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!

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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.  

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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.

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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

 

FEATURED, Marriage, Relationships

La La Land

Spoiler Alert!!!

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image source: IMDB

I knew it was a musical, but the first scene/number was just ridiculous. Typical. Somebody started singing in traffic, and eventually everyone came out of their cars and started singing and dancing. Haha it was just funny. But it gets better from there, I promise. The lighting, the music, the sets, the characters, the story. Unfortunately, the last ten minutes of the movie was…sigh. I don’t want to spoil anything for you (though I know I will), but it was something we did not expect at all.

The movie left me torn. We watched with some of our friends and we were all frustrated, sad, angry about how it all ended! I’d say it’s one of the characteristics of a good movie though. It makes you ponder about life, your dreams and the choices you make. It definitely isn’t a feel-good movie. It’s a movie that makes you feel and struggle within yourself, depending on your values and perspective. La la land? Who knew, right? I sure didn’t.

What would you choose? Your dreams or love? Your future or “the one”? I understand that they could not keep each other from pursuing their dreams. It’s not fair and it might cause resentment between the two of them, you know, the usual. But did they have to give up so easily and let go of what they had? I understand that they were both passionate about their own craft, but was it really more important than building a life together? Why does pursuing your dream have to mean sacrificing your future with “the one”? Why did they choose their dreams over each other and why didn’t they fight for their relationship? I mean, Mia had success in her career AND had her own happy family within five years. Why couldn’t she have had both with Sebastian? And why couldn’t Sebastian have success in owning his own jazz club, keeping jazz alive, and have a family with Mia? It would have been so beautiful! And satisfying haha.

Seriously, we were all affected. But then again, sad as it was, what if that was God’s will, therefore best, for them? Mia seemed happy. Her husband seemed like a great husband and father (and King and I joked that he was going to take the drums and play That Thing You Do hahaha). Sebastian seemed happy too, living his dream. And though their memories of their life together and their what-ifs made them sad, they were genuinely happy for each other.

Sigh. It was a great story. We just don’t agree with the ending haha. We wanted Mia and Sebastian happy, but TOGETHER. Then again, we’re mere spectators. Who are we to dictate to the creator of the story? They bagged a lot of awards for it. The story telling was excellent for sure.

Thinking about my own life, I am so grateful that King and I are happy together. We went through some drama before tying the knot, like all coupes do, but it was never a choice between us and my career, or us and our passions. We decided to pursue “us” because we were (still are) on the same page and had (have) similar passions. We believe in the same God and we want the same thing — to honor, serve, love and obey God together as a couple and raise kids who will do the same. That was (is) our unifying factor. Even if I had a career to think about or a desire to build one, I am fairly certain we would work things out, being guided by God, our spiritual family, our faith and our priorities. Ours was (is) a great story as well. And because it is authored by God Himself, the journey and the ending will always be beautiful and blessed. ❤

 

If you’ve managed to finish reading this despite the spoilers, I recommend you see La La Land yourself. It’s worth it. 🙂

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, Relationships

Statement 1 or Statement 2?

I posted this question on my Facebook page almost 2 months ago. I was starting to share my answer too, but then it became too long to be a comment. I decided to post it here instead.

On girl-boy relationships.
Which statement is more true for you, and why?

1. It’s worth it because this is forever.
2. Even if it’s not forever, it will be worth it.

I received quite a few answers and different explanations, so thank you. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for opening my mind to your perspective. I know that your answers were personal, and I respect all your opinions. Allow me to share my personal beliefs as well, based on my past experiences, my current situation, and my hopes for the future.

First, I want to clarify that when I say forever, I mean “till death do us part.” I know that there is no such thing as forever (here on earth anyway) because we all die. When I posted the question, I was thinking about relationships and marriage. 🙂

I choose statement number 1.

Boy-girl relationships should not be taken lightly, should never be entered without the future in mind. If I were my immature, delusional, romantic young self, I would choose statement number 2, not thinking about the future but merely ENJOYING THE MOMENT. And God knows that’s what I did before. I convinced myself that it was worth it because I was “happy.” I would also always convince myself that we had a future together, as if that made our relationship justifiable (so maybe I would’ve also chosen statement number 1, having this mindset). But did I consider the consequences? Nope. All I cared about was me and what I wanted. Hind sight is clearest in this matter because it’s done, already in my past. I had no relationship with Christ. I exercised no restraint, no wisdom.

