When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“Aprub!” (approve) was my father’s most favorite answer to almost anything I would ask from him. From toys, clothes, food, school supplies, name it, if he can get it, he will give it to me. It was his way of making me feel loved, apart from the time he spends with me, despite his very busy schedule.

I thought I was never spoiled, since I never really became a brat, who whined and cried when my parents couldn’t get me what I wanted. Although, thinking about it now, I actually cannot recall any specific instance when my father gave me a NO for an answer. Aprub! I remember his line so clearly, until today. 

Since I married Joey, things started to change. I had to learn to surrender to his authority over our family. Out of habit, oftentimes, I get disappointed when he would decide to go against my plans and wishes. It had always been a continuous struggle. 

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

Ephesians‬ ‭5:22-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

You see, this isn’t about being unfair in a worldly sense. These verses are commanded to us wives, basically for our own good and for the good of the family. But, how? How is it good to submit? Well, God has appointed husbands to be the head of the family for they are given the responsibility to LEAD. Men are created and designed this way as we see in this verse:

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Just so you know, God originally didn’t design marriage this way, when he created the world. It only changed the moment Adam and Eve failed to obey God, and committed the very first sin. 

“To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.””

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And because we are fallen beings, born in sinfulness, these things are what we encounter today. This is our struggle in our own marriage. This is our common struggle as women: all of us have that inner desire to get what we want. How many of you can relate? Oh yes, you! Yes, Momma, I see you. You’re just like me, as I am like you. The struggle is real. Very real. 

Submission is an act of obedience through faith. But why do we even have to submit anyway? Simply because God commanded it. That alone should be enough to shake us and make us obey immediately. But God is a good God and and has been gracious in giving us the chance to know why we should submit to those who are in authority over us. 

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We all know that God blesses us when we obey him. When we are faithful to His commands, he spares us from conflict and difficulties in life. This is why we should strive to sumbit to our husbands, and to our governing authorities. Is there a limitation to this? What if they are unreasonable? Biased? Unfair? We STILL submit. Whoever abuses his authority, God will deal with them in His own perfect time, for He is sovereign above all things. If a person becomes physically abusive though, that is another story. Those people should immediately seek counsel. We also should be wary when we are asked to do unbiblical things, we don’t submit to that either. This is why knowing God’s commands and instructions through reading His Word, is truly vital.

Take note and please do not be mistaken. Our motivation to obey should stem from our thankfulness, for the undeserved grace that He has given us believers, through our Salvation, in Christ Jesus. It can’t be because we want something from God, that means nothing at all. God does not owe us anything! Everything we have is purely by GRACE.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Remember, we have already been blessed, and out of the overflow of our hearts should be that desire which is to give God glory, by pleasing Him, by doing the all the little things that would make Him feel loved and honored. Just take for example how much you value your child’s obedience, it feels good that they trust you, knowing that you know what is best for them doesn’t it?

I am a work in progress in the area of submission. The focal point of our marriage is to bring back to God all the glory. So, when I find myself doubting or questioning Joey’s decisions and choices, I try my best to look at it from a different perspective. That even if it is not what I wanted at that moment, because God is sovereign, it will ultimately be for the best, for my own good. In order for me to do that willingly AND joyfully, I must develop my trust in God’s supreme authority. After all, it is easier to submit when you know to whom you do it for, and that is for God.

Joey and I will still go through a lot of challenges in our marriage. Like I have said, I am still a work in progress. It is my prayer that when I don’t get things my way, I will always be reminded of who I am, what my role is as a wife and a woman, and how God is sovereign above all things. It is also my prayer that Joey will remain as forgiving and patient as he is, for all my mistakes presently, and those that I may still commit in the future. 

All glory unto God alone!

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Before and After “I Do”

Last April 18, Joey and I attended a workshop by the Family Ministry in CCF Center, designed for soon-to-wed couples, as well as newly married couples. Joey and I attended as facilitators and as participants at the same time as it was our first to actually join the said event. It started at around 9am and the set up of the place was like that of a wedding reception. The Multipurpose Hall was designed beautifully with matching flowers and candles on the round tables, including a buffet set up for lunch. There were a total of 4 sessions, each with different couples as speakers, and let me share with you some of the things we have learned from them.

