I’m Sorry Will You Forgive Me? (updated)

Learning to say “Sorry” I realized then is one of the toughest things to do since I got married. But going 4 years soon this May (all by God’s grace!), I learned how valuable this word was to be restored to a loving relationship to my husband, and also to God.

You see I grew up in an environment where saying sorry is cheesy and unnecessary. Things just eventually work out sooner or later.

Back when I was younger.. Had a big fight with my older sister that involved some unladylike behavior? After a week we talk normally, as if an explosion didn’t just occur a few days before. Got into an argument with my mom? The next day one of us just asks a question, then it’s back to regular programming and the relationship will be restored. Or so we would like to think.

As Jason learned in GLC 2 (CCF), family life is a priority. To have a good relationship with our family.

Good relationship I guess is defined as peaceful and harmonious. Later on my husband and I realized saying sorry is just the tip of the iceberg.

During our first year in marriage, saying sorry was still a struggle (at times until now), even with Jason.

I don’t know when it happened. One day after some arguing to see who’s got the most explanations up his or her sleeve, Jason suddenly said, I’m sorry. I was surprised. In the following days or whenever some fights would occur, I was shocked to see Jason initiate those words. Even when I would sometimes provoke him after his apology, he would say I’m sorry… the next part was.. “Will you Forgive Me?”

What was I to say?? My pride told him, “I’ll think about it” but of course the next day I would tell him that I do forgive him and I also apologize.

I believe this sparked some change in our crazy cycle of arguments. By Jason modeling how it is to say sorry. It took some time but when my husband – the leader of our family, comes to me in humility, my wall of pride is slowly crumbling and I become unguarded and softhearted.

I guess this applies to all relationships.. If you’re the one who feels disappointed and hurt, be the one to say sorry. If you feel discouraged, encourage others (nick vujicic, life without limits). Even with employer-employee relationship, parents and children, managers and the people they manage. When the leader is unwilling, even the followers will grow cold. But when the leader shows humility, this changes the course of the relationship. Because even leaders make mistakes. It’s better to come in humility than be unyielding when they make a mistake. Humility isn’t weakness in fact it saves us from disgrace.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

It’s so much easier to move on with our lives after arguments, after a misunderstanding with our loved ones, workmates, and friends. Later on though, those unresolved matters puts tiny dents in our relationships that will blow up later on. It’s so easy to leave it at that for the meantime, but it takes someone strong to confront a situation and be genuinely sorry and apologize.

The apology is a way of accepting responsibility for our behavior and expressing regret – Dr. Gary Chapman, Love Language Minute Devotional.

Soon it’s becoming a practice in our relationship. Saying sorry is not enough (at least for us). There must be a confession of what offense we committed, and then the question, “will you forgive me?”.

In our marriage, there must be a question if the other party has truly forgiven the offender.  Or else we might just be saying sorry for the sake of ourselves than for the person we offended. Marriage is not about me. It takes the selfishness out of me.

Now we know that these are the 2 phrases important to keep our marriage healthy, (because in marriage we will make mistakes and apology is necessary for good relationships according to Dr. Gary Chapman), we mustn’t abuse it and just go through the motion of “I’m Sorry will you forgive me” speech.

It’s important to have a relationship with God, because only God can truly impress in our hearts the faults we have done, we’re doing, and we are contemplating to make. Only God can compel us to feel truly sorry and even identify what fault we made. Even if I am stubborn refusing to apologize after a heated argument with Jason. When I come to God in prayer, He tugs at my heart to be humble and apologize. I often get no sleep and have no rest for my soul when things are left unresolved and I suppose this goes for my husband too.

So whenever I’m feeling pride in my heart I know it’s best to come to and learn from the one who has perfected humility. That King who came down here on earth to live a life unfit for royalty and even chose to be crucified – to die for the sins of many, Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 11:29 He says, Take my yoke upon you and learn from mefor I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

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Almost 4 years down the road, our communication line has become easier and more open only by God’s grace. In counseling other couples we noticed how our “harmless” pride can ruin a smooth sailing relationship. Pride in the things we do, pride in forcing what we think is right (what is our basis of right?), pride in not accepting our mistakes.

I share with my ladies that as a wife it is my role to Help, Encourage, Respect and Submit (H.E.R.S) to my husband as I have learned in a marriage retreat early this year.

The moment I become disrespectful to Jason or raise my voice in a discussion, no matter how much he was wrong will not justify my action and make it right. I too am in err. Two wrongs do not make things right.

God convicts me every time with this. I need God in my life and the moment I am not in good terms with the closest person in my life (my husband) (later with other people too), it strains my relationship with God as well. God forgives but the moment I am unrepentant, I lose the joyous and peaceful fellowship with Him.

I am thankful that when I apologize, God forgives me and restores me to Him.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

I am also thankful that God has given me my husband who is committed to follow Christ. That he also forgives me whenever I apologize.

This doesn’t mean though that I continue making mistakes since I will be forgiven anyway but rather I continue to live a new life in Christ.

It has been quite a journey! And I am excited on how God continues to answer our prayers on taking away things in our lives that are displeasing to him – pride included, and saying sorry in humility has been one of the best remedies.

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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 🙂

 

How to win fights in marriage

Because who wants to lose?

Who or what you want to win is a different matter.

The first year in marriage as some say is the toughest. Because this is the year to cleave to each other, where we lay a solid foundation for our lifetime of togetherness.

You would think that from our 7 years of knowing each other before getting married, everything would be pretty smooth by now. You would think that 7 years is already a long time for us to get to know each other and know how to allay each other’s anger. WRONG. Still in our first year, it’s a different ball game from when we were boyfriend and girlfriend.

