Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married (Part 1)

There has been a common ‘wisdom’ which says, “Single people always want to get married while married people always wish to be single again.” Interesting isn’t it? It raises questions such as: “Why do single people want to get married?” and “Why do married people wish to be single again?” I conclude that there must be something … so many things that single people don’t know about marriage and also so many things that married people don’t know about how to make a successful marriage. But thanks God that we will not find this questions unanswered and problems unsolved.

Here I would like to present wisdom from Gary Chapman, the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. In his book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, he honestly confessed that the things he wrote down there are things he wishes he knew back then but there was no one told him. This wisdom, if wisely applied, will save us from a lot of heartache, painful arguments, and wasted time in ongoing silence in marriage. So here we go 😉 Enjoy reading! There are so many resources out there which allow us to learn from others’ experiences so that we can make a successful marriage. This common dilema should not be ours in days to come 🙂

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People do not get married by planning to divorce. Of course! However, divorce is the result of lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as teammates in an intimate relationship.

Ironically, most people spend far more time in preparation for their vocation than they do in preparation for marriage. Therefore, it should not be surprising that they are more successful in their vocational pursuits than they are in reaching the goal of marital happiness.

The decision to get married will impact one’s life more deeply than almost any decision in life. Yet people continue to rush into marriage with little or no preparation for making a marriage successful. In fact, many couples give far more attention to making plans for the wedding than making plans for marriage. Wedding lasts only a few hours, while the marriage, we hope, will last for a lifetime.

This article is about how to have successful marriage. For individual who is not in a dating relationship and has no immediate process of marriage, this article will provide a blueprint on moving from singleness to marriage. For the couple who is dating but not yet engaged, it will help you decide if and when to announce your plans to get married. For the engaged couple, it will help you examine the foundation and learn the skills that are necessary for building a successful marriage.

This article is not simply to be read, but to be experienced. The more you grapple with the realities discussed and share honestly your thoughts and feelings on these topics, respect each other’s opinions, and find the workable solutions to your differences, to that degree you will be prepared for marriage.To the degree that you ignore these issues and choose to believe that the euphoric feelings that you have for each other will carry you through, you set yourself up for failure. There are so many other free resources which you can find in: http://www.smartmarriageright.com 🙂

#1 I Wish I Had Known … That being in love is not an adequate foundation for building a successful marriage

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Over counselings hundreds of couple, Gary always asked, “Why do you want to get married?” The big reason is always the same: “Because we love each other.” Often we fail to consider the fact that our social, spiritual, and intellectual interests are miles apart. Our value systems and goals are contradictory, but we are in love. But the great tragedy from this perception of love is that a year after the marriage, a couple sits in the counselor’s office and say, “We don’t love each other anymore.” Therefore, they are ready to separate. After all, if “love” is gone, then “surely you don’t expect us to stay together.”

Research indicates that the average life span of the “in love” obsession is two years. For some it may last a bit longer; for some, a bit less. Then our differences begin to emerge and we often find ourselves arguing with the person whom we once thought to be perfect. We have now discovered that being in love is not the foundation for a happy marriage. The ‘love’ factor or chemistry is important, but they are not the basis of satisfactory marriage. There must be a compatibility in intellectual dialogue, emotional control, social interests, spiritual unity, and common values. The many other factors we will discuss later on to be a vital consideration in making about marriage.

#2 I Wish I Had Known … That romantic love has two stages

The first stage: Romantic love

Here, the couple does not have to work on the relationship. They may expend great energy in doing things for each other, but they would not consider it work, but delight. They want to make each other happy and they often do. When we are in love, the rest of the world doesn’t matter. If you are in college and fall in love, most likely your grades will decline. There are even so many people who drop out of college and choose to get married.

But there will come a time where the emotional high is going downhill and in that phase we may think, “I have married the wrong person. Our differences seem so obvious now. Why did I not see them earlier?” Welcome to the second stage of love 🙂

The second stage: Intentional love

The second stage of romantic love is much more intentional than the first stage. Yes, it requires WORK in order to keep emotional love alive. Those who make effort in this transition will reap an astounding reward.

What makes one person feel loved does not necessarily make another person feel loved. For example, she says, “I feel like he doesn’t love me,” and he says, “I don’t understand that. I work hard. I keep the car clean. I mow the grass every weekend. I help her around the house. I don’t know what else she would want.” She responds, “he does all those things. He is a hard working man.” Then with tears in her eyes she says,”But we don’t ever talk.”

When someone said, “I feel like my spouse doesn’t love me,” what are they looking for? What did they want? What were they complaining about?” Their complaints fell into five categories, the five love languanges. Everyone has a primary love language in which there is one they understand best. One of the five speaks more deeply to us emotionally than the other four. Seldom do a husband and wife have the same language. By nature tend to speak our own language. Whatever makes us feel loved is what we do for the other person. But if it is not his/her language, it will not mean to them as what it means to us.

In the illustration above, the husband was speaking the language of acts of service, while the wife’s love language was quality time. He was washing the car, mowing the grass, helping her around the house. To him, this is the way he expresses his love. Meanwhile, what made her feel loved was him giving her his undivided attention talking, sharing life, listening, and communicating. He was sincerely expressing love but it was not in her primary love language.

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The book that grew out of this research is entitlled The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Here is the brief summary of the five love languages:

1. Words of Affirmation

The language uses words to affirm the other person. “I really appreciate your washing the car. It looks great.” “Thanks for taking out the garbage. You are the greatest.” “You look nice in that outfit.” “Your smile is contagious. Did you see the way everyone seemed to brighten up when you came into the room?” Your words may focus on the other person’s personality or the way they look or something they have done for you or for others.

If a person’s primary love language is words of affirmation, your words will be like rain falling on dry soil. Nothing will speak more deeply of your love than words of affirmation. In contrary, he/she whose primary love language is words of affirmation may deeply hurt by harsh words too.

