Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Joys and Challenges of Marrying Your Opposite

Hello friends.  In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’m in a season of my life where blogging would unfortunately have to take a back seat to more pressing concerns.  Rest assured, I have not forgotten you and I do want to post every now and then.

Well, today’s my 15th wedding anniversary, so I guess this is as a good occasion as any to wipe the dust off this blog and write something.  Yup, 15 years of highs and lows, joys and sorrows.  I became a husband and a dad at a very young age (see my testimony here) but I wouldn’t trade the past 15 years for anything in the world.

One thing that you may not know about my wife, Jhean, and I is that we’re complete opposites.  In just about every way, from upbringing, to types of movies, to personality, to recreation choices, we’re just very different.

Opposites attract, so they say; and indeed, Most couples I see do not have the same personality.  However, there are also some unique challenges and joys when it comes to marrying your opposite.  Here’s another Focus On The Family broadcast featuring author Melanie Shankle as she humorously looks at how we can use these differences to strengthen our marriage.  Enjoy, and feel free to look up her books below.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Find hope after infidelity

The Legal Wife. If you live in the Philippines, you'd know that the three words I just mentioned comprise the title of probably the country's most popular (or most hated) TV show and one of the most trending online topics among Filipinos come weeknights. It’s crazy how the show has been getting the attention it’s been getting; and often times, when I take a scroll through my Facebook timeline during the nights when the show is on, I have to scroll a long way down before I find something that is NOT related to that show.  Do you feel me?

(I do chuckle at some of the funny memes some people make out of it, though.)

I don't know why there are so many shows on this hurtful topic recently, and, sadly, I know many friends who have been burned by adultery.  One of them, who has a wry sense of humor, placed this status update:

I wonder if she’s watching #TheLegalWife

I instantly laughed and "liked" the status; but this is no laughing matter.  A few years back, she joined my young couples group (sans soon-to-be-ex-husband, of course) and she just verbally vomited all the pain she’s been feeling inside.  The hurt, the betrayal, the feeling of worthlessness, it was so…raw.  I could never imagine putting my wife through that sort of pain.  No way.

Again, sadly, she’s far from the only one I know who has struggled with adultery.  Several friends, mostly women, have been hurt to the very core by a spouse or significant other whose eyes, and later, hearts and bodies, started to wander.  As I thought back to my friend’s Facebook status update and the plight of other friends like her, I wonder how they can find hope after infidelity.  How can these women cope and heal after such a terrible trial?

Well, what I have here is another one of Focus On The Family’s radio broadcasts, split into two parts.  Its title is Hope for Every Marriage, where Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs offer valuable advice, and hope, for couples as they candidly describe their own journey of infidelity and restoration.

I love these Focus on the Family broadcasts and I use them often on my blog.  I also like that they're in audio form, so I can listen while I do something else.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

God’s design for marriage

February is always a very tough month to post blog posts, because it’s the 2nd to the last month of the school year here in the Philippines, and that means we’re approaching the finish line…and we’re approaching faaaaaast!  That said, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching as well, and there seems to be this huge force compelling me to submit a love or marriage blog post.

Okay, okay, so I will.  I don’t have time to post original content, but I’ll do one better: I’m gonna post a quick video from one of my favorite speakers on parenting and marriage, Dr. Peter Tanchi.  Here’s a clip of his latest message on the design of marriage:

If I’m not mistaken, this was his most recent Sunday message on the series For Best Results: Follow God’s Design.  Dr. Tanchi is the senior pastor of the church I go to, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (I go to CCF-Cagayan de Oro, the vid was taken in our main church in Manila)

Monday, October 28, 2013

A chance for a few married couples to spend a weekend with a beloved author…for FREE!! (a P9,200 value!!!)

If you gravitate towards the marriage, parenting, or inspirational sections of the major book store chains, you must be blind not to see the name Harold Sala in many of the books there.  He is one of the best authorities of marriage and parenting on the planet, and guess what…he’s coming here to Cagayan de Oro City!  

Click here to check out Dr. Harold and Darlene Sala's books

He’s here for The Story of Us couples seminar that the community I belong to is cooking up.  Better yet, if you carefully follow the instructions in this blog entry, you can win a chance to spend a weekend with this beloved author…for FREE!!  It’s a whopping P9,200 value, and you’re getting it absolutely free.  Check out the video first before I explain what you need to do.

Monday, March 25, 2013

These amazing events could change your life, your marriage, and your children

Most people (wrongly) think that once you get married, you’d effortlessly live happily ever after.  Ditto with having children: you’d think that when the bundle of joy comes, he or she will always be, well, a bundle of joy.

