Recently D and I had celebrated our 10th anniversary. I’m happy to say that this time we didn’t have any Cold War or missed the chance to be with each other. (So yes this time, we actually celebrated.)
D and I had a vow renewal ceremony at church and just like 10 years ago, the mass was still the best part of the day. D and I made it as meaningful as we could. We involved our kids in the walk-in, we used the same readings as we did 10 years back, we got the kids involved in the readings and even wrote and renewed our own vows and promises to each other. (D choked on his vows, I think it’s because he was touched, he thinks it’s because the church was dusty… *tsk*)
Looking back on this 10 years, D and I are eternally grateful and indebted to a few people who have helped us through our roughest times in our marriage. It’s not always with love and tenderness that we look at each other. But God has sent enough angels to make sure we survive. Most of the time, interestingly enough, it would be priests (yes those who have never been married) who are wise enough to remind us how to love each other.
1. Loving the other the way he needs to be loved, and not how we want to love.
Even before our marriage, we have had our fair share of disagreement and arguments. Like how after a long day at work, I would look forward to seeing him, yet whenever we met, D would seem tired and grouchy. It didn’t help that when he was with his friends, he would be laughing and actually looked like he is enjoying himself. I saw that as an insult and a form of failure on my part. I used to not understand how is it that his friends could bring out so much life in him and when he was with me, he was so tired and dragging it. I mean, I am his wife after all, shouldn’t he be happy to see me? But because I love him, I realised that’s what he needs. Not necessarily time away from me since it’s not because he didn’t enjoy my company but he just appreciated the brainless moments of guys talk (yes… we all know they don’t actually talk *rolls eyes*) and because of that he actually is happier.
D on the other hand is not one who is expressive and talks much about his feelings. But he also knows that I am one who enjoys to be reminded how much he loves me. So whenever he can, he drops me messages of how much he still loves me even when he is busy. He is also a very private person, and for him to come up with his own vows and renew it in front of our friends tells me that he was willing to be vulnerable for me. And for that, I know, I am loved.
2. Keep making excuses for each other when it hurts the most
This isn’t isolated to marriage. It can be used for any relationship. D and I do get clumsy with each other’s feelings too. And while most times we are okay, but there are days when I cannot comprehend why he couldn’t see my point and insist on his way.
I confided in a priest who smiled hearing my side of the story and calmly told me to make excuses for him. That while the fact that I am hurt remains, making more excuses for him might lessen the hurt. And when you are willing to find those excuses, you will never run out of the love for that person. (Of course this shouldn’t be the same if there’s any form of abuse in the relationship)
3. To those who have caused harm to us and hurt us? Pray not just for us, but for them
Truth be told, every couple has their own cross(es) to bear in their relationship. For D and I, our greatest is the issue of in-laws. D and I have had many arguments as I felt at times he was not always on my side and he couldn’t understand why the actions of his parents would be an issue to me. The same priest who told me to make excuses out of love reminded me to pray for those who have hurt us. Ironically, doing that helps us more than them. Psychologically, it’s not possible to be angry and upset at a person while wishing him/her to be blessed.
So yes, while I’m still not in the running for the best daughter-in-law award, I think praying for them would be my saving grace.
4. Keep close to God (and couples who believe in marriage)
It’s not by our strength but by God’s grace we are still together. We have witnessed many of our friends who struggle and give up in their marriage and most times it is not because their marriage is exceptionally hard. Being in love is totally unnatural. It’s not natural to not be jealous, to be patient and kind, to be slow to anger and to be forgiving. Because we are “imperfect” our love can never be perfect as well.
Truth be told, “godly” is a term which hardly anyone would use to describe us. (I mean some people are surprised we are catholics too.. that does say much about us right?) But God is kind to us, with whatever pockets of time we make to pray, He listens. And unknowingly, He would give us more than enough to move along. Sometimes He doesn’t answer our prayers through gentle whispers and a “moment of enlightenment” but through couples He has blessed with more than enough to love. Seeing them at them makes us want to model them and love each other better. (okay… this isn’t about me being competitive) But yes… three I assure you, is never a crowd.
Finally, to all who have been praying and blessing us with your friendship, prayers and love… Thank you. If not for you, there won’t be us.