|art by larkspur west paperie via www.minted.com
|NOTE: Grammar police be kind. This rambling was written at 1:00AM. The left brain is in Snoozeville already
Every time I check my email inbox, there I find about 2-3 emails asking about relationship advice and/or from kind people who compliment our marriage. Sometimes I let out a little snicker when someone tells us how things seem to be so perfect between me and Patrick (I’m like WHUUU?!?!) which of course couldn’t be any further from reality. If I have unintentionally projected this to you, then I apologize. I hope you guys don’t think we have zero marital issues, we do, but it just seems counterproductive to blast negative issues on the blog. Yung mga parinigan sa Facebook status or Twitter, hayyy, that’s the worst thing you could do to yourself and/or to your partner.
We do fight and just like any normal couple out there—we fight, argue, debate, and annoy one another A LOT (of course this is subject to your own definition of “A LOT”—if by A LOT you mean more than 3 times a day like morning, noon and night and even in your dreams… naku anak, maghiwalay nalang kayo please! Maawa kayo sa isa’t-isa. Hahaha!).
We are NOT perfect, we are imperfect individuals in an imperfect marriage who happen to serve a PERFECT God who is gracious enough to keep us together. If my husband were to just depend solely on himself (and doesn’t cling on to the BIG GUY), matagal na niya akong iniwan—sa mga knock-knock jokes at Boy Tondo Hiphop dance moves ko palang, he’d not only file for legal separation, he’d beg for a restraining order too!
I always tell my husband that he’s so lucky to have me, since we don’t have all day I will narrow it to 3 top reasons kung bakit naka-jackpot si Filart: 1) they say I have a face of an angel—and that angel’s name is Lucifer, hehehehehe fallen angel pala! 2)this body so fine I can make you mine 3) sa mga hirit kong matitindi, it’s like ASAP/That’s Entertainment/Eat Bulaga/SNL in our home every night, free entertainment palagi! If that ain’t a deal, I don’t know what is! The third reason always leads Patrick to ask the question “Why did I marry this woman again???! She’s cuh-cuh-crazeeeey” then he proceeds to reason#2 and checks out my body so fine and it’s all settled. HAHAHAHAHA! Feeling ko naman Miranda Kerr ako! This is my blog, so it’s my rules!
We obviously don’t have things figured out at 7 months of marriage and I don’t see us perfecting this craft any time soon. But we LOVE being married, it’s just so MUCH FUN!!!! I can’t imagine NOT being married to Patrick and NOT being able to pester him every night. It’s wonderful having someone assigned to you forever, your buddy in this buddy system called life, your go-to-guy for every thing. I know I’m supposed to LOVE him everyday, and that’s a given, but set aside the LOVE part and I totally dig this fella. I really, actually, truthfully LIKE hanging out with my husband. There are days when I want to strangle him and spike his iced tea with chili flakes and watch him turn red—and I know I piss him off just as much on my “bad days”, but our fights don’t last as long now that we’re married and it usually ends with a chocolate peace offering. Often times it’s like “I’m sooooo maaaaad at you right now and you are my least favorite person, but can you drive me to the bank because I need to pay our credit card bill” then we end up laughing about the stupidity of our issues.
Patrick and I always try to unite in prayer when things become too much for even our humor to handle. When things sort of turn into an avalanche, it’s only when we let go and let God that things get settled. It does get brutal, the words exchanged turn nasty, and hearts get broken in the process—but it’s in the fighting that we learn more about each other and we develop skills and tactics for fighting fairly. I don’t have any solid, golden advice to hand you guys but I wouldn’t want to sell you short. So I’ve decided to compile some tidbits of wisdom from my married couple friends, these people were the ones who helped us prep for marriage. Pat and I are very picky with our friends (not that we’re snooty and exclusive) because we only want to surround ourselves with positive people, couples who have a firm set of values who will be brutally honest with us and slap us when we screw up. At this age, when you’re faced with real life issues, you just can’t make time for superficial friendships anymore. When you invest in someone, it has to be worth your time and friendship. It is because of their influence and examples that we were able to enter marriage with a very open-minded and “Kung Kaya Nila, Kaya Din Natin ‘To” perspective. This will be a lengthy but meaty blog post for the married and single readers out there
Praise Her, Praise Him
Couple Peg: RICA&JOE BONIFACIO
If you’re looking for a real-life love story with both GRIT and GRACE, then I urge you to visit www.ricaperalejo.ph and search for her old entries. They have been kind enough to share their experiences—lalo na si Rica, she has revealed almost everything about her past and even her present struggles and has inspired countless Pinoys all over the globe.
