For Better or For Better

My husband and I were recently interviewed on a local television network called GNN (Global News Network) for the show called LIFE hosted by Marlyn Feliciano Lopez. Our episode was entitled Love, Courtship and Marriage. To be honest, each word in that title is a load to talk about for just 45 minutes. The beauty about it was that we didn’t have to exhaust every single topic. Instead, we revolved the topics around what we know best… our love story. 

On set with the host

On set with the host

Many things we shared to the host were actually everyday habits that we developed and never actually exposed to each other. They were like known secrets that made us more aware of what we were doing for the other person. These habits revolved around the theme of always being better persons together. 

Throughout our dating, courtship and especially engagement, I had to always take the time out to reflect and look back at all the conversations, events and fights that we went through and wonder: Am I a better woman than I was before? Am I closer to God than I was ever before? Am I looking for ways to reach out to others more? Am I a better daughter to my mom? Sister to my siblings? Friend to my friends? Student? Employee? 

My husband also stressed the point that while in a relationship, your relationship isn’t the most important part of your priority list. It’s the fourth where number 1. is God 2. is Family 3. is Work or School and 4. is Friends and Boyfriend/Girlfriend. He warned against making your relationship #1 because when you’re young there are so many opportunities that may be missed if you make your boyfriend/girlfriend your top priority. He had a simple gauge that he mentioned to his guy friends one night: “Dudes, if you don’t see me anymore. I’m probably in a bad relationship.”

Not to mention, there’s a lot to discover about yourself – from being a college student to a member of the workforce.

My husband and I knew each other when I was in my last year of college and he was working. He revealed (only) during the interview that he was watching how I was growing as a working woman.

There is a lot of wisdom in what he did.

In college, you’re exposed to people who you would see everyday and end up sharing the same values as you do because of the classes that you took together and every other shared experience within that university. But when you’re in the workplace, you’re forced to engage and deal with people of completely different backgrounds and consequently, perspectives and world views. Although it’s a wonderful experience to see things in a different light, there is also a huge possibility for you to change those values you once held so close in college. And eventually become a totally different person from who you were just a year ago. It’s the awful truth that your (college) values could just be fleeting feelings…

Which is why we were always on our toes.

The way we changed would always change our relationship, whether for better or for worse. For better was the gauge of how we knew we were “meant for each other.” (A lot of hard work, huh?)

Our relationship during the engagement period brought it to a whole different level where we had to tackle the daunting topic: finances. There were also those serious talks about living space and dealing with both families mixed in with the excitement of the wedding and marriage preparations.

Now that we are married, we not only see whether we are becoming better people together but it’s intertwined with learning about each other and learning to delicately deal with each other’s quirks, habits and moods well each and every day.

My husband talked about how he sought advice from a priest on how to begin the first few weeks of marriage and one was to:

Learn about each other, meaning, do not get annoyed by something new you discover (in her) but use it to learn (about her). Delight in it and learn how to deal with it.

This learning business is something we will never fully exhaust until the day we die. It’s something that allows us to delight in the positive and see the milestones amidst the difficulties. Just as what Pope Francis said during the audience with the families here in the Philippines: Do not stop dreaming (about your love, your spouse, your children and your family) or you will stop loving. It will remain difficult if all you see are the rocks and humps but when you see beyond it like the endurance muscle you will be strengthening for you and your marriage then… that’s dreaming. That’s loving.

After making our vows

After making our vows

A snippet from our honeymoon is Siena

A snippet from our honeymoon is Siena

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A Day for Forever

only a dream

only a dream

Getting married is an absolute dream. It’s only been nine days since the start of our married life and I am ever so slowly leaving the memories and feelings to fade into the background of our photographs.

As I recall, it was a perfect night.

The imperfections made it all the more perfect – at least for me.

