Thursday, February 27, 2014

One in Love: What it means to be married

Last Feb 14-15, 2014 I attended this marriage retreat with my significant other, in hopes of understanding better what we are signing up for as a couple. It was held at Balay Indang, just a few km from Tagaytay. It was such a relaxing place filled with lots of open area + plants + chairs + home made stuff. It just feels and smells of PEACE and TRANQUILITY. It has a lot of rooms and space for reflection. I suggest this place for people who just want to unwind and get away from all the busyness in the city.

Going back to the topic at hand, this blog post will revolve mostly on the things I have learned in this seminar called "One in Love. One in God. One in Marriage.". I did learn a whole lot about marriage and love and life, I hope that it blesses you too. We had 2 great couple speakers, and their love for their spouses resonated well with me.I finally learned my love language: ACTS of Service + Gifts + Quality Time; whereas my partner's language is QUALITY TIME + Words of affirmation + Touch. Take this simple questionnaire to know yours!

1 John 4:19 - We love, because He first loved us. 

Application for the couple:
  1. The time to start is now. 
  2. The method to follow is God's.
  3. The person to change is yourself and not your spouse
Priority: GOD > SPOUSE> CHILDREN > WORK> FRIENDS/MINISTRY. Your spouse will always be next to God.

Module 1: God's design for Marriage - what impacted me the most is the gravity of being ONE with someone. You and your spouse will be united in many ways. He/She will be your half. Saying sorry regardless if he or she started it, is a sign of repentance...since you have hurt your partner just by thinking or saying bad words after. Say "I forgive you" and mean it, you can no longer bring up anything related to the issue after you have spoken this.
  1. Marriage is meant to be enjoyed and not endured.
  2. There are 7 stages in any relationship, and most of the time it cycles around. They are: Romantic. Reality. Reactionary. Retaliation. Retreat. Resignation. Rebuild.
  3. If there are "cracks" found, fix it immediately. Do not wait for it to get worse.
  4. Marriage is not wrecked by a blowout but by a slow leak - continued negligence.
  5. You need to have the wisdom of God to have the right perspective.
  6. Marriage is work and it is a process that takes time.
    1. God should be the center of the marriage.
    2. God gave us a spirit that can commune with Him.
    3. God gave us a command to obey.
  7. Genesis 1:26 - 27. Genesis 2:24-25.
  8. God created a suitable helper for man. Helper here means complement and supplement. 
  9. Pursue ONENESS - 2 people living in close communication and harmony with God and one another.
  10. Always depend on your partner, leave the "family" both emotionally and physically. 
  11. The word "family" will be described now as you and your spouse <and own kids>. Anyone outside this space is already "in laws" etc..
  12. In every home, there can only be one king and queen. Parents need to let their kids go so that they can both learn and exercise leadership in their marriage. At the very least in their first year of marriage.
  13. Avoid the temptation of compromise. You should both work at a solution for the betterment of one another. Do not do it just because it will end the issue.
  14. Leave. Cleave. Weave. 
  15. Always aim to be close to God so that you may have the grace and wisdom to understand your spouse better.
  16. Say the words "I forgive you." instead of "Sorry" as it somehow bears a heavier weight. <even for me>
  17. When issues arise, make sure to not sleep ANGRY at one another. The issue may not be resolved but at least anger is not present. Also do not forget to still sleep in the same bed. 
  18. Psalm 127:1 - Believe in God's design and plans for you. Consult with Him of your plans.
  19. Selfishness is a relationship killer. It causes hurts, resentments, and isolation.
  20. Unconditional love is agape love directed towards imperfect people seeking their highest good which often times require sacrifice.
  21. Do self evaluations and spouse evaluations, ask your spouse on how can you make him happy than he is yesterday...and work on those. Aim to make it a habit. 
Module 2: Roles of Husband and Wife - Wives are tasked to complete and supplement their husbands when they fail. Ask for a gentle and quiet heart that allows one positively handle things.
  1. Being married is not about happiness but is about HOLINESS. Wherein the husband will strive to keep and present his wife as holy and acceptable to God's eyes.
  2. Focus on the positive and not the negative.
  3. Submit to God first and foremost. From there, it will be easier to submit your life to another person. 
  4. Glue yourself together wherein its like you are a piece paper and your spouse is another paper glued together back to back...wherein its impossible to rip each other apart without hurting the other.
  5. Men are called to be LEADERS. INITIATORS. LOVERS. 
  6. Women are called to be HELPERS <in God's definition>, someone who assists, completes, supports, and aids.
  7. During dating, woman expects the man to complete us. But after marriage, the wife needs to understand that she will be the supporter - task is to complete the man.
  8. Psalm 46:1 - God will always empower us.
  9. Listen and observe your partner with open eyes and heart.
  10. Be careful on what you say or share about your partner. 
  11. The wife is in charge of the home, wherein the status of the family is always greater than work.
  12. Women should evaluate where most of their time go, it should boil down to their husbands.
  13. The key priority of the wife is her husband. The key recipient of her help is her husband. The key evaluator of her help's effectiveness is her husband. 