These two (although they are just our age) act very maturely as a couple, Patrick and I have picked up so many tips from them and have applied them numerous times. One of the things I learned from Rica&Joe (which I actually also noticed with my own parents growing up) is that they are very generous in encouraging and praising one another, most especially in public. And it’s not the kind of bragging that you can see right through or the corny exchange that makes you roll your eyes upon reading. (Arrest me officer, I’m GUILTY OF CHEESY POSTS!!!!) They praise each other, they compliment one another, they say kind words to their partner because it’s their way of honoring each other. Sometimes in the middle of a busy day, I just stop and think of one kind act or endearing trait I noticed and I actually make the effort to thank Patrick for it. Sometimes I’ll tweet it or blog about it if I’m in the mood to share it. But sometimes just telling my friends about this good thing my husband did is more than enough, it’s just a simple gesture of appreciation. After all, he could’ve been an a**hole, drinking, gambling, and cheating with other women—the world makes it much easier for people to get away with these things—but today he chose to do something kind to me instead, like coming home just in time for dinner or helping me wash the dishes. If you have a good man (or a good woman), HONOR HIM! Shout it out!
Work Life and Home Life Balance
Couple Pegs: STELLA&JULZ ESQUIVIAS and SHEILA&JOREM CATILO
My two BFFs are happily married to their best friends who also happen to be their coworkers. So aside from being life partners and co-parents, they also work hand in hand, day by day as business partners as well. Sheila and Jorem are both professional wedding photographers while Stella and Julz run their own law firm. Of course there are PROS and CONS just like in any set up, but I’m so proud to say that save for a few hiccups here and there–these two couples have achieved the ideal work life/home life balance.
From what I’ve observed, the lessons I’ve picked up from these two couples would be 1)Even if you are both working, wives should still honor their husbands as the head of the family 2)And husbands should make an effort to empower their wives whether they choose to stay home and become full time homemakers or career women.
Couple Pegs: BERNICE&CY SORONGON and NICOLE&JAIME DE LOS ANGELES
These two young couples are both first time parents. Bernice and Cy have Olivia who is a delightful little girl with sweet ringlets. Nicole and Jaime have the roundest chub-chub named Alonzo. Their parenting styles are very hands-on, with both parents really investing time in the rearing of their babies. But unlike most couples who sort of kill the romance as soon as the tag “parent” is attached to their name, these two couples have made a conscious effort to continue dating. They’ve figured out a system, a parenting strategy that allows them to spend time away from their little one so they could enjoy some alone time as a couple. If Patrick and I are blessed with a baby next year (Lord willing!!!), I hope we will also make a conscious effort to keep things romantic and exciting as husband and wife.
Listen to One Another
Couple Peg:CECIL AND JONSY FILART
It’s amazing how listening is something that we often take for granted. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of things and the argument gets so intense, you become so engrossed in expressing yourself, defending your side, or reasoning out that listening just gets thrown out the door. If you take the time to just stop and ACTUALLY listen to your spouse, chances are you will be able to sort things out with more tact and logic. In our early stages of marriage, we always sought out advice from these two–to the point of annoyance, hehehe–but I’m glad Patrick and I were both humble enough to ask for help from our siblings when we needed it the most. We learned the art of listening from them and although we still have those little LQs from time to time, we are reaping the benefits of hearing each other out.
Couple Peg: MARGE AND RG MONTEMAYOR
These two are like coffee and coffeemate (and NO, I am not referring to their skin color.Peace RG!hehehe), salt and pepper, bread and butter. They are so well coordinated in fact that even their schedules (though equally hectic) seem to perfectly mesh. They’ve created their own rhythm, they’ve got this groove that’s just so impressive. For those couples who struggle with making their work schedules in sync, maybe you should take a little breather and trace your steps in plotting out your days. If you really, really, really want to spend time together—no matter how busy you are, there’s ALWAYS a way to make it possible. If you work as one solid unit instead of living separate lives (and just happen to live under one roof), then working on your marriage will become more fulfilling and free from any feelings of resentment.
Being Smart with Your Finances
LEA AND DREW PACIS
I’m just so inspired by how these two are so money-savvy! They religiously set aside savings, pay off all the bills, and best of all–they still manage to HAVE A LIFE!!!! This is very important! Others just live chasing the paper, just slaving away to accumulate lotsa money that it becomes obsessive already. These two know how to handle their finances but are not obsessed with the moolah, they also invest in other things like travel, nice furniture, and GOOD FOOD!!! A lot of marriages fail because of money matters (some have too much money while others lack in finances) , so if you’re not careful it could also cause the breakup of your marriage. It’s necessary to be 1)Transparent about your finances 2)Set realistic expectations 3)Make lifestyle adjustments that will allow you to live within (or below) your means 4) And most importantly, give back to the Lord whether it’s through your church or community–you need to share the blessings!
Keeping the fire burning
Couple Peg:MIC AND PAUL FILART
Paul is Patrick’s eldest brother (9 years apart) and so his marriage with Mic has inspired Patrick for years. One of the things I love most about Mic and Paul is how they openly display their affection for one another. Having been married for almost a decade, it’s so nice to see them holding hands, hugging, and exchanging sweet kisses. You don’t have to do heavy groping and make everyone around you barf with your excessive PDA, but keeping things sweet and cuddly will do wonders for your relationship.