To name them: In the middle of the day, the rain poured HEAVILY. When I was walking down the aisle, my wedding gown snagged at the bottom and hit the points of my stilettos that I had to kick my dress to be able to walk steadily down the long aisle of our parish church. I didn’t read our vows well that I went onto saying “Yes, I do” before I should have and it was caught on video… See our on the day video by the great Bob Nicolas here.The reception program was already delayed and it was delayed even more because of a MAJOR glitch in the lights and sounds system.

It may sound like any bride’s horror story but the bounty of love and happiness overshadowed and covered all of the pains of the day’s apparent mishaps.

To continue: When our photographers saw my worried gaze at the intense rain, all they said was “This will work for you.” I put my trust in them and now that the photographs are out (by the uber talented team of Toto Villaruel), the day looked beyond beautiful in the photos. It looked as if it didn’t rain at all.

The dew drops sparkled for us.

In the bridal car while I was waiting for my turn to march, guests saw me and greeted me. One of them took time to whisper that this weather couldn’t have been more perfect. While I was tripping through the aisle, all I saw was Lance’s look wanting to give me a bear hug.

After making our vows and our priest declaring our marriage, Lance and I looked behind to see the parish almost full with our family and friends hooting and cheering. It was the most spectacular sight I have ever seen.

Finally, the major glitch in the lights and sounds system turned out to be a moment for intimate conversations between our guests and the roving bride and groom. After around thirty minutes, the lights and sounds miraculously went back on.

The program was knotted with the feeling that I wanted to bring to our guests – filled tummies, happy tipsiness and unending laughter. Most of all, I wanted the guests – even if they have never sat and chatted with us – to feel like they have gotten to  know Lance and I in our celebration! All thanks to Lance, his best man and my maid of honor who dedicated their time and effort to surprise me with the spectacular reception program.

Until now, I still cannot get the wedding out of my head. All the more since I wake up with the man I got married to everyday now. I am filled with boundless gratitude. I even told Lance that one of the best things about being married is the relief that it’s done and we can move on with married life! Call me traumatized but with all the crazy natural calamities and wars around the world, I now have such peace that I’m married to this man.

I know the high will fade into the oblivion of married life. Lance reminded me yesterday of this when we were talking about the unsexy topic of finances, he said: “Let me look into the future for us, my love…” While he does that, I’m still flipping through our wedding photos and repeatedly watch our wedding videos until both websites hit its fifteen thousand view.

Sharing with you my man’s ultimate surprise video during the reception that I cannot get enough of.

I don’t know how I will tread through married life but I’ll probably take from our wedding day – do my best and have a lot of trust in my husband, most especially in God who made His presence felt in the Sacrament of Marriage and who allowed the imperfections to happen for the beauty of real love to shine.

Love More with Your Head than with Your Heart

I was struck when my mom told me that a friend of mine loves more with her heart than her head.

All of a sudden a spillover of cartoon illustrations of couples in thought bubbles started to pop up in my mind. A huge heart that overpowers the brain when she sees her crush. Her almost drunk-like state in his presence. Her willingness to sacrifice everything for his sake! The images are a bit much but the truth is that this is something very real for us girls.

I was quite the opposite when I was in my teens so much so that I brought my “objective” mindset to my one and only relationship. To illustrate my point, I once (proudly) told my fiancé: “In our relationship, I’m the cerebral and objective one while you are the emotional and subjective one.”

I believed 100% in this. I badly wanted to contradict the popular belief that the One will ‘just come’ and I will fall madly in love with him and I’ll just have to “follow my heart.”

Lies, I tell you.

What is true about catching the One? All you ladies – Independent. Throw your hands up at me.  I’m not referring to the making money and buying my own diamond rings bit of  Destiny’s Child’s independence. I’m talking about the quality of independence in knowing what a girl wants and deserves and working on and for it. 

Why was I like that in my teens already? You can say I was way too busy working on my self-esteem to even think of guys –  let alone welcome a relationship. Now that I look back on those years, I was unconsciously working on myself for him and while I was meeting boys I already started to come up with a formula of  who the One was for me.

