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.