Tag Archives: Christian

Playing House

Last night, I had dinner with a friend. We touched on a variety of topics, one of which was living -in and marriage.

Cohabitation/live-in is similar to playing house but without the integrity of marriage. Both parties are given the freedom to leave whenever they want since neither are bound by the responsibility and commitment of marriage.

He mentioned that he would want to live-in with the woman first before marrying her. From this set-up, he says that he would get an idea of who she was at home, her habits, compatibility in all areas of their personalities, tastes, likes, etc.

All valid points.

But notice that his argument focuses on the “Me” part. How can you explain to someone that relationships most especially marriage is never about the “me”, it’s always about the other person?

He mentions that there are more divorces in Christian marriages. He even smirked a bit when I mentioned that I know of a couple who shared their first kiss on the altar. He actually thought it was hilarious!

During the discussion, I could not find the right words to explain that marriage and love is a decision. It is never about trial and error, as what cohabitation espouses. You own that decision and never back out from it. Marriage was designed by the Lord to protect both parties. Men and women have specific roles in marriage which the cohabitation set-up will never define. Cohabitation is always the easiest, more convenient and practical way; marriage requires you to put in the hard work. And if both people are psychologically mature for marriage, they would focus less on self-gratification but more on serving their partners.

Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect. Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage.”

And here’s the BOMB: “One thing men and women do agree on, however, is that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.” (Source: New York Times)

Ouch.

But whether we like it or not, cohabitation is here to stay.

The author finally adds: “I am not for or against living together, but I am for young adults knowing that, far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness, moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake — or of spending too much time on a mistake. A mentor of mine used to say, “The best time to work on someone’s marriage is before he or she has one,” and in our era, that may mean before cohabitation.

After my dinner with this friend, I called up one of my girl friends and mentioned my questions, she simply said: “As human beings, we want to feel loved and SECURE in our relationships. The live in set-up can never give the woman (and man) that”.

She adds: “For people who think otherwise are fooling themselves. It is a defense mechanism and their ego talking. We all want stability and security. If your live in situation doesn’t work, and then you jump to the next relationship, it will be a never ending cycle, till your wasted away and your best years given to a variety of people who never imagined you worthy to be called their spouse”.

Love and security: Such simple words that hold so much gravity in a human being’s psyche. Marriage was designed to be a testament of that love and security.

If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently.
You shield it and protect it.
You never abuse it.
You don’t expose it to the elements.
You don’t make it common or ordinary.
If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new.
It becomes special because you have made it so,
and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.

Drowning out the noise

I made a blunder over Facebook wherein I commented on a friend’s status on marriage and she privately told me that she was no longer married. Right then and there, I wanted the earth to swallow me whole out of embarrassment.

Marriage scares the sh** out of me. Well, to put it more subtly, I am TERROR-STRICKEN with the concept.

But despite the fear, I would like to be married to one person, and start a family of my own as well one day. However the statistics of divorce, annulment and separation are getting so high even here in the Philippines, I am pained to think that marriage has no more meaning anymore.

I value marriage so much that I am careful who I see or date.

It is critical that me and my (future) spouse see eye to eye on a lot of things that involve parenting, roles between husband and wife, financial matters, lifestyle and yes, most importantly, our spiritual lives.

They say, if you put the Lord in the middle of your relationship, everything will work out on its own. I would like to believe that.

I would like to think that my (future) marriage would be so strong that it will weather out affairs, financial hurdles, the challenges of being a parent, death in the family and yes, even boredom from one another if we put the Lord in the center of it all.

I read somewhere that so many people wish and hope for the right husband or wife to marry, but they seldom pray to BE the right spouse to their partner. It’s always what we want, what we can get in return and never actually caring/serving the person you chose to marry.

I am guilty of this. I seldom look at myself and what I need to work on: my stubbornness, my headstrong personality, my bossy attitude. I don’t look at myself because I am too busy looking for someone who can cater to what I want in partner.

Obviously, I am not ready for marriage and needless to say, I have so many things to work on.

So when does one know when one is ready for marriage, really?

I’ve had my share of temptation and honestly it has not been easy for me. With invitations here and there, I am constantly tempted to forgo the marriage thing and throw caution to the wind.

But every fiber of me says “Wait. Stand firm, Paula”.

I am slowly realizing the difficult part of Love, the waiting.

There is this verse in the Bible which has been used to encapsulate what Love really means. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked,does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Cor 13:4-7

Do I show the qualities of love? Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I endure? Do I bear all things? Do I act arrogantly or unbecomingly? Am I easily angered? Do I constantly seek out my own?

I want to drown out the noise and focus on what is the substance of a fruitful and rewarding relationship and it will have to, painfully, start with one’s self.

Miss Tolentino still has so much pruning to do.