I didn’t have 50 boyfriends and I certainly didn’t need to test drive any man to know if we were compatible in a relationship. Neither did I have to party every night to meet men. I never dressed to reveal and shock any man just to catch their attention – if I did, then I probably didn’t know any better.

Here’s my formula. There were only five things that would run through my mind and work on overdrive to analyze a man I would meet for the first time and even more to the guys who were already my friends – granted I was also working on perfecting these qualities myself.

  1. He has a vision of who he wants to be and is trying his best to follow it. He can humble himself to know God and to trust in God’s plans.
  2. He knows how to treat a woman. He knows and shows me what I’m worth. With acquaintances, this means I don’t need to call or text him first and I don’t need to catch his attention any other way other than trying to get to know me as a person.
  3. He teaches me new things and is open to learn new things from me. (this usually comes after being #1 to begin with)
  4. He makes me laugh (not roll my eyes.)
  5. He’s genuine. (just to echo #2)

These qualities are difficult to detect when emotions of wanting that cute guy to like you are in the way. It’s even more difficult to deal with this when he’s desperately trying to be the guy with all those qualities – but is not. This next thing I’m about to say is also rather difficult to do when you’re a teenager and you question your self-esteem day in and day out while in a relationship with a teenage boy.

Here I go.

I made sure, I was not afraid to get disappointed. In short, I never settled. I didn’t mind getting disappointed one guy after the other if I knew there were red alerts pointing to problems, I might encounter in the future if we did end up in a relationship. I was always the forward thinker and in the end was completely disappointed in myself for being way too picky. Eventually I stopped being afraid to get disappointed in myself because I knew I didn’t want to be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship — which was sometimes so hard admit.

For a while, I believed that I was a solid rock and had no romantic feelings at all  even when I was slightly considering a possible relationship with a guy. I made sure I didn’t feel any butterflies and rainbows when a guy was so obviously showing his affection towards me. Obviously, I took every relationship – even the hypothetical ones – very seriously.

All for the good.

When the One arrived, I was on my knees in front of God everyday asking Him WHY? Is it him? Is it really him? In the equilibrium of my mind and emotion, God reigned and said: “Well, yeah, aren’t you happy? I want this and I know that this relationship you will have with him for the rest of your life will not just be good for you but the best for you – the both of you to get to Me.” Awesome.

Thank God, God gave us both mind and heart – He lives in both. But see, the great thing about God is He wants us to know before we love and know while we love. That’s why ladies, please, when you love, love more with your head than your heart.

Yup, ditto to the quote below:

ditto

ditto

Young Love, Old Love

I was amused to read this from my friend’s Facebook wall:

Spent today with le Chinese elders… One lady in particular amused me *she’s old and spoke in Chinese*

“Rich?! Who cares about being rich? As long as you live a life that makes you happy, then you are rich! When my eldest son was born, all we could give him was Carnation milk! A little Carnation, mix it with water! Pity! Sometimes, we didn’t always have food, so what did we do?! Did I fight with my husband?! No! I just looked at him and I was happy. We loved each other. He worked hard, and that’s why I didn’t mind the money. Money does not matter. You think money matters? No. Money does not buy you over 60 years of marriage, LOVE does.”BABAM!!!

Love is abound! When has it not been? It’s all the more evident now that the summer revealed its sweltering days. Oh gosh, the heat is insane in the Philippines. I mean, I nursed a headache with coffee this mid-afternoon because of the heat. (I really don’t know why but coffee has that effect on my migraines.) Love is like this immense heat! It affects everyone.

But there’s a quality of love that we long for. It’s the kind of love that lasts forever. I’ve talked about it before in this post and I can’t help but bring it up again in even more anecdotes about old couples. I know that not a person with a heart can resist videos or stories about couples who have been married for 50-80 years and still show how they are madly in love with each other. The quality of their love is so much like good wine and aged cheese that their constancy has made their love so compelling and has gotten journalists to talk about them. The way they have grown together gives their relationship such a distinct personality that compares to no one and at the same time shares the same three-fold meaning of marriage which was that they had children together, between a man and a woman and they are clearly in it for as long as they live – sometimes even beyond the lifetimes of their spouses.