But reality is quite different, isn’t it?  Those of us who are married with children know that both keeping the marriage alive and raising the kids well take lots of hard work.  So much so that you’d probably wish colleges offer marriage 101 or parenting 101 as subjects.

Well, I have good news for you.  I belong to a community that advocates family development and youth development quite strongly, and I would like to share some of our upcoming special events for you, in order of when they happen during the year.  If you live in Cagayan de Oro City and you want to enhance your married life or the lives of your children, then check out these events!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Enjoying intimacy in your marriage

photo courtesy of
Here’s another post for couples, in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Like the previous one, it’s an audio broadcast from Focus On The Family.  This one, though is about enjoying intimacy in marriage (so, obviously, this blog post is not for younger readers).

Today’s lesson is brought to you by a regular on the program, Dr. Juli Slattery.  She very effectively ministers to married women in the area of intimacy, being a psychologist and author of several books (a particular book, No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex and Intimacy in Marriage is the resource for this particular session).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Put fun back into your marriage — a hasty pre-Valentine’s Day post

It’s now February, and you know what that means…LOVEY DOVEY BLOG POSTS!!!

I wish…

No, no, don’t get me wrong; my marriage is fine.  Thing is, I will not be able to write content-rich blog posts this month.  This is the busiest year I’ve ever had at work, and this would probably be the busiest month of the busiest year.

The next best thing I can do is to deliver marriage-related posts with audio content from one of my favorite sources, Focus on the Family.  The cool thing about these is you can just press play and you can do something else while listening, as it’s only audio, not video.

So here’s the first one of those.  Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, we husbands have to think of something special for our wives.  I'm scheming to do something especially embarrassing for my wife this year (we take great joy in embarrassing each other every Feb. 14; it all started when I had flowers delivered to her right in the middle of class way back in college, giving specific instructions for the delivery boy to interrupt the professor’s lecture to give the flowers…and we’ve tried to get each other back ever since).

Thing is, the stress of everyday living, and plain and simple familiarity, can make even the mushiest of unions turn bland.  Valentine’s Day gives us husbands (well, the ones who care) a chance to reignite the flame of romance, if just for a day.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Conflicts in marriage are a given, use them to strengthen your relationship

I remember a conversation I had with a teen several years ago; this young person’s bitter voice still rings in my ears to this day.  This is what he said:

“If only my parents have gone to this church, they would not have separated.”

He said so because the church where my family worships in (and where the teen attended youth) is known for its great advocacy for the family, particularly our parenting seminars and marriage retreats.

My wife and I have attended several of these retreats (our most recent undertaking was so successful it had to be done 3 times, selling out each time), and one of the lessons that always sticks out is that conflicts in marriage are a given, but if managed properly, they can actually strengthen marriage and family life.

You got that right.  Conflicts can be a marriage strengthener.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How the husbands in strong married couples show love to their wives

Marriages seem to be struggling today more than ever.  The divorce and separation rates are skyrocketing all over the world; and the cynic in me feels like it’s gotten to the point where a good marriage (like, married couples who stay longer than 10 years) is as rare as gold, and “suffering” and “game over” jokes have been connected to the married life.

Some of my friends don’t believe in marriage anymore, but I think that’s wrong thinking.  Just because you’ve experienced a bad haircut doesn’t mean you no longer believe in haircuts.  Instead, you look for a good barber.

Since my blog is directed more towards the men (I hope the majority of the my readership is composed of fathers and husbands like me), allow me to show you how the husbands in strong married couples show love to their wives by showing below yet another Focus on the Family broadcast.  It’s called Practical Ideas for Loving Your Wife, enjoy.

Indeed we can be huge knuckleheads sometimes and be so consumed with work deadlines, sports, hobbies, even ministry to the point that our marriage and family lives slip under the radar.  So not cool.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

People with great marriages are both healthier and wealthier…and that’s not all.

I came across this awesome infographic from one of the blogs I subscribe to.   It very excellently explains how relationships and marriage affect health, happiness, and finance. 

I’ve always figured that when couples think there’s no more love in the marriage and therefore divorce, it’s more than just the relationships and the children who suffer, but health and money suffers too.

On the flip side, when there’s love in the home, the people living there live strong, healthy, thriving lives.  Indeed, healthy marriages bring about healthier (and wealthier) people…and that's not all!

