Wedding vs. Marriage: A Reality Check

We were about to go to bed the other night when I saw a news feed on my Instagram account about another celebrity couple who just got engaged. I mentioned this to Joey, about how grand the proposal was, as I was amazed with how big of a production it seemed. Joey, his usual self, reminded me, “What did I tell you about weddings? Diba what matters is the marriage?”. And it got me thinking, he’s absolutely right.

Joey and I originally planned for a big wedding, we were already set on a date, paid some down payments and even asked friends to block off that particular date. Months of preparation went by so fast and somehow, through all of the details (and the impracticality of MY dream), Joey and I got lost in why we were doing this in the first place. It made us rethink our motives, plans, and actual budget on why we are even spending this much for a one day event.

It’s EVERY Girl’s Dream

Well, yes, in this part I agree. Who doesn’t want to be the most beautiful girl for a day? To walk down that flowery aisle wearing your dream ivory white dress? To have your groom waiting for you at the altar all-teary-eyed as if it were a movie? Hmmm.. Picture it now? That’s exactly what I WANTED (urgh so immature!!). Then again, how important is a wedding when really, it’s just a one day event?


Weddings nowadays are VERY expensive. (Did I mention it’s very expensive? Oh yeah, right! – Really, it is!!) Back in 2011, we planned on spending 400,000 for the big day. That was the PLAN, but if we went ahead for it, I’m absolutely sure we are going a hundred thousand over. (Yikes!!)

400,000!!? Yes! Really. Try computing the cost for the venue, food, photographer, videographer, gown, suit, hair and make-up, flowers, decors, cake, invites, souvenirs, bridal car, and so on. Believe me now? I dare you to compute!

In my mind, I was a bit troubled by the fact that all of Joey’s savings would end up gone in one day just because I WANTED a gorgeous wedding with all its unnecessary details. Yes, we weren’t getting money from either side of our family because we believed that spending on the wedding should be our responsibility. Knowing I wasn’t working yet at that time, since I just graduated, all of the spending would be shouldered by Joey.

Going back, I feel so selfish. How could I have ever thought of using all his savings just to make my dream wedding a reality? I feel so bad for Joey that he agreed just because he wanted me to be happy. All along, though he wanted a wedding, it wasn’t really that big as I was picturing it in my head. What he wanted was a simple, intimate, good quality wedding with all the people that we love dearly.

The BIG Decision

Due to the impracticality of it all, we decided, just a few months prior our original wedding date, to just cancel the big day. Yes, it was difficult emotionally as I have already set my heart and my mind on it. But, looking back, it was the best decision we made since we were able to save and use the money in buying stuff for our home – which is also costly, mind you. We were able to get most of the down-payments we made because of really understanding suppliers. (They usually make you sign a contract once you pay the down, but praise God, majority of it, we were able to get back).

We then made new plans for a smaller wedding with the help of our Godparents. They even thought of giving us the reception as a gift! We ended up NOT spending for the wedding at all! They just insisted that we use our money for buying furnitures and save the rest for future use or investments. What a great blessing!

The reality of this is that, though Weddings are great, sometimes, you have to reconsider all the reasons why you want to do it. You have to get your priorities straight and think about what is yet to come – The Marriage. Sure, you can easily spend millions (if you have!) for the grandest wedding, but what happens after that? After that big day, when all the people are gone, what’s left is just you and your husband.

For us, we chose to be practical. We talked about our plans, our dreams for the future, past the wedding day, and we came to a conclusion that one day, when we have much bigger savings, when the time comes God would allow us to spend a bit for celebrating our union, a renewal of vows, we’d go for it. Not that original plan I had in my head but a simpler version, with Matilda as my flower girl and maybe a little boy (who knows?) to be our ring bearer.

My point is this, spend all you want, if you have the means because really, that is okay. But never ever spend ALL that you have, your hard-earned money, or your parents financial blessing just for one big day. Invest on what is more important – the marriage.

A Lifetime Commitment

Marriage is like food, it needs a few key ingredients to make it work. It requires a generous portion of romance, a spoonful of understanding, a ton of patience, a dash of financial responsibility, and most of all, the fullness of God, to be at the center of that union for any marriage to last a lifetime. This union known as a covenant we (you and your spouse) make with God is something we must treat with high regard and respect. “In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, ’til death do us part” is what we vowed to do, didn’t we?

A Long- Suffering

Wait, what?! Yes! Have you ever thought of what it would be like to live in a totally different place you grew up in, with a man you thought you already know? If you think you know the person you are to marry, wait until you are living in the same roof and be together as one. Marriage is not that of fairy tales with all its happily ever after. Oh boy, you are mistaken.You have got to realize that marriage is serious. It  is a lifetime commitment to the person you VOW you would love forever despite and in spite of. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. It is best to think that once you marry, there is no turning back. So manage your expectations and do not trick yourself into thinking that getting married is the answer to whatever situation you are in right now.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NKJV)

In this version, Love was said to be a long-suffering. On another version like the New International Version (NIV) it is translated to “love is patient” instead. To get my point across, I’d like to concentrate on the translation wherein it was referred to as long-suffering because in all honesty, it really is. You share all of yourself to the person you marry and more often than not, it leads to a lot of trials – which God also promised that we will endure if we keep His commandments. These trials usually stem from the expectations we have with our spouse. When these expectations are not met, it leads to disappointments. And in this day and age, this leads to separation. I believe that God made it very clear in order for us to understand that in love, it takes suffering. A kind of suffering that you endure together, with God’s help.