2. Acts of Service

For these people, actions speak louder than words. If you speak words of affirmation to this person such as “I admire you, I appreciate you, I love you,” they will likely think and perhaps say, “If you love me, why don’t you do something to help me around the house?” If acts of service is their primary love language, then washing the car, mowing the grass, helping around the house, and changing the baby’s diaper is precisely what makes them feel loved. The key to loving this person is to find out what things they would like for you to do. Then do them consistently.

3. Receiving Gifts

For some people, the gift communicates, “He was thinking about me. Look what he got for me.” The best gifts are those that you know will be appreciated. How do you find out what the other person would like to receive? You ask questions and make observations. You observe the comments they make when they receive gifts from other family members. If they say, “I’d like to have one of those,” make a nte of it. You can also ask, “If I wanted to give you a gift, give me a list of things you would like to have.” Better to give a gift that they have requested than to surprise them with a gift they do not desire.

4. Quality Time

Quality time is giving the other person your undivided attention. It is not sitting in the same room watching television. Someone else has your attention. It is being in the same room with the TV off, the magazine on the table, looking at each other, talking and listening. It may also be taking a walk together so long as your purpose is to be with each other, not simply to get exercise. Couples who go to a restaurant and never talk to each other have not spoken the language of quality time. They have simply met their physical need for food. Quality time says, “I am doing this because I want to be with you.”

5. Physical Touch

We have long known the emotional power of physical touch. Research indicates that babies that are touched and cuddled fare better emotionally than babies who spend long periods of time without physical touch. Appropriate touch is loving. Inappropriate touch is demeaning. Nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch for those whose primary love language is physical touch.

Your primary love language is things you often do for others effortlesly. The language you speak is most likely the language you wish to receive. The other way to discover your love language is to find out what do you most complain about? If you often complain that people don’t help you, then acts of service is likely your language. If you say to a friend, “We don’t ever spend time together,” then you are requesting quality time. And what do you request more often? When you ask, “Did I do a good job?” you are requesting words of affirmation.

Keeping romantic love alive in a marriage requires making a successful transition from Stage One to Stage Two. Learning each other’s primary love language while you are dating will make the transition much easier.

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#3 I Wish I Had Known … Like the saying “Like mother, like daughter” and “Like father, like son” is not a myth

This does not mean that the girl you marry will turn out exactly like her mother, nor that the man will be exactly like his father. This means that you are both greatly influenced by your parents.If he has a father who is controlling and verbally abusive, don’t be surprised if in then years he has similar traits. To some degree, we are all products of our environment. Research indicates that abusive men were almost always abused as children.

You may be asking, “But can’t we learn from their poor example and change our own behavior?” The answer is yes, and the important word is “learn.” If the son of an abuser does not take specific steps to understand abuse -why his father became an abuser, and what he needs to do to break the pattern- then he is likely to repeat it. Therefore, in a dating relationship if either of you has a parent with a destructive livestyle, the responsible action is to enroll in a class, read books, talk with counselors, and discuss with with each other what you are learning. Don’t sweep these issues under the rug.

Whether we are talking about positive or negative characteristics, most of us are far more like our parents than we realize. Communication patterns are another area in which we tend to be like our parents.
For example, if you notice that her mother of often interrupts her father when he is talking and corrects the details of his story by saying such tings as “No, it wasn’t on Tuesday, it was on Wednesday” then you can expect the daughther to do the same. Perhaps you have already observed this behavior when you are talking. If this pattern is not changed before marriage, it will not automatically change when you do get married.

Because we have grown up with our parents, we don’t recognize their patterns of communication as being healthy. For us, it is simply the way it has always been. It takes someone outside the family drawing the communication pattern to our attention to help us understand why the pattern needs to be changed. Since we are influenced by our parents’ communication patterns, we are likely to adopt it as our own. The good news is that these communication patterns can be changed and the time to make the change is while you are dating.

If you observe his mom and dad arguing and you notice that his father eventually walks out of the room and leaves his wife’s statement hanging in the air, then you can expect that is the way the man you are dating will likely to respond to arguments after you get married. Unless of course, he reads this and the two of you find a healthier way to resolve your conflicts. Also observe common courtesies that your mom and dad extend to each other.

Does her father open the car door for her mother? If so, this is what she will expect of you. Is his father quiet and reserved or loud and outspoken? Is her mother independent, making her own decisions and seldom conferring with her husband? Does her mother cook meals? Does his father keep the car clean? Is her mother a stay-at-home mom or does she have her own vocation? Does his father own his own business or does he work for a company? Is her mother highly active in church activities? What about his father? The answers to these questions will tell you what you can expect if you marry the person you are now dating. If any of the answers disturb you, this is the time to discuss them openly. The solution lies either in accepting these traits or negotiating change.

Often in today’s fast-moving culture, dating couples will spend little time with each other’s parents. They come to marriage without any clear understanding of the parental model with which the other person grew up. Even when spending time with each other’s parents, they are not closely observing the behavior and communication patterns of parents. Because they cannot imagine that the person they are dating would ever adopt those negative behaviors.

If you observe each other’s parents too get to know their personalities, communication patterns, values, and especially how they relate to each other and discussed thoroughly with your dating partner, then “like mother, like daughter” and “like father, like son” may not become a reality in your relationship 🙂

#4 I Wish I Had Known … How to solve disagreement without arguing

There are no married couples who do not encounter conflicts, for one simple reason -we are individuals. As individuals we have different desires, different likes and dislikes, different things that irritate and please us. For example, Gary discovered that Karolyn liked to watch television, while he thought television was a waste of time. Why not read a book or learn something? “What has anyone ever learned from watching television?” That was his perspective. She argued that watching television was her way of relaxing and, contrary to his opinion, there was a great deal one could learn from watching television. So this become “sore spot” in their relationship that periodically erupted into a full-blown argument. In those days, Gary embraced the thought, “I have married the wrong person. Surely if I had married the right person, it would not be like this.” Some couples learn how to resolve conflicts in a friendly manner while others resort to heated arguments. They definately fell into the last category.

