10 Things I Learned in my First Year of Marriage (Part 2)

“Love is not a feeling, it’s a choice”. I’ve heard this the first time in Theology class in college. I didn’t fully grasp though what it meant until I said yes to my then fiancé now husband and I get to spend every waking day with him. It happens that his habits annoy me, I get irritated and I don’t feel like loving him. I’m sure he does feel that too. But when I do make the choice to love him and look past his faults, somehow the feeling soon follows.

This is just one of the many things I’ve learned in my first year as a wife. Hopefully by God’s grace my husband and I will continue to remember those lessons we’ve learned especially in trying times. Most importantly please pray for us that we remain connected to God to make the marriage be our source of peace and joy and make it last a lifetime.

These are some of the things I’ve learned in our first year of togetherness. Some are taken from books, seminars we’ve attended, blogs I’ve read, people surrounding us and supporting our marriage, and our own experiences.

6. Court and date your wife

Courting and dating should not stop in marriage. My hubby learned this from his sister, Ate Christie that the couple should set aside a regular date night. I know this is tough especially when the kids come but couples must continue to work on building romance in marriage. I am grateful that God has allowed us at least a year, just the two of us, to enjoy each other’s company and adjust to the habits we’ve discovered about one another.

I still do appreciate that no matter how familiar we are with each other at this point, my husband can still surprise me (in a good way). He still takes me out on random movie dates, recreation activities and he still gives me flowers on special occasions as he has promised a long time ago.

Anniversary flowers :)

Anniversary flowers 🙂

He even researches on restaurants we haven’t tried yet and takes me there.

Just a note, the courtship and dating doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. 🙂 Like when we need to save up a bit,  my husband just sets up our dining table with some candles (for a candlelit dinner). What makes me laugh every time is that to match the candlelit dinner, he wears on the upper half of his body his white long sleeve polo he wore during our wedding, and on the lower part…

his boxers! :p

Now that he’s doing that and making all the effort in “pursuing me”, on my part I must still be the girl he used to date.

My husband appreciates that I dress up for him, look my best self and am still attractive to him even when I’m at home. So this also follows that I MUST have regular exercise and proper diet. It doesn’t mean that he will love me less if I don’t but it’s one way to keep us attracted to each other. (Men are visual beings!) In the same way, though I’m not much of a visual person, I also like it whenever he still dresses up for me and keeps himself fit.

It still makes me feel special because he makes the effort for me. And because of this it keeps the romance alive.

7. Join a group that will encourage you in the faith and be loving to your spouse

 Belonging in a discipleship group (DGroup) has blessed us in many ways. They are the people whom we trust, run to with our hurts or struggles in life and share our victories in the faith. We are there to mutually support each other. We are also sure that they are there to pray for us, encourage us to keep walking with God and be our eyes when we can’t see Him amidst our troubles.

There are things that we learn in our DGroup that we may not know or hear from others. When I got married, I was hungry to be taught and to be mentored on how to become a good (and even godly) wife to my husband. Good in the definition of what is pleasing to him. I was seeking for a model/mentor in the 3rd Quarter of 2013 to teach me how to be a good partner because I felt that I am not fully equipped. I shared this concern to my discipler, Lors before in my Singles DGroup. She told me simply, the best teacher for that would be my husband and that I should just ask him.

It was an answered prayer when we moved to a couples DGroup under Pastor Jonathan and Coco early this year. We learned more on the dynamics of couples who are committed to follow Christ as we discovered the specific roles of a husband and his wife such as:

1. For the husbands he must lead his wife and family and love her among other things.

2. For the wives we must be / do the ff:

  • Helpmate – I need to help my husband fulfill the vision God has entrusted to him.
  • Encourager – I am his cheerleader and number one fan.
  • Respect our husband – I should not interrupt him when he speaks and I should not raise my voice at him.
  • Submit (Support) – I should submit to him and his leadership on how he will run our family and I should support his decisions. To not blame him when things go wrong and still be there to iron things out with him.

Most of the time when we are struggling with each other, we just need a little push to either be better or worse. We need that little push from someone who will tell us to hang in there and fight for our marriage. Imagine if every time my husband and I argue and he seeks comfort from friends who will tell him to drink it off or find someone else, or if I seek comfort from friends who will tell me I deserve better or I deserve to be happy without my husband. No matter how strong I think my conviction is, I admit that I still might fall to a deception like that.