The Covenant

The word covenant is not to be taken lightly. In Hebrew, it means “to cut.” When two parties entered into a solemn and binding agreement, they would hew an animal in two and walk together between the bloody halves of the carcass.

By “cutting covenant,” the two parties promised to walk faithfully within the boundaries of the oath, pledging to suffer the same fate as the animal if they broke the covenant. Covenant creates a bond that is far more intimate and binding than a simple promise. – Source:

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Genesis 2:21-24 (NIV)

Adam and Eve were the very first couple to get married in the Garden of Eden. God intended marriage, from the very beginning to be permanent. Please don’t ever have in mind the idea of annulment and divorce when you think about marriage. Remember that this covenant is made with God and your vows should be with you until the end of time. Do not get lost in this fad we have right now where weddings become so much more than what it is supposed to be. Though it is fun and exciting to prepare if a wedding, you must look past that. After all, as I have said, at the end of the day, when all the people are gone, what’s left is just you and your husband. Focus on what is much more important – marriage and the future!

Remember that in James 1:2-4, it says,Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Still want to get married? I do! I would be honored to marry this man over and over again for I know He is who God planned for me. My best friend, lover, and brother in Christ, together we will persevere! 

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Leaving Home

The decision to finally get married right after I passed the board exams was easy. Joey and I got engaged on my 21st birthday. What?! Oh yes, at 21. You would all think that’s too young. Well yes, okay, I was. Joey on the other hand was 29, 8 years older than I was, and for him, it was the right time to get married.

I met Joey when I was a freshman in college. We had a common friend I knew from church, and he was the one who introduced us. Right in the beginning, we already had a serious relationship. We both believed that once you are dating someone, you ought to be thinking about marriage already. If not, what is the point in wasting your time and energy in that relationship? So, we built our dreams together, shared hopes for one another, and most of all, sought God’s approval for the fulfillment of His plans for us. To cut the story short, we were engaged for a year and we eventually got married August 25, 2011.

I was so clueless I didn't even realized he pulled the ring out!

I was so clueless I didn’t even realize he pulled the ring out!

It was just like yesterday. I still feel the happiness I felt when he proposed. :)

It was just like yesterday. I still feel the happiness I felt then, when he proposed. 🙂

As I’ve said, the decision to marry Joey was easy. He had all the qualities I prayed for… well except for the height, but that’s absolutely fine since nobody is perfect, right? Kidding aside, Joey did help me learn a lot of things when we were still dating, and that’s one of the main reasons why I fell in love with him. Falling in love was easy, although, the hard part was about to come. As much as I enjoyed his company, I wasn’t emotionally prepared to leave home.

Leaving home meant leaving my family, the comfort of my own home, the room I grew up in, and most of all the bathroom that I am used to having all to myself. (I heard a lot of horror stories about men not being able to keep the bathroom dry and I hate it! Really, really hate wet floors!). And the catch was, I had to leave town as well – I had to move to Davao to be with him.

Joey, at that time, was in charge of two major areas, Visayas and Mindanao. He traveled a lot and I knew that once I moved in with him, I’ll be left alone most weekdays, away from my family and friends, in a city foreign to me – if he needed to travel by plane. Those were the things that made it difficult but, I relied on God’s word through these verses:

1. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31 NIV)

2. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NIV)

I held on to these verses as I left home to be with him. In the early weeks, it was so much fun exploring a new city, waking up to a husband beside you, household chores and all. It was like playing house. We felt invincible and eventually forgot to put God in the center of our relationship as husband and wife. Time passed and the romantic stage slowly turned into reality. The reality that life now is no longer about ME and everything I do must be under the authority of my husband as God commanded in these verses: Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24 NIV)

Our Civil Wedding was held in Davao.

Our Civil Wedding was held in Davao.

To submit is hard, really hard. I struggled and questioned a lot even though I know I shouldn’t. Due to this, small disagreements became problems and it affected our marriage. We realized this at some point and we felt convicted. (Actually, I, myself felt more guilty about this). We knew God was putting our marriage to a test and the only way we could fix it is to have Him at the center of our marriage, where He should have been all along. And as soon as we came back to Him, and set our priorities straight, God blessed us with a baby – our Matilda.

The pregnancy helped restore our marriage, our frustrations toward each others shortcomings turned into love and understanding. We felt so blessed there was no more room for bitterness, only forgiveness and acceptance. Sure, there were times we’d fight, we still do sometimes, but love will overcome it all.

We did a maternity shoot  when I was 8 months pregnant with Matilda.

We did a maternity shoot when I was 8 months pregnant with Matilda.

Joey, Matilda and I are happily back now in Manila since April 2013. We miss Davao everyday and we always hope to come back for a vacation. After all, Matilda was born there! A Davaoeña Baby, as our friends call her. Now that we are back, we realized a number of things why God brought us there in the first place. Here are some of the things we learned:

1. God had to take us out of our comfort zone to teach us to be independent, individually, and to depend on each other as a married couple.
2. He taught us the value of money, and that our happiness should not depend on it, but on Him, alone.
3. Marriage is about a husband and a wife – families and friends are excluded. Whatever you go through in your marriage should be dealt with privately.
4. Trust that God will provide, in everything. Don’t worry, because when you do, you sin against Him. No matter how hard life might be, especially with finances, always hold on to His promises through these verses:
•But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33, 34 NIV)
•Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Joshua 21:45 NIV)

Our family life is not perfect, it will never be, but it is a work in progress. Challenges will surely come and go, but we know only one thing is certain, that we will stick with each other, with God’s grace, no matter what. Let me end with the Love Chapter from the Bible:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-10, 13 NIV)