But over time, Gary has discovered that firsly as couple we need to accept the reality that we will have conflicts. Conflicts are not a sign that you have married the wrong person. They simply affirm that you are human. We all tend to assume that our ideas are the best ideas. What we faill to recognize is that our spouse has the same opinion of their ideas. Our ideas and perceptions of life are influenced by our history, our values, and our personality. And these factors are different from each of us.

The healthy way in processing conflicts is with recognizing the need to listen. When most of us have conflicts, we feel the need to talk, but talking without listening will lead to arguments. After you have heard and affirmed each other ideas, you are now ready to look for a solution to the conflict. The big word in finding a solution is COMPROMISE. Often we think of the word compromise as a negative word. People are often warned about compromising their values or beliefs. However, compromise in a marriage is not only positive but necessary. Compromise means to find a meeting place. It requires each of you to be willing to give up something in order to have harmony in the marriage. If we both insist on having our way, then we are back in the argument mode. In marriage it is never “having my way.” It is rather discovering “our” way.

Typically there are three ways to resolve conflicts.

1. “Meeting in the Middle”

One we have just described. It’s about compromise. You find a meeting place by agreeing to do a part of what each of you desired while each of you also sacrifices a bit.

2. “Meeting on Your Side”

This means that after you hear each other’s ideas and feelings, one of you decides that on this occasion, it is best to do what the other has in mind. This is a total sacrifice of your original idea, choosing rather to do what your spouse desires and to do it with a positive attitude. You are choosing to do what they desire as an act of love because you care about them and you see how important it is to them.

One husband said, “I agreed to have a baby after she explained to me that she was getting near the end of her fertility cycle. When I saw her heart, I didn’t want to take the chance of disappointing her. We had always agreed that he wanted to have children. I just thought it wasn’t the right time. I want to wait until we had a financial base. But as I listened to her and saw how important it was to her, I agreed that even though I had some fears, I thought I should go ahead and have a baby now. We did and I have never regretted that decision.” Sometimes the decision to agree with the other person’s idea will involve great sacrifice. However, love always involve some sacrifice.

3. “Meeting Later”

This approach says, “At the moment, I’m not able to conscientiously agree with your idea, and I don’t see a place to meet in the middle. Can we just agree that for the moment, we disagree on this? And we will discuss it again in a week or month, and look for solution. In the mean time, we will love each other, enjoy each other, and support each other. This will not be a disruptive factor in our marriage.” This is a perfectly legitimate response to a conflict when, at the moment, you cannot find a long-term solution. A month from now, things may look different or new possibilities may come to mind so that you can find a compromise with which both of you will feel good.

In some areas of life, “meeting later” can be a permanent solution, especially in areas where there is no “right” or “wrong” answer, whether it is squeezing the toothpaste tube, personal taste of entertainment, etc.

In one of these three ways, you can resolve your conflicts. The key is creating a friendly atmosphere by listening to each other and affirming each other’s perspective rather than accusing each other of illogical thinking.

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#5 I Wish I Had Known … That apologizing is a sign of strength

Gary used to adopt worldly value which says, “Real men don’t apologize.” His dad adopted it. Gary never remembers hearing him apologize. And Gary also simply followed his model. Before marriage, Gary could not imagine ever doing or saying anything to his wife that would warant for an apology. After all, he loved her. But he found out later on that the woman whom he had married had ideas, some of which he considered to be stupid. He said, “Karolyn, think. This is simply not logical.” His words would spark a sharp response and they could be on a downward spiral.

After such episodes, they would go silent and not speak to each other for hours or sometimes days. Gary did not realize that he was simply doing what his father had done. He never apologized. He blamed her for their altercations. In the early years, they did not have a good marriage.

As Gary enrolled in seminary and learned in Christian scriptures about confession and repentance, he realized that he had been deceived that, “Real men don’t apologize.” He learned that confession means to admit that what he did or failed to do was wrong. Repentance means that he consciously turn from that wrong and seek to do what is right. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Then for the next few months, Gary learned to apologize and found that Karolyn was fully willing to forgive. In time, she too learned to apologize and I extended forgiveness. Gary is convinced that there are no healthy marriages without apology and forgiveness. The reality is that all of us are human and humans sometimes do and say things that are demeaning to other people. These unloving words and actions create emotional barriers between the people involved. Those barriers do not go away with the passing of time. They are removed only when we apologize and the offended party chooses to forgive.

When you apologize, what do you typically say or do? When someone apologize to you, what do you expect them to say or do? The evidence was clear -what one person considers to be an apology is not what another person considers to be apologize. While he says, “I’m sorry.” She might think, “You certainly are. Now, is there anything else you would like to say?” She is waiting for an apology; he thinks he has already apologized. Just like love has its language, apology too has its language which differs from one person to another. Here are the apology languages:

1. Expressing regret.

“I’m sorry,” spoken alone, are much too general. If you have lost your temper and spoken harshly, you might say, “I am sorry that I lost my temper and raised my voice. I know I came across very harsh and that I hurt you deeply. A husband should never talk that way to his wife. You must be hurting deeply and I am sorry that I hurt you.”

This apology language is an emotional language. It is seeking to express to the other person your emotional pain that your words or behavior have hurt them deeply. If this is the apology language of the person you have offended, anything short of this kind of apology will seem empty to them.

2. Accepting Responsibility

It begins with the words “I was wrong,” and then goes on to explain what was wrong about your behavior. For example, “I was wrong not to plan my afternoon so I could get home early. I knew we were going out tonight but I didn’t consciously thing about what time I needed to be home in order for us to leave on time. It was my fault and I was wrong.”

