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
Being married for almost 25 years, I can’t remember my wedding vows anymore but I do recall that I’m to stick it out with Eng for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I happily and eagerly declared those words on our wedding day. I was in love with Eng and very thrilled and content to marry him. I had no idea though of the hard work that it is to work on a marriage. I didn’t anticipate then that it’s something to constantly put effort and improve upon. Sadly, because of my lack of purposeful doing, I’d have to admit that our marriage, although happy, can’t be deemed as “easy”. I think the fact that Eng is Chinese born in Malaysia and I’m Filipino definitely has a lot to do with many of our differences. We both moved to Canada as teenagers and met there as university students so our new culture also influenced us greatly. When we married, we had four different, sometimes conflicting cultures (Chinese, Malaysian, Filipino, and Canadian) that we adjusted to.
To add to the mix, we worked for over four years in the south of the Philippines which was an entirely new culture even for me! That was followed by two years in Canada and then seven years in Thailand, an even stranger culture to get used to. With all the adjustments to cultures, different roles in our lives, our four sons and their nurture and growth, and our missionary work, we can definitely look back and say, “Wow, life was FULL.”
I can see now that it makes sense that it wasn’t all easy. We’d lived extraordinary lives! I think our mixed marriage and orientation would have been a challenge just living in one place but the fact that in the last fourteen years we moved several times and are now in our 9th home in three countries (Canada, Philippines, Thailand) is a testimony of how trying and difficult its been. Thank you, God that we’re still together after all these years!
Having said that, I realized recently though that my husband is my first priority, and ministry. I’d been guilty of being there first for my sons and my friends. I know I could have been more helpful, caring, and supportive of him, more encouraging and loving. As I looked forward to Eng arriving (he did today) determined to be a better wife, someone attended our Bible study for the first time last Friday and she said the same things that I just wrote about. Except, her husband died so she was filled with regret for what she could have been for him. I’m glad the Lord (and I’m sure her husband!) had forgiven her. I’m even gladder that Eng is here for me to love and be a help to. As we head into our 25th anniversary in February, may our next 25 years together be extraordinary in that it’ll be full of joy, laughter, and love. Thank you, Lord, for the great marriage that you want us to enjoy! You are good. =)