Tag Archives: relationship

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.

Dating Tips from the Pros

I just came from a seminar earlier and wondered how appropriate my line of work was and how perfect it was to be used in practical things such as dating!

Yes, you read it right: dating.

Just recently, I was invited by two gentlemen for dinner. Both single and eligible bachelors.

Being unattached and with no real ‘responsibilities’, the invitations were a no-brainer for me. However, as my week progressed, both of them cancelled for one very understandable reason: work.

I just can’t help but laugh at the irony.

The irony here is that I have dated and have had so many relationships in the past that it would only be reasonable that I have men figured out by now and the dating scene as well. Boy, was I wrong!

From the Christian perspective, it just dawned on me that I am a complete noob when it comes to dating! How funny is that!

In the seminar, the person I was seated next to was a husband and father of two. While on the way home, I had the pleasure of talking to a single, 27 y/o male friend. For fun, I intereviewed them on the topic of dating.

(Take note: I get both the experience and wisdom of a Christian husband and father while at the same time, the input of a single guy on his own road to finding real love.)

This is the best interview I’ve ever had in my journalism career 😉

Miss Tolentino: What makes you want to date a woman?

Happily Married Guy: When you do ‘prospecting’ (a term in insurance we financial nuts use), I really need to know her background. When I first started dating my wife, I really had to meet her family. I wanted to see for myself what kind of a daughter and sister she was. If there was trouble at home, etc. I needed to know that. Her family life was important to me.

Miss Tolentino: How do you know if the guy is interested in you in the long term?

Happily Married Guy: You will know if the person is sincere when his intentions are clean. He wants to get to know you first. Which is why I needed to find out who she was at home. I needed to meet her folks. Also, the man should never resort to anything physical because that will mess things up. The same goes with the ladies.

Miss Tolentino: What if a guy who invited and planned your date cancelled it (for whatever reason)? Should I take him seriously next time?

Happily Single Guy: Give him the benefit of the doubt. He may be going through something personal. It’s highly unlikely that a man who invited the woman will cancel. The girl, yes. But the guy? I don’t think so. There must be a very good reason why. Don’t jump to any conclusions just yet.

Miss Tolentino: How do you handle break-ups?

Happily Single Guy: It’s easy to just call your friends, go to a club, have drinks and hit on girls. This time in my life it was going to be different. My ex-girlfriend told me that she never felt we were growing as a couple. So I deliberately attended self-development programs and activities. I attended toast masters, bible study, volunteered, etc. I wanted to be productive. I wanted to prove to her (and myself) that I was serious about ‘growing’. (But ofcourse, later did I know that her dumping me was not my fault at all. She was seeing other guys on the side.)

Miss Tolentino: That must have been a blow.

Happily Single Guy: I was supposed to propose to her on year 3 of our 4 year relationship. I prayed to God that if nothing goes wrong, I would propose. But it happened. I guess it was a blessing that it happened. Otherwise I would have to live with that kind of baggage. She cheated on me twice. You are who you are. The problem was never with me all along, although that’s what she made me feel most of the time.

Miss Tolentino: What is going on with her now?

Happily Single Guy: She’s still the same person, unfortunately. “You are who you are”. When we get the chance to talk, I don’t ask about personal things (who she’s seeing, etc.). It’s none of my business, the same thing she has no business in mine.

Miss Tolentino: How are you now?

Happily Single Guy: I have forgiven her. I don’t know why forgiveness was so easy, but it was.

Miss Tolentino: Do you like anyone at the moment?

Happily Single Guy: As a matter of fact, I do. But I am carefully taking my time on this one. I’ve asked her the hard questions (her faith, etc.) and so far, she’s doing okay in that area. However, she’s a bit of a fan girl. She has so many friends on social networks, its crazy. She flirts and messages celebrities through her twitter account. But I’m taking it in stride. It could be a phase, I don’t know. Which is why
I haven’t asked her out yet. I’m still enjoying our friendship. If the time comes that I ask anybody out, could be her or not, that will be the defining moment.

Miss Tolentino: What qualities are you looking for in a woman?

Happily Single Guy: She has to be her own person. Her own woman. She is complete and happy on her own. Getting a good-looking and financially secure partner is just a bonus. The only thing she will be looking for in a potential partner is loyalty, that’s it.

The Complications of Cheating

A friend of mine divulged an affair to me and I told her point blank to let the person go. I told her your partner deserves better treatment. If you have a little bit of self respect left, let them go and let them find happiness with another person who can make their happiness whole. Obviously, you don’t love the person if you can do the things you did.

I have always believed that to make any relationship work, trust is essential, if not, the ONLY factor to successful relationships.

With all my past relationships, I can truly say that I have not cheated on any of my boyfriends. Ever. I can look them straight in the eye and tell them that I was faithful while we were still together and I expect the same kind of loyalty.

However, if I discover and prove that I can no longer trust this person, then its time to move on. I will not waste my time. That is how I approach people and my relationships as a whole, always no nonsense.

I am a woman with very precious time and I have no plans of wasting it on senseless drama. I simply will not put up with it.

I don’t cheat, period. No matter what excuse or work around’s most people say about it: cheating is unacceptable.

Cheating are mind games. Do you want to be in a relationship where mind games weigh heavy on both your shoulders?

If a person is in a co-dependent relationship, he or she will accept anything the partner does regardless if it is right or wrong (even putting up with affairs, etc.) because they don’t think they will find any other person to love/adore/shower with affection as the person they are with. They are okay with settling with what they have. And this is where psychological manipulation comes knocking.

Either the cheater or the cheated on uses psychological manipulation (GUILT) to use against the person they are supposedly ‘in-love’ with.

Both parties will sooner or later get a corrupted idea of love: that love is dependency, abuse, and that love is a tool used to manipulate to get what one wants from the other person. The concept of love gets tainted with lies, mistrust, guilt, etc. This is not what love is.

Love, guilt and manipulation can’t live in the same house.

In my simple, pragmatic mind: Love is good, clean and pure. Why tarnish it? Why settle for such relationships? Don’t you think you deserve better treatment? Don’t you think you deserve the best kind of love than what your partner is offering and the best kind of love that you can give, as well?

I will never understand people who cheat or why some put up with it.

I am a simple person with a practical approach to things: Why make your life complicated?

We are in this world to live the best kind of life.

To genuinely love and be loved in return.

Preparing an 8 Year Old for Life

How do you explain to an 8 year old…

That ‘friends’ who talk down, embarrass and alienate you are really not your friends

That whatever people think of you is their business, not yours

That accepting and loving who you truly are is the beginning of wisdom

That attitude is extremely contagious. So think hard if yours is worth catching.

That beauty really is and will only be skin deep

That being content will surprisingly make you happier and more giving

That being good and kind will not always be returned (but when you look back, it will all be worth it)

That by blessing people, you unknowingly bless yourself as well

That focusing on becoming a good daughter, sister and friend is a rewarding, lifetime commitment

That reckless words are dangerous and can destroy a life

That violence, in whatever form, is unacceptable

That acting and showing respect, regardless of the recipient or situation, is a reflection of your upbringing, education and character

That the kind of friends you keep define who you are

That there will always be mean girls and boys in this life. Familiarize yourself with such qualities and steer clear.

That there will always be better and lesser persons than yourself. Embrace it.

That your background and life experiences should never define you

That humbleness and the ability to listen are great strengths

That prayer life is necessary

That God loves you unconditionally regardless of what you’ve done

That it’s never too late to start all over again

This post is dedicated to all girls in every color, shape, size and age.

May you find strength, peace and hope in this journey we call Life…

Always,

-P