Needless to say that me and my wife go through tough times. We are two different people from two different backgrounds from two different worldviews from two different places in Metro Manila. There’s just no way that our differences would not surface along our marriage even if we have so many things in common.
I’m ashamed to admit but there have been times that we have had conflicts that would last for a few days. These conflicts would gnaw at our emotions slowly. And I’ve let them almost break us – if not for the things that me and my wife learned before and after we got married. And here I wanted to share them with you.
Webmaster’s Note: I’m not an expert in marriage – I’m simply writing this to remind myself of these things too. Remember that this is an online journal where I write my journey with the Lord in the stages I’m going through in my life.
There is only one road back to finding yourself and your spouse again and that is forgiveness. There is no other way. Once you are lost in the cloud of conflict and anger and bitterness, there is no map. There is no signal. There is no ‘right time’ to find your way back.
There’s just the road and there’s you and there’s now. Take that road.
Forgiveness is not an emotion. It is not a feeling. It is not a time window.
It is a journey. A difficult one that is jolted by a tough decision – the decision of letting go of an offense and choosing to love in spite of.
In the span of a lifetime of marriage, I do expect myself to take that journey more than I can count.
2) Being Apologetic
The word “Sorry” is undeniably more critical in marriage than the word “I love you”.
Before we got married, my wife and I read the book “The Five Languages of Apology” By Gary Chapman. It opened my eyes to why my wife wanted me to apologize in a specific way. Often, she doesn’t want to just hear me say “Sorry”, she wants me to explain what I’m sorry for.
The book helped me realize why my wife wanted to be apologized to in this way. I admit I don’t have straight A’s in apologizing to her but I try my best to apply what I’ve learned.
3) Being Kind is More Important than being Right
My wife taught me this. And it has been a very important lesson for me. I’m the kind of guy who grew up in tough environments where vindication would often just come when you are ‘right’ about things.
I took that to my marriage.
I couldn’t be more wrong. In marriage, you don’t need to be vindictive. You need to be loving. You need to be forgiving. You need to be respectful.
And the best way for me to be those things is to remember that being kind is more important then being right.
4) Protect your Time
I’ve often found myself out of time. I run two startup companies – SEO Hacker and Qeryz – and it has taken a lot of time for me to make sure that both companies are operationally sound. While the world may applaud such a feat, I have let it nab more than enough time from my marriage.
Time is the building block of God in relationships and in teaching us things. The more time you spend on something, the better you become at it and the more you learn about it. The more time you spend with someone, the more you learn about the person and the more you become endeared to each other.
The world and the Devil will try to take your time – by offering you something seemingly better. It may be a business opportunity, it may be entertainment, it may even be a ministry.
Always remember that after the Lord, your spouse is the most important recipient of your time and devotion. Protect your time.
5) A Common Focal Worldview
There is a story of a sleeper cell agent who was forgotten. A sleeper agent is generally a spy who is programmed to blend in with the general masses until he is activated for his mission. The thing is, this specific sleeper agent was forgotten. The war was over and he was still left wandering among the crowds.
Aimless. Purposeless. Afloat.
But there’s something that he does everyday – read the classified ads of the newspapers. He doesn’t know why. He’s just attracted to it somehow.
And then one day, he reads an ad that activates his programming. He becomes alive. He proceeds with the mission.
Being in a lasting conflict feels like that. Afloat. You don’t really know why you dislike each other so much and you don’t know why you’re being so cold. You even realize it may not be worth it. That maybe you should go back.
You forget the mission and you wander aimlessly. Your emotions go haywire.
It happened to me. I was a sleeper agent. But there’s always something that I do everyday. I read God’s Word. And then I realize that my love story wasn’t just a random haphazard happening. It unfolded purposefully.
Suddenly I remember the mission. And so does my wife.
Often the factor that reunites me and my wife the most is our God-given love story. It is just an impossible series of events that only God could have orchestrated. That is a common focal worldview that always gets me and Apple to reconcile.
The truth is, it’s God’s Word and God’s view of marriage that often saves me and Apple from going further down the road of conflicts. Without which, I think we would have gotten lost in a never ending maze of negative emotions and words.