The person whose primary apology is “accepting responsibility” is waiting to hear you admit your behavior was wrong. For this person, saying “I’m sorry” will never sound like an apology. They want you to be willing to accept responsibility for what you did or said and acknowledge that it was wrong.

3. Making Restitution

This apology language seeks to “make it right.” This seeks for actions from the person who made mistakes which can show that you love them. Speak their specific love language in order to make it right. Give a gift to those who like gifts, write a love letter for those who like words of affirmation, etc.

4. Genuinely expressing the desire to change your behavior

This apology seeks to come up with a plan to keep the bad behavior from reoccurring. “I will not do it again” are the words and let your actions confirm it.

5. Requesting forgiveness

“Will you please forgive me?” These words are music to the ears of the person whose primary apology language is “requesting forgiveness.” In their mind, if you are sincere, you will ask them to forgive you. This is what an apology is all about.

When couples learn how to apologize in a manner that is meaningful to the other person, they make forgiveness much easier. What most people want to know when you are attempting to apologize is “Are you sincere?” However, they judge your sincerity by whether or not you are speaking what to them is a genuine apology. That means you must learn to speak you apology in their primary apology language. When you do, they sense your real sincerity.

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Couples who have practiced both love language and apology language repeatedly will be most likely to develop a healty relationships. Do not ignore it. This will save your marriage from unnecessary pain. There are six more things Gary wished to know before he got married 😉 Discover it in my next article. To be continued…

Cheers,

Leticia

Photos by Angga Permana Photography

The Mercy Room

Sometimes when we are treated unfairly, in the deepest of our heart there comes a ‘hope’ that the opposite people can be treated the same thing naturally. It seems like a justice to our eyes. If we trace back, this principle has been widely known since the Hammurabbi Law which introduced that we need to exchange eyes for eyes and tooth for tooth. Mahatma Gandhi opposed this view by saying, “An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.” He got it right. Have you ever seen the hatred stops when we pay it back with hatred too? It seems like a justice … but what is a justice if we cannot make the person or even the world a better place to live on? The problem in this world is not because we are full with evil people, but because we are lacking of forgiving people. Yes, we lack of mercy.

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The Bible defines mercy as not getting what you do deserve [withheld punishment]. It is forgiving though the person does not deserve it. It can also mean as pity or compassion. It would be hard to swallow, hard to do. How can we give forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it so much? I find that we as human beings tend to have difficulty in forgiving when we see ourselves as a better person than the one who made mistakes. It places us as ‘righteous’ and the other person ‘not righteous’. As long as we see ourselves in this position, we will find that we have all the rights to give punishment, judge, condemn, or at least wishing that the other person will receive their ‘karma’. In the end, we find ourselves hard to forgive.

These recent days, I have experienced what mercy truly is and that changes me a lot. Being a devoted Christian for 15 years, makes me a bit difficult to see myself as a sinner. Yes, there is no big or small sin in God’s eyes. Sin is sin. But somehow there is this particular sin which causes me to feel such a failure and unworthy. I felt like I am truly truly a sinner. Yes, I am a Christian, but I am a sinner too. And knowing it causes me to turn back again and again at the cross, gazing upon Jesus. Lord, was my repentance seven years ago genuine? And here this verse strucked me,

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent [who have no need of a change of heart]” -Luke 15:7 [NIV]

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The Parable of the Lost Son

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

If you look at Luke 15 more closely, you would find that the whole passage is sharing one theme: mercy. It tells a story about a father who waited for his youngest son to come back, overlooked his sins, ran after him as he got closer to his house [noted: wealthy man on that day did not run!], gave the very best gifts and threw a big party to celebrate his return. Would you like to imagine it for a moment? In our human’s eyes the youngest son certainly does not deserve such a treat by his father. But our God, as a loving Father, has such a deep mercy to sinners. He overlooked our past sins as we want to repent. Can we overlook our brother’s or sister’s sins? Or Are we like the eldest son who thought that he deserved such treatment and his brother did not? Which one will we be?

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Through my experience, I find myself as the lost son who needs Father’s mercy so much. I am a sinner, therefore I cannot judge other sinners too. You see, no one is perfect. Everyone needs forgiveness although some may never ask for it. But the attitude of the father has called us all to do the same thing. Are you judgmental? Know that the world needs mercy and forgiveness more than judgment. A relationship can only be healthy when it consists of forgivers. And we forgive because we are forgiven too.

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” -Psalm 32:1-2

Remember always, we are no better than any other ‘sinners’. We are never in a place to judge or condemn them guilty. The realization of our own imperfection gives a space for mercy to grow. God has taught us that His mercy endures forever and He longs his people to be known as merciful one. For we are more like him when we love and forgive the undeserving ones.

Cheers,
Leticia

Photos by Axioo Photography

The Love Tank

There are times when we find it is hard to love. There are times when the bad sides of people simply wins from the battle of mind. And there are times also when the pressures of life consume us so much that we think that we have nothing left to give out to others. In short, our love tank is running low or even empty and that affects our whole relationship with others. But is it something that just happens? Can’t we do something to avoid that ‘season’ comes through in our lives? The good news is … the love tank should not have to go through running low phase or even empty. The love tank is supposed to be full every time. It is a matter of daily choice.

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Many people takes love as something in which we fall into and also fall out. They treat a relationship as something that we can exit from as the feeling of love has fallen out. Our love has been based on something that is so undependable… feeling. And it does not take a longer time to make our love becomes conditional. “I love you if …” This type of love would undoubtedly has a short-time to live and will involve a lot of dissapointment and pain. So what kind of love that will guarantee a life-time span? What kind of love in which makes the individuals involved stay when other strays? I bet you can guess it 🙂 Yup .. unconditional love. A love without any demand in return.

