Marriage Upgrade: When the issue is NOT the issue

Jay and I have been attending Marriage Boosters, A Marriage Upgrade the past two Wednesdays with our church at Victory Fort. We prioritize these kinds of activities that would help us strengthen our marriage and identify areas that we need to work on as a married couple.

And marriages take a lot of work, don’t they? We’re on our 12th year and it’s just as challenging, sometimes even more, as on our first year.

If there was one thing we’ve learned from people we consider our mentors, it’s to invest in our marriage and make these opportunities to do so a priority.

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The past and the present

Anyway, the first session discussed how our past affect our marriages.

We all know that the events of our past had helped mold us to become better or worse people. Let’s face it, our past don’t always bring out the best in us.

That’s why whoever came up with the term “baggages” came up with it in the first place.

Our past can be bulky and heavy. And we tend to drag them around with us, allowing it to hamper us from moving forward, leaving us less room to be kind and forgiving with our relationships.

Baggages, baggages, baggages

Pastor Jojo Henson and his wife, Ida, pointed out that some of these baggages go way  back to when we were young. We may have forgotten what happened, but the effects manifest in the way we respond to “triggers.”

Sometimes, our spouses do or say stuff that seem harmless, but their words or actions trigger us to respond unreasonably to them.

Let me share something more personal…

I get worked up when my husband gets sleepy in hours apart from bedtime. And I explode when he starts to nod and fall asleep. I tend to attack my husband when he becomes like this.

It’s weird, I know, but it’s true. All others falling asleep, I can take, but Jay, no.

Ida says that oftentimes, what we think are our issues are not really the issue. That there’s more to it than what just happened.

These circumstances that make us react unreasonably are just triggers.

In my case, as a child, my sister who was afflicted with the worst type of Diabetes, was always falling asleep from the time she was fifteen.

You know, I asked Jay to test himself for Diabetes once. The results were negative. But it wasn’t enough for me to feel better about it.

Growing up with a diabetic sister was difficult for me.  Simply put, I see sleepiness as a red flag. My sister was not able to reach her full potential because of her debilitating disease. She passed away at 32 and there was nothing I could do to stop the pain her death had caused my mother.

So basically, it isn’t really Jay’s sleepiness that is the issue. It’s that past that must have traumatized me in some way and I need to heal from it and find peace with it, because it’s one of those “little foxes” that may destroy our marriage.

When God steps in

Pastor Jojo and Ida cited Joseph and Mary as an example on how God can move in a marriage. Have you ever thought about being in their shoes?

Mary was pregnant with a child before she married Joseph. We all know that the baby wasn’t Joseph’s.

Here’s the thing: Mary had to tell Joseph that God put a baby in her tummy. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?

Joseph must have loved Mary because he did not betray her by telling other people about her “crazy story.” Keeping it to himself actually protected her. By their laws, a woman pregnant without a husband (she wasn’t married yet) are to be stoned to death.

But the Bible also says that Joseph was planning to divorce her quietly.

He did not intend to stay with the loony who claims that God put a baby in her miraculously. Their future as a married couple didn’t look so great.

However, God spoke to Joseph in a dream who then, in Pastor Jojo’s words, “took charge of the marriage and secured Mary.”

The point of the story is that when God steps into the picture, he opens eyes and changes hearts, and puts hope in the most impossible situations.

And you know what else? He secures you.

Matthew 1: 18-21

Of Eyes and Destinies

Before the session concluded, we were asked to look at our spouses again. It was so awkward, Jay and I couldn’t help but laugh a little, but I realized we have not looked at each other that way in a long time.

We were then asked to pray and ask God to open our eyes so we can see more clearly. To see our spouse through the eyes of God.

Do you see anything?”  And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” Mark 8:23 -25

Pastor Jojo and Ida reminded us to take out hurtful, spiteful words from our vocabulary. Words like “I hate you,” “Let’s separate!” or “You will never change!” and instead, replace them with words that speak destiny to our marriages.

I found myself telling Jay that we’re a team and that I still believe that we have a great, purposeful future to look forward to.

Foundations

Jay and I were already in a relationship before we decided to make Jesus the center of our lives. But I’m glad that my husband took the initiative to learn God’s word and strive to apply it in all his decisions before we said our I do’s.

Believe me, staying with your spouse for better or for worse is a decision you will have to make more than once.

At times, our situations get to the point when, at least in my case, I feel that I’m at a dead-end with Jay. The easiest and what would have been natural for me to do is to walk away and leave it all behind.

Why not? I’ve done it many times before. It’s easier to let go of than to deal with difficult relationships. The old me just didn’t have the patience.

And I’m sure Jay gets frustrated with me, too. I’m not exactly an angel.

But God’s grace has seen us through and the message of the cross has taught us to forgive each other over and over again.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s possible.