One such story is in this very charming Humans of New York video of Shirley and Moe. Watching this video brought tears to my eyes when I saw Shirley’s look of distant memory as she was trying to explain to the camera about the final days of her husband. With her raspy yet strong voice, she told the camera about the conversation she had with him when she asked “What would I do without you?”

And he gathered up all the energy he could and said: “Take the love you have for me and spread it around. A love spread around there beauty is found.”

I don’t know about you but that’s the kind of stuff that romance script writers rack their brains out to come up with.

Sometimes, these couples were made so much for each other that the world cannot bear to see them separated. That’s exemplified by this headline that reads Married Couple for 70 Years, Die 15 Hours Apart. Many other elderly couples have died the same way throughout all human history.

Everyone wants this kind of love – precisely because we were made from love! On the eve of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII’s canonization, I would like to quote St. John Paul II’s insightful and understanding perspective on the search for love from his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope:

Young people are always searching for the beauty of love. They want their love to be beautiful. If they give into weakness, following worldly models of behaviour…in the depths of their hearts they still desire a beautiful and pure love.This is as true of boys as it is of girls. Ultimately, they know that only God can give them this love. As a result, they are willing to follow Christ without caring about the sacrifices this may entail.” 

In this quote, I’m particularly moved by how he addresses the youth. I would guess it’s because of our tendency to understand the mystery of life in all its colors – the black, the gray, the white and the mesh of every color. It was his way to tell us that hey, I know what you want, I know it behind your confused eyes. I know it behind the urges of your passionate soul.I know what you want because I wasn’t just in your place. I am still an adolescent well, an old adolescent to be exactly, but I want exactly what you want too. I know where it lies and best of all, He wants us more than we want Him. Please don’t wander off another way because your search will just go awry. I know love in its truest color and it’s more beautiful that your mind can ever imagine…

It’s true. We’re always confused about why things happen. They say you have to go through something life changing to be thrown out of our horses all called pride. They say we have to love ourselves first before we get into any serious relationship. What does that mean exactly? Loving ourselves isn’t the kind the succumbs to comforts and likes 24/7 that this world subscribes to. It starts with the gratefulness of the love we already have.

I realized this after my dad passed away. Although I didn’t understand why it had to happen… I think about him everyday. I sought a father. If not a biological one, I searched for the man who loved me more than I can ever know. I didn’t know it at that time but I met Him everyday when I went to daily mass. There I realized more and more God’s immense love for me. All the good present in my life was made clear amidst the misery of no longer having a father. More than that, I saw God’s intense love for me that through a desperate situation, He asked me to look at and know Him.

Out of all the love stories born out of the heroic elderly couples, the oldest love would be God’s love for us and its constancy is present until this day.

Christian, non-Christian of all colors and races, we all know the power of old love. Even if some of the youth seem to be hopeless, they know the profundity of old love only, they don’t know where to seek it or how – but it’s possible really, I was only sixteen years old when I found that peace, in the oldest love of all.

Our Mysterious Sexuality

Experience bears out the definition of purity as reverence for mystery.

No one is scandalized at seeing people eat in public, or read in buses, or listen to music on the street, but they are shocked at dirty shows, foul books, or undue manifestations of affection in public. It is not because we are prudes, nor because we were educated in Catholic schools nor because we have not yet come under the liberating influence of a Freud, but because these aspects of a mystery so deep, so personal, so incommunicable, that we do not want to see it vulgarized or made common.

You heard it from our dear Bishop Fulton Sheen, it’s clear as day. This wondrous virtue of purity (that no one seems to care about anymore) is that one thing that reveres mystery. Our sexuality which is so personal and intimate when revealed to the world as if it were for show is a cause for scandal because we know from the depths of our souls that we don’t want this beautiful mystery to be bastardized!

Because our sexuality is  so inexplicably mysterious every person can be awe-stunned by the mystery revealed. It’s no wonder that our sexuality is the easiest marketing tool.