Here’s the infographic, below:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On becoming a BETTER LOVER…a blog I made for Definitely Filipino

It’s very cool that another one of my blogs made it to Definitely Filipino, one of the most popular Philippine Blog sites. 

The title of my piece is “On becoming a BETTER LOVER.”    I think you’ll like it.

Don’t let the title fool you.  It’s not one of those raunchy blog entries (I just made that title to interest readers who would otherwise skip the type of articles that I do).

Click here to see it, and please do leave a comment.  🙂

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A beautiful marriage testimony

I was trying to make this short blog entry to encourage more people to try our 3rd batch of our couples retreat, The Story of Us…but then I just found out that the event has been sold out again, and they really can’t take in any more people (in fact, some are already staying in a different place than the venue, paying extra money to do so.)

But still, this video is too beautiful to pass up,
so I’m publishing this entry anyway.  It’s from one of the marriage talks of famed pastor Mark Driscoll, and it shows a testimony of a couple whose marriage was in shambles, but through the grace of God, has been restored.

I love this video because it’s a beautiful testimony on the power of God’s grace and forgiveness; and I also love it because it serves as a stern warning.

It serves as a stern warning against the devastating consequences of emotional neglect and the subtle, yet equally devastating damage that our little pet sins and addictions can do (internet porn in the guy’s case).

Real Marriage – Phoenix – Vow Renewal from The Hub on Vimeo.

Husbands, the pursuit of our wives’ hearts should not end when they say “I do.”  We have the privilege of pursuing them until the very end of our days.

Kevin hit the nail on the head when he said, “I want them [our daughters] to be able to say, ‘I won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t treat me the way my dad treats my mom.'”

I want my daughters to say that, too.  Let’s be those kinds of men!!

Oh, by the way, the song they mentioned, Lead Me, is a favorite of mine and I feature it in my Father’s Day post last year.  It’s definitely a song that all dads and husbands need to hear.

Anyway, to those who are booked for the 3rd batch of The Story Of Us, see you on Saturday!

Wanna see more of my posts on marriage?  Click here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spoken Word — Sex, Marriage, and Fairy Tales

I’m lovin’ the videos this guy makes and this one: Spoken Word – Sex, Marriage, and Fairy Tales, is especially awesome.

All I can say is…AMEN!!

If you live in Cagayan de Oro and you really want to know, through a great couples retreat, what marriage is supposed to be, click here.

If you liked, Spoken Word — Sex, Marriage, and Fairy Tales, then I’d like you to check out his other videos as well.  His older video, Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus is a very popular one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eight myths of what it means to be male

I came upon this excellent article in New Man magazine on what real manhood is.  The article covers eight myths and eight truths on male authority as it relates to our wives and our homes, to be exact.  It was truly blessed and challenged by it, especially since, from what I see, it is not often practiced nowadays.

I’ll list down the eight myths here (without explanations, you’ll have to go to the article for that):

Myth #1: Male authority means male dominance.

Myth #2: Exercising strength leads to abuse.

Myth #3: Men need to be more feminine to be sensitive.

Myth #4: For women to be empowered, men must be disempowered.

Myth #5: We shouldn’t raise our boys to enjoy “manly” activities.

Myth #6: We need to feminize God in order to not favor men.

Myth #7: If men lead in the home, then they will be free to boss women around in all society.

Myth #8: Authority is about making declarations, not taking personal responsibility to see them through to a beneficial end.

Nobody can ever be this manly!
To find out what they mean, as well as what a real man should be, you can go on to the New Man article here

I sure hope you click on it.  I strongly believe that each home, each workplace, each city, whether in America, or the Philippines, or in Timbuktu, yearns for the right type of man to rise up.  A good man.  A real man.   And according to my female friends, these good men are getting harder and harder to come by these days. 

In Psalm 101:2-4, David says (to God)

I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
  when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house
   with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
   on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;
   I will have no part in it.
The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
   I will have nothing to do with what is evil.

David made his mistakes, for sure.  But he owned up…every single time.   He was real.  A real man.  A real man after God’s own heart.  That’s the kind of man I want to be.  And the principles and traits of a real man that are covered in the said article are a great help for me to get there.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

By popular demand, there’s now a third batch for The Story Of Us couples retreat

Yup.  We'll show you how!
Getting my emcee on!
Congratulations to Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) – CDO for another successful round of wonderful events that enhance marriage and family.  You guys did it again. 

CCF just finished two rounds of the excellent The Story Of Us couples retreats, held at the beautiful Mt. Pines Place and Saddle Ridge Camp, the events very quickly selling out both times. 

