Category Archives: Lenten Fridays: Wife Edition

Lenten Fridays: When there is Suffering

It is the final week of March 2013 and that means the official Holy Week in Catholic countries like the Philippines. In keeping up with this week’s theme, I’m gonna write about suffering. Early in this marriage, I have to admit I don’t know a thing about suffering or how profound its impact is on couples. The only thing I can consider as some sort of suffering is being away from my husband this week (as I am staying with my parents now, pregnant and all – while he’s busy doing his duties in our Manila parish). For just 2 nights being w/o him makes me miss him already. I’m sorry If I always sound like this love-struck wife, hehe.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this post by The Family Woman about the Meaning of Suffering. I think the message is timeless

suffering familyWe can no longer count the many marriages that have been dissolved because one or both partners could not keep up with the suffering any more. And families drifting apart because nobody understood the reason why they had to go through so much pain and sacrifice.

I once read that happiness isn’t the goal of marriage – but the constant, daily consecration of two people bound in marriage. It is meant to sanctify, purify you. And just how can a person achieve that if s/he will be devoid of the character-molding fire of suffering? Faith while suffering is the very element that makes a wife endure what she though she couldn’t. It is dying to oneself that leads a husband to be faithful to his call of servant-leadership in the home.

I do not know how I will cope or react once big trials come our way as husband and wife. All I know is that there is a God who sustains us in all our hardships. A priest once said that people often pray for deliverance quickly, instead of perseverance. What we do not know is that God wants us to persevere and to cling to Him – because that is what will deliver us from everything we go through.

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Lenten Fridays: Romancing your Husband

You bet, I missed one Friday! I was too excited to go home last Friday because the following week was the start of my work-from-home set-up. I was not only thrilled of not having to wake up early to commute for work – but I was doubly happy to be spending more “morning time” with my husband.

Since we’re both full-time employees, the usual morning routine would be:

  1. Pick up phone alarm
  2. Kiss your husband good morning
  3. Take a bath and fix myself absentmindedly
  4. Kiss husband good bye and rush out the door

My husband has a more flexible time at work and clocks in at around 10am in the office. So most of the time when I leave for work, his eyes are still shut while assisting me to get past the door and stairs. I’m not sure if I should be the one to assist him instead! 🙂

Then I realize that I am missing out on the opportunity to serve him breakfast and yes – romance him in the morning. I’m a big breakfast eater myself and I usually do it while checking emails on my desk. I don’t rush when eating even if I multitask so I still think we’ve got a good morning habit in there. In contrast is my husband’s routine. He just drinks coffee or a cereal drink – or he can even make do without eating breakfast. The consequence? Overeating during lunch and dinner! Not good for his goal of getting more in shape and energetic before the baby arrives.

So you can imagine how great it is to finally have an additional half-hour or even an hour every morning to prepare breakfast for both of us before I Skype my boss. Add to that is the chance to bond even more as husband and wife. When you get married, you gotta try this if life permits. Before you start facing the world, it’s so good to talk to your spouse about your plans for the day and the thoughts you have over the past days. It keeps both of you on the same page and it makes each one aware of what the other is going through. I love that before anything else I can encourage my husband when he’s going through a tough time. And of course, it feels good to give and receive additional affection from your spouse – apart from good morning, good bye, good night hugs and kisses 🙂

Romance as a dimension of Marriage

romance

I used to think that “romance” is such a trivial dimension of love. As we learn from experience, we realize that love is not an emotion – but a deliberate decision to stick with the person no matter what. So that puts romance to a slightly lower kind of loving. But there is one thing that romance can boast off – it adds ‘sizzle’ in any relationship. Sizzle – meaning warmth, intimacy, and connection between a married couple. It makes you feel secured that the other person will always be the other half of you…  the one who’s meant to be your lover, best friend, lifetime partner. When Romer and I get to some awkward silence after a conflict, a warm hug is usually all that it takes to break the ice. So romance has a way of leading you both to a lighter path and a better mood.

But romancing your husband isn’t always easy. There are days when you are all spent to spare time and energy for the man in your life. Or it could be that there’s an issue, an elephant in the room that needs to get kicked out and you don’t feel all lovey-dovey at the moment. It’s a bigger challenge too, when both of you are hurting after a big fight, or after so many years of growing distant and calloused towards one another (usually the case in older marriages).