What can we do about it?

Allow me to quote my fiance’s Facebook post realization which he composed after we watched Jason and Crystalina Evert speak to us in the Philippines last 7 September 2013 (which incidentally is exactly a year and a day away from our upcoming wedding on 8 September 2014):

What is a great deception for our sexuality?

Our sexual desire and passion is a call to action, a call to real love, a call to service and self-giving, but instead because of our weakness and Satan’s cunning deceptions, it leads us back to ourselves, only to find it empty, dry, and lifeless. Then it becomes a downward spiral as men and women continue to search for real love only to get imitations and fakes.

What we should do is not to repress this sexual desire…this “call to action”, but to channel it to the right direction, to spur us on to real love, service, self-giving, and life. It is only then that we can truly find real and lasting joy, pleasure, and happiness through our sexuality.

Jason Evert: Being passive is wrong, for a man is an initiator and the one to take action, while a woman does not become passive as well but receive actively as man gives.

This simple quote from Jason Evert is echoed by Bishop Fulton Sheen when he commented ironically about the youth, about man and woman:

In youth, this awesomeness before the mystery (of sex) manifests itself in a woman’s timidity, which makes her shrink from precocious or too ready to surrender of her secret. In a man, the mystery is revealed in chivalry to women, not because he believes that woman is physically weaker but because of the awe he feels in the presence of mystery.

Let’s zero-in on man and woman respectively:

Men are meant to be chivalrous to women to respect to the mystery of sexuality. On behalf of the women all over the world, I hear you, bro! We’re begging you to have a lot of respect for us women. Feminism is asking for respect in the form of this “equality.” When there is chivalry, there is respect for the differences of men and women.

Women are asked to be “timid from the precocious” or to be timid in surrendering her secret. To clarify, using the word “timid” is not to emphasize the woman’s lack of power.

On the contrary, women HOLD that secret which asks men for chivalry from. Women need to safeguard this secret with all of their being! This incredible secret is the intermingling of love and life. There are no synonyms to this secret. A thick book series couldn’t possibly be enough to describe and study this secret. It’s so completely beyond us, mere human beings, that  the explanation of the mystery is in the bearing of new life in the mother’s womb. It’s the actuality of bringing to this world a new and unique human being.

Women are meant to value the grand power that they have in their entire makeup. Women are meant to thrive in what makes their secret a part of them. Women are meant to hold onto their secret and never reveal it to anyone, to any man, until she reveals it to just one man in the name of God.

It's better when we work together

It’s better when we work together

with the inspiring Everts

with the inspiring Everts

Ingredients for Eternal Love

When I scroll down my news feed I notice people post about the elderly and their amazing stories about well, so many topics, really. It ranges from their struggles against loss of their physical strength or defying their strength and even to their reactions to the flux of technology (I’ll never forget that one about that elderly couple trying Skype out!)

One topic that the news never fails to catch are the elderly couples’ everlasting love stories. I don’t ever want to stop them from posting those kinds of stories.

I recently got engaged (yay!). I am now part of the troop of girls who look through other peoples’ wedding albums to track the latest wedding themes trends, colors and gimmicks. These are all so useful and helpful because we’ll only get married once – so every detail has to be taken cared of well. But I thoroughly believe and want my marriage to be more beautiful than my wedding.

So this life event has made me reflect deeply on what the ingredients are to make love… last. I started to ask the following questions: why is the love of elderly couples so charming? What is it about their love stories that make us laugh and cry? Shouldn’t we be shocked by now that these kinds of stories still exist especially since we live in a time when the rate of divorce and silent separations between couples is increasing?

You know what I really wish for, a blog, a magazine or a book about the anatomy and difficulty of engaged life – like a what to talk about while engaged or the top five things to prepare for for marriage. Things like that.

But I can  understand why it doesn’t exist. Simply, it’s because couples all over world are already living as if they were married. They say it’s to see the compatibility  – to have a “trial run.” See that’s when I think – what are we, CARS? We need to be test ran?

