Three years into our relationship, Joey confessed of having thoughts about relocating some place else for work. I must admit, I felt as though our relationship will never make it. You must know, I’m not a believer of long distance relationships, so I didn’t really welcome the idea. As days passed, I realized how serious he was about it. I remember crying buckets when it all finally started to sink in. Joey’s decision to move to Davao wasn’t for a promotion or a strategic career move. It was basically because he wanted to try something new. The opportunity was just so perfect he couldn’t let it go.
Because I wasn’t in any position to meddle with his decisions, I tried to be as supportive as I could. I never told him I wanted him to stay. Truth is, I didn’t want him to blame me someday for major life decisions that he was supposed to have made by himself in the first place. I was just his girlfriend then, I wasn’t family yet.
During the first few months as we were still transitioning from our new set-up, we really fought a lot. It even came to a point where I blamed him for leaving. That it was his fault we were having problems. Had I known better, I should have trusted him and his decision to leave and just kept my mouth shut.
Months went by so slowly, and every single day felt like forever. Petty problems began escalating and being apart for so long took its toll on our relationship. We would fight, break up, and get back together. It was a vicious cycle.
A little over a year into his stint in Davao, he finally asked me to marry him. Knowing in my heart to be with him is absolutely what I wanted, I immediately said yes. Saying yes to Joey was a decision I made on my own. I did not seek for God’s approval. To be honest, I didn’t even pray about it.
In Genesis 2:23-24 (NASB) New American Standard Bible, it is stated that from the time we were created, God intended for us to have a companion.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Because this part of our life was a bit shady, the initial year of our marriage and being together was very challenging. Joey’s work demanded a lot of traveling and most days, I was left alone in our home. Even if Davao is a safe place, it was different being away from my family. I was happy to be married to Joey, but I had a hard time adjusting because I wasn’t really prepared for it. It was then I realized God was chastening me. Because I didn’t listen to his plans for me, this was the consequence I had to face.
Our set up still felt like we had a long distance relationship in a way. Joey was home only during weekends. And like how it affected our relationship back then, it also affected our marriage. I would make him feel guilty for leaving me behind and blame him indirectly. I was a nagging, disrespectful wife to him.
In Deuteronomy 24:5 it says, If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married. (NIV) New International Version. This verse clearly states that God’s design for marriage is not for the couple to be separated but for them to be together, most especially while the union is still being established. It is expected that in the early months of being together, there will be certain trials and in order to fully overcome them, couples must be given the time to get to know one another in a much deeper level. – This right here was our problem. We disregarded God’s design for us to be together.
Undeserving as we were of any blessings, God opened my womb and allowed me to get pregnant. It was the tipping point. It was when we knew this set up will never work for us. We needed change. We realized we needed God to be at the center of our marriage and that we cannot be apart any longer. Joey then started to consider other options, ways wherein we could be back in Manila again and just be together. We believe I could not raise Matilda on my own. She needs her father and I, too, need my husband. And because God is faithful, He kept blessing us tremendously.
Joey applied for another position in the same company and he got the job. The thing is, the area he will be assigned to is based in Lucena, Quezon. It was the closest thing we got to Manila and the only way for us to be together the soonest, so we went ahead for it.
Matilda was 3 months old when we moved back and our relationship has never been better since. We also joined a couples bible study group in our church for accountability and for us to grow more in our spiritual walk. It was one of the best decisions we ever made in our marriage. After all, God, from the very beginning has designed for Man and Wife to be together. It is not only for the benefit of the couple but for the children as well.
Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (NIV) New International Version. These words from Ruth strongly showed how she honored the covenant of marriage. In these verses she wasn’t actually talking to her husband, but to her mother-in-law. It goes to show that she already had a deep regard for marriage even when her husband was still alive. In her heart she knew that this was how marriage ought to be.
We all know of stories where marriages fail because of long distance relationships, right? One of the main causes is temptations of the flesh. We are lustful human beings and that is one of the common reasons why men or even women cheat on their spouse. We didn’t want that for our family so we really sacrificed the comfort of material and financial blessings just for us to be together.
In Malachi 2:15, we are reminded of our purpose in marriage. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. (NLT) New Living Translation
You have to understand that moving back to Manila required us to shift from the ways we used to live. We cannot afford living that way anymore since everything in Manila is practically expensive. But then again, why subject your relationship through possible threat when you know you could prevent it in the first place? Is it worth it to trade your marriage for a comfortable life? Would it actually make you happier to be able to get what you want instead of just settling for the things that you need? Come to think of it, God promised us to provide for our NEEDS. That is a promise he will never break. So for those who struggle for means to provide “enough” for their family isn’t actually trusting God’s faithfulness. Putting these truths to perspective made making decisions in our married life easier for both of us.
- 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NASB) New American Standard Bible
- Matthew 6: 31-34 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV) New International Version
Yes, there will still be struggles and challenges here and there but that is God’s means of strengthening our faith. It is His way to call us back to Him. To have a relationship with Him and to put Him at the center of our lives. We have been disciplined by God many times in our marriage and individually. We went through ups and downs but one thing is certain, God never failed us. We withstood all trials because He is with us and because He loves us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
I love Joey for who he is only because God enables me to love him. I am still a work in progress and it is only through God that I will be a submissive wife, who will honor and respect his authority as head of the family. For I know that in every command God asks us to do, there is a promise of blessing.
Now in this stage of our life, I can say I have surrendered my all to God and allowed Him to have complete control over our marriage. It is only through Him we are able to love unconditionally because he Himself through Jesus Christ, has demonstrated it perfectly by dying on the cross for our sins. All our past, present and future sins have already been forgiven and paid for. The only thing we need to do is believe in Him and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Transformation in our lives will come thereafter.
John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) New International Version
Are you in that moment in your life where you feel lost? Are there problems in your marriage you think are beyond repair? Are you struggling with forgiveness or accepting circumstances in your life? Have you considered maybe God is teaching you something? Surrender it all to God now and listen to His instructions by reading His word. The Bible and through prayer are the only means of how God is able to communicate with us. Allow Him to help you and invite Him to come into your life to fully experience the joy of following Him.