I wanted to give assurance to my friend. And one thing remained.
I’ve known my friend for more than 20 years. Let’s call him Gil. He was married once, and then his wife left him for another man. Many years later, I found out that he was in a relationship with someone new. I was happy for him. That was more than 8 years ago. I hadn’t heard from him for a long time until he wrote me a few days ago.
And here is what he asked me:
Bakit nila nagagawa tumalikod sa commitment at ipagwalang bahala ang pagmamahal natin? Bro, twice na eh…so bakit?
How can people disregard their commitment and disregard our love for them?
It has happened twice to me … why?
Gil was obviously in distress at the time he sent me his message. Gil had been left behind by two of the women in his life. I could relate so much with Gil. And he knew about my struggles with my relationships too.
Here’s what told Gil from my experience.
Thanks for sending me your question, my friend.
Let me start by telling you a story. When Rezza and I were preparing for our wedding, we decided to have our dates with our Ninongs and Ninangs. We want to have an ongoing relationship with them, to learn from them through conversations, through mentoring and ministry.
A few weeks before our wedding, we met with Ninong Mar and Ninang Jo Tamayo. We had discussed so many things over late lunch, about faith, about finances, about service to one another. And then I mustered enough courage to ask a question that revealed my own insecurities at that time. I struggled for words and stutterred because I knew that by asking this question, I was making myself vulnerable.
I asked our Ninang and Ninong: “How can I be assured that Rezza will not leave me?”
Of course I was asking this question because of my past experiences in my relationships. I was looking for some kind of assurance. I was searching for a way to give my heart a reassuring back rub saying: “All is well, all will be well.”
And here is the answer I received (and I’m not even sure if this is the answer Ninang Jo meant). It’s going to be shocking, so better take a seat and a deep breath.
I asked what assurance I could get that I will not be left behind.
And here’s the shocking answer: THERE ARE NO ASSURANCES!
He said “I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing.
The Lord gave and now has taken away. May his name be praised!”
Yes, my friend, there are no assurances.
There is no assurance that your partner will not leave you.
There is no assurance that your partner will still be alive tomorrow.
There is no assurance that your partner will not find somebody else to love instead of you.
There is no assurance that your partner will turn her/his back on the vows spoken at your wedding.
There is no assurance.
Why do I say this?
A few months ago, I spoke to a family friend, let’s call him Soro. He is 83 years old with 7 kids, all successful professionals in the US. Soro has more than 12 grand children. I’ve always seen them as a very loving family, especially when I see photos of their family reunions, birthday parties, Christmas gatherings etc.
And then I get an atom bomb dropped into my perception of marriage. Are you ready for the atom bomb?
Soro’s wife filed for a divorce a few months ago. Husband and wife are already in their 80’s and wife chooses to divorce her husband.
Do you still think there is any assurance?
Over the weekend, I spent some time with Bestselling Author Ardy Roberto. He had been married for a long time with Ting-ting, who had a second lease on life when she recovered from a sickness many years ago. But her body gave in early this year, and she had joined the Lord.
Santi and Lily
Just last week, a good friend of mine, Santi, was killed in circumstances that are unclear to me. I visited his family at the wake and approached his wife Lily. They were married for more than 15 years.
There was nothing much I could tell her. I just gave her a warm embrace and expressed my love through my presence. I felt that she was in an uncomfortable space between denial and questioning. Questioning her fate, questioning our Lord. She said it herself, the death of her husband hasn’t sank in.
Do you still think there is any assurance? There are no assurances, my brother.
I feel for you, brother. I do not know the full story of your relationships. I know deeply about your first marriage because she told me her side of the story. And I knew in my heart what you went through. Because I experienced it too.
My friend, there are no assurances. When you are ready to pick-up yourself, when you find that you are ready for your next relationship, here is the insight I can offer instead of assurance: Work on your relationship day-by-day.
Live in the moment.
Love in the moment.
Every chance you get, let her know how much you love her.
Have your weekly dates.
Bring her flowers.
Appreciate her with your words, say it out loud in front of her family and friends.
Praise her for her good deeds.
Forgive her for her bad. She is human and so are you.
Never ever try to change her. She is who she is.
And she is perfect, including all her imperfections.
She is God’s gift to you. Be honored.
Be at awe at the beautiful treasure, the beautiful partner He has blessed you with.
Treat her like royalty, because that is what she is.
Nurture your friendship. Support her in her journey.
Be with her when she needs you, every step of the way.
Be gone when she needs to be by herself.
Your best gift to her is to grow closer to God.
To be the great person God meant you to be.
And as you draw closer to God, and as she draws closer to God,
you and she will draw closer to each other in a marriage of faith and love.
Love yourself, brother.
Honor our God by accepting all His love for you.
When we resist God’s love, it’s like a faucet half closed, only dripping pitter patter drops.
When we accept God’s love in its wholeness, it’s like a faucet completely open, pouring out with God’s love, infinitely supplied by the Lord above.
Some say “Mag-tira ka (ng pagmamahal) para sa sarili mo.”
“Leave some (love) for yourself.”
I say it’s crap!
When people rely on themselves as the only source of love, their love feels like a tank running dry.
They feel as if giving love takes away love from their tank.
They feel as if they need to not give love away, they need to scrimp on giving love.
They feel as if they need to reserve some love for themselves.
They have not accepted how deep God’s storehouse of Love is.
Love with all your heart!
Ang pagmamahal ng Diyos, hindi nauubos.
Magmahal ka ng lubos!
Lubos. No other way to love. Lubos.
The Love of God is never ending.
Love with all your heart! There’s no other way to love. With all your heart!
At this time, I know you are in grief.
I pray that you find healing by reading my stories.
This is not my message. This is me allowing our good God to speak to you through me.
I pray for forgiveness, I pray for gratitude, I pray for acceptance of His love.
I pray that God send you his love through the people around you,
through your family, through your friends,
And that your eyes and your arms be open to receive God’s love for you.
With Love, brother,
“One Thing Remains” by Kristian Stanfill via: AquaComet88
May you be open and rejoice in the the splendor of God’s love!
Are you in a similar situation as Gil? I pray for you. And I want you to know that there is life after your sorrow, and your grief! In fact, this IS life, what you’re going through! Another time, I will talk about pain and how it reminds me of how beautiful life is!
May you be blessed always!
Post Script: A reply from Gil after reading my letter…
SalamAt at may kausap ako pa minsan minsan pag kailangan… Alam ko nmn Sya pa din ang kakapitan natin in the end. But this time, it will always be Him first
Bro maraming maraming salamAt… Ngayon ko Lang naramdaman ang nilalaman ng message Nya thru you. Kaibigan, salamAt mula sa puso ko. God bless all of us.
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