But we aren’t made that way.

Test runs are only for things that are meant to break, fall apart and things meant to be replaced. That’s the basic reason why trials for couples who are thinking of getting married do NOT make any sense! It just makes me so sad that people nowadays think of their love as that – something that needs to be “tried and tested” until they can be sure.

Because there have been a good amount of stories being shared out there (including the ones we hear from our friends) about couples who have been together for 50 years and beyond, here’s my attempt to come up with a list of ingredients (qualities) to maybe work for during the engaged period to that everlasting love:

INGREDIENTS FOR ETERNAL LOVE

INGREDIENT #1: I believe that’s the first quality an old love has is that once they’ve chosen – they never look back. They seem that they internally or externally acknowledge and decide that they will continuously renew that commitment to never look back in the smallest ways. Some examples include thinking “I respect him/her, I do this for him/her…” and by texting a simple “Thank you for doing ____ for me, you really are so sweet.” to that loved one when  he/she showed an act of service to a family member.

There are a whole lot more that I can enumerate. Our lives are pretty much made up of these tiny things just as how individual words compose a paragraph.

To back this up, I quote one of my favorite soon-to-be saint Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

I think that that leaves us to INGREDIENT #2: CREATIVITY!

We are so blessed to be human. To be able to read these words and absorb it, imagine and remember relatives who have these qualities then feel a bit warmer inside then, you’ve GOT to be human. (Hello there!)

I just think creativity in a relationship – in love is so important because living with another person, anyone is bound to know the other person inside-out. Once that happens, it’s so easy to fall into the temptation of considering life at home as a draggy routine. I’m pretty sure it becomes boring if it’s thought of that way so putting a bit of creativity in how to express say a request. I love it when parents borrow the lingo of their kids and they use it in the most awkward way! It’s such a great way for couples to live pleasantly together.

I feel particularly blessed to be a Filipina. It’s in our culture to be very good at adding that pinch of humor at any given situation.

During the incredibly bad storm (Habagat Maring) that we experienced a couple of weeks ago, many streets in our congested cities were flooded up to the knee and up! My family and I were lucky enough to be dry so I tried to look for ways to help while I had access to wifi. I stumbled upon a site that showed photos of people who used this an opportunity to cheer up those who might be depressed by the situation. Just for fun here’s a link of the funny memes Filipinos came up with to cope with the Habagat Maring Floods.

In a relationship, this kind of quality of putting humor is not without a lot of prudence too. It’s important to know know if it’s proper to be humorous or if it will offend anyone in the said situation.

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Other than being creative in being humorous, there are a million ways to be creative in showing your love. I thoroughly believe this ranks higher than physical affection.

To give an idea of what I’m talking about, I was particularly touched by this 96 year old man, Fred Stobaugh’s story. A month after his wife passed away, he wrote a song about her and their time spent together for an online contest. Although his entry didn’t technically qualify to be part of the contest, the studio decided to produce the song for him. It came out beautifully. For the full story, check out this video.

Anyway, when I was watching this video I couldn’t help but understand the kind of person he is.  He is a mighty simple and sincere man. When the studio called him up to tell him that they would be producing the song he wrote for him, he immediately sounded concerned saying: “How can that be… I don’t think I can afford that, I have no money.” He is also the kind of man who seems to only hold onto the good memories which I think is one of the main reasons why he and his wife were privileged to live until ninety years old. The last thing he said in the video was marked with an expression of bittersweet shock: “It was a wonderful 75 years… kinda unreal. But it was real. It was real.” You could see by the way he was staring that he was looking at the eyes behind his eyes – and he watched the memories there and he felt helpless and sadness because he knew he couldn’t have more of them with her anymore…

A wonderful 75 years of marriage was surely not without a lot of pain.

Love is not without pain! It’s when going deep into the truth of everyday life, when dealing with the significant other in both petty and big things to knowing the truth of what it means to love unconditionally that pain is never excluded. In fact, the joys become a lot sweeter because of the deep pain that situations initially cause that are gotten through together.