With God, all things are possible.

Update for 2018!

I currently facilitate a Bible Study group for wives/single moms on Sundays, 1 PM, BGC area. It’s a small, very intimate group of women that talks about the Bible and how to apply it to our lives on a practical level. The meetings are usually done over coffee and only run for an hour at max.

Would you like to join us? Shoot me an email at [email protected] or send me a message on my Facebook page. 

If you need marriage counseling, I suggest that you contact or visit a Victory center and ask to be connected to the pastoral department.

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26 Comments

  1. Marriage is really a commitment. You are committed to each other, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer and in sickness and in health. We’re in our 10th year and so far I can say that we changed and improved a lot. Looking back, I was so immature during our first few years, thank God because my husband was so patient with me. hehehe!

  2. Truth! There are times when I have to remind myself that I married my husband for better or for worse like 1 million times a day! Hahaha! 12 years and our marriage is still a work in progress.

  3. I’m not yet married but there is always one thing that I keep telling my friends who are planning to get married and that is – “a wedding takes a day but a marriage is forever.” You can spend so much for the pretty things to make your wedding perfect but it will always be the actual marriage that needs so much more than what you spent for a single day. And I guess this realization was what scared me into committing into a relationship in the first place. 😛 Still praying for the one though! 😀

  4. Very inspiring. 🙂 I like attendibg seminars like this. It can be awkward when you do activities together. You are not alone in getting irritated with the sleeping thing. I don’t like it as well, but my reason is that I feel he’s wasting time, instead of doing productive things. Haha anyway, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. I love this, Mommy May! I got teary-eyed especially on the part that “But God’s grace has seen us through and the message of the cross has taught us to forgive each other over and over again.” We have to admit, mahirap magpatawad, diba? Pero kung iisipin mo lang din si God and ipapagpapasa-Diyos yung kung ano mang nangyari, it will be easier to forgive ~ that’s for sure! I am excited to read about the remaining sessions. 🙂

  6. Marriage is a work in progress that never gets finished. It is possible for spouses to discover something early on or late in the marriage about each other which can put the marriage at risk. At the end of the day, it would depend on the determination of husband and wife to make the marriage work.I’m glad that you continue to surpass the challenges of your own marriage which makes it stronger as time goes by.

  7. Marriage retreats/seminars/boosters should be done once a year to remind husbands and wives their purpose and rekindle their love with each other. Doing this will surely save a lot of marriages.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your learning and realisations with us! I’m not yet married so I learn so much from posts like this. Our relationship – particularly our past – is far from perfect but with God in the centre of it, it is firm and strong.

  9. Our marriage isnt one of the happiest. I would often say that. And it becomes true because I live and affirm it. There are many unresolved issues thus making the today a burden. Reading your post makes me realize to change my output. I am in this marriage and it is I who could make it a happy one. Sometimes too much negativity attracts more negativity. Why not accept those I cannot change and pray hard for God’s guidance. We need him in our life, I know.

  10. True yung tinutulugan ka kapag kinakausap mu pa. He He He. We are not married yet but we are hoping soon. I really admire couples who don’t let troubles in between them but rather keep their faith to God and let him be the center of the relationship.

  11. Marriage is a special gift from God. My husband is working abroad and we always praying each other. Kasi daming possibleng mangyayari sa mga long distance relationship. But we always put God on the center on it kasi wedo nothing without Him. I love this phrase sis, “when God steps into the picture, he opens eyes and changes hearts, and puts hope in the most impossible situations.

  12. Thanks for sharing this, Mommy May. Marriage is not a bed of roses, and I have to agree, staying as husband and wife for better and for worse is a decision we have to make more than once. We arent perfect so we should not expect happily ever after after the wedding day, instead, we should learn to adjust, compromise and put others first, and for this instance, our significant, if not better half.

  13. I think this is something husbands and wives need to do, attend marriage boosters session, to help strengthen the bond between them and help them overcome problems that come their way. Thanks for sharing, sis! I learned a lot!

  14. I’m not in any place to agree or disagree at this point in my life. I do believe however that for a couple to make an effort it’s a marriage worth fighting for.

  15. This is very helpful sis especially for newbie couples like us. The “trigger” part, I couldn’t agree more, I will put attending a workshop like this on one of our faith goals this year 🙂

  16. The husband and I have never attended such a session but it does seem helpful. Sometimes, the issues are really small but difficult to address until you listen to someone spell it out for you.

  17. Oh my gosh, May. I also get so worked up when my husband gets sleepy during hours aside from bedtime. I still haven’t figured out what causes this anger though. All I know is, I feel like when he’s with us, he does nothing but sleep. And he’s only with us on weekends! My husband and I SO need to go on something like this.

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