In 1 Corinthians 15:33 it says, Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character”.

  We must intentionally surround ourselves with people who will remind us of our wedding vows to stand by each other no matter what.

8. Never stop growing and learning

Books, lessons, activities, new discoveries. This gives color to our conversations and relationship. What’s beautiful in this information age is that everything is already accessible.

The challenge though for me is with everything accessible, I need to filter what information to get. I think that the biggest temptation for me right now is social network. Instead of choosing to read, it’s so much easier to pick up my phone and browse the news feed to pass time. My husband would often remind me to put down my phone and go back to reading. Since it is our choices that determine us, my husband may be making the smart choices and I get left behind with the wrong ones. It would be hard for me then to catch up with the way his mind processes and understand or sympathize with him. Likewise with him if he gets left behind or he walks too far ahead of me.

We must constantly grow in ourselves – faith, relationship, family life, career wise, knowledge and information to still be interesting to each other.

We most importantly need to catch up in the growing of our partner.

We do have different likes and preferences so I need to still grow with him in his new found interests and activities. The first step to grow with our partner is to listen to him when he discusses new hobbies and pastimes. To be engaged when he passionately discusses business or the moral lessons he learned in movies or cartoons like Naruto. (“,)

My husband likewise needs to be engaged when I discuss my sentiments and opinions.

My husband has taught me that we need to keep walking together in the same direction and be on the same page. There are cases wherein couples don’t know each other anymore because they’ve stopped learning and growing together.

Dialogues like “you are no longer the person I married” would be uttered. At some point, they may have stopped getting to know their spouse.

Conversation is always key in bridging differences and new interests.

9. Eat, Laugh and Pray Together

Eating together without the distraction of TV has allowed us to converse with each other and focus on one another as I’ve mentioned before in my other post, No TV (channels), No problem!

We always make it a point to eat together and face each other (even if at times we don’t want to). Well because there is nowhere else to run to at home since there are no TV (channels) to take us in its arms and let us get lost into it.

On Laughing Together, I am glad that my husband is such a comedian and he has such great sense of humor. He isn’t scared to look or sound silly and that’s what makes me love him more because it means he’s doing what it takes to make me laugh.

My husband has a serious side though. He can get serious especially on matters concerning faith and life. So when life throws lemons at us, I’ve seen how humor can work to our advantage. Whenever we just laugh about inconveniences or when things don’t go according to plan, it eases the tension instantly.

When we do get lost going to our destination, we could just laugh about it and add it to our list of funny adventures. Or if we have other booboos (which I do have a lot of those), well we can laugh about it when we talk about it in the future.

There may be times that it does get the best of us, but knowing that we can laugh about things shows us that yes there is an option and a way out of stressful situations.

Praying Together. It’s hard to get by without praying. In Pre-marital counseling, our facilitator mentioned to us that it is important to pray with your spouse. He does it with his wife before they sleep. It’s not’s just spiritual but it is also practical. Once they have built the habit of praying together, whenever they get into a disagreement, they still need to come together in prayer at night because of the habit they have formed. Thus, it forces them to resolve the fight before it worsens.

My husband and I still need to build the habit consistently. Praying separately is good too especially when we do our morning quiet times with God. But whenever we bow down in prayer together whether before we eat or before we sleep, it gives us a deep and intimate bond and security with each other.

10. Love your in laws

We’ve heard a lot of horror stories about in laws (parents, siblings, relatives) from other people but I believe that we must not let these horror stories get into our head. Or even create our own version of in-law horror story and share it with others.

In Ephesians 4:29 it says, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

In Pre-Marital Counseling my husband learned to ask for the parents’ blessing about the partner they choose to spend the rest of their lives with, and wait (no matter how long) if the parents’ decide otherwise.

Praise God as our parents and in-laws have blessed us and given us away to each other in marriage. We know we can trust them to be there to support us and love us. We must love them as Christ has loved us, protect them and take care of them. We need to involve them as much as possible and share with them our lives as they have given us theirs. My husband learned in GLC 2 in CC that it is indeed important to have our family with us in marriage.

Parents and in-laws are there for a purpose. They may either bring out the worst in us or the best in us, depends on how we view them in our lives. God has taught me just in this season of our lives that He has given them to us as our first support group. Our families should be that – to bring us together than tear us apart. Sometimes we may misunderstand them, but we must trust and believe that they only have our best intentions at heart.

