|Nikka at 12 Nikka at 38|
|With my lovely mother - 1977|
The success or failure of a marriage will depend on how willing each party is in adjusting to and respecting the other spouse's beliefs and ideals, as well as understanding his/her idiosyncracies.
Take our case for instance.
I came into our marriage with many baggages and issues:
I also came into the marriage thinking that:
- a good husband was a good provider (My father excelled in this area.)
- money should never be an issue between a husband and wife
- should I have a problem with my husband, I would never share it with close friends and family (my Mama's advice)
- marriage was for keeps, walang iwanan (nobody leaves)
Dong came into the marriage with his own baggages and issues:
Dong's Dad and Mom - 2006
- fear of not being a good provider (His own father had issues with that.)
- a very laid-back personality
- slowness in terms of decision-making
- a need to make me happy all the time (This doesn't seem to be a problem, right? But I was depressed for periods at a time when nothing could make me happy. Dong found this "bipolar" personality of mine -- soooo happy one second and suicidal the next -- unnerving and frustrating. He had a very pleasant disposition and when I was in one of my gloomy moods, Dong got depressed too.)
- a physical ailment that left him always tired and with a nearly constant brain-fog (We have already identified it and he is no longer affected by that now. Praise God!)
- providing for the family was his role but he didn't mind help from me and would not take it against me if I earned more than he did
- money should never be an issue between husband and wife
- he would always stand by me and protect me as his wife
- marriage was for keeps
Coming into the marriage as separate individuals with somewhat dissimilar family backgrounds and nearly set ways of thinking, Dong and I did not really have much problems initially. We had more commonalities than differences, especially with those that counted, like "marriage being for keeps", which made us work hard at keeping our marriage vibrant and intact.
|Taken by our son, Andre - 2011|
- watching too much TV
- playing too much video games
- being with his friends too often
- staying out late at the office too often
- not putting the toilet seat down
- not putting his dirty clothes in the bin
- scratching his head when he talks
- sticking out his tongue when he thinks
- sleeping way into the morning
- not sleeping early
|Dirty socks were the last straw!|
If I may quote Nancy Leigh De Moss, author of "Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free" on a wife she mentioned who was similar to my personal example above...
The wife in this scenario has convinced herself that her husband is totally (or mostly) at fault. She is blind to the needs or faults in her own life -- or at least she isn't as bothered by her faults as she is by his. She sees her faults through a microscope and her own through a telescope. She doesn't see herself as a sinner, equally in need of God's Grace.
Further, her life revolves around herself -- her happiness and her hurts. She is more interested in getting her problems solved and her needs met than in the process of restoration and sanctification -- in her life as well as her husband's life. She does not have a vision for how God could use her as an instrument of grace in her husband's life -- or she is unwilling to pay the price to be that instrument.
Most importantly, she has left God out of the picture. She does not see His Holy Purposes for her marriage. Nor does she see how her husband's flaws and the difficulties in her marriage could contribute toward those purposes. She is not exercising faith in the supernatural power of God to transform her and her husband and this marriage into something of beauty and worth.
|We were in it for the long haul even when we|
sometimes hinted on "giving up." - 2012
Thing is in marriage, unless one is seriously abused, separation or divorce should never be an option. There should be no "last straws" in marriage, because God hates divorce. Instead there should be unli-forgiveness or unlimited forgiveness and compassion, when our spouse errs.
Matthew 6:14- 15
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
|We were generally happy despite our problems. - 2010|
I think Dong's "last straw" with me was in late 2011 when after years of being controlling and dominant, he finally had it with me and my condescending ways. Back at that time, I "gently nudged" him into applying as TV reporter for a new network because firstly, I felt he would do well in it having been a sportscaster in the past; secondly, because I thought it would be "cute" for us to be in the same broadcasting industry which would make people think we were such a "perfect match"; and thirdly, I wanted to break his "unemployed status" which I felt had gone on for far longer than I was willing to "tolerate".
He got the job just as I had expected (!), but he was so miserable! :( He applied for it thinking that I would finally be "happy" and would stop my sulking. He was also embarrassed already by his unemployed status. However, because he did it for the wrong reasons, after a stressful, nearly 15-hour day yet again at the office, he texted me saying, "We have to talk." I braced myself for what was to come, and true enough, Dong came home tight-faced, with clenched jaws and teary eyes.
|A year before the heartbreaking talk we had in September 2011|
He told me all of his hurts and frustrations and pains (caused by me in part, and by the situation at large). He told me all of his fears and insecurities. He revealed to me that he never felt that I loved him for who and what he was and that I was seemingly always looking for something that he could never give or someone that he could never be. He told me that he didn't feel loved by me. (Note: I didn't know back then that respect spoke the language of love to men. I felt that "loving" him was tolerating his "errant" behaviors or being extremely helpful towards him. I "loved" him but I did not "respect" him.)