Being the Best Version of YOU&US
Couple Peg:AMBER AND MARCUS DAVIS
The Pats love hanging out with the Davises. If we want to do something new/something fun, these are the people we call first. The conversation is always engaging with these two and we never run out of things to joke about. But what we love about this couple is their ability to bring out the best in each other. They both thrive in their individual careers because of each other’s support—there’s no competition at all. Marcus is secure enough to see Amber shine and in the same way Amber looks up to Marcus as someone she respects and admires. In addition to that, they both invest in bettering themselves—whether it’s hitting the gym together, taking up a new sport, eating healthy, or learning a new skill. There’s always something exciting to look forward to as a couple–you just have to go out there and find the best versions of YOU
Sense of Humor
Couple Pegs: JOANN&MIC PALANCA and ALESSA&PJ LANOT
Alessa is one of my bestest friends in the universe and we get along so well because of our twisted sense of humor. When PJ and Alessa got together, it just made so much sense! They clicked humor-wise and everything else was just secondary. It is because of their example that I realized there was no need to over think marriage—and it was something as easy as breathing or in their case, laughing.
For Mic and Joann, it’s a nice mix of jester/joker (MIC) and number one fan (JOANN). I just find it so adorable when Joann laughs like her tummy’s about to explode when Mic cracks a joke. She looks at him so lovingly every time he goes all out with a corny joke and supports him with a hearty laugh as soon as the punchline is delivered. Being your partner/spouse’s number one fan—whether it’s something as small as his jokes or something as big as his career—is crucial in every marriage.
Couple Peg: ANNE AND DRE GONZALES
I have never seen these two fight. It’s either 1) They’ve mastered the ninja art of smiling while fighting that it goes unnoticed 2)They are abnormally happy and have no issues 3)They are sensitive to one another and always choose to respect their partners both in private and in public. For the sake of this blog post, let’s proceed with #3. Well for starters, Dre is a sensitive guy so by default may A+ na sya. For the rest of us (ahem, ahem) we’re stuck with guys who don’t understand that when you say “It’s NOTHING”..it’s definitely SOMETHING, and something YOU DID that pissed us off. Dun Dun Dun Duuuuun.
The lesson I’ve picked up is for guys to make an extra effort to be sensitive to their wives by choosing a proper tone when speaking, using words to encourage and build up, and of course never putting your wife to shame in public. And for the women, we have to make an extra effort to be LESS SENSITIVE and LESS EMOTIONAL naman (nakuuuu poooo, this one’s for me!), to not over-analyze, over-criticize, and over-react. If we meet halfway and reach a healthy level of sensitivity for both parties, then things become less complicated.
Couple Peg:JAY AND DANI PONCE ENRILE
Whenever Patrick gets off work early we try our very best to make it to the Enrile’s home every Friday night to meet with other young professionals (single and married) going through grueling work weeks and daily middle class struggles. It’s a very casual set up of having dinner with friends, reading a few passages in the Bible, and then having an open discussion about random topics. They have become our support group and we are so blessed to have these people in our lives.
When we were talking about GRACE (Acts 15), our friend Jay opened up about the meaning of God’s grace in his own life. He explained to the group that his wife, Dani (one of the sweetest, kindest people on the planet!) is living proof of God’s grace. He had a very heartfelt explanation but in a nutshell he said he had a very dark and troubled childhood, many irreversible mistakes and wrong turns in his teens/early 20s, lots of deep issues of hurt—when he met Dani his whole life perspective changed. It was through Dani that he understood the redemption that Christ offered because of her forgiving and non-judgmental behavior. He told her EVERYTHING, lahat ng baho linabas niya, he made sure she knew everything about him—the good, the bad and the ugly. And yet Dani still chose to love him and because of the GRACE she showed him, from that day on he knew that he was ready to live the way God destined for him to live: A life worthy of this beautiful and loving girl who is now his wife and the mother of their super super super (OMG!!! Im not even exaggerating with the 3 supers) baby, Lucas.
When we understand GRACE, like really understand the meaning of God’s grace..it becomes something we naturally want/need to show to others as well. Just thinking about how we don’t deserve the GRACE of God, these second, third, fourth, fifth chances we are given each day, these fresh new slates to work with—wow, how could you not choose to be graceful to others? Especially to your own spouse?! Hayyy, minsan I lack in this department—ok, not MINSAN but most of the time so it has been my prayer request.
So there, people of the Philippine islands. What a lengthy read, huh??? Well, I hope I was able to shed light on some of your relationship issues. As much as I would love to email each and every one of you, I don’t have the time (huhuhuhu) so I hope this mass love letter works for now.