Was it worth dishonoring my parents? Was it worth adding further damage to an already faulty family relationship? Was it worth all the heartache and the drama of being deceived, two-timed, used, neglected, ignored, or unvalued?  And not only heartache from the BOYS I was in relationships with, but the heartache of feeling so alone in my family because I pushed them farther away? Was choosing a boy, any boy over my family worth it? Was it worth doubting my own self-worth and losing my true identity? Was it worth the unnecessary pain I caused my husband as he discovered my past? Is it worth the fear I sometimes feel, dreading the possibility that my children will reap all that I have sown?

I say NOT. Those temporary relationships were not worth it. I learned much from my experiences, and I now clearly see the goodness of God because of them, but, no disrespect to the people involved, they were not at all worth it. It’s true what they say — experience is not the best teacher, the Word of God is.

I became a Christian at 24 years old, quite fresh from a devastating breakup. Through discipleship, I learned to see myself the way Jesus does — someone of great value and worth, someone unconditionally loved and accepted. I learned that it is Jesus who completes me, no one else. I learned to forgive. I learned to repent. I learned to humble myself and allow God to restore my relationship with my family. I learned to stop obsessing about marriage or romantic relationships, and focus on my relationship with God. I learned to enjoy my friendships, and to exercise the right boundaries. I learned to guard my heart, and keep myself from entering relationships that I was not sure were from the Lord. I learned to seek His will for my life and wait for His timing. I learned to allow Him to write my love story.

Now that my waiting is done and I am married to the man God created for me (yes, I really believe that, albeit sounding still delusional haha), I believe that everything is and will be worth it because this is it. God orchestrated this and I chose to participate. I made this commitment to my husband and to God, that I will do whatever it takes on my part to make our marriage work. All sacrifices, hardships, even heartaches will be worth it because it is the will of God that I am here in this marriage. I choose to obey God — to honor Him, to honor my husband, to honor our marriage. King is worth it. We are worth it. God is worth it.

All things between us are well at the moment, but nothing is perfect. Anything can happen in the future. Though there are situations, deal breakers in my book, that I have seen first hand among people I know and love, I cannot live my life in doubt and in dread. I choose to hope in God, to hope for the best in King. My hope is that King and I will remain in God, so that we can continue to be faithful to each other. My hope is that we remain vigilant in taking care of each other, in protecting each other and our marriage. My hope is that when we make mistakes, we will always choose to forgive each other and choose to continue to love each other as we do now. My hope is that he and I will constantly be on the same page about our family and our marriage as the seasons of our lives change — that we will both hold each other with such high regard, with such value, importance, and priority, and continually honor each other as husband and wife.

All the time, energy, effort, diligence, forgiveness, love and commitment I give today, despite conflicts and challenges, are worth it. Worth it now and worth it in the long run, because I believe in US. I believe that King and I are forever, and I believe that it is worth investing in forever.

Discipleship, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Relationships

You and Your Lists

It’s no secret that most singles want to get married. I hear women, not sure about the men, say that they have a list of qualities that they are praying for. Some of them have an actual list. It may sound absurd to some of you, but to be honest, I had a list when I was single too.

My list had physical attributes specified, as well as pretty specific character and personality traits. I wrote down that list to know what I myself wanted in a husband and as a prayer of the qualities I wanted in him, as opposed to just wanting to BE married and praying for ANY husband.

I realize, however, that we women can take this to a dangerous extreme. We have a strong tendency to be DEPENDENT on this list, to be stuck on this list. What if the man that God is already presenting to you does not fit your list? What if he misses the mark, misses YOUR mark, in terms of looks, personality, family background, financial status, or character?

Don’t get me wrong. Standards are great. They speak about the value that we put on ourselves. They help us stay on the right track, remember our priorities, and make the right choices. They help us set boundaries that prevent us from putting ourselves in compromising positions, positions that will lead us to sin against God. We need standards. High ones.

As daughters of the King of kings, we ought to have high standards as He placed such a high value on us when His Son died for us on the cross. But make sure your standards are high when it comes to character. Put a premium on character and the man’s growing relationship with God, and not so much on his looks, height, weight, job, ministry, money, or last name.

