|Dong Alejar and Nikka Cleofe, 1998|
Dong and I were together as girlfriend-boyfriend for seven years before he asked for my hand in marriage in 2004. In the beginning of our relationship, we had lots of adjustments as a couple. Our non-negotiables were the same:
- No to Premarital Sex
- Yes to Fidelity
- No to Pretenses
- Yes to Commitment
We however had LOTS of character differences which in the beginning took some time to understand but right now is working to our advantage:
- an introvert
- the "bunso"/youngest of 6 boys
- very careful with his spending
- passive in a sweet way (would serve me and baby and pamper me a lot!)
- very laid back and relaxed
- had only his brothers as his friends (had no "barkada"/close friends)
-older than me by at least 7 years
- an extrovert
- the "panganay"/the eldest of two girls
- very open to spending (As a young adult, I was a shopaholic! I was taught at an early age by my Mama to buy clothes every week and eat out a lot! She was full of fun!)
- very self-reliant and Type A to the point of Obsessive Compulsiveness
- A go-getter and ambitious
- had lots of friends and confidantes
- younger than him by at least 7 years
What was wonderful about being different was that:
- Coming from opposite poles, meeting halfway allowed us to be more of what we were not (Dong learned to spend more for his needs and not be too "tipid" or spendthrift and I learned to be more cautious with my spending unless it was a real need, not a caprice or want, for instance.)
- We learned to balance each other out. I became less perfectionistic and he became more goal-oriented.
- The Lord was able to work on our flaws to hone our strengths and lessen our weaknesses and imbibe in us the fruits of the Spirit. We learned to be more patient, more understanding and more loving towards each other, since there were really instances that the very thing that attracted us to each other, was the very thing that would irritate us too. Example would be Dong's laid back attitude which I sometimes found too slow or too unmotivated. On the other hand, he thought that my seize-the-day attitude was too intense, and he would scold me about my own impatience or for not waiting on the Lord.
What I would totally consider a God thing and not a Dong or Nikka thing was the fact that we met and fell in love and 16 years after are still together and still in love and loving each other more than ever!
As a child, Dong vowed to God to keep himself sexually pure and he would give himself only to his wife.
As a child too, I vowed to God to keep myself sexually pure and to give of myself only to my husband in marriage. I also prayed that I would be able to prepare myself for him, the same way he was (hopefully) preparing himself for me...
And so it was that we met and became a couple on November 19, 1997.
Truly this Biblical passage holds true to those who love God and give Him their lives, including the choice of a marriage partner:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.