“Wow.. could really a man able to execute such kind of love?” With God’s grace and help, yes, a man can give out unconditional love. As long as a person is willing to work on a relationship, there is a hope. So it is a matter of willingness. Loving is easy when people whom we love is loveable. The challenge comes when it comes to love someone who is difficult to love. And this someone could be someone whom you used to love in a dramatic way too back then.

I saw a very ironic sight where romance turns cold as couple get married over time. Some people say that the gap between what it used to be and what it has turned out to be is called as a reality. But I do not fully agree with that because it leaves an impression that reality is always worse from past or our dreams. I prefer making the reality as the better version of past and present time. Reality does not mean that it has to be bitter. It can be sweet. But someone has to pay the price for a sweet reality. It may cost our ego, pride, and ways of life to adapt with people whom we ‘love’.

In order for us to have a full love tank, there is no other choice but to connect to its source, the Author of Love, the Love itself, God. As long as we depend on our own strength to love, our effort will remain in vain. Our love is so limited. Humanly love is undoubtedly conditional. But God’s love is entirely different. There is nothing that you can do to make Him love you more and there is nothing that you can do to make Him love you less. His love does not depend on your performance. His love is entirely conditional.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” -Romans 5:8

God chose to love and even die for you when you did not even bother His existence.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:17-18

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God’s love fills our love tank until it is full. But the question is … are we letting Him to fill it? Jesus loves you and He lives in you. Jesus inside you wants to love the difficult person whom you troubled with. Are we letting Him to? Jesus always sees a person as whom He created at the first place and whom the person will be at the touch of His grace. He overlooks sin’s accesorries and desperately longs for the hearts to become His. He is a prince who is jealous to guard His princess’ heart from the world’s grasp. Because He knows that nothing, nothing can guard it as well as Him. No treasure, no even other human being can make sure the hearts will not be broken besides Him alone. Are we letting him truly becomes the owners of our hearts?

So many of us pray for a miracle. For our family’s members to be saved, for sickness to be healed, for relationships to be restored, and so many other good things. Yet somehow, God is waiting for us to take our part in letting the miracle comes through us. God is waiting for us to sow seeds of love in stony hearts of men. God is waiting for us to remove the stone of unforgiveness and fear. Before He makes His miracle, He makes sure His sons and daughters have grown. Because what is a miracle (a circumstance to be changed) without a change of the core of our hearts?

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh [heart of obedience to God]. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” -Ezekiel 11:19-20

“Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cake of pagans” -Hosea 3:1

God is not an angry God who forces His people to love and serve him obediently. In Hosea 2:1 He said, “Therefore I am going to allure her (Israel); I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” God is a God of love who wins back the heart of His people, sinners, to return to Him. The whole Bible is telling us a great love story between God and human being. He is desperately wants to love us and for sure being loved back is one of His priceless treasures.

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God shows us that no heart is to hard to be soften. As long as the seeds of unconditional love are planted, He can make a miracle. Because love cannot fail. And love never fails.

So let His love completely fills your love tank. Fill it with a greatest weapon of all to win back God’s people. It is always easy to love when we remember that it is God’s in us who wants and enables us to do so. Our part is to sacrifice our ego and pride, remove stone of unforgiveness and fear, and get into a reckless abandon to His righteous ways.

What a wonderful world will be. When hatred ceases and ego dies, truth and love lives. A heaven on earth. A sweet reality that can come true.

-Leticia-

Photos by Ppf and Axioo Photography

True Faith

We may often hear that faith is believing before seeing. It is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see [Hebrews 11:1] It sounds simple, but it seems like most of us have difficulty in believing. How can we believe on things we do not see? How can we believe in things that are too good to be true? Here is where this talk is getting more interesting 😉 Believing after seeing will not be called as faith at all. Faith will only be as strong as its object. If somehow you feel that your faith just doesn’t work like you want it to be, maybe we need to check where we have put our faith on. True faith is being placed in nothing else but in the goodness of God alone. It is believing that our God is a good God who wants to give us the best no matter it may seem at the current moment. Have faith in a good God, not in his gifts.

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Jesus once elaborated His loving Father’s character in Matthew 7:9-11. He said, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Here Jesus laid down a very strong foundation of faith. Our faith will be strong when we realize that the God we serve is the God of “how much more.” He wants nothing but the best for you. He will never give you a stone when you ask him for bread, and he will never give you a snake when you ask for a fish. God is a good God. His goodness even surpasses the most loving saint you’ve ever known.”

The level of our faith will be deeply influenced by how deep we know our God. Faith is not something attained by our effort or righteousness. Faith is not even a conscious thing, but an unconscious result of believing in Someone. In original language of New Testament, Greek, the word of “pistis” which means “faith” rarely stands alone. It always followerd by a preposition “eis” or others which means “into”. It is always “faith into,”  “faith unto,”  or “faith upon.” It is not just a noun. It is a noun attached into Someone. We often substitute the Someone with ‘something.’ We placed our faith in money, health, possessions, and so on.

“For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me,” -John 6:44a [NLT]

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. -Ephesians 2:8 [NLT]

Faith is a gift of those who believe in Jesus and intimate relationship with Him. It is granted, not earned. It is being born out of a loving relationship. We do not need to put effort on maximizing our faith. We just need to trust and abide in His love. That is the secret power of faith.

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The sad part is … many people have faith to achieve something but their faith is not based on the will of God nor His goodness. Many people simply abuse the word of faith to justify their wants. So it is important to pray first before we declare boldly that I have faith that … come out from our mouth. To check out our motive, ask this, “Will you maintain the same level of faith when God does not fulfill it as you wish?” Well, God’s way is often different from ours. There is no exact formula on how God will work in each of your case. Are you ready to face whatever He gives to you? Remember, the nature of faith is that it must be tried. Faith must be purified. And along the way of its purification, there will be so many things that may leave us behind with question marks.