Session 1: I’m Made for This

Ephesians 5:31-32 New International Version (NIV)

31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

In this session, the speakers were Edric and Joy Mendoza. They basically shared with us God’s design for a successful marriage, which is summarized in the Leave and Cleave Principle. In the verse stated above, we understood that it is truly God’s design that we unite as ONE. Leaving our past behind and starting a new life together as husband and wife. This also involves embracing our roles that God has set for us in our married life. The idea is that ,men should be as how Christ was to the church, which is represented by the wife. It sounds quite profound I know, but as you come to think of it, it is really simple. Christ loved us so much, (church, meaning the body of believers) that He gave Himself up to save us. This is what is expected of us, as Christ already lived as the perfect example for mankind to follow.

Edric and Joy also emphasized on the importance of commitment and communication and how this affects our relationship with our spouse. That in all things man and wife, it should stay between the two of you. We should always remember to back-up and protect each other as we are one in God, never letting other people get in the way of our privacy as a family. Yes, it is good to seek advice, especially  to our parents, but we should take note that being married means we are now responsible with our own decision-making. Anything personal between couples must remain between them, and God, to protect the sanctity of marriage. This is also best remembered as we look at an equilateral triangle, also known as the marriage triangle.

marriage-takes-three.9031440

 

Photo source: http://www.halleethehomemaker.com/2012/02/top-5-ways-to-have-a-healthy-successful-marriage/

 

Session 2: I Will “Role” with It

In this session, the clear-cut roles of husbands and wives were given more emphasis by Pastor Manny and his wife, Lisa Manansala. They specifically pointed out that the key to meeting the expectations of your spouse is by understanding your Godly roles, first and foremost.

Roles of the Husband:

  1. Leader of the Family

Ephesians 5:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 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.

  1. Lover of the Wife

Ephesians 5:25 New International Version (NIV)

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

  1. Provider for the needs of the family.

1 Timothy 5:8 New International Version (NIV)

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Roles of the Wife:

  1. Be your husband’s Helpmate

Genesis 2:18 New International Version (NIV)

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

  1. Be Submissive and Respectful to your husband.

Ephesians 5:24 New International Version (NIV)

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

  1. Be a responsible Home-Manager

Titus 2:3-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Session 3: I Get It

This session focused more on the part of effective communication, as discussed by Nono and Txuna Felipe. Like any other couple, they shared how they struggled in the early parts of their marriage, in this particular area. Both of them agree that they lacked focus when one was talking, especially when the other person was preoccupied in doing something. This eventually led to a series of misunderstandings and preconceived  assumptions, which added pressure in the everyday trials of marriage.

Proverbs 15:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!

Nono and Txuna shared 5 Principles that helped them in the area of communication:

  1. The Principle of First Response – the importance of responding vs. reacting.
  2. The Principle of Physical Touch – the importance of showing gentleness and love through actions.
  3. The Principle of Proper Timing – the importance of knowing when and where to say something.
  4. The Principle of Mirroring – the importance of how things should be said and heard as seen in Proverbs 22:17 “Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
    apply your heart to what I teach,”
  5. The Principle of Prayer – the importance of putting God at the center of the marriage.

Following these simple principles will help in improving the quality of our communication skills, not only to our spouse, but to other people as well.

Session 4: I Will Live Free

Colossians 3:12-13 New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

John and Monique Ong are no strangers to us as they have already given their testimony a couple of times in different occasions. Although, hearing it over and over again is such a beautiful reminder of how God is able to turn a mess into a masterpiece, as Monique would relate it to. For you to experience the blessing of their testimony, and learn how to actually be able to forgive as God forgives, you can view it here.

In this session, they also focused on the gift of sex, in the context of marriage as well as how to keep yourself pure until the day of your wedding.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 New International Version (NIV)  

12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Points to remember:

  1. Always keep your guard up.
  2. Your temptations are not unique to you.
  3. God will not give you more than you can bear.
  4. God always provides a way of escape.

Overall, the things we have learned from this whole day workshop cannot be summarized in just one blog post! It was such a well executed event and it was a blessing to be part of it. It was also a different kind of experience to be surrounded by other couples and discuss the same issues we all go through in marriage. Sharing struggles and the tips that helped us overcome is a wonderful way to learn as well. I hope to attend more seminars like this and hoping you can join us too, next time.

IMG_9385 IMG_9386 IMG_9402 IMG_9403 IMG_9406 IMG_9409 IMG_9411 IMG_9412 IMG_9415

Wherever You Go, I Will Go

Long distance relationships take an extra amount of commitment for it to actually work. Having the chance to experience this while Joey and I were still dating, that time might have been the lowest point of our relationship.

