’s seeing a man, whom she thinks is a driver and her friend suggested putting him through the test. “So I giddily announced that I’ll be visiting him in his office and he agreed. When I got there I found out the truth. I remember calling my friend after the visit and enthusiastically supplied her with the important findings, that he has a secretary and his own room!”

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Marriage matters

After dating for 11 months, Datin Jude was on a Europe trip with her friends when Datuk Wan Fusil showed up in Paris. It was a chilly November of 1983 and the most romantic city in the world was simply magical. “We had a lovely dinner and that’s when he asked if I would marry him. I agreed and when we got home to Malaysia, he sent his mother for the merisik ceremony.”

Five months later, in April 1984, both of them were married off in a simple ceremony at her house. “When I got married, as a 20-year-old and the youngest in the family, I was a novice in household chores. Coming from a home where I never had to lift a finger to do anything, I had to learn to prepare meals for my husband and doing other housewife-y things.”

It’s been a relatively peaceful marriage, she offers. They rarely quarrel and she takes one day at a time. “He’s the sole breadwinner of the family and I try to ensure that he doesn’t have to worry about anything in the house. We’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters and more recently our grandchildren have added much happiness to the family.”

Datin Jude has great respect for her husband and she admires him for being able to keep his cool at all times. “He never shares about his work and I wouldn’t know if he’s stressed. He’s a very good son, father and grandfather who really loves his family.”

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Patience pays

“The first time I saw her, she was dancing with her friends. I remember her as a bubbly person with stunning looks and great dance moves. Marriage never crossed my mind at that time but yes, I liked her instantly,” shares the Datuk Wan Fusil when asked about his first meeting with his lady love.

“She didn’t know how to cook at all when we got married but she took the trouble to learn to cook all my favourite dishes. I was quite particular and most times demanding about my meals, especially for breakfast. She had to wake up very early every morning to cook rice, fish curry and beef dishes. It was a tall order but she did it,” he notes with great admiration.

To him Datin Jude is a lovely wife and good mother who has done well in ensuring her daughters have the right upbringing. “Two things you need to have a long, happy marriage – patience and tolerance. If you have these two, everything else will fall into place.”

Just like it does in the fairy tales, and they live happily ever after. 

Another amazing love story, 48 Years in Love: Dato’ Sri Jeffrey Raymond and Datin Sri Joyce Raymond