I emceed both events (held in Nov. 5-6 and Dec. 3-4, 2011 respectively), with my wife and I being small group leaders for the 2nd go round.  Even before the 2nd retreat, a huge waiting list already formed, and so, by popular demand, there’s now a third batch for The Story of Us couples retreat!!

So, do you want to have a healthy marriage?  Then save this date: March 10-11, 2012

In both events, the reviews have been very, very positive.  One guy from the first retreat told me he liked it so much he’d sponsor six more couples to the next one we’d have.  Another said that while he attended couples retreats of other communities, this made the strongest and clearest use of the Bible when it comes to keeping marriages healthy and vibrant…therefore making it indeed relevant to the enhancement of marriage and family life (and you thought it was just some dusty holy book).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Improve communication in marriage with Gary Chapman’s classic book, The Five Love Languages

Husbands and boyfriends of the world, don’t you wish you had the MANSLATER to sort out communication troubles with your leading lady?  (See video below…very funny)

Kidding aside, husbands and wives surely do experience communication problems…and it could drive us crazy!!  Of course, we love our spouses, but the big question is: do we EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE that love? 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Quotes for a happy marriage and family

The beautiful Mountain Pines Place
Later on today, I will make the trip to beautiful Mountain Pines Place in Dahilayan, Bukidnon for the Couples’ Retreat that I have advertised on this blog, The Story Of Us, as I will emcee the event.  Please pray for me, guys.  I’ve done quite a bit of emceeing in the past, but it makes me nervous every time.

Well, in honor of this event, below are some beautiful quotes for a happy marriage and family.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Only 18 & 12 slots remain for THE STORY OF US couples retreat, one of the best events to enhance your marriage and family life

If there’s anything that CCF-Cagayan de Oro, the community I belong to, does excellently, it’s their strong advocacy in enhancing marriage and family life (which includes development of the youth and single professionals as well). 

I blog often about our parenting seminars and study series, but we also have almost yearly marriage seminars as well.  Occasionally, like every few years or so, we throw in a couples retreat that enables married couples to get away for a weekend to enhance their union.

This year is one of those years, and so here’s THE STORY OF US, a weekend getaway in the beautiful Dahilayan, Bukidnon. 

I first blogged about this great marriage retreat in this article, and I’ll say the same thing here:  whether your marriage is rock solid or is on shaky ground, attending events like THE STORY OF US is very highly recommended.  You’ll learn principles on communication, commitment, and so much more. 

CCF’s marriage and parenting events (CDO or otherwise) are known for having excellent speakers and content, and therefore garner large draws.  THE STORY OF US will not be any different.  Knowing this, we’re having the event twice, November 5 & 6 and December 3 & 4, with room for only 41 couples per event.

As of the last time I inquired, there’s only room for 18 more couples in the November couples retreat, and only 12 couples in the December couples retreat…and these slots may go fast. 

If you would like to join one of the best events to enhance marriage and family life, do yourself and your spouse a favor, and attend THE STORY OF US.  It’s a weekend marriage retreat you won’t forget. 

For details, you can click on the picture on this blog.  You can also contact:

Christ’s Commission Fellowship – Cagayan de Oro
Papa Juanito’s Square, Limketkai Drive
857-3000 (PLDT/Philcom)
09175976574 (globe)
09228223236 (sun)
09209386766 (smart) 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Enhance your marriage and family with THE STORY OF US

In one previous blog post regarding me and my wife’s 12th anniversary, I stated that one of the key principles that helped us enhance our marriage and family life was to attend marriage and parenting retreats and seminars.  Lo and behold, my Cagayan de Oro-based friends; here comes a couples retreat for you, The Story of Us.

Whether if your marriage is rock solid, or it’s crumbling at the seams, I would strongly recommend attending couples retreats like these.  It’s kinda funny that we go though years and years of school to learn a trade, but we don’t have much when it comes to being taught how excellently maintain the most basic of social structures, the family. 

Now let’s face it, marriage has been greatly under attack in modern times.  In America, half the marriages are failing.  Here on these Philippine shores, even if divorce is not legal, way too many of my friends and loved ones have fallen victim to failed marriages as well.  I’ve seen it so many times that I now find great folly in having an available marriage-enhancing opportunity like The Story of Us and not taking it.

Some people I invite say that events like these are too expensive (The Story of Us will cost each couple P4,500-5,000 for food, venue, and materials), but really, how much is your marriage worth?  One couple, who used to mentor my wife and I for a short while, were on the verge of separation until they were dragged into a similar event.  I have a feeling that my wife and I would have a much rockier marriage if we didn’t attend one months into our union.