As soon as we got married, we made a commitment to be together daily, as much as we can. Of course, this wasn’t 100% possible with Joey’s line if work being in the Sales Industry. He needed to travel a lot to different parts of the Philippines, and that’s just really part of the job.

During those early parts of our marriage, being based in Davao, where we had no immediate family present to look out for us, it made the situation a bit more challenging. I was left in our house for most days as he traveled, whenever he had to go by plane. I could only go with him when the travel was around Mindanao since we can go by land. Yes, it was difficult. We may have friends around, but I felt sad with the set-up that we had. We had just been married and I knew in my heart that if we go on with this any longer, it may take its toll on our marriage.

Even in the Bible, husbands are asked to stay with the wife because it is crucial in the early parts of the marriage to make the relationship work. “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.” (Deuteronomy 24:5 NIV)

To give Joey credit though, I must say, he never gave me any reason to doubt him. He had always been very open and honest about where he was and who he’s with. I knew most, if not all of the people he works with and that gives me the assurance he wouldn’t do anything to destroy our marriage. Although, it is true that this set-up is really prone to temptations, I just always prayed that God will guard his heart and keep him focused on Him and the work he is asked to do.

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. (Malachi 2:15 NIV)

Fast forward to when I got pregnant, which was 8 months after being married, Joey and I both wanted to raise our little Matilda together and we knew we couldn’t do that successfully if he would need to travel a lot. So, we prayed about it and God answered our prayer through an opportunity to go back to Manila when Matilda was just a few months old.

A position to handle the area of Quezon was the closest we can get to being in Manila so he accepted the offer. The only major catch was, he had to be based in Lucena City, a 4-hour drive from Manila. We thought, it was just travel by land anyway so we can surely go with him all the time. We then had to make a big decision whether we’ll get a home in Manila or in Lucena. Thinking about moving all over again when the time comes Joey may be reassigned some place else made our hearts set on just getting a home in Manila (where all of our things from Davao will be shipped to), and a small fully furnished place in Lucena, for the mean time.

We finally left Davao when Matilda was 3 months old and was given a month stay at a hotel for free just until we can relocate. God is really great because even though our time was short in house-hunting, he remained faithful and gave us a beautiful home within our budget. Plus, just like the 2 previous places we stayed at in Davao, we are also the first to occupy the said home! Praise God indeed!

Looking back, it was fun for most parts traveling weekly, to and from Lucena. We usually left Tuesdays and we go back to Manila by Friday. Some days, it was also very exhausting. I had to pack, unpack, do the grocery twice as much, maintain two homes and so on. It was both time and energy-consuming. And financially, it was also a struggle. But even though we had all these things to think about, we would always go back to the reason why we chose this to begin with. As soon as we realize the pros from all the cons, we will be at peace knowing we are honoring God by doing the right thing, which is by being together as man and wife.

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6 NIV)

A lot of people wondered when they heard about what we were doing. Some even thought negatively about why we were wasting our energy going with him all the time. Some might have even misjudged me for not trusting Joey enough to allow him to go on his own. What they didn’t know was this was about something much deeper. It was mainly because we wanted to be accountable for each other. I wanted to be Joey’s wife not only on weekends, but as often as I could, and that’s what he wanted as well, as my husband. Traveling was just a minute sacrifice on my end, being a housewife. Missing each other is way more difficult most especially whenever he won’t see Matilda for a while. It is heartbreaking to see him so sad.

After all that, I am very happy to let you know that Joey has finally left his previous company, and is now based in Manila for his new job. Right now, we are enjoying traveling with him to different areas in Luzon. Also, we no longer need to maintain 2 houses and our travel isn’t on a weekly basis anymore. We are glad that just like his former company, this new company is also family oriented. We are indeed truly blessed!

To close, I want to encourage you just as how I was encouraged by Rebekah. Her faith in God made her trust the plans He had for her. Though she didn’t know who she was about to marry, she readily obeyed, left everything she had, and followed her soon to be father-in-law, Abraham, to meet her future husband, who is Isaac. Rebekah’s willingness to please the Lord was indeed commendable and I admire her for what she did. And because she obeyed the Lord, she was blessed through her husband and sons. So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies.” (Genesis 24:58-60 NIV)

Are you willing to be the modern-day Rebekah? Will you readily and willingly obey God just as she did? It may be difficult, but with God’s promise of  blessing whenever we obey Him, it will surely be worth all of it!

IMG_7482

Are You A Wife Of Noble Character?

