Marriage, Relationships

my dating life

My husband and I have been teaching in our church’s marriage preparation seminar called Before I Do for the past few years, along with our Family Ministries pastor Ptr Chico and his wife Maryanne and with our Kids Church pastor Ptr Carlo and his wife Lea. It’s an opportunity given to us that I consider such a privilege. First, we get to share our lives and impart to engaged (and some newly married) couples. We get to be candid about our marriage, about the things that God has been teaching us and the things that we are still struggling with. We get to show them, hopefully, that marriage is a picture of God’s grace. We get to point them to Jesus, that though we can do our best to try to meet each other’s needs as husband and wife (that’s our topic — his needs, her needs), only Jesus can truly complete us and perfectly meet each of our needs. Second, I get to teach with my husband. It’s like a working date for us. Well at least last night was. There have been times in the past when our kids would be waiting in the office for us, one of them would pop into the room while we talked about something sensitive, or I’d have to run out to tend to a crying infant.

Yes, a “working” date. Spending time together while serving. Maybe it’s the fact that we get to do something meaningful and fruitful together. Maybe it’s the topic. Maybe it’s the passion we share in reaching out to singles and teaching about relationships. Maybe it’s our desire to help young couples have great, God-honoring marriages. Maybe it’s the joy in knowing that we are obeying God (I do not like public speaking but this is where God has placed me). Maybe it’s the hope for a better future for each family represented there. Maybe it’s seeing God’s work in their lives. Maybe it’s all of that. And I just really truly enjoy teaching with my husband. 🙂

Having three kids can be tricky in terms of going out on dates, but it is something we need to fight for. Many months back I could remember our two older daughters complaining that their dad and I went on dates. They’d complain that it’s unfair that we leave them or say that they are not loved as much. Yes, daughters are many times overdramatic (weren’t you? hehehe). There was a time that I got so frustrated because I felt I was being condemned for wanting to spend quality time with my own husband! Ridiculous, right? Haha. But it’s true. We had to teach our daughters that they ought to be happy that their parents are taking good care of their marriage. They should be thankful that their parents prioritize their relationship. We had to assure them that we are taking care of our marriage not only because we love each other but because we love them.

Sometimes King calls and tells me to get ready for a quick date in the nearby mall. Sometimes we take a quick meal after a meeting we attend together. Sometimes I initiate it. That IS one of the perks of being married heehee — I don’t have to wait to be asked; I can do the asking. One day last month, I think we went to the supermarket with our eldest to get stuff she needed for school. When we got home, to King’s surprise, I told Danae that she can get down so that Daddy and I can go on a date. I had no real plan, but I wanted to take advantage of the availability of my mom’s helper to watch the kids. I was also surprised by Danae’s chipper attitude, as she said, “Okay, go. You kids have fun.” Haha. Finally, they’re on board! Noelle doesn’t complain anymore either. Gianna sometimes cries when I go, but she gets over it quickly. It’s not very often anyway. Once every two weeks at best. Going on a trip without the kids is the next goal haha. King dreams of whisking me away for a few days away from home, but for now, we will settle for quick getaways and a few stolen moments (hahaha #mganakawnasandali, #cheesy!). 🙂

Marriage, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Eight Years of Learning – Priorities

King and I celebrate our 8th anniversary today! It’s been eight years of highs and lows, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and struggles. Eight years of LEARNING. We have been to 2 marriage retreats in the past month. We learned a great deal from listening to our leaders’ stories and testimonies.

During our marriage retreat in Bellevue, the first session was given by Ptr Paolo Punzalan and his wife Jenn. They talked to us about PRIORITIES.

I so agree that decision-making becomes simpler when we have our priorities straight. There have been a few times that King had to miss a basketball game or a high school reunion or a party to be with me or with me and the kids. I have missed many events, nights out, weddings, parties, vacations with friends to stay home for my family. There have been a few times I was late for a meeting because I had to discipline my child first. Indeed we need to say NO to the right things.

We need to say NO when it competes with family time. My husband, being a pastor, does a lot of ministry weekly. Especially now that he is in charge of pastoral services, there are seasons when he has a dedication and funeral service outside the office every single day. He needs to guard his Mondays, his only day off, so he can spend that time with us. It’s a blessing that I am a stay-at-home mom, that I can be flexible with my time to accommodate King’s and the girls’ schedules.

Our ideal top 5 priority lists are practically the same. They contain the same “items” — God, spouse, children, self, work/ministry — but of course they get mixed up sometimes, along with other priorities like family and friends, depending on situation, day, or activity. I thank God though that King and I are generally on the same page, and we hold the same values.

Thank you, babe, because I can see that I am a priority in your life. I am able to trust your leadership because you take care of me, our marriage, our children. Our children will also one day see (when they’re past their whining and complaining haha), how much you prioritize them too.