  14. Wives are made custom fit for their husbands.
  15. Wives are responsible to submit <voluntarily follow> and respect their husbands.
  16. Women are to ask for a heart that is both GENTLE <accepts God's dealings as good> and QUIET <settled tranquility and deep peace.>
  17. Submission is being a good witness for the Lord.
  18. Husbands live up to their wives admiration and respect. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them and not nag them. They may just give the small or big picture, but it is the wives' duty to complement what they cannot provide.
  19. Positive reinforcement
  20. Don't be too over dependent to one another. Depend ultimately to God.
  21. 100% in all roles being played: Work. Home.
  22. Profile of a godly wife
    1. Gentle and quiet spirit/attitude
    2. Beauty - internal and external
    3. commitment to the lord and husband without any fear
Module 3: Forgiveness - Forgiveness is always a choice and its done because you love the other person more than yourself.
  1. Think about what attracted you to your spouse.
  2. The eternity of the "in love" experience is fiction.
  3. Pursue TRUE LOVE.
  4. Love is a commitment and is directed towards imperfect people. Always seeking the highest good, does sacrifices, and responses to God's love.
  5. Forgiveness is the OIL that reduces the friction in marriage. Love is the GLUE in marriage.
  6. Forgiveness is not based on feelings but is a choice. It is not keeping score. It is the proper response to God's forgiveness of us.
  7. Kids should always see their parents faces first in the morning.
  8. To be able to forgive, you have to first understand and accept God's forgiveness. Only then will you have the wisdom in forgiving others as you know, you are no different nor worthy of forgiveness.
Module 4: Physical Intimacy - Be other focused.
  1. A great lover is someone who can satisfy one woman all her life and who can be satisfied by one woman alone. - Paul Newman
  2. Scriptural basis of sex in marriage
    1. Physical oneness - knowing each other
    2. pleasure of spouses 
    3. protection 1 Cor 7: 1-2
    4.  Sanctity of Marriage: Heb 13:4, Deu 24: 5, 1 Cor 6:13
  3. Guidelines on how to have great sex
    1. Fulfill duties to one another 1 Cor 7:3
    2. Be other oriented
    3. Do not be selfish 1 Cor 7:5
  4. Differences in sexuality
    1. Men have shorter orgasms, more intense, have a need for satisfaction
    2. Women have longer orgasms, more in depth, satisfaction even without orgasms 
  5. Hindrances to sexual intimacy
    1. Habitual criticism
    2. Unresolved conflict
    3. Predictable, mechanical sex
    4. lack of sensitivity, affection
    5. tv, computer, other distractions
    6. past experiences
    7. infidelity
    8. masturbation
    9. busyness
    10. ignorance
  6. Men are stimulated by sight. Women are stimulated by affection. Men are like RABBITS or LIGHT SWITCHES. Women are like diesel engines or TURTLES.
  7. How to be the best sex partner
    1. Make time for him/her
    2. Give it to him/her with enthusiasm when wanted
    3. Respond to your partner
    4. Always be clean and smell good
    5. Talk about difficulties and pleasure points
    6. Don't sleep with kids in your room
Module 5: Improving Communication - It takes effort to know and understand your spouse. Never keep bitterness or issues unresolved, as these are small leaks that destroy.
  1. Love does not say that you do things because they are easy or comfortable. All they more you do it with love if its sacrificial.
  2. God made us into relational creatures.
  3. Nothing is easier than talking and nothing is harder than communicating.
  4. Love is an emotional need. We all have a "love tank".
  5. Learn to express love that the recipient understands
  6. 5 Love Languages
    1. Words of affirmation: words that build up the person
    2. Gifts: material representation of you remembering a person
    3. Acts of service: cooking food, etc..
    4. quality time: giving of undivided attention
    5. physical touch: very much done to babies
  7. Everyone has one primary love language even though we all have the 5.
  8. Do a love tank check every 3 days for 3 weeks. "From 0 to 10 how is your love tank? What can I do to fill it?"
  9. People are different when their love tank is full.
  10. To understand the love language of kids, observe their behavior. How do they express their love to you? What usually do they request from you? How do they treat other people?
  11. Communication is important. Hebrews 1:1-2
  12. Difficulties in communication
    1. We do not exert effort to communicate well
    2. We do not know how to communicate well
  13. Common barriers to effective communication
    1. Not knowing your differences/uniqueness
    2. Unresolved conflicts, bitterness, past experiences
    3. Taking each other for granted
  14. Communication takes effort.
  15. How to communicate effectively:
    1. Show genuine interest
    2. Build relationship
    3. Unconditional acceptance
    4. Always forgive and ask for forgiveness
    5. Apply James 1:19
Module 6: Passing On A Godly Heritage - The best gift you can give to
  1. Life is made up of choices. But you are not free to choose the consequences.
  2. Learn to obey God in everything. Deut 28:2-4
  3. God can remake us like a potter with his clay. regardless of what happened before, he can remold us into his likeness.
  4. How to pass on a godly heritage:
    1. Be authentic: Begin with yourself. Focus on God. Be genuine. Be disciplined in what we think cause we will be a product of it.
    2. Be self controlled. What is the controlling factor in your life?
    3. Set your hope fully on God and His grace.
    4. Be obedient to God
    5. Be holy <set apart> in all that you do