INGREDIENT #3: It’s the MUTUAL AND UNTIRING SELF-SACRIFICE that each person in the couple readily gives that sustains the relationship until the end.

I just have three to share about this.

To know what matters… here is an anecdote a good friend of mine shared on Facebook just a couple of days ago:

Spent today with Chinese elders… One lady in particular amused me: *she’s old and spoke in Chinese*

Rich?! Who cares about being rich? As long as you live a life that makes you happy, then you are rich! When my eldest son was born, all we could give him was Carnation milk! A little Carnation, mix it with water! Pity! Sometimes, we didn’t always have food, so what did we do?! Did I fight with my husband?! No! I just looked at him and I was happy. We loved each other. He worked hard, and that’s why I didn’t mind the money. Money does not matter. You think money matters? No. Money does not buy you over 60 years of marriage, LOVE does.

I just love how in this story the lady was just so content. She is happy despite their sometimes helpless situations. What I love about her is that she just supported her husband and believed in the quality that he possesses which is his being a hard worker. Then she closed the story with a bam: 60 years of marriage is not because of money but because of love.

Here is another story:

Bill Forward takes care of his wife Glad everyday as she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Another studio made a short film about this couple who continually live their lives together despite his wife’s disease. In the video, Bill describes his and their love. (This still brings me to tears:)

I am determined to care for her every need… every need. You see God loves us so unconditionally and I understand that God has put His love in my heart and because I realized how much God has loved me, that too, is how I can love my lovely wife.

She has done so much for me over all of these years. Now she can’t but I can and I can return her love – it’s a love that – well, to me I can do everything for her.

Up-movie-picnic_6101

just like a carl and ellie

This man is so humble and so grateful that he does not have it in him to believe at all that love could possibly come from him. The way he put his explanation together “I believe God has put His love in me – that is the way I love my wife…” WORD. SERIOUSLY. It makes you think, where does my love come from?

These are the essential ingredients I’ve synthesized from the stories I have read and the advise that I’ve gathered.

One thing that really amazes me is the fact that young people want a love like this so much! The very fact that they post about it on Facebook and place a little caption before it just like these:  How heartwarming or THIS still exists or HOPE 🙂 – pretty much means that they want this kind of love and are even a bit shocked and desensitized from seeing and hearing about ridiculous relationships that end in ridiculous ways!

As I said in the beginning of this post, we aren’t made to be “tried and tested” to get married. We don’t need to be in a relationship that mimics a marriage where the couple engages in premarital sex and lives together under the same roof when both of them think there is still that probability to split up. It’s either we were made to be married to stick it out for love or not – where there’s the beautiful vocation to be celibate.

Now here’s my BASE FOR AN ETERNAL LOVE:

BE WHAT YOU WANT YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO BE: I think that there is a need to live  life by the virtues we want our future relationship to have. In short, if  we want our future relationship to be pure – BE pure, to be compassionate – BE compassionate, to be gracious and understanding – BE gracious and understanding. A relationship can’t have those if the people who are in the relationship don’t even show a glimpse of those virtues in how they are!

ASSESS YOURSELF: We also have to be the kind of people we want our future spouses to be proud of or to want  take care of. We have to start asking ourselves the questions: Will this attitude repel the person I will live with for the rest of my life? Will this habit affect that relationship? Is this already affecting my relationships at work and in my family?

KNOW WHAT LOVE IS AND LIVE IT: Love is an intelligent willingness to surrender self-will, to make sacrifices, to place fidelity, charity and duty above feelings, in behalf of a person whom one has found to be a good companion, a sturdy character and a believer in the same purposes of life and marriage as oneself.

Of  course, it’s so much easier said than done.

Likewise it’s way better to see it to believe it.

