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Saturday, March 8, 2014

How to Have A Fire-Proof Marriage (Women's Edition)

Here in the Philippines, March is both Fire Prevention Month and Women's Month.

The Legal Mandates of Women's Month are by virtue of:

  • Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day;
  • Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 providing for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month; and
  • Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.

The Legal Mandate of Fire Prevention Month is by virtue of :

          Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A, which was issued by former and late President Ferdinand E. Marcos on November 17, 1966.  March was chosen as the fire prevention month, as it marks the start of the hot and dry season here in the Philippines when most fires occur.

In light of my recent movie-watching of "Fireproof", which is six years too late ;), I would like to hit two birds with one stone by sharing some personal tips on how to make one's marriage FIREPROOF with the BIBLICAL ROLE OF WOMEN, in mind.

First of all, for those reading this blog for the first time, I would like to share a brief summary of my convictions :

  • I am a Catholic by religion, but I consider myself simply, a "Christian", that is, a follower of Christ. I read my Bible to get to know my faith and Jesus more. I have repented for my numerous sins, and I love the Lord. I have been saved by Jesus in September 1, 2013, following my spiritual awakening, and have found fullness of life and freedom from bondage, after I turned over my life (for REAL), to Jesus Christ. I do not feel the need to shift religions, because I believe that God called me where He found me, as a Catholic. And I have answered Him here, and will serve Him here, in spite of perceived and real Catholic flaws; and by and through the richness of the Catholic Faith. I believe that no matter what denomination, as long as one believes that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and The Life, and has accepted Him as Lord and Savior, then there is no need to be divisive or argumentative. I would rather we focus on our commonalities than our differences. I long for a unified Church minus all the discrimination and un-Christian judgments and misjudgments that "Christians" usually hurl at each other, and Catholics are not excluded from that. I have simplified my faith to focus on Christ alone. In Him alone am I justified. We may disagree or question each other's methods, but please, let us not question each other's hearts. Only God knows what is truly in our hearts. 
  • After having been convicted by our Lord for my mountains of sin (pride, envy, jealousy, self-righteousness, being judgmental, etc.), I saw myself for who and what I truly was -- a sinful human being -- that needed repentance. The Lord opened my spiritual eyes to show me that all my "righteous acts" were nothing but "dirty, filthy menstrual rags" (Isaiah 64:6) and that I was not righteous at all.  Having realized this, I humbled myself before God and asked Him to rule my life. In submitting to the Lord, I also submitted to my God-ordained authority on earth, my husband Dong.

  • I practice Biblical submission. To those who do not understand what this is, this is the Bible verse I live by, following my conversion of heart.

  •                      Ephesians 5:22-33 part

  • 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
     31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The Bible has several passages on that actually. It was very surprising to me when I collated them. Truly, God did not put them out there for nothing. He must know something about the way He wired men and women. He's our Creator after all. ;)

  • I believe that marriage is a covenant, not just a piece of paper. I believe that sex within marriage is beautiful and sacred. I believe that we are at a time in history when the Enemy is attacking the very foundation of our human core -- the Family. I believe that now is the time to uphold the marriage tradition and to strengthen its roots in order to raise godly men and women, that will serve as our godly legacy for the generations to come.

Having roughly given a brief summary of what I believe in and Who I believe in, allow me to personally share some of my insights in how to have a Fireproof Marriage. :) I am not a marriage counselor, nor a Bible scholar (Note: I am a baby in Bible-reading, but I am a very eager student!:), but I have been with my husband (then boyfriend) for nearly 17 years, nine of which are as a married couple, and we have had our many highs and lows, and so I somehow feel "equipped" to share what I know. :) Feel free to write in your own tips on how to keep marriages FIREPROOF.

Now, before we begin, let us first define the term "FIREPROOF":


  1. able to withstand fire or great heat.
    "a fireproof dish"
    synonyms:nonflammableincombustible, fire resistant, flame resistant, flame retardant, heatproof 

Captain Caleb with co-fireman, Michael Simmons
Lifting its definition from the movie "Fireproof" starring Kirk Cameron, when his character Caleb Holt said, "...Marriages aren't fireproof. Sometimes you get burned."... his bestfriend and fellow fireman Michael Simmons countered with the MOST QUOTABLE QUOTE in the movie, "Fireproof doesn't mean a fire will never come, but that when it comes you'll be able to withstand it."

How will a marriage be able to withstand "great heat" that usually transpires with being with a person -- whom before you met him, fallen in love with and gotten married to -- was from a different background, of different parents (Hopefully!!), and with idiosyncracies that sometimes grate at you? 

Here is the FIREPROOF MARRIAGE FOR DUMMIES (Women's Edition), in no particular order:

1. Stick with the plan. 

Know what you got yourself into and stick with it. Stop looking for loopholes and escape routes. Stop packing the "mental suitcase" for "just in case this doesn't work out." Be true to your wedding vows. 
'I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
The priest will then say aloud "You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, men must not divide. Amen."[5]"

When you said "I do" to the "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do you part" stuff, mean it and live it. Actions speak louder than words. Oftentimes, women get into marriage only wanting the "for better, for richer, and in health" parts. The other "yucky" parts ("for worse, for poorer, in sickness"), they consider as "justifiable reasons" in their minds to want "out" and quit. "I did not sign up for this!!!", some women might even say. Well, the truth is, when we married our husbands, we not only vowed before Man, but also before God that we will uphold our marriage covenant... And YES, we did sign up for it. It has our signatures too to prove it!

