This year marks 14 years of my marriage, and it has taught me priceless lessons. Life throws a curveball every now and then. Those times weren’t easy but they taught me principles that strengthened my resolve to work on what matters most.
Married life for me is not all about Instagram-worthy photos and likable statuses. There are a lot of things that are more valuable than grand weddings and luxury things. I have summed them up, these beautiful lessons that are now so dear to my heart.
Agency and Accountability
Every choice I make has a corresponding consequence. I need to make better choices because I am not the only one being affected by the results. I have a husband and I have children. My posterity depend on my daily decisions. We are tightly interconnected. What happens to me can also impact them.
When I am grateful I am happy. I learned, over the course of my marriage, to be content with what we have and to be patient with the Lord’s timetable. Gratitude gave me staying power to help me trust in the Lord. Marriage taught me to see the beauty in every situation, how every little thing – both good and bad – contributes to the canvas like strokes of a painting.
Never stop learning. Marriage taught me to cook, bake, tend a garden, manage finances, and many more things. It gave me the drive to educate myself, especially when children came. My husband and I needed to upgrade our intellect. He learned a trade in law school and I continued learning employable skills. Our children have seen this over the years and they understand the value of education.
My daughter once said, “I am surrounded by wonderful people everyday and they are called my family.” The essence of family is when someone feels good being with you. Marriage taught me to do my part so we can build a home where wonderful things can happen. It taught me to be more cheerful, more repentant, more forgiving, more positive, and to work harder… It taught me what it takes to be a family.
Friendship took on a different meaning when I got married. We can be friends with everyone but we need to choose those who influence us for the better. Marriage taught me to better choose my friends. There are those who we choose to let influence us, and there are those who we need to influence. I learned the difference between the two. And it is never a question whether to choose friends over family. Family always comes first.
A Filipino adage teaches that we need to think seven times before we say something. Communication is vital in relationships. My marriage taught me when to speak and when to keep quiet. Most importantly, it taught me “how” to speak. We can learn to be articulate over the years, but civility must never fade. This is sometimes very challenging as we become more familiar with each family member but we’ll save ourselves a lot of grief if we learn to tame our tongue.
This eternal principle has never been more vital than in a marriage relationship: in thoughts, in words, in finances, in plans… in everything. There were times when it was very easy to be honest. And there were times when we needed the Lord’s help to either show honesty to or accept honesty from our spouse. The bottom line is: I have learned to avoid secrets. More secrets often means more lies…
Tithes and Offerings
When I got married, it became more apparent why paying tithing, fasting and giving fast offerings are very important. I learned to see money with another perspective – the Lord’s perspective. If we wanted our family to be more self-reliant, we needed to be better stewards over what the Lord had given. Observing these principles taught me to budget well – both our money and my time. It made me appreciate our blessings more.
Service to Others
I’ve always had a desire to make a difference in the world. Yet what good is it to save the world when we can’t even serve those who are nearest to us? There is a reason why our spouse and our children are placed near us. The Lord taught me a great deal about service through marriage and family: to put them above and before myself. In family life, as a mother, it comes naturally. There has never been a better avenue for service than in family life.
Go Forward with Faith
The best things in life are worth fighting for. Marriage is now mocked by popular worldly beliefs. The family is under constant attack, and we need to fight back. I learned to kneel and ask for the Lord’s help, because I know I cannot do it alone. I know I need to walk by faith every single day and depend on the Lord. There is only so much I can do by myself and giving up is not an option.
Being married, I know I have grown in knowledge and character. Every day I am still learning and I don’t intend to stop. A wise Heavenly Father has designed marriage and family life so His spirit children can reach their full potential. It is, for me, a preparation for the eternities.