He even asked if it might be best that we separate since he could never make me happy anyway! Before he dropped the ball, those same thoughts also ran through my head in many occasions since I felt it was him who did not love me. He was leaving me to fend for myself and our family, right? Or so, I thought.
|What would have happened if we listened to the lies of the devil? Poor kids. :(|
That heartbreaking incident was my catalyst to stop and assess what was really going on in my life and in my heart. Why was I acting the way I was? Why was I so controlling? Why was I so overly critical of my husband?
Years of compounded hurt, if not dealt with God's way, can lead a person to rationalize things that they thought they would never believe and to justify choices they thought they would never make. The hardness of heart and the hopelessness that result are the tell-tale evidence that they have fallen into the Deceiver's trap and have been ensnared by his deception.
The only way to break the cycle and be set free is to reject the lies that have taken over the mind and emotions and to counter those lies with the Truth, as God revealed it in His Word. The Truth is....
- There is no marriage God cannot heal. There is no person God cannot change.
- The primary purpose of marriage is not to be happy, but to glorify God and reflect His redeeming, covenant love.
- God uses the rough edges of each partner in a marriage to conform the other to the image of Christ. Your mate's weaknesses can become a tool in God's Hand to make you into the woman He created you to be.
- True Love -- God's Love -- is unconditional and never fails. We cannot love another human being perfectly on our own. But God can love anyone through us if we are willing to let Him. Love is not a feeling; it is a commitment to act in the best interests of another. By God's Grace, we can choose to love anyone, even if we do not have warm feelings towards that person.
- Marriage is a covenant. God is a covenant-keeping God. He kept His promises to the nation Israel, even when they were spiritually adulterous and pursued other lovers (See Jeremiah 11:10; Ezekie 20:16; Hosea 2:13). The Lord Jesus keeps His promises to His Bride -- the church -- even when we are unfaithful to Him. Because He is faithful to keep His Promises, it is never right for us to break the marriage covenant that was intended to be a picture of the redemptive relationship between God and His people.
- God has commanded us to forgive without limit.
- Your faithfulness and willingness to extend sacrificial love to your mate may be the means of his spiritual healing, even as Christ's suffering was the means by which we were healed. (1 Peter 2:24-25; 1 Corinthians 7:12-14)
- You don't solve your problems by putting another pair of shoes under the bed. (Statistically, second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages.)
- God's Grace is sufficient to enable you to be faithful to your mate and to love and forgive without limit.
- God will never forsake you. Regardless of what you must endure, He will be there to carry you through.
- The rewards of faithfulness in this life may not be fully experienced until eternity. But faithfulness will be rewarded and it will be worth the wait! - Nancy Leigh De Moss, "Lies Women Believe"
|I was already changing interiorly by this time - 2012|
The next time you give an O.A. (OverActing) reaction towards your husband or when you feel like already giving up and are just waiting for the last or final straw before you do, stop and search your heart, precious sister in Christ. What lies have you been believing? Have you been looking at the speck of your husband's eye while not considering the plank in your own eyes? Is it really true that he is all the negative things you are accusing him to be, and you are all the positive things you see yourself to be? Maybe you are being blinded by your own pride. Maybe you are spiritually blind because of too much hurt and pain. Maybe you are too busy pointing out his faults that you have failed to see your own.
|Peaceful wife - 2013|
In this journey, I now focus on my own walk with Christ. I have let go of my false beliefs and countered these with the Truth in His Word. I have released my husband from my very high expectations of him that only led to bitterness and resentment in the past. Not to say that I do not believe anymore in his capabilities! On the contrary, focusing on my own faith journey and my relationship with Christ has made me more appreciative of my husband's strengths. :)
I have stopped focusing on Dong and have redirected my sight on God Alone. This has given me peace and joy and fulfillment which I did not possess when I was focused on changing my husband and pointing out his faults! Just because I could name all his faults (perceived and otherwise) did not make me a saint! :(
Do not waste precious time receiving God's Best for your life. Humble yourself. Give your husband room and time to be God's man. It takes time and sacrifice but the blessing is amazing!
The enemy has made a mess and mockery out of marriage. The lies have resulted in countless fractured lives and homes. Only the Truth has the power to redeem, restore and renew. - Nancy Leigh De Moss, "Lies Women Believe"
|Our yellow family after my son's family day in school - February 22, 2014 :)|
My T-shirt says "Family is not just an important thing. It's everything." :)
May we all be richly blessed! :)