So here’s more info:

Due to the past CCF events being so well attended, as well as venue restraints, there will be two batches of The Story Of Us.  The first batch is on the weekend of Nov. 5 & 6, 2011; the second is on Dec. 3 & 4Each batch is limited to 41 couples only.  You’d want to sign up right away, because, as I said, CCF’s marriage and parenting events are known to be excellent, and therefore garner big draws; and not to mention that attendees from the other CCF churches in Manolo, Illigan, Malaybalay, and Valencia will also be included.  The sooner you sign up, the better.

Venues for The Story Of Us are the Saddle Ridge Camp and the beautiful Mountain Pines Place in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.  Price is 4,500 per couple w/o transportation, 5,000 with transpo from CDO to Dahilayan and back.

For details contact:

Christ’s Commission Fellowship – Cagayan de Oro
Papa Juanito’s Square, Limketkai Drive
857-3000 (PLDT/Philcom)
09175976574 (globe)
09228223236 (sun)
09209386766 (smart)   

Make the investment to enhance your marriage and family life, attend The Story Of Us.  I will definitely see you there.

Recommended Reading:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

12 years and counting…and marriage principles that helped us last

Yesterday marked twelve long years of marriage to my beautiful lover and best friend, Jhean.  I could say they were twelve wonderful years; and yes, the highest of highs I’ve ever experienced are credited to my life with this wonderful young woman.  She truly is a great source of happiness and inspiration…the love of my life.

But these twelve years also marked some of the greatest struggles I’ve ever had.  Marriage and raising a family sure can be hard work, so hard that many people give up.  Furthermore, many of you know that I became a father and a husband at a very young age.  I was 21, Jhean was 18; just mere university students who made a big mistake and scrambled trying to rectify things.  Scary much?

But, here we are, 12 years and counting…and it has been one ride full of highs and lows.  I believe we have been blessed tremendously with certain things as a couple, and as I pondered on what helped us stay together, I came up with a few ideals and marriage principles that helped us last, which I hope can help the dads and husbands out there, too.

Principle 1: know who your wife is in God’s eyes.  My wife is a wonderful woman, but she has a very strong personality, and, growing up, she was not really trained to be gentle when it comes to what comes out of her mouth.  That can often exasperate me.  She has a whole bunch of weaknesses and flaws, too.  But in no way will I let these be the cause of a split.  Why?  Because in the midst of my frustration, I make myself see that she is my co-heir in God’s grace.  An equal partner in marriage and in God’s inheritance for us, so obviously, someone who should be treasured.  Here’s the verse:

“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7)

Principle 2: Forgive much, because you have been forgiven much.  With two very different, flawed people in one roof, conflict is a given.  Forgiveness is a must, because there were times when I also had to be forgiven.  Maybe if I was Mr. Perfect, I could have the right to not forgive her.  But I have committed my share of booboos, so it would be very hypocritical of me to have a hard, unforgiving heart when she also has had to deal with occasional idiocy on my part. 

The bible commands us to forgive each other not once, not twice, but seventy times seven times (Matt. 18:22).  Can you actually keep count?  (“Aha, this is your 469th offense!  Just two more and that’s it!”)  No, you can’t.  So you shouldn’t keep count in forgiving others as well, spouse being on the top of that list.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That LastsPrinciple 3:  Know each other’s love language.  Gary Chapman’s classic book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts is a must have for all couples.  The principles in this book would be a tremendous help, I tell you.

Basically, it’s like this: there are five different “love languages,” or expressions of love, that we all can understand: time, touch, talk, tasks, and treasures.  However, each one of us has a particular love language that stands out above the rest.  This is the love language that a particular person expresses the most, and it’s also the one who affects him or her the most when it is done to them. 

For example if wifey buys me things (treasures) or does stuff for me (tasks), I’d appreciate it, for sure, but it won’t really ring my bell.  However, if she gives me verbal praise, it would make my day…maybe even make my week.  Guess what my love language is: talk.  This is how I express my love, too.  I’m sure if you ask any of the girls I’ve dated, they’d tell you that my love letters are so loooooong.  Also, I’m known among my friends as a great encourager and counselor.  Well, it’s because talk is my love language.

If you want to make your spouse happy, get to know your spouse’s love language and learn to execute it well.  Wifey?  Her love language is touch.  Trust me, I’ve got that one down.