Yes, there are many considerations in choosing a husband. Of course you want one whom you will enjoy looking at and waking next to. I am quite forgiving when it comes to that, NOT to say that I am not happy with my husband’s looks! I love his eyes and his loving ways. He has grown more handsome because of his love and his character. That’s way more important to me. I’m just happy that he is taller than me! And I can’t do anything about weight, as that fluctuates haha, just as mine does.

You want a husband with a good family background, not just a nice family name. All families have issues, but what matters is how your man treats his family, because it is an indication of how he will treat you and your family. It matters also how his family treats you, though it shouldn’t be your deciding factor. It’s his loyalty to you that will matter when conflicts arise. I happen to love King’s family and my last name.

You want a financially responsible husband, whom you are willing to support and cheer so that he can achieve his dreams and goals. You want a man WITH dreams and goals. Honestly, I did not even consider my future husband’s occupation. I didn’t desire to be a pastor’s wife. In other words, whether or not King was a pastor or was going to be one, I would’ve still married him. I don’t think I even thought of that. My “concern” was my freedom to continue to serve in church, therefore I needed and wanted a man who loved God more than he loved me, and a man who would lead and provide for me and our family the way God calls a man to. King didn’t have to be a pastor to be such a man. It just so happened that he was called to be one.

You want a husband that jives with your personality. I know I wanted a man who made me laugh, but when my eyes were opened to King, I thought we didn’t have the same wave length. I really thought there was no way we would work because I love and am good at word games, while he was (not anymore) pretty slow haha. It initially didn’t make sense to me, though it made sense to our friends. Today, our personalities still clash sometimes, but our commitment to God and to each other is more important to us than our petty issues.

My favorite item on that list, though, is: THAT HE WOULD DANCE WITH ME. And you know, God is just wonderfully amazing that he gave me a husband who does. A small detail it is, but it all the more has shown me what an intimate, PERSONAL GOD He is. He truly knows my heart’s desires.

You may have more considerations, but don’t ever assume that your list is God’s will for you. Chances are, your list is already based on someone you are eyeing (I wrote mine before I met King though). Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. You may not get exactly what you want or expect. Don’t be blinded by your list either.  He may not match a couple of the items on your list, but he could be the best man for you. You have been given the free will to choose, but exercise wisdom and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you instead.

Better yet, STOP MAKING LISTS! Pray. Seek godly counsel. Get into the Word and let your mind get renewed by it, so you can see God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.  Have a grateful heart. Be grateful that you are single at the moment.  Be grateful that God has your future in His hands and He knows what and who is best for you. He knows more and better than you. Be grateful that His timing is perfect. Be grateful that you are not useless, not worthless, or have to be joyless while you are single. On the contrary, God saw you worthy of His Son’s bloodshed. He desires to use you in advancing His kingdom. Joy is from Him, not from marriage or a man or a relationship. You have God NOW. Love, grow, serve. And all these “things” will be given to you as well. 🙂

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Spiritual Family, YOUTH MINISTRY

PROMISES

Promises. We all make them. Hopefully we all try our best to keep them. But did you know that I LOVE YOU is a promise? I speak to youth and singles out there. Did you know that when you say “I love you” to someone, you are promising to love that person forever? Think about it. Going into a relationship, nobody ever says “I love you for now,” “I love you for the next 3 months, but I can’t be sure after that,” or “I love you for as long as I feel this way.”

I guess that’s why there are those afraid to utter these 3 words. It’s a “game-changer” in a casual relationship. Although I do not believe in casual relationships, wherein people just dive into them for the fun of it without really thinking about consequences, I get why they’re not so generous in professing their “love.” It’s because if they do so, it will mean COMMITMENT.

For me though, if you can’t commit to a person for whatever reason (age, distance, family background, season in life, absence of love), you have no business getting into a relationship with him or her.

But what about in the case of those who get swept up by their own emotions and easily confess their love to another?

Boys, when you tell a girl you love her, you are actually making a commitment to love her forever. That’s the very reason King and I, during our courtship, were advised to refrain from saying this to each other, as we were still seeking God regarding the future of our relationship. I advise you the same thing. If you can’t back up your statement with a marriage proposal, then DON’T EVEN SAY IT. If it’s just a case of TIMING, then don’t say it YET.

