Marriage, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

Vow

 

Okay, so we Filipinos seem to have all been affected by the Jollibee valentine ads. I am talking particularly about “Vow.” It’s a brilliant ad, telling us that no matter what happens, Jollibee will always be there for us, to make us feel loved and happy each time we visit their stores. But really, were you affected by the video saying, “awwww Jollibee, thanks so much for the love and sacrifice…”? Haha. No, I think we were affected by the love story. As a friend of mine said, it’s La La Land all over again!

1646340513364039030724993722098740303685860o
image from cdn.ibtimes.ph
I tweeted the other day that I don’t believe in guy-girl best friends unless guy and girl are married, with the hashtags #jollibee #onealwayscrossestheline (which I’ve changed to #oneortheothermaycrosstheline) #wrongvow #usewisdom. I know, some agree and some do not. I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes. I respect everyone’s opinions and life choices, whether I agree with them or not. But let me try to explain. My tweet was prompted by the ad, but I have been subscribing to this belief ever since I learned about boundaries and healthy, mature boy-girl relationships. Of course, this was already when I was an adult hehehe.

Anyway, that said, I believe there is a danger in a man and a woman, a boy and a girl becoming best of friends. There are so many stories of hearts being broken this way. There is always that very thin line that one could cross, maybe at different points of their relationship. One could be oblivious to it, the other could be deeply longing and believing for them to be together in the end. One could be over it, and the other starts developing feelings. Or both feel the same way but are too young (or whatever other reason) to do anything about it. Or both feel the same way, do something about it, and then end up ruining their friendship. The thought will almost always cross one or the other’s mind. Sorry, but not many women or men have the character and maturity to be able to keep that line clear and distinct. So why put yourself in that position? It’s not wise.

Case in point, the Jollibee ad, which is inspired by a true story. The guy invested so much of his time, energy, money and emotions on his best friend, only to lose her to another man. That would have been fine (maybe, minus the emotions) if they were truly, purely just friends, but the guy obviously had deep feelings for the girl. He was so heartbroken. So for me, that kind of investment should really be reserved for your spouse. That kind of best friendship, between husband and wife, is worth that kind of investment. Husband and wife mutually invest in each other and in their marriage.

To be honest, I didn’t expect the ad to have that twist. I’m one of those who wants the best friends in the story, to end up together. I enjoy those kinds of happy endings. Reality Bites and Some Kind of Wonderful come to mind. ❤ And don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is the best author of love stories and each story He writes is unique. He knows all, knows best. His will is good, pleasing and perfect. He can choose to write a love story between guy-girl best friends. Those stories are wonderful too. But sadly, or many times thankfully, not all guy-girl relationships are meant to turn out that way.

And then there’s that vow, those promises the guy made to the girl. Not to his bride, but to his best friend? What?! I mean, it was great for the drama and all, but who does that? (Well apparently one guy did). Be the replacement/the dummy when hubby is not available? Be the crying shoulder when she and hubby have a disagreement? I don’t think so. And when he marries, what then? A part of him will always be with his best friend. How can he cling to and be loyal to his own wife?

It’s cool to shift our loyalty from one fast food chain to another (I myself have no loyalty to any), but we can’t do that between our spouse and our best friend. A wife’s husband and guy best friend should be one and the same person. A husband’s wife and girl best friend should be one and the same person as well. It’s about unity of husband and wife. Being ONE. It’s difficult to achieve that if King had to compete with “my guy best friend” for my time, priorities, loyalty, affection. If I had “him” to run to and I’m sure at times compare King with, it would become easy for me to run away from issues instead of facing them and working on them with King. If I had “him” to give me my boosts, I might eventually learn to cling to him instead of to King. Let’s not fool ourselves in thinking that we are above such kind of behavior, or that our marriages are strong enough. Our own pride will set us up for a fall. We must never be complacent.

I don’t mean we can’t have close friends of the opposite sex when we’re married. Sure we can. That’s something we discuss and agree on with our spouse. Because they are our priority and they have our loyalty, we respect our spouse’s opinion. We respect their position on the matter, or on any matter. We get on the same page. Not always easy, but that’s part of being married. We continually discover and live out what it is to think outside of ourselves, to give of ourselves. To think not only of “me, my rights and what’s rightfully mine,” but to think of “us, what is best for our marriage, and what will honor God.” It will hurt at times because we are all wired to think about our needs and push our agenda first, but by the grace and love of God, we learn to be selfless. By the grace and love of God, we fulfill the vows that we said before God and men the day we got married. To quote the vows said as bride and groom exchange rings, “As you wear this ring, you acknowledge that you are no longer your own, but MINE.”

It’s easy to say “Marry your best friend.” True, that would be ideal. But like I said, it doesn’t always work out that way. I, for one, didn’t marry my best friend. King and I barely knew each other when we got engaged! But we were both sure that it was God’s will and His timing. 🙂 I didn’t have a guy best friend. King, being the popular guy that he is, had many close girl friends. But we chose to be each other’s best friend. We learned to set our priorities straight and to respect the boundaries we mutually (some spoken, some unspoken) set for ourselves. We learned to be deliberate in spending time and doing enjoyable things together. We learned to forgive each other and make the effort to be better. We learned to stand by each other. We learned to be each other’s home.  

img_0169

The true key to a happy, God-honoring marriage, however, is Jesus. Without Him, even the strongest friendship between a husband and wife can still be broken. Loving, giving, sharing, honoring, supporting, encouraging, waiting, understanding, forgiving, learning, healing is possible only through Jesus. None of us can do this successfully without Him.

applique-jesus-loves-you-conversation-heart-by-8clawsandapaw-elough-clipart

Happy Valentine’s Day! #valentineseveryday #loveeveryday May every reader know and experience the love of Jesus, and choose to never live without Him. 🙂

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 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33

 

Marriage, YOUTH MINISTRY

FRANTIC and FRUITFUL FEBRUARY 3

After my speaking engagement in Marillac, I joined King in speaking at the youth service the same day. It was the final installment of the Love series, wherein we shared about marriage. As usual, we started by sharing our amazing love story. This might be a long read, but I’m sure for all the romantics out there, it will be well worth it.