Another reason why knowing the love language is so important is because it is the one that hurts the most when it is violated.  Remember earlier I said that my wife has trouble taming her tongue?  She has realized that over the years, her harsh words have hurt me very deeply, much more than any other sin she has done against me.  As for her love language, if I leave the house without giving her a kiss or a hug, she gets a bit peeved.  A very close second for her primary love language is time, and I know I caused her a lot of pain when I gave more time and effort to my work than I did to her and the kids.

(Btw, there’s also The Five Love Languages Singles Edition for those who are not married; The Five Love Languages of Children which is among the must have parenting books; and The 5 Love Languages Men’s Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts, specifically for us, dudes.)

Principle 4: know your role, and do it well.  Can you imagine riding in a car with two driver’s seats, two steering wheels, two gear shifts, and two sets of pedals?  It would not be a nice ride, would it?  A house that has two people in the metaphorical driver’s seat would surely have the same kind of chaos.  My wife and I believe in the Bible, and in it are clearly defined roles that the husband and wife should play.  We follow them, things will flow better.

Of course, following them is easier said than done, especially if you did not grow up in a household that modeled them.  In a nutshell, husbands are wired to want to lead and to provide, and are called to love the wife like Christ loved the church (Christ loved the church more than he loved his own person.  Do you think He wanted to go to the cross?).  Wives are called to submit and to respect, and I think the Bible said this because God knew that the greatest need of men is to be respected by the people whom they love. 

Now these roles were set up not because one is superior nor subservient to the other, as some, especially women, would think (“Submit to my husband?  Whatttt?”)  The roles were laid out so that there would be order.  So that there would not be two drivers seats, steering wheels, pedals, and gearshifts.  Equal partners; different roles.

What’s amazing is, if one spouse really does his or her role well, the other will likely follow suit.  A very fulfilled wife would say, “My husband loves me so much that he always prioritizes my needs and the needs of my children over his own (like Christ loves the church).  How can I not submit to a loving man like that?” 

The husband, in turn, would say, “She shows me so much love and respect.  Because of that, putting her needs before my own is not even a struggle.”  It’s a healthy cycle.

Of course, our selfishness and sin will keep this from being easy.  My wife and I struggle with this greatly.  Trust me, we haven’t arrived yet in this principle, yet there has been a lot of growth in the past 12 years, for sure.

Principle 5: Attend marriage and parenting seminars.  Schools teach us to learn a trade.  They teach you to be a great doctor, a great lawyer, great accountant, great engineer, etc.  But do you go to school to be great at the upkeep of the most basic, and most important, unit in society?  Is there husband 101?  Parenting 101?  Last time I checked, there was none, and so we have to go by the models we have, such as our own parents…and if they’re not shining examples here, you’re at a disadvantage.

Well, my wife and I have been blessed to attend the almost yearly marriage and parenting seminars that my church does.  We haven’t missed one since we started to worship at CCF.  We make it a point to equip ourselves in this area, or else we’ll just grope in the dark and the possibility of us ending up like so many broken families out there is great. 

And we learn so very, very much; even if we attend them for the nth time (well, now we are actually breakout leaders whenever these events happen).  If we didn’t attend these, who knows what would’ve happened to us.  Yeah, marriage is work, but regular work has a training period that equips the newbie for the job.  CCF’s seminars are like that for marriage, and attending them is a must…especially if you don’t have good models anywhere else. 

Principle 6: Join a couples small group.  This is a HUGE reason why my wife and I are doing well.  We have been blessed to be part of one of the several young couples groups in CCF.  We are a handful of couples around the same age range, going through the same things, having the same mindset when it comes to family and career…and boy do we help each other grow. 

A pastor or a priest (especially a priest, since he’s neither a husband nor a father) can’t help you out much with your domestic struggles, being in charge of a congregation of several hundreds of people.  But a close network of couples?  Genuine friends who struggle with what you struggle with, who try to walk in the right path alongside you?  Definitely some genuine growth and counsel will take place, it’s impossible not to.  (That said, our pastors are exemplary parents and husbands, and are tremendous at counseling if you set an appointment…but this can never be a regular thing)

Joining a young couples group is a definite must.  I have learned as much from my good friends in the group as I have in all the marriage seminars I have attended.    And that says a lot.

Of course, it takes a lot more than just a few principles to make a marriage work.  But doing these six is a good start.  And I for one am a very blessed man to have been married to Jhean for twelve years and counting.  It’s been a fantastic ride, with the right amount of dips and weaves and exhilarating highs.  Surely, I’m looking forward to many more years, as the best is yet to come.

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