Married to Mr. Clean

Ages ago, when I was in hot pursuit of Mr. Right, I read a magazine article that suggested to envision “the one” and list down specific details about his looks. Write down every thing you want him to be, from the color of his hair to his shoe size. Being the hopeless romantic that I was then, that really got me all giddy! I grabbed my pen and pictured Mr. Right on a piece of paper. Of course I had an exhaustible list. We’re talking about Mr. Right here! I inserted the list somewhere and completely forgot about it.

A few years after that, I found my list again. By this time I was already married to Peewee, my husband. I showed him the list and he thought it was cute. I threw the paper out after that. I was trying to recall what I had written there to be included in this blog post, only three items came to mind:

Preferably wearing glasses, connotes intelligence (duh)

Must have hairless arms (I’ll explain later)

Must look and smell clean

Sadly, Peewee does not wear glasses, that’s okay. At least he has 20/20 vision and is really smart!  When I met him 12 years ago, I did try to smell him secretly and I knew he has wearing men’s perfume 🙂 When we sat down to chat, I noticed that he did have smooth, less hairy arms! What’s with the hairless arm? I’m just not a fan of androgynous male species.

I knew that my husband was a neat freak because when we first got married, he used to spend countless hours on the car cleaning and detailing it. Even before Meguiars detailing in car wash became a hit, he was already detailing every nook and cranny of his SUV.

In fairness to him, when it comes to cleanliness, he really is Mr. Clean. He will clean the entire house from the bedrooms to bathroom. If the kids’ toys needs scrubbing, he would be enjoying every moment with the soap and basin of water. He would also brush their Crocs too with an old toothbrush.

We have different sets of slippers at home. We have house slippers and slippers for going out. And when he sees you wearing your outside slippers inside, you will surely get some scolding, yes, even me. Every time he arrives from school, before even settling in, he would make sure every thing is packed away or in their proper places. If he sees the bathroom floor wet, he would grab the mop and dry it out.

When you look at our closet, he only has two three stacks: going-out shirts, house shirts and shorts and they are all pristine and neatly folded. While mine looks like a dog tried to find it’s favorite bone there somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sloppy. I do clean the house daily and tidy up too. I do general cleaning when I’m angry (that’s another post right there) But I’m not too obsessed with cleaning.

What’s the downside of being married to Mr. Clean? Honestly, I do get insecure at times. You see, Saturdays are my rest day, since I don’t teach the kids on weekends and I don’t have to wake up very early. It’s my lazy day. I don’t want to do any chores on weekends. But as soon as Peewee finishes breakfast, he grabs the broom and starts sweeping,  wiping, and scrubbing. And he will not stop. This annoys me at times so I end up cleaning too because I feel guilty seeing him doing the chores while I relax on a Saturday morning.

One time I told him about what I was feeling, that I feel bad for taking some time off on a weekend. He said he will not take it against me. He just wants to clean. He can only relax when he knows the house is “sparkling”. There were times, when I just let him clean all he wants while I do other stuff not related to cleaning or tidying up the house.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. He is not perfect, neither am I. But there are just some things he does that annoys me at times. But that’s part of the deal right? You’re marrying the Mr. Right…Mr. Right for you 🙂

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18

22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said,“This is now bone of my bones     and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’     for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:22-24

It’s 3 P.M. here and he will be arriving in an hour. I have to finish this blog post so I could tidy up before he starts cleaning again.

scrubbing the kids' study table in our old apartment

scrubbing the kids’ study table in our old apartment

Does your hubby have some habits that sometimes annoys you? Share with me.

If Only…

Yesterday, I bid farewell to my mommy who went back to her temporary home in the US. She came back to Manila last month after finding out that her half-brother was dying of cancer. She, together with her father (my grandfather) came to attend to a family emergency.

Though my mom’s stay was short, we were able to spend time with her again. Seeing her leave and travel thousands of miles away from us is never easy on both of us. I wish she never had to leave. I wish she never had to decide to live there for 9 years now. And at the end of the month, my youngest brother would be joining her too.

Days before her departure, I was feeling sad after knowing that my family and my father will be the only ones left here in Manila. I have another brother who left maybe five years ago and is now living in Canada with his family.

Because of these circumstances, I began to look back and recall why my mom decided to leave our homeland and move to the States. Realizing the reason, there was a momentary feeling of resentment towards my parents. You see, I grew up seeing my parents fight all the time. I love them both but it’s just the reality I had when I was a young child. I don’t blame them. I know they didn’t want what happened to them in the past.

They became “friends” after they separated. I’m not agreeable to their decision  but who am I to decide for them? But honestly, during that time, I had a sense of relief. It seems selfish but I thought, finally, some peace and quiet!

But then again, we had to face the consequences of that decision. It was not an easy journey for my mom and me even for my brothers. She had to endure hardships too in the states without us her family beside her. I too had to care for my youngest brother who was 12 years that time. I had to stand in for my mom because my father was working. He got into trouble in high school that I pleaded my mother to either come home or take him with her to the states. I couldn’t handle it anymore as I was a first time mom then, I had my own family to attend to.