Why? Simple. You tell a girl you love her, you make a promise, she holds on to the promise. YOU BREAK YOUR PROMISE, YOU BREAK HER HEART.

Girls, I know it’s so special when you hear a boy tell you he loves you, but be discerning. Is it the right time for this? If he’s saying all these things to you so freely without backing it up with anything, you should wonder if he’s mature enough to even get into a relationship, let alone lead you. Are you able to guard your heart when you allow him to be so free with his words and actions? And even if you return the affection, unless it’s a marriage proposal, DON’T SAY IT either!

Why? Simple. You tell a guy you love him, you make a promise, he holds on to your promise. YOU BREAK YOUR PROMISE, YOU BREAK HIS HEART.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Contrary to what Peter Parker said, though it was a cool line that elicited excitement from Gwen Stacy and the rest of us, in this case I LOVE YOUS are the worst promises IF you can’t keep them. Because even with the best intentions and even if you have all the right reasons to break the promise, the result is still the same. You defraud and hurt another. DON’T MAKE PROMISES YOU CAN’T KEEP.

Go back to BASICS. Guard your brothers’ and sisters’ hearts by guarding yours. Like I said before, it’s a matter of life and death.

Just My Thoughts, Parenting, YOUTH MINISTRY

Back to B.A.S.I.C.S.

Because it’s the love month, I promised my victory group that we would be talking about relationships. Last Saturday, I taught them about the basics that I believe would equip them to make the right decisions when it comes to relationships.

BOUNDARIES. If you don’t set the boundaries, there is no guarantee that the boys will set them for you. We have the power to draw that line. At Danae’s young age, we are already teaching her this. DRAW THE LINE OF RESPECT. Do not let others cross it. If you do, like letting a boy kiss you or be rough around you, you are allowing them to disrespect you. Teach them to respect you. If you yourself cross it, you are disrespecting that person and yourself. Learn to respect others and most importantly, respect yourself.

“Everything is permissible” — but not everything is beneficial. 1 Cor 10:23. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with chatting for hours. Nothing wrong with spending so much alone time together as “best friends.” If you’re already in a relationship, there’s nothing wrong with holding hands. They are NOT SIN PER SE, but if not done with great care, they CAN lead to sin. Make a decision to live well within those boundaries, not pushing them and hiding behind the technicality that it’s not a sin. Make a decision right now, so that when that time and that situation arrives, you already know what to do or what not to do.

ACCOUNTABILITY. You are accountable to God. No one can make you do anything, therefore you cannot blame anyone else for your own actions. “I had no choice,” “He was so persistent and insistent,” “I couldn’t break it to him” are mere excuses. You always have a CHOICE TO SAY NO. If you don’t like him, tell him. Do not lead him on. If you do like him, think before you act. Nothing “just happens.” Where you end up is a result of choices that you make. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for your own actions.

Be accountable to people you know care about you and want to help you. If you’re struggling with something, seek help. Having accountability partners does not mean you’re giving them permission to lord it over you. You’re giving them permission to check on you, to give you a different perspective, to give you godly counsel, to pray for you. We can’t do everything on our own. We need the help of those who may know better.

STANDARDS. What is your vision? Do you have a vision for your life, your future? Without vision, people cast off restraint. Prov 29:18. If you don’t have a vision of the kind of man you want to be married to, the kind of woman/wife you want to be, the kind of family you want to have, the kind of marriage that you want to have, the kind of life you want to live, then you won’t have serious standards. Whatever looks good, feels good or seems good will be okay with you. Your standards get compromised once the guy is good looking or seems kind. Sometimes, even when it’s clearly a bad idea, because it is presented to you and because it is what’s available, you allow such things or people in your life. Get a vision. RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. Uphold them.

IDENTITY. KNOW WHO YOU ARE in the eyes of God. Not who you think you are, or who others say you are. If you know who you truly are, who God made you to be, it’s easier for you to make decisions. You won’t be easily swayed by the influence of others. You are the daughter of the King of Kings. You are a princess – precious, special, highly esteemed, admired, accepted, respected, loved. So act like it.