Oswald Chambers described faith as deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you cannot understand at the time. It’s an attitude of saying, “I don’t know why God allows what He does, but I will stick to my faith in His character no matter how contradictory things look.”

One of the great example of people who executed true faith for me are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They refused to bow down and worship the image [idol]of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Their declaration against the king’s command show their true faith in the only one God of Israel whom they serve. They exclaimed, “O Nebuchadnezar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image you have set up.” [Daniel 3:16-18]

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego completely believed in the mighty power of God which could save them from the blazing furnace without any doubt. Yet at the same time, they also know even if it was God’s will for them to be burned, their attitude would remain the same. They would still acknowledge their God as the good and only God whom deserves their worship.

Do we have the same attitude to our God today? Or are we a demanding one who insists God to do what we wish Him to do? Are you ready for your faith to be purified?

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The opposite of faith is not disbelief, but fear. Fear simply paralyzes our faith. It makes our problem bigger and God smaller. It involves doubt that our God cannot handle things that we regard as out of our control. Remember, God is always in control. To grow in our faith is to die in fear. Each time fear whispers, it needs to be shut down. Many people settle in their comfort zone because they are afraid of making the ‘wrong steps’. But God never offers certainty and all the details that we are going through from beginning to the end. Otherwise, we will not need faith to accomplish the journey. Yet He offers that He will be the certainty in the midst of uncertainty that we would have to face.

Faith never knows where it is being led,
but it loves and knows the One who is leading
-Oswald Chambers

Whatever the problems you are facing right now, my prayer is that you will keep your faith alive. You will fix your eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Your faith will completely relies on His goodness alone. You will take a step of faith to wherever He is leading you and leave all your fears behind. I believe that if what we ask out of faith is according to His will, it is just a matter of time He will make it comes true beyond our imagination. God is truly a God of how much more!

Blessings,

Leticia

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

Faith Based Relationship

In my previous post titled “Healthy Soul” I have discussed how we often some sort of expectations on people. We much likely desire people to change things that we dislike on them. Now I want to discuss how can we see them differently? You may say, “It is easy to speak but hard to do.” But I would like to share some truth that can help you to shift your perspective 😉

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In God’s eyes, everybody is a 10. Do you believe it? If you believe that everybody is sinner, then saying “Everybody is a 10” will equal to “Every sinner, too, is a 10” Yes, your score in God’s eyes does not depend on your performance. It’s not about how righteous you are. God is your own creator. He knows you inside out. He knows whether you will sin or not, He knows all of your motives. Nothing that you choose in life surprises Him.

“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” -Psalm 139:1-6

“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” -Psalm 139:15-16

When God created you, He put all the potentials hidden inside of you. Sin causes His image on you to be distorted and that potentials cannot be found and grown. That’s what makes you feel hard to see everybody as a 10 with your physical eyes. They are all the “10” who don’t realise themselves as “10”. They may live without knowing who they are, why they are here on earth, what is their purpose of life, how they suppose to treat people, and so on. There are times when I, too, don’t realise myself as a 10. We have been grown by thinking that, “When I sin, I hit the lower score than before.” “I used to be so close to God, but now it is gone.” Right now, let us stop thinking of those things and start to embrace the way God sees us.

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Paul knew exactly how God saw the church in Corinth. You may be able to recall the most famous scripture about love is located on 1 Corinthians 13. But the citizens of Corinthians at that time were far from the image of love. They practiced of immorality and wickedness. The culture of the city also had influenced the church. The church at Corinth continued to struggle for a very long time with basic issues concerning unity and moral living. But look closely at how Paul addressed them.

“To the church of God is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” -1 Corinthians 1:2

Paul called them as saints! Sinners are seen by the eyes of God as saints by the blood of Jesus Christ 🙂 So how are we going to apply this truth to our relationship with fellow human? I learn that each time I am disturbed by certain characters and what they do to me, I learn to pray for them. Instead of trying to change people with my own way, either by nagging or criticise them, I learn to surrender it to the Lord and let God works to convict and change their hearts. Do you realise that it takes more faith to pray your problems to the Lord than to try solving it by your own? You may not realise it, but when you correct people in inappropriate way, it does not build them up but tear them down. Instead of helping them to see themselves as a 10, you are convincing them that they are “3” or “5”. Of course there are times when we have to speak up our advices, but God gives a specific guidance regarding correcting people.

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” -Ephesians 4:15

If we point out others’ weakness out of our own frustration or anger, for sure our tone, our choice of words and our body language will be less likely express love to them. We are more likely to have tendency to say “truth” because we are the one who dislike it and try to change it. This habit destroys so many relationships. People who are constantly receiving that behavior can be depressed and have a low-self esteem. Everyone loves to be accepted. And even their behavior is unacceptable for you, there is a way to communicate it. And again for me, a faith based relationship will mean that you surrender it to God and trusting that God is the one who will work in their hearts. Sometimes you really don’t have to say anything to particular person. Say it to God, and God will deliver it in His time. Sounds weird? I am a speak up person. When I apply it into my life, I feel helpless. How can you use a “mediator” to convey your message when you can speak to them directly? But this “mediator” is not a merely “mediator”. He is GOD. He is the ONLY one who can change people’s heart and your situation. I always remember what Kay Warren said, “Christianity is about SURRENDER.” I have tried this and I have experience how God delivered my message to some people (both believers and unbelievers). Will you surrender that person and your relationship to God?

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“Praying for those who love you, that is sincerity.

