Wedding is not just a litany of sweet I-DO’s. It is but the starting line to many changes that come with the bittersweet realities of married life. Not only you wake up with a stranger basking on your bed, but you also see yourself in a kaleidoscope of adjustments – from the way you manage your time, activities, daily routines and lifestyle – up to the way you make decisions. And wait, there’s more than just that!
Two of my friends, Erle Stanley Refuerzo and Frances Mae Marasigan (a musician-and-banker duo), share a brief narrative of how they are putting up in terms of these changes and the serious responsibilities that come along with the commitment they accepted more than a year ago.
Before they became a couple, Eboy and Franz started out as best friends. They met through the youth organization in the church where they were both youth leaders. Having totally different personalities, no one ever knew that they would end up as lifetime partners.
Yet their story tells us that relationship is not about compatibility, but rather how you complement one another in terms of your differences. After all, God unites two different souls together in order to make a wonderful story of love.
When did you know that he/she was the right person and that you were ready to get married?
“I think no one is really ready for marriage. But if you find that person, you would instantly know na ito na ‘yun. This is the person that I cannot live without. Kung di mo na ma-imagine yung buhay mo without her, yun na yun,” Eboy telling an account of his personal feelings about Franz.
As for Franz, the hope of every couple is for their relationship to prosper and grow deeper: “Nung naging kami, tinanong ko sya na kung may feelings talaga tayo s isa’t isa eh di panindigan natin. Kasi kung wala eh di putulin na natin. It’s as simple as are you in or out?”
While many young people today marry at a very young age, both Eboy and Franz claimed to be at their “ideal age” when they got married. Their years of friendship also paved the way for them to know each other deeper, which is the foundation of their relationship beyond just being in-love.
How has marriage changed their lives as an individual?
“I think the biggest deal is the decision-making. Kasi lahat ng gagawin mo kelangan may consensus including simple things as pagbili ng mga bagay-bagay,” Franz said. For Eboy, he is happy that he doesn’t have to look for a companion anymore since Franz has become his constant buddy, which for him is “one of the perks of having a wife who is also your best friend.”
Both of them admitted though that being married has impacts in their social life: “Nababawasan na din yung social life mo. You have to work on weekdays, tapos pag weekend ang daming household chores. Isa ‘yan sa mga ili-let go mo. You cannot keep your social life so much when you’re already married kasi you have to devote your time with your spouse. You’d rather spend your time with each other kasi ‘pag lalabas ka, iisipin mo yung asawa mo sa bahay. So ‘di na pwedeng laging wala sa bahay.”
In spite of this, this young couple sees to it that they spend time with their friends. It also helps that they have common circle of friends where they can be together.
How do they adjust with their differences, and complement each other in terms of their strengths and weaknesses?
Eboy claims to be the more encouraging one in the relationship: “I know that eventually I can encourage her into something that will benefit her. Example dahil active akong tao, I’m trying to push her to become active.” On the other hand, Franz is the one who always anticipates the worst in order to prepare each other for a certain situation.
In terms of sharing of household chores, Eboy takes care of cooking while Franz does the cleaning. This shows how important for couples to share responsibility based on their skills. It doesn’t really matter who keeps the kitchen and does the laundry, it doesn’t make one a lower form of individual anyway.
(This doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to eating though, as women always make their husband consume all the leftovers. Eboy relates this to his personal experience :P)
In dealing with misunderstandings?
Eboy: “Ako sobrang haba ng pasensya. As much as possible, I try to say what I want to say in a very nice way, na di nakakasakit. Kasi ang pinakamahirap is to say no.” Franz is the more emotional one in the relationship: “There’s always a spark of emotion. Pero iisipin mo na lang that you have to go for what will benefit the two of you.”
Though Eboy admitted that he is always the first one to give in and initiate reconciliation, both of them try to adjust depending on the situation and reaction of each other: “There is always a rush of emotion. Depende kung kaninong emotion yung mati-trigger.”
As it is with any relationship, pride doesn’t really take couples anywhere. There must be no rule in forgiveness as to who should say “sorry” first. One just needs to find the perfect pitch (and timing) to spill it out and let the storm calm down.
Any rules or considerations in terms of lifestyle and spending?
“We pay our own bills. But it’s a give-and-take. We share resources depending on who has the money. Walang taga hawak. It’s our number one rule: never argue about money.”
“Kung meron eh ‘di meron. Kung wala, wala. We never hide kung anong meron kami, it’s our way of trusting each other. Kapag may extra, we go shopping or out of town.”
Sharing of financial resources is also like sharing of responsibility between couples. Having more financial capacity than your partner doesn’t necessarily translate to having more “say” or influence on decisions especially when it comes to major purchases. As it is with sharing of household chores, managing of financial resources should also be a mutual responsibility of couples.
What have they learned in marriage so far? Their hopes and aspirations as a young couple?
Both of them emphasized the importance of putting God in the center of their relationship, and considering marriage as a reflection and extension of their ministry:
“It takes faith in God to succeed in relationship. Marriage is not about yourself anymore. Your relationship with your spouse is a reflection of your relationship with God. Whatever you do with him, ginagawa mo na din sa Lord. ‘Yun yung lagi mong iisipin kung ano man yung gagawin mo.”
They also want their future children to learn about God from them.
“It’s always good to know that there is somebody who’s praying and standing in faith with you in your decisions. Somebody who is rejoicing with you in your little triumphs, and grieving with you in your failures.”
Like many young couples, Franz and Eboy share the same hope to keep on growing. But it doesn’t mean pushing each other to grow in the way you want but to let your partner grow on the way he/she wants for himself/herself. Well, you wouldn’t want to see your partner being left behind while you are almost reaching the finish line.
Marriage is not the end of the trail but the start of fresh beginnings. The real deal starts when you traverse the long and winding road together even if the direction may seem uncertain. The journey may not be as smooth-sailing as you may expect it to be. But having each other as companion and with God as your guide, you will surely enjoy the walk no matter what.