Happy 8th anniversary, Babe! I love you! 🙂

This is post #4 out of 8, for 8 wonderful years! Click here for post # 3 and here for post # 5! 🙂

Parenting

EN2010 (pre-con): Discipleship@Home

There were quite a number of sessions before EN2010, and King wanted me to attend the international staff meeting Wednesday morning, the day before the conference. I had to wait for Danae’s class to finish, pick her up, get the kids and everything ready, then proceed to ENLI building in the Fort. In other words, I missed the staff meeting. But King relayed Ptr Jim Laffoon’s message to me and I couldn’t agree with him more when he said that we need to be careful with technology, be careful that it does not take over our personal life, our priorities. It’s so easy to be so absorbed in the internet, facebook, our phones, etc. That convicted me and made me decide to turn on my computer for blogging & stuff, as much as possible, when the kids are asleep or when I know it will not interfere with my priorities. I don’t like that often Noelle has to literally pull me away from the computer when she wants me to just sit with her. She and the rest of my family should come first.

Anyway, we were able to drop the kids off at my in-laws’, and I attended the afternoon break-away session of my choice: Discipleship@Home. Who’s Discipling Your Kids? I picked up a lot, listening to Ptr David Houston, his wife Sandy, our Ninong Ptr Paolo Punzalan, and his wife Jenn. Awesome, witty, funny, real people who are imperfect parents just like us, who know what we’re dealing with, and who make a whole lot of sense. Our Alabang senior pastor, Ptr Ariel hosted it, and he and his wife Shirley are also one of the couples we look up to especially with regards to parenting. Some of the things shared, I already knew. On one hand, it encouraged me all the more to keep doing what we’re doing, and on the other, it reminded me of the things that we have forgotten and that we should be doing. Still some were somewhat new, and it’s always great to learn from people who are wiser and more experienced than myself. Let me share the points that struck me the most.

Life is in the power of the tongue, and it is especially powerful when the father speaks it to his children. Dads! Your kids need verbal affirmation from you, just like how God affirms His children. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you, do it anyway. Your kids will not even know that you’re feeling awkward, and they will definitely appreciate it, whether they express it to you or not.  And dads! Don’t give all your energy at work. Save the best for your family, so that when you get home, you won’t be too tired to engage with your wife and with your children. Pray for your kids and speak destiny to their lives. Be the one to put them to sleep. The quality time you spend with them will have a great impact on them. King is an expressive dad who makes time for our kids, but I still immediately downloaded these to him. Fathers have such a critical role in the lives of children, and we want to do right by ours.

We need to say our instruction ONE TIME and back it up with consequence when disobeyed. This is of course based on Biblical discipline and our instructions are those that are best for our children, not those that harm them. Many times we wait to get angry before we take action in disciplining our kids. I’ve experienced this a lot. We need to discipline them right away the first time they disobey. That way, we’re still moving patiently, IN LOVE, and NOT OUT OF ANGER. We need to be consistent, no matter how tiring and taxing, and believe that discipline will bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I say amen to that and I believe we are improving. It’s very timely too, because Noelle is also a force to be reckoned with hahaha.

Discipleship happens at the dinner table. Let’s eat with our kids! It can be stressful especially in my case, I have a 1-year old who won’t stop calling me until I look at her and acknowledge what she’s doing or take care of what she needs, a talkative 4-year old, and then a husband who wants to tell me about his day. Trust me, it can get crazy! But if we let other people feed them so we can eat in peace (which I do sometimes for valid reasons, but not usually), how can we teach them table manners? More importantly, how can we teach them to pray, or not to waste, or to share? There are many teaching moments at the dinner table, from etiquette to prayer, to being thankful, to generosity, to quality time, to family, to God’s Word and so on. Let us teach and disciple our own kids.

If we fail to point them to God, we are missing what really matters. Ms Jenn shared this story about a mom who gives demerits to her son whenever he does not get a perfect score in his quizzes or tests. That’s a bit extreme, but I know I too have a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of grades, of answering tests correctly. I realized that when Danae had her first set of long tests this week. I felt bad because I felt like I pressured her about knowing the right answers to her test, since we already went through them. I saw her face when I showed my disappointment that she wasn’t able to answer me when I was reviewing her. Thank God it didn’t stick! I really do not want her to be pressured to do really well in school just because she wants to please me. My kid is smart. I want to trust in her abilities. I want her to enjoy test days as she enjoys ordinary school days, and not dread them. But what really matters is she learns to do the work, learns to ask God for guidance & wisdom, and eventually she learns to be excellent — to be excellent not in fear of Mommy’s wrath, but to be excellent as an overflow of her desire to please God.

We need to let little boys be little boys. Let them be active! The first thought that popped in my head was, “What if my little girl is LIKE a little boy?” Haha. Danae is super active and she can definitely run with the boys, but I guess the answer to my question is the same. Let her be her. As long as we give her boundaries, guide and discipline her, I believe it’s right to let her be herself, be who God made her to be and not make her conform to what society thinks a girl should be.

Two other points that Ptr Paolo & Ms Jenn gave were that the relationship is more important than the rules and that it has to be in you before it can be in them. Click here and here for their blogs that beautifully capture these points.

I really enjoyed this pre-conference session because it is a serious subject, one that is very close to my heart, but the speakers made it light and fun. I did not feel condemned for my mistakes, but convicted to correct them and encouraged to keep at it. I love what Ptr David said about restoration after the painful discipline. We embrace our kids, we wipe away their tears, we forgive them, we assure them of our love, because that is how our Father deals with us when we repent of our sins as well. Thank God He forgives me for all the mistakes I make, that He loves me unconditionally, that He gives me hope and grace to be a better mother. 🙂