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Journey of faith, love and dedication

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, March 11, 2018

THEY may have become renowned and successful Fijians in their own right, however, couple, Radike and Eta Uluvula Qereqeretabua have never failed to give up their roles as husband and wife, hence, ensuring they always forgive and support each other.

And many may have paused to wonder the reason behind their successful marriage journey together for the past 52 years.

It was a journey of faith, love, hope and dedication — one which gave them responsibility and an understanding of their respective roles in their own family.

Radike, a renowned Fijian hotelier and one of Fiji's tourism industry icons celebrated his 80th birthday in conjunction with their 52nd wedding anniversary which was witnessed by close family members, colleagues, friends and relatives at Suva's Grand Pacific Hotel last month.

For years, Radike's life has always revolved around the tourism industry and his busy schedule required him a lot to travel places having spent very little time with his family.

"I have a forgiving wife and a mutual share of responsibilities in life, my wife being the home and financial manager while also having her own nursing career," Radike said.

"I had a very good but very demanding career and it was Eta who ended up being in charge of our home... our children... our finances and all our savings and investments.

"Knowing and understanding each other's weaknesses and respecting each other's strengths has been a big part of our life."

Eta, a former Miss Hibiscus and retired nurse, admitted she took the role of being a wife and supporter and was happy to be in the background but the leading role was always her husband's being the leader of the family.

And celebrating their wedding anniversary was a real bonus for the successful couple as they were convinced by their only daughter, Lenora, that such a celebration was warranted.

"Turning 80 is a huge blessing, as is a 52nd wedding anniversary," Lenora said.

"And for me personally it is important that people whose lives my parents and my father in particular have touched can tell my parents how special they are while my parents can hear them.

"Doing that at funerals is sad, so let's give praise and thanks while we still have life."

Radike is from the beautiful village of Dravuni in Kadavu while his wife, Eta hails from Navoka, Nabaitavo in Naitasiri.

To the couple, a successful marriage basically means being together after 52 years, been most interesting and with enough investments to look after their future and assist in the future of their children's families.

Eta also shared that being the mother of their family, it would have been easy to give up at times when things were not going well and in her case, praying for patience was what got them through those times.

Together, they have two children, Lenora is the elder of their children and lives in Suva with them, while their son Sakiusa lives in Auckland.

They are blessed with four grandchildren, Ana-Lisa who is 22, Isaac, 11, Villame, eight, and Ruby, four.

And despite their success, Radike never fails to acknowledge the support of their relatives and friends who have always been with them and even gave up their time to be part of their anniversary celebration last month.

Their love for each other has inspired many people because Radike, being the busy person he always is, would always spend time away from his family as he was loyal to his duties and even staff members.

But his secret weapon was and will always be his devoted wife who is smart and determined, best described as the anchor of his family, she's the total welfare in their health being a nurse, she leads the family devotion and is the financial controller who looks after their investments.

And as Eta, the former Miss Hibiscus concluded "Never give up your role. Forgive and make up, and don't let the small stuff, stuff-up your marriage.

"Because when you look back, you may wonder why all the fuss... the hurt and pain is quickly forgotten. Don't keep bringing up old stuff that's years old when you have a disagreement."

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