CHARACTER. Part of our identity is our personality, which God made different in each of us. Some are meek, gentle, soft-spoken. Some are loud, funny, talkative. I am one with a strong personality and I may rub some people off the wrong way. In the past, I hid behind my personality, using it as an excuse for my behavior. But God has been teaching me that I cannot do that anymore because CHARACTER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY PERSONALITY. Yes, I am still the same person, but now with more wisdom and hopefully grace (haha).

Being exposed to boys and relationships, or even being in a relationship is a time of testing. Times of testing build our character. Being victorious over temptations builds our character. Giving in to them can too (not that I’m encouraging you to learn the hard way, because trust me, it is hard). Such mistakes remain as failures when we don’t learn from them. When we blame others for our mistakes, we get stuck. We’re not able to move forward. But mistakes become lessons when we take responsibility for our decisions, get up, make the necessary changes, and move forward.

SECURITY. Where does your security lie? Is it dependent on the love of a man or of any man? Is it dependent on the acceptance of a certain group of friends, your parents’ approval? Or is it dependent on the love of God for you? This is our prayer for our girls every night, that they will be secure of God’s love for them. No woman/boy/friend/man can complete you. One incomplete man plus one incomplete you, still makes an incomplete him and you. Only God can make you whole. Never enter into a relationship to fill the void. GOD’S LOVE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH to fill it, if you just allow Him to.

Security also means your safety. It’s better to be safe than sorry. It doesn’t matter if others think you’re overreacting or bordering on legalistic, because of your high standards and self-imposed boundaries. What’s more important is that you GUARD YOUR HEART AS IF IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, because it is.

Just My Thoughts, Marriage

EXPECTATIONS

One of the hardest things for me to do is TO NOT EXPECT. As a wife, I have expectations from my husband. As a mom, I have expectations from my kids. As a friend, as a daughter, as a church member, as a boss, as a customer, as a leader — I have expectations. It’s so hard not to have them!

Some expectations are healthy, true, and they should come with expectations from ourselves as well. So if I expect my husband to honor his commitment to God & me, I should also keep my end of the deal and make sure we protect our marriage. If I expect my kids to obey, be kind, share and all that, I must not stop teaching them to do so, nor stop disciplining them when they do not. If I expect my friends to love me and listen to me even when I’m in a bad mood, I must also be willing to clam up and listen when they want to comfort me, encourage me, pray for me, or rebuke me. And so on and so forth.

I love what Andy Stanley said about desires vs expectations in a marriage. Forgive me if I didn’t get it exactly right but my take on it is that desire comes from a place of hope. Expectations come from a place of requirement or demand. Andy Stanley said, and I will never forget this because it is so true, that we will know when our pure desires have become expectations based on the degree of our thankfulness. How often do I thank King for changing Noelle’s diaper? For reading the girls their Bible story? For taking Danae to class? For gassing up the car? These are things that are expected of a dad and husband, you say? Maybe. And they are what I hope King would never tire of doing for me and the kids. But they should not be taken for granted. They should not be just assumed or demanded from my husband and they should always be appreciated. Like what King always says….HIGH APPRECIATION, LOW EXPECTATION. I know I’d want the same for myself.

It’s funny how I was able to take care of my kids without King’s help when he was away for 2 weeks. I was tired, but I wasn’t cranky. Now that he’s home, I get annoyed when I don’t get the help that I need from him! When he was out, I didn’t have any expectations because he was not here. I knew that I would have to do everything myself and I was completely fine with that. If only I could be like that even when King is here! Even though I’m capable of doing the work, I can’t help but expect him to help me because he IS here!

In a marriage and in many relationships, we’re sometimes not aware that the good things we receive, we turn into expectations, instead of them being surprises and a source of joy. We start getting used to receiving them, we start expecting to receive them, we start feeling entitled to receive them, then we start feeling disappointed when we don’t receive them. It all results in UNGRATEFULNESS.

I am talking to myself and praying for God to help me as I share this, as usual. I want to train myself to not expect King to help me, unless I actually articulate it to him. Our husbands are not mind-readers, and sometimes common sense to us women is not common sense to men at all. When I do not expect, I do not get frustrated, I do not get disappointed. WHEN I DO NOT EXPECT AND I GET WHAT I HOPE FOR, THEN IT’S SO MUCH EASIER TO BE GRATEFUL!

click here for Thammie Sy’s blog about desires vs expectations 🙂