But I’ve moved on after that, so did everybody in the family. Now, this is the life that we have. My mother is living in another country and will soon be joined by my youngest brother. My father has his own life but is sad to know that his “baby boy” will be leaving him too.

Tears are welling up my eyes again as I write this. If only things were different, no one in my family would have left. If only…if only…if only…

In my quiet time yesterday, I was comforted by Psalm 18:30 which says,

As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.

I know that whatever circumstances my family faces today, it’s all because God allowed it. He has purposes set for my family and for each member individually. My soul may be downcast because of the turn of events but His ways are perfect. His ways are better than mine. I pray that God would bless them wherever they go and whatever they do. For my brother, it has been my prayer that he will truly seek the Lord in this new chapter in his life. May he search Him with all his heart and lean not on his understanding but acknowlege God in all his ways.

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I’d like to borrow some of the words in Lea Salonga’s old song:

If only

If only I could find a way to say the words
I’ve kept for a long time
Oh if only I could stay to make you
Feel the way I do
With us not parting I can

Level 2 Completed

Last Wednesday, March 13, my husband and I finally completed Level 2 of our Global Leadership Center Courses in church! All the late night walking from my father’s house to our home paid off. You see, our class was scheduled Wednesday nights from 7 to about 9:30 PM. Before heading to class, we leave our kids at my father’s house which is just a few minutes away from our home. There were times when my husband had to carry our youngest daughter all the way home because she already fall asleep waiting. But we would still be happily walking home 🙂

The Level 2 course includes CCF DNA, Family Life, Personal Discipleship, Making Disciples 1, Basic Doctrines and Bible Survey. CCF DNA focused on the church’s building  block, it’s mission and vision of the church. Here, I was encouraged to have my own mission and vision in life and how I could align these with that of the church.

Family Life is all about, well, family life! We learned about the different roles in the family and how not knowing or not doing our God-assigned roles could lead to conflict in family relationships. This class had a huge impact on my husband and he realized that his leadership is vital in our family.

Bible Survey was a short course on the entire 66 books of the bible. I have read most of the Old Testament books in the past but after attending just one class of Bible Survey, I was urged to read it all over again. This time, I have a much deeper appreciation of the books. I am looking forward to reading all the 66 books this year 🙂

I surely learned so much this year. Had I known it would be not that difficult I would have enrolled earlier. Next year, I will take the next course, Level 3 as this will further equip me not only in my Christian walk but also as I begin to handle my own discipleship group in church…only by the grace of our Lord.

As a requirement, we were supposed to complete one project per class. Our last project was a testimony on how the entire course impacted our life. Allow me to share the project I submitted in class.

Ever since the GLC courses were offered in Alabang, I really wanted to enroll. But when I found out that I needed to complete my Level 1, I backed out. Because it means I had to complete the Evangelism class which my husband and I deliberately did not take. I was not keen on taking the course because it means have to share my faith which was not in my agenda at all. I thought it was something I can do without, somewhat like an elective in college or so I thought.

Two years ago my bible teacher shared with me that she was enrolled in the GLC level 2 courses. I was surprised because she is the teaching leader in the women’s bible study I attend to and she has been a believer for a long time, how come she still took the Level 2 courses. Nevertheless, I was challenged and encouraged to just enroll. I prayed about it first because I want to take it together with my husband. I was decided to enroll even if my husband would not but lo and behold, he agreed to take the course with me.

All the courses changed the way I see myself, my life, God and his purpose for me. I learned so much from CCF DNA to Family Life and yes, even to Personal Evangelism.

I remember the time when I was so prepared to complete a project for the class. I planned to share the gospel to my sister in law who we planned to visit that weekend. I had my notes ready, reviewed bible verses and prayed. Though it was not my first time to share the gospel, (it was my second—joke) but it was the first time I knew I was prepared and armed with God-confidence. Unfortunately, I was unable to share with her. She was out the whole day and came home late in the evening that it was time for us to head home. I was so sad and worried because I don’t know what to submit in class.

At the start of the week, I was prayed that God would impress in my heart whom to share the gospel to. The name of a close friend came to mind and I asked if she was available that afternoon for coffee. To my surprise again, she was available! I know she was too busy with work and her business but God allowed for us to meet that afternoon. This time I was not armed with my notes, all I had was the word of God. After sharing the gospel with her, she expressed her desire to accept Jesus in her life and I led her in a simple prayer. After our conversation, she asked me why I chose to meet her because she was so down the past few days and felt really depressed. She thanked me for taking time to talk to her. I told her to thank God for giving us the opportunity.

Right now, I am facilitating a bible study group with a few friends. I have yet to take the task seriously and make them into my very first D-group as per encouragement of my discipler. I took to heart Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

I did not imagine that the class which I dreaded to take in the past will have a huge impact in my life and would compel me to disciple others through the enabling of the Spirit. I was not only saved to be united with Christ but I was saved to lead others to Christ as well. To God be all Glory!

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Marriage Mystery Revealed Part 2

This is the second installment of the entry I posted recently on marriage. Again, these are the highlights of the marriage retreat my husband and I attended recently in a sister church, CCF Las Pinas.

