Though they may turn heads, from the inside Nguyen Duy Phat, who stands only 1.2 meters tall, is just a perfect match for his 1.6-meter-tall wife.
Life is full of highs and lows, difficulties that one would never imagine facing, and heartbreak that they have never thought possible.
But the affection between 31-year-old Phat, who currently lives and works in Vietnam’s Can Tho City, and his wife, 26-year-old Tang Thi Be Ngoc, a final-year medical student, has proved to be stronger than family opposition and mocking looks and stood strong in difficult times.
They may look a mismatched couple, but they are genuinely happy about who they are with.
Their love has been in full blossom, particularly when their two children came along before they officially tied the knot in 2018.
Love is all that matters
Phat made several friends on social media in his free time while working at a confectionery factory in Can Tho several years ago.
Among these virtual friends was Ngoc, then a freshman at the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy, with whom he felt he could pour out his heart.
More than one month after they became friends and began to feel a strong connection, Ngoc agreed to see Phat in the flesh.
Despite knowing in advance how Phat looks like through the photos he had sent her, Ngoc could not help feeling shocked at the tiny man in front of her.
“Honestly speaking, I didn’t take the relationship seriously at first,” Ngoc admitted.
“But his genuine love and consideration knocked me down before I realized it.”
Their first date was still fresh on Phat’s mind.
It was a rainy day. Phat rushed to the rendezvous, with Ngoc nowhere to be found.
Just as he was on the verge of breaking down, thinking she might have made a joke of his feelings, Ngoc showed up.
“I was overwhelmed and really grateful that such a good-looking, tall girl like her agreed to be my date,” Phat recalled.
The ‘odd pairing’ walked hand in hand beaming with confidence in the street while turning a deaf ear to giggles from bystanders and friends.
A strong-willed woman, Ngoc defied vehement objections from her own family over concerns that she would face hardship married to a physically challenged man.
Phat got his ‘dwarfish’ condition from his father, with all his brothers growing up tall like their mother.
Before meeting and falling for Ngoc, Phat had been in a brief relationship with a girl in his hometown, Kien Giang Province, approximately 106 kilometers from Can Tho.
Fierce opposition from that girl’s family left Phat despairingly doubtful that his love affair with Ngoc would go nowhere.
But real love has its own story which no one knows.
“We’re so passionately in love, this gave us strength to get over hurdles and head for a happy ending,” Phat shared.
|Nguyen Duy Phat and his wife, along with their baby son, are among the 40 physically challenging grooms and brides at a mass wedding organized in 2018 by Meritorious Artist Kim Cuong (center) in this supplied photo.
Trusting their own hearts, Ngoc moved in with Phat shortly afterward, giving birth to their first son behind her family’s back around one year later.
Her parents did not learn of their marriage until the little boy turned almost one year old.
“I didn’t dare to let them know about my pregnancy. I gave birth to my baby without my parents by my side,” Ngoc said, adding she tried to press on and never regretted her choice.
The pair had another major concern as their worst fear was confirmed.
Though the ultrasound revealed their first son is highly likely to inherit Phat’s hereditary small build, the couple decided to keep the pregnancy.
“We were in financial difficulty back then and I still had some university years to finish,” Ngoc recalled.
“But the baby is a precious gift to us and a testimony to our abiding love.”
Phat also has his own reason not to end the pregnancy.
“I myself overcame my darkest time to be where I am now and blessed with true love,” Phat stressed.
“I believe my son will make it and he’ll even outperform me.”
With the new arrival meaning the financial burden further weighed down on Phat’s shoulders, the tiny man pushed himself hard to provide for his growing family without a single complaint.
Building a brighter future
In October 2018, Phat and Ngoc were one of the 40 physically challenged couples to tie the knot at a mass wedding organized by Kim Cuong, a veteran drama actress.
Their second child, almost one year old now, has inherited his mother’s build.
The couple now have a full plate, with Phat packaging sweets, pastries, and jerky and delivering them to customers in neighboring provinces, and Ngoc working full steam to finish her final year at university and clerkship at a local hospital.
“We’re trying to save up for our own house. Together we’ll make it as we have jumped the tallest hurdle,” Phat said, referring to the fact that his family currently live in a rented house snuggled in an alley in Ninh Kieu District, which also serves as their confectionery workshop.
Ngoc plans to return to her hometown in Bac Lieu Province, located in the Mekong Delta, for work upon graduation, while her husband will also arrange his work to be near his family.
Phat revealed he plans to hold a private wedding reception to make his wife happy.
“She has sacrificed a lot for me, and even hasn’t been a bride shining in her own wedding,” he said.
“I’ll spend the rest of my life taking good care of her and our children.”
Despite his petite figure, Phat has something to be proud of.
For the past six years, he has earned several medals in track and field, javelin, weight lifting, and discus at sports tournaments at the provincial and national level meant for physically challenged people.
“I started out just to keep fit, travel to new places, and make new friends,” he shared.
“It’s part of my life now.
“It keeps me healthy so I can fend for my family.”