Praying for those who hurt you, that is maturity.” -Leticia Seviraneta

This faith based relationship can be applied in every kind of relationship in your life. If you are a wife who desperately wants your husband to change in some areas (the one that you know exactly God would love to change them too), pray it to the Lord. Don’t constantly criticising him. One prayer full of faith in God is more efficient than thousands of words to convince him to change. What a truth! You may see prayer as the last effort or somewhat a passive one. Yet Oswald Chambers described prayer so beautifully. “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” If you ever want God change and heal your “hopeless” relationship, the first thing to do is to pray. Surrender them to the Lord completely. Remember that faith is believing before it is seen and believing that God can change the situation. You may find it very very difficult to see people as a 10, but with your eyes of faith, you can! You may not see how things can turn around, but with the big God you serve and TRUST, you can. Your relationship will be transformed so greatly when you apply your faith in it. Those people whom you hardly like, is one of God’s precious 10. He wants them to realise it. And he would love to use you to help them seeing themselves as a 10. Don’t tear them down with your own words, build them up. There is always something to be praised and appreciated. When you can shift your focus from their weakness to their strength, it can help you a lot. In the end, as we are on the journey on this faith based relationship process, we will find that we are the one who is being transformed! Our faith is growing stronger. People may not change, but your attitude to them will. Put your faith in each of your relationship. God works the most when we surrender all to Him.

“Go home, and let all your relatives off the potter’s wheel. You are not the potter!”

-Joyce Meyer

Blessings,
Leticia

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

Healthy Soul

“A relationship will only be as healthy as the individuals in it”

Nowadays, many people become more aware for their health by doing more exercises in the gym, take rpm or yoga classes, and many more. Some men are very dedicated to restrict their foods and drink high protein milk to build up their muscles. We are more easily motivated to maintain what our eyes can see, rather than what our eyes cannot see. Not many people realise that just like our bodies need exercise to maintain its health, so does our souls too. As what you eat determines your future health, so does what we feed into our souls will determine how healthy our souls will be and how rich our relationship can be.

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How is the condition of relationship in your life? Is it  satisfying or frustrating? You may feel that having a successful relationship is definitely not easy. You face lots of people with background, emotional baggages, characters, and habits that entirely different from yours. The situation gets more complicated as each people brings some sets of unspoken expectation in relationship with you. I feel you! Are you tired for all the conflicts arise and wondering how could you make the relationships in your life run well? If yes, then this article is for you 🙂

The Unmet Expectations

People tend to have expectations based on who they are and what they usually do. For example, if you are a typical of person who is always come “in time” which means you come early before the scheduled time, then you will be more likely to expect people to behave the same as you. Even “on time” would be regarded as “late” for you. Of course few people will expect differently depending on their degree of tolerance. For those who is very strict in time, people who always come late will frustrate them. Some may respond it with disappointment, anger, or just keep the negative emotion sealed in their hearts. The case will be more often found in relationship with people you live with whether your parents, siblings, or spouse. Your behaviour and character will have greater possibility to clash with theirs. You may wish that your parents will compliment your achievement, but they simply don’t express love in words. You may wish that your spouse will give you surprises, flowers, or just simply be romantic; but he is completely not a romantic guy. You may wish your children do exactly as you instruct them to do because you know it is the best way, but they want to have their way. As the unmet expectations pile up, disappointment grows. At last, all we have is our hearts are full of resentment and bitterness. No body wants to be bitter, but if we don’t exercise our soul to stay away from it, it will be hard for not having bitterness dwell in us. The right way to look at disappointment is always remember that disappointment lasts for a season, but relationship is for a lifetime. Which one is more important to you?

“We need to learn to have a realistic expectations and let people off the hook. By giving people room to be human, we can avoid a lot of heartache.” -Victoria Osteen

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One thing we need to remember and apply it in our daily lives is that knowing that every person we meet in this life is never and will never be perfect. Your parents, your children, your friends, and your spouse are just imperfect humans. You may choose your own spouse because he/she fulfills your criteria’s list. But there will always a time when he/she cannot fulfill all of your expectations (moreover when you have unspoken expectations). Why? Because they are not you. As simple as that. Your ways of thinking and their ways of thinking are different. What you think is good, may not be good for them (at least at the first time you say it). Because we all are imperfect humans, if you depend your happiness on the suitability of each of your expectations with the realities you get, you will always get disappointed. And disappointed person is NEVER be a happy person. 

“I realize that I can’t make people change. I can’t force someone to be a certain way. I can only be a model for change. When I treat people the way I want them to be, that’s the seed God uses to bring about change. ” -Victoria Osteen

So what should we do with all of our expectations? Should we stop expecting from others? Not really. The problems here are not a matter of the existence of expectation but more about what we do when we don’t get what we expect 🙂 Children may whine when they don’t get what they want. Are we doing the same? Maybe we don’t whine physically but whine in our hearts? So here is my point.. If you want to improve your relationship, then the first step toward it is by being a healthy person. Even people you relate with are unhealthy or have some heart issues, as long as you are healthy, your relationship will not be as problematic as the way it is now. We cannot change people, but we can change ourselves. And here are some rules in order to have a healthy soul 😉

1. Your happiness is your own responsibility

It is true that what people say or do to you can really affect the condition of your heart naturally. But I want to shift the natural to be supernatural. Happiness is not a product of circumstances. Happiness is a choice you make on your own regardless of the circumstances. Surely it is not always easy. It is like you try to swim against the current. But if you consistently exercise your ability to choose your own happiness, it can happen. Rather than being driven by other people’s negative emotion toward you, be a driver to your own emotion.

2. Don’t let offenses hang around

A pearl is formed when a single grain of sand or a tiny foreign particle is lodged inside an oyster. If left alone, that tiny particle will cause damage to the tender mollusk. The interesting part is the oyster will immediately secrets nacre (lacquer-like substance) as a means of protecting itself. It seals away the irritation and at last forming gorgeous pearl. It doesn’t take longer time pass before it begins to cover the grain of sand with nacre. If we let offenses to hang around they will cause damage which will be harder to recover. Some people save offenses in deposits of their memory and hearts. They may not speak to the offender for quite some time. They think that it is better not to speak to each other rather than to fight. They do not realise that by not speaking to each other means they are making more holes of misunderstanding and hinder the relationship to grow. Whenever people say words or do things that hurt you, be quick to seal your heart. Don’t let it get into your heart and irritate your inside. Be quick to let go forgiveness.