Reflecting on Romance

This Lent, let’s take time to reflect on what is it that’s stopping us to “romance” our spouse. Is it pride? Lack of time or affection? How about a nagging hurt inside you against your husband/wife?

Think about this: Would Jesus withhold His love for us despite being condemned and scarred up to His death?

Maybe if we think about romance in a way of doing a form of service to one another, and realize that ultimately it is something that can do more good for our marriage – it would’t be so hard after all.

 

 

 

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Lenten Fridays: On Forgiving your Spouse

This post coincides with our 3rd month as husband and wife. Only 3 months into this marriage and I’m gonna talk about forgiveness, ha!

It is a relief that we have not gotten into some deep trouble in our marriage – yet. But ours isn’t free from mistakes, arguments, and sins against each other. One thing that struck me (and convinced me) to write about this topic is an email read from OMF Lit just yesterday.

Reading this has made me realize how important forgiveness is in a relationship, more so in a marriage. One cannot stay married unless one is willing to change, and the other – to forgive. And forgiving is hard, right? Especially when the hurt is too much or if the sin committed is repeated again and again. But a lot of marriage experts say that there is no other way to succeed in marriage unless both parties learn to forgive one another.

Here’s the email message:

marriage and forgiveness

No one is married to a perfect spouse. Annoyances and hurts are guaranteed.  To maintain peace in the marriage, should couples keep silent or should they get into a heated discussion? In this excerpt from the Gintong Aklat award winning The Honeymoon Never Ends, Nelson Dy lists at least three things couples need to consider.

Is the offense an innocent mistake or is it something done deliberately and/or regularly?

It is one thing when, one night, the husband forgot to buy some groceries that his wife had asked him to buy; it is another when he yells at her every night. Definitely, the behavior of the second husband has to be dealt with. But there are women who would tell the first husband, “You always forget! I really can’t rely on you!” and forget that, overall, he is really a wonderful guy (definitely not one who yells). So, rather than logging the forgotten groceries on the minus side of the scorecard, she should just drop the matter.

Is tolerating the offense detrimental not only to you, but also to your spouse?

Let’s go back to the yelling husband. You may be expecting me to counsel the wife to simply turn a deaf ear, smile sweetly and forgive him. I would give no such counsel, because I don’t think we should leave it at that. True, she may be remarkably patient now; but I suspect that the husband’s shouting will get into her nerves. Her unhappiness and stress will build up, and it will only be a matter of time before she explodes, breaks down and flees.

Furthermore, to allow the husband to raise his voice at her is to perpetuate in him an immature and ultimately sinful state. I believe that the “one flesh” concept of marriage includes a mystery that when a husband hurts his wife, he is also hurting himself.  The wife does the husband no favors if she sees him doing wrong and does not correct him.

Is the offense just a matter of personal preference or is it a clear sin?

A husband may be rankled that his wife keeps squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle when he wants it squeezed from the end. But he crosses the line if he scours the Bible for a verse that shows her idiosyncrasy to be at par with cold-hearted murder. Similarly, if it is an idiosyncrasy that I can live with,

I don’t even have to keep a scorecard for it.

Here is the crux of the matter: To burn the scorecard is to choose to forgive rather than nurture resentment. I am not saying burning the scorecard is easy. It is not like waving some magic wand and the hurt disappears. It just doesn’t work that way. It helps, though, to keep the bigger picture in mind: Which would you rather have, feel the pain of letting the spouse of the hook now and dance in liberation from bitterness tomorrow; or indulge in the pain of offense and in fantasies of vengeance today, tomorrow, next month, next year…and see your marriage deteriorate before both your and your spouse’s eyes?

You might be asking: If marriage is all about forgiving the other despite the hurt – is marriage just about suffering? And how about your own happiness?

 

But is happiness God’s ultimate goal in marriage?  Being happy in marriage is possible and happiness will be the fruit of those who follow God’s plan for marriage.  But happiness is not God’s primary goal for marriage…. God’s primary goal for marriage is holiness… When both the husband and wife determine to define their marriage by holiness, the ultimate result becomes happiness.  

– Pierre Eade

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Lenten Fridays: Respect for one Another

Respect-Your-Husband

During our pre-cana seminar, our wedding presiding priest asked us, “Did you know that the lack of respect is the number one cause of marital separation? It’s not money, and not even infidelity. It is the lack of respect.”