The year was 2003. There was talk of LA Mumar and a certain King Lucero of Talents InC moving to VCF- Alabang to eventually plant the Sta Rosa church. I knew LA by name and face of course since he used to be an actor. I had no clue who King Lucero was. When they finally came to church in September, I didn’t get to meet them right away. It was Macy, LA’s wife (they were newly married then), whom I introduced myself to after one service. Things just rolled from there. We would hang out a lot, even in the Mumars’ Mamplasan home at times….me, Ayessa, Sharon, Haidee, Macy, LA and King.

The church was growing and we were moving from WestGate to Festival Mall in December. King got some youth and singles to dance for our first service in the mall. Being a “dancer” too, I was excited to watch their first rehearsal. Then Sharon asked me to join them. After a while, I agreed as long as it was okay with King, since he was the choreographer and leader of the whole thing. King accommodated me (though later on he told me that he didn’t plan on getting any more dancers…he was just being polite…hehehe). That’s how we became a bit more friends. I even brought him food the night before the dance because I felt sorry for him that he had already finished editing his video but it somehow disappeared from the computer. He stayed in Westgate that night, and slept very little.

And so we danced in front of the whole congregation the next day. I remember somebody saying we (King and I) looked good together on stage. Come to think of it, I remember saying to myself when they first introduced King during service at Westgate that I don’t want to be impressed by his dancing abilities. Good thing I was with him on stage as opposed to just watching him. Just to remind you though, this was before any kind of attraction began between us. We both had “other interests”.

Victory Night was a week or so after that and as I entered the center, I noticed myself scanning the room for King. LA eventually told me, when I asked, that he was in Myanmar for missions. I was disappointed that he wasn’t there, but a different kind of respect for him grew inside of me. Though I still did not like him like him yet.

Anyway, to make the short story even shorter, by prayer and fasting in January 2004, King asked for and received a vision from God. It was me, waving at him. He actually saw it happen later on that week when I was waving for him to call Jose (Quest). I, on the other hand, for the first time, did not include marriage in my faith goals that year. He didn’t act on his feelings right away, but waited to see if it would grow even without constant communication. We weren’t text mates. We would only hang out when La and Macy were there, maybe once a week or even less. During this time, I would always ask myself (as other people would ask me too), if I was open to King “if ever”. And I was. But there came many points in our interactions that made me think that we don’t jive because we had different wavelengths.

It was on the first week of March that I was so distracted by thoughts of him. As in I would cry to God because I didn’t want to be distracted. I did everything I could to escape, but it was that week that God spoke to me about King.

On March 6, my friend and victory group leader Michelle, after I admitted to her and to myself for the first time that I liked liked King, encouraged me and prayed for me, saying that it’s a new season that I should be excited for. Indescribable and undeniable peace rested in my heart, and I just knew that King was the one. I wondered when it was all going to unfold, but I didn’t even have time to get impatient because King laid down his intentions for me the next day! His plan was actually to do it Monday, but Pastor Neil said “why not tonight?” It was a Sunday. And the timing was just perfectly orchestrated by God. I was busy with Kids’ church (though my ministry involvement then was Junior Kids) the whole day because Jun Calalang asked for help about a month prior. Apparently, Macy, Ayessa and Sharon were out the whole afternoon because they got their hair done. Kay, another good friend, was supposed to come back to church to accompany a friend but that friend couldn’t come anymore, so she didn’t come back either. I attended the last service, saw Michelle and we sat together. Before the service ended, Michelle disappeared for a while. By end of the service, King approached me and asked if I wanted to eat (which was usual for our group after service, except I didn’t know that there was nobody else there that night but LA), and I said “yes, tara, I’m hungry.” I even asked LA and he acted as if he was also coming. Little did I know that everyone knew! Pastor Neil and King spoke to Michelle that evening. LA and the other pastors knew what was happening while I was clueless. Some even said congratulations, which I didnt’ “get” thank God, else it would have been ruined because I would have run away haha. But I did notice that only the two of us walked out of the center, and so I asked where everyone else was. King couldn’t answer me straight. I texted Michelle and she said she knew. Man!!!! I was cornered! Happy to be, though nervous. So we ate at Almon Marina….. actually, i ate (steak) and King could barely touch his soup. He made his spiel and he asked me if i was okay with that. I agreed of course, though at first I was planning to say no just to mess with his head. In short, courtship began…..and ended on April 14 because he proposed in a beautiful home in Bataan, overlooking the ocean, and we got engaged. Seven months later, a little over a year after we first met, on November 15, 2004, past 3pm, we got married at Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay.

Today, we’re on our way to our 7th anniversary, and we have two beautiful daughters. If not for the Lord, His grace and mercy, who knows where our family would be headed? But because of His presence in our lives, we are what we are — together, blessed, and happy. 🙂