That’s why another reason why we, Filipinos, are so blessed is because a wonderful couple who are world renowned chastity speakers: Jason and Crystalina Evert will be coming here in just a few days to give a series of talks on chastity, relationships, real love etc. They will have different talks for different groups of people ranging from high school and college students, educators and parents and thankfully enough even to young professionals.

When Jason Evert came a few years back, I had the privilege to be an usher in their college students event but because I was running around I couldn’t quite absorb the stories he was sharing so well but when I did have the chance I remember seriously welling up in tears.

What is so unique about them is because they walk the talk. They have an incredible testimony about real love and as I said, you better see it to believe it!

Check out their wonderful website on this link to get to know their advocacy more.

For Young Professionals

For Young Professionals

Event Poster

Event Poster

Since they’re coming really soon, I highly suggest EVERYONE to attend at least one of these events who knows what you might find out about yourself there.

Keep love real, folks,

Quote: Eternal Love

I couldn’t help but re-post this beautiful quote.

“I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us [heaven]. . . .
I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.”
– St. John Chrysostom, on what a young husband should say to his bride

MY GOSH. How much more romantic can you get??? There’s so much to be said about this quote. First of all, let’s talk about who this came from.

St. John Chrysostom was known as a preacher, liturgist and theologian. He is one of the most important Church Fathers and was the Archbishop of Constantinople – the city before the 1453 Ottoman conquest.

During his time, there was a lot of turmoil just about the basic doctrine and hierarchy in the Church not to mention a lot of wars broke out for geographical conquest. You could just imagine how preoccupied his mind was!

So, how could this holy man talk about the love between husband and wife and express it so vividly that you could feel the sincerity and TRUTH run thru your skin? This guy’s encompassing love ran through the divine and he has gotten the essence of love between man and wife down better than any love song written in this century.

This just solidifies my belief that for any man to truly love a woman is to wholeheartedly and dedicated to God first. When I think of a guy and a girl who both decide to be a couple and then eventually decide to spend their lives together, there’s a lot of confetti, an exchange of rings, family and other  lovelies floating in a space occupied by the thought of endlessness – the only Person that embodies endlessness is GOD. Sure, we’ve all heard the saying: “Change is the only constant thing on earth.” Yes, on earth and in life, but what happens after life? Doesn’t it go back to a Constant (yes, with a capital C)? It’s absolutely mind-boggling – back to a love that is eternal.

What about content?

Well, a girl melts to be in the arms of the man she loves. “I prefer you to my life itself.” Seriously? Nowadays it’s just so hard to believe this because you become surrounded by plastic-faced people, men and women alike, who just love themselves more than anyone period. St. John Chrysostom is right to put this in the context of marriage because by the man being able to say this to his wife is to proclaim that through thick and thin and through intense emotions and hardships – he will love you selflessly and never leave you.

Aha and then he talks about his dreams. In this day and age, people obviously measure success from (the amount) of power, money, fame and luxury. Things that can be counted. But I do not believe happiness can be counted… true happiness is a state of being. To me, it’s when you habitually choose to choose the things that step out of your comfort zone to be able to love freely. When you love in its truest sense (selflessly) you’re happy all the time!

Then the last line: “I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.” – the meeting of the minds and hearts It seems to be this young husband only desires to have the same view as his wife in all things – about love, about life and about one another. They can definitely have different opinions about menial things but they can definitely be compromised but if it’s related to his ultimate dream of leading their love to heaven then he only wishes that they both have the same view in mind.

I just love his motion and emotion in this painting where he was outwardly negotiating with Empress Eudoxia.

I just love his motion and emotion in this painting where he was outwardly negotiating with Empress Eudoxia. (by Jean-Paul Laurens)

Perfect example of his vigor in the plight for the Truth. Empress Eudoxia at that time believed that St. John Chrysostom was directing his preaching of extravagant feminine dress to her and wanted him imprisoned. But the night of his arrest, there was an earthquake and she took it as a sign of God’s anger. If she already believed that what she was doing was unjust then she really shouldn’t have arrested him to begin with!

This is definitely one amazing saint I’ll definitely be reading more about.