Ever since I became a mother to Matilda, I must admit, most of my time has been dedicated to looking after her and taking care of her. Somehow, along the way, I became too preoccupied that I forgot to take care of Joey’s needs, and myself, included. – (Dedicating a special post for this!)

To be a full-time mom can be exhausting, most especially if you are doing it all by yourself. I am just glad and blessed that we have a reliable house-help to assist me, in making sure that our home is well taken care of.

One Sunday service though, the Pastor asked a very important question, that goes something like, “How much effort are you giving into what God has called you to do?”. This got me thinking, well, I do give my all to Matilda as her mom.. But then.. Oops! I forgot, I am a wife too, and that should be first! And there it was, right on my face. Flashbacks of days when Joey needed a particular attire for work which hadn’t been in the cabinet yet, shoes that should have been cleaned and polished, food or materials that he should have brought with him, but have forgotten, and the list just goes on and on and on. I felt so bad. Yes, I am 100% as a mother, but I am not even close to 50% as a wife.

I knew then, I had to do something. I had to re-evaluate myself on how I manage my time with Joey, his needs, Matilda, and the home. At first, I had thoughts like, well Joey must understand, Matilda is still very young, her needs are much more important than his. Then again, are they really? Sure, there are times that yes, that reason applies, but more often than not, with God’s grace and proper time management, I should be able to balance all of it.

I knew clearly that It has to start with something, and it has to start with me. It is hard, really, but definitely not impossible. I just want to be able to do all those things I was personally doing back when Matilda wasn’t born yet. To consistently serve him and be at my 100%, as a wife to him, all over again. Plus, I haven’t been a good home manager lately, most especially over the holidays when our schedules were really crazy. I have got to work on improving in that area too. So, the real question is, how do I do it? Where do I begin? First of all, I have already prayed and surrendered this to God, knowing in my heart that I cannot do this on my own. And then, I just started giving a little more effort into the things I have to do, looking after his interests more than my own. The result of all that, is up to God.

I am happy that somehow I have seen major improvements in the home. I have been more responsible in making sure everything is in order. The part I have to work on more now is, being able to address Joey’s needs before he leaves for work. He leaves really early, and I am honestly not a morning person unlike him. Another thing is, Matilda still wakes up in the middle of the night, at least twice, to breastfeed. Due to this, there are times I have trouble going back to sleep. But I am working on it, as promised. Hoping I’ll make some major adjustments with my sleeping habits soon, to make way for better changes. I just pray that Joey notices this too! 🙂

If you are a wife, this is something for you to think about, have you been at your BEST as a wife to your husband? For in any marriage, any husband would expect to be served by his wife without any excuses. Have you been that kind of wife lately, or ever? Read the following verses below to find out more about the characteristics of a noble wife, as stated in the Word of God. I’m surely nowhere close to all these, believe me, but with God’s grace, I know he will see me through! Because for me, it would be such a privilege if my Lord God, and my husband will consider me anywhere near a wife of noble character.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭10-31‬ NIV)

Bag of Beans

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?

The COST

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: http://www.marriagetoday.com/adam-eve-and-the-covenant-of-marriage

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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Meant to be Together

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)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
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.

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Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

Whoever thinks this job is fairly easy, is borderline crazy. Have you ever tried staying home with a baby to take care of? Not for an hour, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without monetary compensation, no breaks and no leaves. Is there even a work like it? Well, I don’t think so.

When I was still single, I never thought of myself to be a career woman. I felt it wasn’t my calling and because I am close to my Mom, I wanted to raise my own child, just as she did. We did have helpers around, but my mom was the one personally taking care of me. Joey grew up the same way and I think that greatly influenced our decision to get to this point.

Even before marrying Joey, we have already agreed that I won’t be working afterwards. I’ll be that domesticated housewife who would prepare his meals, do the laundry, iron his clothes, clean the house, do the grocery, take care of our children, and so on and so forth. In my head, I was excited for most of it except for the ironing part – Joey is very particular about this that even though I knew how to iron, I had to unlearn it and relearn the way he wants it done. He was just used to it that way, and I was okay with it. All these things we chose to do were also in preparation for the time when I hopefully get pregnant. After all, our goal was that I’ll be the one to take care of our child. Anything else that concerned the household, he made me the one responsible for it.