I remember this recently when a friend has posted something about her one and only desire: to find a man who will accept her for what she is – and she is glad that she’s found that man. Well and good. But really, let’s be honest here: Is acceptance all we can ever ask from our (potential) lifetime partners? Isn’t that a non-negotiable to begin with? Isn’t it that we are supposed to accept people as they are – regardless if we are romantically involved with them or not?

I’d say more than finding a man who will accept me for who or what I am – I’d go for someone who will respect me and treat me like a queen – and someone who can earn my respect, as well. That’s the clincher these days. It’s so easy to say “I accept you for who you are.. even if sometimes you irritate me and so I can’t help but raise my voice over you in public.” DUH.

Respect sets the bar higher for both men and women contemplating marriage. It isn’t just about accepting the good and the bad about your partner. It is valuing the other person still – despite of the bad.

How does a wife show respect to her husband? I found this list:

1. Communicate with him respectfully.
2. Let him know he’s important to you.
3. Try to understand his reasons, even when you disagree.
4. Ask for his help.
5. Let go of the small stuff.
6. Tell him you love and respect him, and that you like him.
7. Give him some space for his hobbies
8. Show him that you respect him and trust him.
9. When you go out together don’t bring up problems.
10. Focus your attention on what he’s doing right.
11. Show interest in what he feels is important in life.
12. Be happy and positive when he comes home.
13. Give him half an hour to unwind after work.
14. Don’t allow any family member to treat him disrespectfully.
15. Defend him to any family member who tries to dishonor him.
16. Compliment his efforts above his performance.
17. Seek his advice when you face challenges.
18. Set and work on goals together.
19. Don’t over commit yourself, leave some time for him.
20. Be forgiving when he unintentionally offends you.
21. Find ways to show him you need him. Guys need to be needed.
22. Don’t fill his every spare moment with chores.
23. Peel away your pride and admit your mistakes.
24. Rub his neck and shoulders when he is stressed.
25. If he wants to talk, listen and ask viewpoint questions.
26. Express appreciation for his hard work.
27. Tell him you are proud of him for the person he is.
28. Give advice in a loving way; do not nag him.
29. Reserve some energy for him when he wants you sexually.
30. Don’t expect him to spend all his time on honey do projects.
31. Commend him for being a good man.
32. Brag about him to other people even when he’s not there.
33. Share your feelings with him but keep it abbreviated.
34. Tell him 3 things you specifically appreciate about him.
35. Honor him and show your respect in front of everyone.

The complete list of 67 can be found here.

I cannot say I am respectful 100% of the time. Sometimes and unintentionally, I know I have offended or disrespected my husband in one way or another – ah my friends would attest to this, haha! But more than anything else, I know I have found a man to respect and I am treated just the same.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
– Ephesians 5:33

A side note to single ladies: This is the thing with women. We cannot put a man in high regard if he cannot respect us. Power-tripping, insecure, or abusive (verbally/physically/financially!) boyfriends should be a red flag – unless you are OK with settling for less.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
– Ephesians 5:28

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Lenten Fridays: Wife Edition

I am so envious about bloggers who can do 30-day marathons because our 1-post-a-month-challenge is definitely a CHALLENGE for me. Hehehe! But in the coming days, particularly Fridays, I will set out on a goal to do weekly posts for this year’s Lent.

lenten fridays wife edition

 

I’m doing the wife edition (and maybe next year, the Mom edition 🙂 )

My husband doesn’t know about this yet, but I’d like to chronicle my first struggles/issues/victories/lessons as a wife to him, specifically this Lenten season. We have always spent the Holy Week apart during our single days. Now is a first like our first Christmas and New Year as husband and wife.

I’d like to touch on common issues that young wives face in this modern age – from submission, to control issues, to contentment, to household management, to what it’s like to fight constructively, etc. Take note though that I’m no expert on this 🙂 I’m just using my blog as a medium to journal and convey a message from the heart. So for any marital advice – there are tons of other resources to go to, hehehe! This one is just my take on the subject.

And in prayer, I hope I can be of help even for a short while and in my own small ways to a precious someone called a wife 🙂

(and maybe I can help husbands, too. Hihi!)

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
– Proverbs 18:22

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