When we had arguments during dating stage, we were glad to be going back to each of our homes and face the problem the next day. We also had the option to never face them at all.

But in marriage, we are bound to face each other literally (and unintentionally) during the cold night until we wake up the next day.

The stakes in marriage are higher and the hurt is deeper. Because as they say in marriage, we are already one. If I hurt him, I automatically feel the hurt too and likewise.

Even if both of us make an effort to read books on marriage and relationships, I just find myself getting more creative in rationalizing, starting arguments and finding fault. As soon as I learn new things in the book I would tell him, “Beb it says here in the book you have to be affirmative of me, you have to encourage me..  you’re not doing this. you’re not doing that.. so and so..”. How sinful my heart is to see the speck in his eye than see the plank in my own.

Other things would be that since we assume to know each other so much, we assume each other’s intentions. My husband would assume that my heart is being deceitful when in fact I was just tired to discuss certain matters. I would get so angry on how he could think he knows so much about my heart and accuse me based on his assumptions.

Little hurts would pile up and turn into resentments and soon enough little arguments would blow up into big fights. To the point that we would be reckless with words and our hearts would grow cold and bitter toward each other. The design for which God wanted man and wife to live in peace and joy would be distorted and destroyed because of our pride.

How do we win this battle of words? Will a louder voice do the trick? Or the most logical and intelligent argument? Will belittling my husband’s point or he belittling mine solve it?

Most importantly, will winning the argument but losing my husband in the process be worth it?

So what if I won? So what if had a carefully crafted speech to present to my husband that he has no other choice but to accede? Will it count in building a good foundation for our marriage? Will it count with God?

Sometimes when we find each other a stalemate in arguments, I would feel frustrated and he too.

But we are reminded how God is important in making marriages work. Without Him, it is impossible to make it work. Because He designed marriage. He has brought man and woman together. He completes the divine triangle in marriage and He is the ultimate mediator when we find ourselves in the stalemate position.

It helps and it counts a lot to have developed the habit of quiet time even before marriage. Quiet time meaning having a personal, quality and quiet time with God. After arguments, we knew that in the morning at a designated time we would eventually meet with God and He would ask us, where we are in our marriage. Did we become more loving, more forgiving, more selfless with each other?

Soon we realized that spiritual warfare is stronger in marriage because the enemy seeks to divide. I found out that to win this spiritual fight is to come to God and apologize not just to Him but to my husband. To admit to God how untrusting I was that He would work in my husband’s life and mold Him to be Christ-like. To admit to my husband how selfish I was and how self-righteous I was in pointing out his mistakes, or how I was doubtful of his intentions.

When a sincere apology is made with a repentant and a forgiving heart, it breaks down our frozen hearts and the walls of pride and we are restored into a loving relationship with God and with each other. Marriage once again becomes the source of our peace and joy.

Yes I don’t want to lose and lose this marriage. Winning spiritual fights in marriage is more important than winning arguments. What profit is it to gain points in logic but lose my soul?  To gain the world and lose my soul?

We will always be in the process of being sanctified and cleansed from our sin and pride and arguments will not stop as our marriage progresses. As marriage becomes more stable, we expect that it will be tested but we have hope that in this world we will indeed experience trouble, but we take heart because Christ has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Matthew 16:26 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Source: morselsofbread.net

Source: morselsofbread.net

GiaSon at Mark and Sam's_0216

No TV (channels), No problem!

Working in a TV network for 5 years until 3rd quarter of last year has kept me in the loop most of the time. But when I got married, it ended my affair with TV. My husband decided not to get cable so there’s just one or two decent channels on the tube. Every time I switch on the TV, I rarely find anything I like that’s on. My husband too.

So what happens is we’d end up talking. And laughing. and sometimes some sobbing. And talking. And talking.

Whenever we had nothing else to do while relaxing at home, I couldn’t help myself sometimes and wish we had cable TV. When I was in my mom’s house, I’d just leave the TV  open while I’m on the computer or while we were eating or while I was washing the dishes. This time, the only sound I would hear would either be my husband’s voice, music from my husband’s playlist or cars whizzing by.

But then I got used to it. The stillness and peace of our home. The eagerness of having quality and even trivial conversations over dinner and everywhere else in the house.

Some couldn’t even fathom the idea of having no TV. I myself couldn’t imagine not getting to watch TV for a long time. But after almost a year, I’d say it’s one of the best decisions my husband has made.

TV I believe is good sometimes as they allow us into worlds beyond our own. But sometimes and for some, TV has been a sort of escapism.  A way to zone out of topics, problems, and situations we need to face. It would have been the easier option.

Knowing my husband for 6 years before getting married isn’t enough. As I get to know him daily, it gets more interesting. We grow moment by moment as God has fearfully and wonderfully made us to have our own unique thoughts and characters – there’s a lot more to discover.

In our first year, we try to establish our foundation as a couple and talking a lot puts deposits in our love tanks. It also allows him as well as he allows me into my and his innermost thoughts, emotions about anything and everything.

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Spending so much time with each other minus the TV (forces) puts us into situations wherein we have nothing else to say but discuss how we feel about certain things, about each other if we do so and so. This of course has led us into many agreements as well as disagreements. I’m excited as we’re still on our way to learning more effective ways to communicate our honest feelings about each other’s actions without actually hurting each other.

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We’re still a long shot from silver or golden years and who knows where things may take us. But one thing I learned from the first year of marriage is that TV channels [or the lack of it] can do wonders on filling up our love tanks – communicating our admiration, affection, honesty and openness (as discussed in His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Jr. Harley) and building emotional intimacy with each other.

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