 

Mending the Gaps

A study was conducted regarding the differences between men and women. The study also revealed the differences in the needs of both men and women.

Needs of Men: 

1. Sexual Fulfillment

2. Recreational Companionship

3. A Good-looking Wife (seriously?)

Needs of Women:

1. Affection

2. Conversation

3. Honesty and Openness

At times, unmet needs are the source of conflict in relationships or marriages. These conflicts when not brought out in the open or resolved, could be barriers in communication. What then are the other barriers to communication?

First, it’s not knowing the differences between the needs of your spouse. Men and women are total opposites. Women are organized, talkative, people-oriented, see the details, put things in order while men are disorganized, use few words, goal-oriented, see the big picture and scatter things. These differences are not absolute truths about men and women, there are a lot of women who are clutter-bugs while there are men who TALK a lot!

Second barrier, is having unresolved conflicts. I believe most of the unresolved conflicts arise from unmet needs. For example, because of the natural tendency of men to keep to themselves and not talk about “things” with their wives, they become cold, distant. The wives in turn, would be wondering and bombarding the husband with questions. Soon, conflict would arise only because issues were not resolved right away.

Third is taking each other for granted. The wife could be too focused on the kids that they unintentionally neglect the poor husband. The exciting honeymoon stage fizzles out as soon as kids are born. Somehow the wife gets preoccupied with the new baby that hubby feels left out and unwanted. That’s why it is necessary for the husband and wife to continue to devote their time to each other. Having babies should not be the cause of conflict in the marriage. It should solidify the bond of the husband and wife. Because as the child grows up, he or she would look up to his or her parents as role models when he or she has her own family in the future.

Another barrier to communication is bitterness. It is said that bitterness is a crushing mental attitude which triggers a wide variety of other sins. Bitterness only means unforgiveness and this will rob the marriage of stability. I like what the speaker said about forgivness, that it is a lubricant that reduces the friction between husband and wife. 

The prophet Hosea was given as an example. Hosea was a prophet of God yet his wife became unfaithful, in fact, she became a prostitute. But despite what the wife has done to Hosea, he forgave her and welcomed her back. This kind of love shown by Hosea is the kind of love God shows us. We are unfaithful to God. We are sinners who love our sin. But wherever our sin has led us, God still calls us to come back to Him. He still runs after us. He loves us no matter what we have done. All He wants is for us to come to Him and turn our back on our sin and follow Him. He says in Jeremiah 31:34

No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more. Jeremiah 31:34

So how do we mend the gaps in our marriage?

1. Show genuine interest in your spouse.

2. Build relationships. We should not find time,  but we need to make time for your spouse.

3. Demonstrate a willingness to forgive and ask for forgiveness. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:21-22, our forgiveness knows no limit.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

4. We should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

Marriage Mystery Revealed Part 1

Living with a person who is an opposite of me is  not easy. Imagine putting two different individuals in one roof. Two individuals each with their own unique characteristics who came from different family backgrounds and make them stick together till forever.

My husband and I have been married for ten years and we have gained a handful of very special married friends too.  These couples who have been married longer than us have become our spiritual mothers and fathers. I could not count the number of blessings God has given us because of these friends. And one the best blessings we got recently was a one-day marriage retreat. This was totally unexpected from a couple we just met not so long ago.

I would like to share part 1 of the Marriage Mystery Revealed Retreat last July 28, 2012 at CCF Las Pinas.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper[a]suitable for him.” 19  Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the [b]sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the [c]sky, and to every beast of the field, but for [d]Adam there was not found a helper [e]suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God [f]fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,

“ This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
[g]She shall be called [h]Woman,
Because [i]she was taken out of [j]Man.”

24  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.  Genesis 2:18-24

  • God is not only the designer of marriage, He is also the builder. It was God who instituted the first marriage between Adam and Eve and His plan was wonderful. Until the serpent deceived Eve which led to their sin against their creator.
  • The principle of “Leave and Cleave”. When marriage happens, the husband and the wife must leave their previous relationships, which refer to the relationship with their respective parents. This simply means when the couple agrees to get married, whatever decisions they make must be dependent on each other and not on the decision of their parents. Parents can only give advice but the final say should be from the couple themselves.
  • To cleave to one another or to join connotes commitment to develop a deep and loving relationship with one another. It becomes a commitment, a pledge and a decision to stay together no matter what.
  • Because they become one flesh, they should not be separated. God hates divorce, he says so in Malachi 2:16.

3  In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior.  Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; butlet it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b] without being frightened by any fear. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with [c]someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:1-7

  • Wives being submissive does not only connote following the husband and submitting to whatever he says. Submission also means respecting the husband. By not talking down to him. By not using sarcasm to make a point. By being careful in our speech.
  • Husbands should not look at his wife as someone inferior because he is God’s appointed spiritual leader instead the husband should care for the welfare of the wife. He should make sure she is protected, she is loved and is growing spiritually. If he choose to ignore the needs of his wife, it says in 1 Peter, his prayers would not be heard.
  • God is the architect of marriage and husbands and wife should refer to the architects blueprint, the bible in order to complete the marital journey.