They once married out of fear - if not they could be killed, sent away, raped, tortured.
The Khmer Rouge wanted them to prove their loyalty in this way. Forced marriage - the horrific act that brought them together, is now being tried as a crime against humanity in a tribunal.
But for these men and women, the most difficult of times led them to find love. Almost four decades after they were forced to marry, they have decided to have a real wedding.
"I just felt fear. I didn’t love my husband at all.”
“Now that my husband and I know each other," she says, "we will be marrying out of love.”
“I was terrified after hearing about the other couple getting killed, so I tried my best to understand her to avoid that same fate with her.”
“The relationship between my husband and I has gotten sweeter because we both feel that we are officially man and wife.
There are no words to describe this.”
“I knew they would
if I said no.
It was just us
marrying to survive;
it was not
out of love.”
“No, it depends on us and
how we understand each other.
That’s how we have been able to build a family after the Khmer Rouge.
It’s because of us working together and learning to compromise with each other.”
Only 'Lovers' Left Alive, Dene Chen
Photographs, Hannah Reyes
Translation, Chan Phalkun
Project featured on Al Jazeera America: projects.aljazeera.com/2016/02/cambodia-love/