                                                              Matthew 19:6
"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

 2. Respect your husband

This commandment to wives is so glossed over, completely forgotten or deemed as irrelevant in these modern times. With women empowerment and equal rights, wives more often than not only "love" their husbands, but do not "respect" them. Women sometimes "overly love" their husbands by doing everything -- providing for the family, nurturing the children, etc. leaving the husbands with no roles to fulfill. And when things get too heated and the husbands already complain of not feeling "respected", the women scream: "BUT I LOVE YOU!!! CAN'T YOU SEE THAT? I AM DOING EVERYTHING FOR YOU!!!!" 

Hold it, sister. God did not create women to do everything; the same way He did not create men to do everything either. He created Woman to be the helper of the Man; and Man to lead the Woman. Marriage is teamwork. And in a team, every member has roles to fulfill and tasks to do. Let us stick to our side of the coin, which is to "respect our husbands" and to "submit to them" as our God-ordained authority, and leave it to them and to God to do their own side of the deal (Ephesians 5:25-29). Being so efficient and self-reliant makes marriages fail rather than succeed because in usurping our husbands' role in the family, we, in effect, disrespect them, and farther down the road, even "emasculate" them.

                                                 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
11However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.


                                           Ephesians 5:22-24

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

3. Focus on your own "walk".

Busy yourself with your part of the deal and your own faults and failures, and NOT on your spouse's perceived mistakes and sins. Remember, we cannot change anybody but ourselves. But if we are to be very honest about it, even we, by our own strength, cannot change OUR selves. It is only when we humble ourselves before God and ask Him to change us, do we really become transformed. It is also very self-righteous of us, to constantly point out our husbands' faults while not looking at our own faults. We do not have the right to judge other people, because only God can judge. (Mt 7:1) We are all sinners, and there is no "greater sin" or "lesser sin". Sin is sin. And we are all guilty of it.

When we are clueless how to love our husbands or respect our husbands, let us call on God to show us through His Son, Jesus, how to do it. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life." (John 3:16) Jesus went down to the world, became fully human, and showed us how it was to be truly humble, in that even if He Himself was God, for the Father and He were ONE, He subordinated Himself to the Father, seeked the Father's Will in all things and obeyed His Father, all the way to His undeserved death on the Cross to save all of us.

  Marriage is a human version of Jesus' divine Love for His Church

                                           Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 

32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

4. Marriage should be a "Threesome".

Yes, you read that right, but not in the way you might maliciously think. ;)

Marriage must involve three persons: God, the husband and the wife. Alone or together, with both the husband and wife relying only in themselves or on each other, a marriage will crumble. We are fallen beings. We are very limited. We are very sinful. We are very selfish. But with God as the foundation for marriage, and the Glue that holds it together, the bond becomes a Mighty Bond. It becomes unbreakable, unsinkable, fireproof. 

Relying on our own strength, no matter how holy we seem in our eyes or how pious or how kind or how generous, is still foolish at best

Relying on our partners to constantly make us happy, fulfilled, needed, protected, loved, will frustrate us and wear them out faster than we can say "BOTTOMLESS PIT." 

Only God can give us the unconditional Love and Strength, to carry on through all the trials that we face, and will face. It is because our eyes are set on Him that we are constantly filled and re-filled with His Spirit that enables us to love our imperfect husbands through Him, with Him and in Him. It is because He loved us first, that we are able to love our partners too. It is because He showed His Father respect and submission first, that we can swallow our pride, follow His example, and respect and submit to our husbands too. 

Marriage should be a Threesome, with Christ at the center. Without Him, even "good marriages" are doomed to fail, or at the very least be lifeless or meaningless. The only way we can love our husbands is if we love God first and foremost. Loving our husbands becomes easier and such a joy, after that. 

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

5. Give of yourself fully in the marital bed.

For a marriage to be fireproof, you should always do your best to keep the sparks aflame, the love ablaze and the passion burning within marriage. It is a great irony that unmarried couples have an extremely difficult time trying NOT to have premarital sex, only to have an extremely difficult time engaging in and enjoying sex once married! All that putting off, for what then? Only to withhold oneself from one's husband because of boredom, resentment, bitterness or pride? 

Once we are married, we are no longer two individual persons but ONE unit. We are, by virtue of marriage, ONE BODY and FLESH.

                                       Ephesians 5:31
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
                                       I Corinthians 7:5
"Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

 Sex is a beautiful thing that is meant to be shared between husband and wife. When done within marriage and with much love and respect for each other, it becomes more than just carnal, it becomes sacred. It is not just a meeting of bodies but a meeting of souls. 

In ending, I would like to share even more tips from a website I chanced upon in my research on this post. Allow me to share it with you...

For marriage to be the joyous relationship that God intended, the husband and wife must never take one another for granted. We must allow the light of love to endure within hearts that are open to a loving Father and His Son. Thoughtfulness, gratitude, and concern for one another must be ever present in a marriage. Perhaps the following practical rules for a happy married life will make marriage the life long union that God intended it to be (Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

~ Never both be angry at once.

~ Never talk at one another.

~ Let each one strive to yield more often to do the wishes of the other.

~ Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each.

~ Never taunt with a past mistake.

~ Neglect the whole world rather than one another.

~ Never make a remark at the expense of one another.

~ Never part for a day without kind words to think of during absence.

~ Never meet without a loving welcome.

~ Never let the sun go down on your wrath.

~ Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessings alone can make it what it ought to be.


~ Never yell at one another, unless the house is on fire.
March 8, 2014

It is my hope and prayer that given my limited wisdom, this post has somehow helped you jump-start your marriage or made it more meaningful. :) 

May your love for God and for your husband be afire; may your marriage be fireproof, and may it be a marriage "made in heaven" and not as though set in the "fires of hell." :)

May we all be richly blessed! :)

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