During the early months, we didn’t hire a helper. I knew I could do it, so I did it all on my own. Even did the laundry by hand because I was used to it while I was growing up. I’m not a big fan of the washing machine, by the way, except for jeans and other hard to wash stuff. It was also a way to save myself from the headache of having a helper. You all know how hard it is nowadays to get a reliable and trustworthy person to work for you. At least, I’ll be able to do things exactly the way we want it. We saved a bit this way too, and we used that money to slowly buy our furnitures. When I got pregnant with Matilda though, we had to hire one already since I won’t be able to do all those things by myself anymore. And most importantly, to keep me company when Joey is out-of-town for work. Note that we were still in Davao then, as I mentioned in my other post.

So what is it actually like to be a Stay-at-Home Mom? I prepared a short list for you and here it goes:

1. It’s fun! You get to be with your child day and night.
2. You’ll be there to witness their every single milestone.
3. You won’t have to miss them.
4. Your child will get to know you and you will get to know them. You’ll build a different level of bond for each other.
5. You will personally build their character. During the formative years, this is very important.

The list seems alright, then why did I say in the first part that whoever thinks this job is fairly easy, is borderline crazy? Here goes the Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom:

1. When your child starts crying, it can be a bit tricky, and sometimes frustrating to make them stop. (If you’re a parent, you’ll understand.)
2. Putting them to sleep is sometimes easy, and sometimes really difficult.
3. You’ll have to wash their bum a lot of times – daily! Until they are big enough to do this themselves. (Unless your child has a nanny to do this for you).
4. When they start exploring like crawling or walking, it can be very exhausting.
5. When they get sick, you’ll definitely shed some tears – okay, a lot, really.
6. Wait! Your work doesn’t stop there! You still have a husband!

After God, your spouse should be your next priority. – Wait, what? Why does he even have to be a priority? Isn’t he old enough to take care of himself? Let’s see the right order of priorities according to the scripture:

1. God
• Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)

God commanded that we seek Him first, above all things.

2. Spouse
• 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. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:22-25 NIV)

Husbands will rule over the wife and the wife must submit to the husband. – This has been God’s design after the fall of man. (Note the verses from Genesis below).

3. Children
• Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)

As Parents, we were commanded to raise Godly children and since the husbands were instructed to work and provide for the family, (as seen on the following verses below) this duty will mainly fall under the hands of the wife.

These verses serve as a reminder to what my purpose in life is. I’m not only a mom but a wife too – and being a wife should be a priority. I must admit, I fail Joey sometimes in those areas that concern him. Matilda’s presence in our lives can be overwhelming that I tend to forget that her father has needs as well.

Marriage takes a lot of work for both husband and wife, and until you accept the fact that God created you for a specific purpose, you will often find yourselves tested with big challenges. Having a child will change your marriage drastically – it needs to be prayed for. It will change a mother’s body physically, her mind psychologically and her heart emotionally. It will surely change the daily routine you have established alone and together, it will somehow leave your social life cold and there will be times you will forget about your own self in taking care of the new addition to your family. Most of us (wives) sometimes do not notice all of these changes, but our husbands do. The only way for you to understand each other is through open and honest communication. If and when your husband feels neglected, make it up to him. Remind him of why you love him and back it up with acts of service. As I have said, in this area, I am a little guilty, but I really try my best to be the same person I was even before we had Matilda. I am thankful and really blessed that even though I forget about my responsibilities as a wife sometimes, Joey would patiently remind me and would be very understanding about it. What we also learned to do, to keep our own sanity amidst those trying times, is to turn to God’s word and constantly remind ourselves that God crafted marriage beautifully and that if you follow His design, you will be blessed abundantly.

Since this set up is quite uncommon nowadays, wherein most mothers usually work alongside their husbands, you might ask how we make it work. Is one income ever enough for a household? Of course, YES! Scripture tells us that husbands are to provide for the family.

• And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 NLT)

• But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 NASB)

To make it work, first of all, we choose to live a simple life – we have to, because we could never afford to live extravagantly with only one person in the house, working. So, we rarely eat out anymore unlike we used to when we were still dating. We don’t shop unless we NEED something and most of all, I am a breastfeeding and cloth diapering mom! How much we save on that alone must be dedicated to a separate blog post.

Going back, being a Stay at Home Mom works out for us because by God’s grace, we exert extra effort and strive to make it work. It isn’t easy, and we too struggle sometimes – mostly in our finances, but trusting God first and setting your priorities are key. Remember, the formative years will either make or break your child’s character. So setting an example at a young age will be substantial to the future of your child. This is why we chose this path. It might be difficult, but the end result will definitely be worth it.

Let me share my life verse:

• I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

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How about you? Are you a stay at home mom too? Or are you thinking of leaving work to personally take care of your child? Let’s talk about it!