The Other Face of Marital Rape

I just read over the news that Filipina actress Sunshine Cruz pressed charges against husband Cesar Montano for abuse, one of which is marital rape. I’ve also discovered that both are Christians.

Marital rape in a Christian home? I am beyond shocked.

Marital rape can happen in a variety of ways, some not even through physical force but through the twisted use of religion.

I’m sure you know where I am going at here.

You know what sickens me most? Using religion as a form of psychological control. There are so many stories of false teachers (cults, etc.), even lay people, who deliberately twist scripture to gain an advantage in whatever circumstance they have. They take scripture out of context to prey on trusting victims and con them off their money, sense of dignity, self-respect, you name it.

In the Book of Ephesians, there is this line that states “Wives submit to your husbands” (verse 22).

For the longest time, this line has bothered me. Scripture was supposed to protect both parties and not only cater to the male demographic. Some misinformed males jump right in on that verse and think that they can get away with anything at home.

For everybody’s information, and thanks to fellow blogger Dan Lacich, marriage is not so scary given that both man and woman are informed of the complete verse. Read and digest carefully, folks:

Wives and Husbands

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesian 5:21-33)

So, wives (and wives-to-be), let me tell you this: The man is to care and love your body as he is supposed to care and love his. You are to be “without stain, wrinkle, blemish, but holy and blameless”. There are no exceptions.

Once, I heard a Christian guy mention something as a joke: “Woman, submit!” (similar to that of a trainer who teaches his dog to sit, stay or play dead). Also, another married friend mentioned to me that she doesn’t say no to her husband because it’s “not allowed”. So she gives in even if she doesn’t feel like doing it.

Being misinformed or not really knowing what scripture says can be dangerous. The mere thought of it makes me want to throw up.

The thing with marriage is that everything is a gamble. You will never know what your potential spouse’s character is like unless both of you live under one roof.

So what is the gauge? Are there any red flags single women should be looking at to protect themselves?

Personally, temperament has been one for me. Find out how he gets angry. Ask yourself, is he domineering? Controlling? Test him. Push him once in a while and get a reaction from him. If you have to date him for years, do so! It’s best to be informed and knowledgeable of what you’re getting into than regret everything in the end.

Besides, don’t you think your life and future is worth the careful “choosing”?

Other than that tip, I’m all ears.

Recommended reads:
He uses RELIGION on you
Provocative Christian Verses: Wives Submit!
Marital Rape, a controversial issue

A Single Woman’s Perspective

 

Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:4

For single Christian men who are reading this, let me give you the inside dope:

I ain’t these things, homie.

So, feel free to move on.

My personality and temperament is not wired like this.

I get angry when provoked. I am playful and giddy when happy. I am honest to a fault. And from time to time, I get sad as well. In other words, I am all woman.

I don’t apologize for these things. With God’s grace, I am perfectly okay with who I am today.

I know I will ruffle a few feathers here (and I know my Christian friends will forgive me nonetheless for this boldness), but I honestly don’t have any plans of becoming a Pastor’s wife.

I want to be the wife of a decent human being who is secure in his spiritual walk with the Lord. Men who are legalistic robots are not for me.

With God in the center of our relationship, I would want my future husband to focus on our marriage and our family. That’s it. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

The reason I am writing this is because in as much as women want everything perfect: A Godly husband, family, stable finances, etc. we all have to live with non-believers. And to box oneself in a particular group will hinder growth.

You want to improve on your spiritual walk? Go out and meet new people!

I noticed that I pray harder and rely more on the Lord when I am in the midst of non-Christians.

If the Lord does give me a good, stable and secure man, then thanks a lot! I don’t deserve it but huge, huge thanks!

In the meantime, I will enjoy God’s greatest gift to me: My Vibrant Single Life 😉

The Christian Lifestyle: Learning to Strike a Balance

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18)

In other words my Christian friends learn to strike a balance.

Though our minds and hearts are more aware of the morality issues of this generation, let’s not forget that we live in the same world as those who are not believers. How are we to attract people to the Cross if we are so self-righteous in our walk that we neglect natural human connections?

I have met numerous people whose walk have been ‘blameless’ and with this, I have only admiration for them. However, one’s walk is different from another’s. One’s circumstances are also different from another’s. We cannot impose our beliefs. We can only show the kind of lifestyle we choose to lead.

The Christian lifestyle is more often than not, caught than taught. However, as human beings, we are extremely flawed.

It is not difficult to live a Christian life, it is IMPOSSIBLE.  So, again, why ruin yourself?

Personally, I have learned and unless a person asks me ‘What is your peace all about? What is your comfort all about? Where do you get your love? Where do you get your talents?’ that is the only opportune time for me to say (without blinking), Jesus Christ.