In dealing with our in laws, parents, siblings and other relatives, we must always always try to look at what’s best about them. God has impressed in my heart these verses,

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

 ————————-

As a bonus, my husband and I met up with a pastor and his wife in our first year of marriage for counseling. Counseling is good once in a while so we can evaluate if we are still on the right track with our marriage. We were given nuggets of wisdom and also they recommended that we read the book Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

A gist of this book would be Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

One of the key principles in marriage is that, wives need love while husbands need respect. Just a few pages of the book and we were  already blessed. 🙂

God has really brought us a long way from where we were when we first dated until now in marriage. He showed us that even a relationship that started as not glorifying to Him can make a 180 when we allow Him to take over our lives and place Him in our center.

Without Him and if we pushed things in our own way and our own time, I’m sure that we will not experience the blessings, the joy and romance the first year of marriage brings. Sure there are challenges and there can be a lot, but having a relationship with God convicts us over and over again to restore a relationship with our spouse.

The first year of marriage I believe is the most important year as it lays a good, strong foundation for marriage. I remember what Rev. Yu said, (our pastor who officiated our marriage), the blessing and joy of marriage is this: that we will live with two of our best friends; our husband and Jesus Christ.

Indeed, it has been the best year of my married life living with my husband, and my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

It is a piece of heaven on earth but I know this isn’t happily ever after yet because it can only happen when I finally meet my maker and live in eternity with the loves of my life.

I still have yet to see that the honeymoon phase can indeed last longer. But I am confident in God and that if we lean on Him, He will sustain our marriage and nothing is impossible with Him – even letting honeymoon phase last a lifetime.

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Lovers in lovers lane #cheese 🙂

10 Things I Learned in my First Year of Marriage (Part 1)

May 19, 2013. And they lived happily ever after…

or maybe not quite.

Happily Ever After was temporarily suspended the day we woke up with the rings on our finger and got a text message on the way to  Baguio Country Club. We were faced with the first challenge in our marriage on some technicalities with our marriage contract.

I was a bit of a control freak and I believe the test for me here was will I surrender to the decision of my husband – on his ways (NOT my ways) to resolve the problem? To not blame and point fingers but instead support him and still be a helpmate to him?

Good thing he gently reminded me of my role as a wife (hehe) but still I disobeyed and I failed this challenge letting the setback get the best of me. My husband quickly discerned that it was just a test and we needed to be faithful. True enough it turned out it was as he said.

God was, is and will be on His throne and things were eventually resolved, and we enjoyed a peaceful and relaxing honeymoon in Baguio with our family.

You see I didn’t really have a model for marriage so I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what my role was and what the scope of my responsibility was as a wife. We were fortunate to have attended Pre-Marital Counseling in CCF 2 Years ago which gave me a peek on what married life was like. (We underwent Pre Marital Counseling even before we got engaged, this was one of the factors my hubby confirmed his decision and decided to pop the question, but that’s a different story. 🙂 )

To embrace the new role I would have to fit into, my husband then fiancé that time reminded me to prepare for the marriage more than the wedding. Alongside the wedding preps, I pored over the book Fit to be Tied which was lent by a close friend of ours, Ate Chen. It was very helpful as it gave more insight on marriage. I also am grateful for the blog of Joy Tanchi-Mendoza which customized the concepts I discovered as she shared married life in a more relatable way.

So I thought I was ready and armed for the biggest decision we both were going to make. I mean I felt that I did what I had to. But what I did was do things on my own and forgot to depend on God completely.

I submit that without God, without a relationship and obedience to Him, we might not have lasted in our first year in marriage.

I pray and please pray for us that our marriage will indeed last a lifetime. During our first year I tried to document our experiences as a couple that helped us adjust and lay a foundation to protect our marriage. We have yet to see through a lifetime though of continuing to choose to love our partner. These are some of the compiled insights I learned from books, from wise people enveloping us with their love and support, from virtual mentors, and from our own experiences.

1. Trust your Husband

I have some deep rooted trust issues with men but in marriage this must change. Better if I was able to change this before marriage, but in marriage this must be resolved. God has appointed the husband as head of the family.

In Ephesians 5:22-24 it says, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Our husbands are accountable to God more than anything. He will be responsible on how he handles the family God has entrusted to him. Therefore, I just need to submit to him and trust him in his decisions. This also means that I should never blame him for decisions that did not turn out right.

What I appreciate about my husband is that for every decision we have to make, he opens it up for discussion. He asks my side, lets me be my outspoken self on issues that I am passionate about, he considers my point and then he decides. I then feel a part of the decision making but he has the most responsibility. (“,)

2. NEVER regard DIVORCE as an option

It was almost a year into marriage that I decided to resolve by God’s grace that DIVORCE should never be an exit plan. We do experience some conflicts and whenever this happens there’s always that idea and I do struggle with that thought. That is so easy for me to imagine on what life would be like with what I’ve experienced. But this is not what God wants for me. I have been redeemed and liberated from my past and I am now a new creation in Christ. Therefore I have no excuses that I have the tendency to be this or that because of my homing instinct.

Every time that divorce idea pops in my head, I must recognize that that is not from God. That idea should not govern my mind and I should ask that God reign in my mind and heart once again.

Divorce should never be an option no matter how explosive the fight is, no matter how much you feel that it is the best option. It may feel like the best option for now, but later it will be a different story. Nobody who underwent divorce or separation would say that they would want to do it and experience it all over again. and again. and again.

3. Housekeeping is a Huge Bonus

I checked with my husband and he said that wives who know how to keep a house neat and clean is a PLUS PLUS. I wish I had been more attentive when I was still living with my mom and grandma.

When we finally got the keys to our temporary house, I was excited! I thought I knew how to run a home. But then dust bunnies started to turn up in different corners of our house. The clothes smelled even after I’ve washed them in the washing machine and hung them. I had to endure a whole day at work with stinky clothes. My husband still had his lunch and dinner in his own home with his wife busy at work. I still was part of the corporate world that time and I really couldn’t imagine how the working moms there could manage their family and home and work.

So when I finally settled into my new role I had to work double time to catch up for time I should have used wisely in preparing for married life. I should have taken the responsibility in my household before so I could have easily eased into the duties of a wife which is to care for her home, her husband and her kids.

I’m grateful for my mom and my eldest cousin who gave me pointers on how to do the laundry the right way. How to do things properly the way a woman should. :p

My husband appreciates being taken care of and I think that most husbands would agree to this too.

4. Resolve Conflicts Quickly / Forgive Immediately

One of the things that I most appreciate now is that my husband always takes the initiative to resolve conflicts. I admit I get stubborn sometimes and my pride can get way bigger than my height. It’s not right to abuse that and okay I’m making excuses. But in marriage, it’s important to resolve conflicts quickly and forgiveness should follow shortly.

In Ephesians 4:26 it says, In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

Whenever we are angry with each other, it just builds up a barrier between us and I can imagine myself singing California King Bed. We’ve tried letting our conflict go on for 2-3 days, and we’ve tried resolving it quickly in less than a day and immediately after. I must say that it’s better to resolve it ASAP as we can put that issue to rest and go back to loving each other.

Both our love language is Quality Time, so whenever we argue with each other, we just feel  less and less loved since we are both depriving ourselves of the quality time we should be spending with each other. We are just in fact punishing ourselves so might as well resolve it.

There are mistakes that sometimes are done over and over again. But the rule is simply forgive. forgive. forgive.

As they say, a happy marriage is the union of 2 forgivers.

Sometimes we women also want the feeling to be pursued and thus prolong the forgiveness phase. But that is not right to put our husbands in that situation and even the husbands to put their wives in that situation. We must always remember what if God had put conditions in forgiving us? Yes there must be repentance because that comes with the sincerity of the apology. But we must forgive as God has modeled on how he forgave us.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

5. Protect Each Other

It’s so easy to say something negative about our spouse. I do not deny that there are things that fall short when it comes to expectation and reality. Especially when we finally lived under one roof. But when we say we are children of God, He expects us to please Him. There is nothing pleasing about saying something negative about our spouse just to join in a conversation of a group. Or sometimes we tend to say something careless that we think is no big deal but it actually affects our spouse.

In private then after my word vomit sometimes, I ask my husband if he is in fact offended and I also call his attention whenever he offends me. Then we resolve to refrain from making those unmindful and careless puns the next time.

So before that happens, let me share an encouragement which I still need to focus on as well,

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

Celebrating our first year anniversary :)

Celebrating our first year anniversary 🙂

 

Le Mirand Restaurant and Recreation in Antipolo

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This gallery contains 11 photos.

If you want to escape the Manila heat temporarily, but still enjoy the entertainment your home offers, close to the city is a place, home away from home – Le Mirand Restaurant and Recreation in Antipolo. In this room you … Continue reading

Waiting on God

Hate to wait? I believe most of us will agree with this. Nobody likes to wait patiently especially now when everything has an instant solution. It’s tough to wait on someone or something when we know we can do something about it – yes it may not be the best thing but at least we got some result. It’s tougher to wait when we know it’s beyond our control – when the waiting time is indefinite.

Last Sunday in CCF, I was reminded of the discipline of waiting, and waiting on the Lord.

In Psalm 27:14 it says, Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Imagine falling in line to get an interview with President Noynoy or the President of the United States and 5 hours or so have passed, do we demand an explanation on why it’s taking so long? Do we get mad, throw a fit and walk out on them?

So why can’t we wait patiently for the President of all Presidents, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords?

As Pastor Peter said, the ability to wait on the Lord depends on your knowledge of Him. Do we think God is there to punish us by waiting? Or do we believe God is sovereign, He knows everything, therefore He just wants us to learn something in our waiting?

God is not slow to answer and He is not slow to bless. Sometimes when the waiting time is too long, we get impatient and fail to realize that as we wait on God, He is also waiting for us. God wants to bless us. What father does not want to bless his children? Though we are unfaithful in waiting, He remains faithful in waiting patiently for us to be ripe and ready for what He wants to bless us with.

In our journey with God, we must understand that when He withholds something, He just wants it for our best. So when the time comes for Him to give it, we may delight more in the  blessed than the blessing, the giver more than the gift. God wants us to love Him and choose Him over anything.

Our tendency is that when we pray for something and we finally get it, we become preoccupied with the blessing and forget who blessed us. We tend to make it the end goal and become happy and content with it. Our waiting on God and dependence on Him stops. So in our walk with God, we go back to another waiting cycle until we learn to become what God wants us to be and wait on the most important one who deserves to be waited upon.

You may ask, how do we receive God’s best? Whether in work, in your lifetime partner, the best in life?

god's best

We must hold on to God’s promise everyday and walk in His ways – do things God’s way and not our own way. This is one of my favorite verses in this season of my life,

Psalm 37:34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.

It is a lie to think that God has forgotten us. But sometimes we choose to believe that lie and do things our own way. Especially when people give us ideas that in order to be successful in life, we must have the best material things, must get married at a certain age, must be successful in business or our work no matter what it takes. We then resolve to shortcuts since we cannot delay gratification and wait any longer. When we want immediate success in business we do shortcuts. When we want the security of love of our partner, we give our purity away outside of marriage. When we want to forget the pain and hurt in our lives in an instant, we take substances. When we are not happy with our spouses and with our marriage, we opt to separate with them. We do things our way than go for the righteousness of God’s way.

We fail to understand that when we do things our way and fail to wait, we cannot escape the consequences. Yes there will be immediate satisfaction but in the long run there will be consequences. Indeed what we reap we will sow.

If we did not wait on God and did things our way, we will not know what we missed had we waited upon Him. If we fail to wait, we settle for less than God’s best for us.

As opposed to when we wait, hold on to God’s promises, do things God’s way and wait on His right and perfect timing, all these will result to the sweetness of the blessing – no less than God’s best for us.

When we obey God, there is a blessing.

Psalm 34:17 says, When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

However, if we did make mistakes – did things our own way which are not pleasing to God, He is merciful and just to forgive us our sins. We just need to repent meaning turning 180 degrees from our sinful ways and humble ourselves to Him. 
Yes it is hard to wait, but when we walk with God, He also gives me and us the encouragement
in Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 
God is so faithful and loving that even as we wait on Him, he even encourages us and gives us the capability to wait on Him.
The greatest gift of waiting is knowing that God Himself is the greatest gift. May we continue to seek God and find encouragement in His promise.
As He promised a long time ago that someone will save us from our sins and this was fulfilled through Jesus Christ, so will His promises in our lives all the more be materialized. God bless you all! 🙂
Photo from CCF Facebook page

Photo from CCF Facebook page

 

Patio Vera in Marikina

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 Passing by this restaurant every time we go to SM Marikina stirred our curiosity on what this dining place is like. Patio Vera is a restaurant that is a fusion of Filipino and Spanish cuisine. My hubby somehow got the … Continue reading