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3. Words and actions are equally important

Some people say that it is more important our actions rather than our words. No need to say, “I love you”. “I wash the dishes, that’s how I express love.” But meanwhile, you find him always criticise you. There seems to be always something wrong in what you do or what you wear. I have to disagree with opinion which states actions are more important than words. Words are important too. Words can either bring life or death. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who live it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21) Your words can either build up or tear down someone. I also learn to think before speak. If we don’t do so, we are more likely to say things we will regret, moreover when we are offended. Words are your treasure. It must be handled carefully. I am a typical of person which is affected by words spoken to me so much. I am mentally drained when I relate with people who only point my mistake constantly. They think they are good and care for me. But that kind of relationship only makes me more broken. Every people needs a space to be allowed to be on their own. If we start “fixing” everyone around us, we miss the true riches we were meant to gain from those relationships. Again, words are meant to build up and not to tear down. You can give your ‘inputs’ at the right time, but be willing to let your listener to choose their own choice without making them losing their ability and right to decide.

If you cannot be happy on your own, other people also cannot bring that happiness to you. I’ve seen so many people suffer simply because they depend so much on others to make them happy. If you want to enjoy a rich and satisfying relationship, be the change you want. Be the healthy individual within that relationship. Release all your past hurts and unforgiveness. That’s what make us different from children who are basically immature. Instead of demanding from others to give to us, give what we want to others. If you want to have a good communication with your partner, don’t be the one who talk. Be the listener. Learn to see things from others’ point of view. I always believe that a healthy person will seek opportunity to give rather than to receive. They focus on others more on themselves. Of course.. it takes an exercise 😀 As we practice it daily, one day we will master it! A healthy relationship is a product of hard work! Let’s make it happen!

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Blessings,
Leticia

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

From A Father’s Heart

Father and daughter relationship is one of the most beautiful gift to human being. Our God himself is always take a position as a Father and embrace us as His daughters. A daughter is safe when her father fulfils his calling by protecting and loving her with all of his might. Sadly, we know that in reality it doesn’t always happen. We have seen a relationship where father and daughter don’t communicate so much because he is busy with his occupation or think that it is her mother’s job to nurture the children. We have seen a father who emotionally and physically abuses his daughter. We have seen a father who abandons her daughter. If you don’t have the gift of father and daughter relationship as it supposed to be, then I want to encourage you to embrace your loving Father in heaven. His love is more than enough to heal your wound, disappointment, and hunger for father’s love. This is important because without our Father’s love in heaven, we will eventually become limp in the area of love and also may not have a healthy self image.

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Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. -Psalms 68:4-6

Hereby, I would like to give a father’s letter to his daughter. It is made by Ps. Philip Wagner, the one who has become a true father to his daughter. I know that most of us may not have this kind of earthly ‘ideal’ father, so I am deeply convinced that his letter will share a bit of real father’s heart for you. Take this letter as what our Father in heaven would like you to know. He always wants the best for you. He always wants to protect you. Nothing sadden him most then when you make wrong decision for your partner of life. May it blesses you all 🙂

January 12, 2009

Dear Paris,

Today is your mother’s and our 24th anniversary.

Those are kind of rare these days. Many times, relationships just don’t make for a marriage that will last that long. Sometimes people stay married that long, but they just kind of endure it and don’t really enjoy it like they once did.

My wish for you is that you enjoy a loving relationship and have a marriage that will last.

After having been married 24 years and helping hundreds of others in their relationships, I believe it has a lot to do with who you choose to give your heart to. A father wants the best in life for his daughter, and I’m no different.

You once said in a video message that when you got married, you wanted a man like me. You may not need someone like me (although I loved hearing that), but I do hope you end up choosing someone to give your heart to who will be a great match for you. As a dad, I would say to choose someone who is good enough for you, someone who is worthy of you. Ultimately, this is your choice … no one can make it for you. Others can only hope that you guard your heart above all else.

I’ve given similar advice to thousands of others but I thought I’d share it with you on this special day in a more personal way. My advice to you, as your daddy, is to find someone who is:

1. A Christ-follower.

This should be the number-one thing. I’m not talking about picking someone who says he is a Christian; we’ve met many people like that. I’m not talking about someone who knows a lot of Scripture or has been a church member; there are plenty of people who do those things who may not make a very good spouse.

I’m talking about a young man who has a genuine love for God.

Find someone whose faith inspires you to believe more and live with a higher focus, a person who wants to honor Jesus Christ in how he lives and in the choices he makes.

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This kind of faith will cause the person you choose to look for direction from a Source beyond his own thoughts and feelings. He will be compelled to be a servant at times when others focus on themselves; he will forgive when others want to hold on to little disagreements; and he will try to trust God when others just do it their own way. He will look to God’s Word for guidance and will be accountable to God for his choices.

I’ve seen some people compromise on this number-one quality and regret later because it affects so many other areas.

2. Respectful

A person who respects you will think about your feelings and desires before taking action and making decisions. He will make decisions that demonstrate that he genuinely honors you.

Respect changes everything about how we talk to each other, how we work through differences and how we arrive at our ultimate decisions.

He will respect God’s plan for your life. He will never encourage you or support you in disregarding what’s best for your life.

Respect causes us to be kind in way that others are not. It affects how we speak about each other to others and how we approach life together.

3. Protective

This does not mean that he is defensive. He is protective. To me, this means he is considerate of you. In our world today, it’s easy to be self-focused. When the pressure is on, we tend to take care of our own needs first. A person who is protective will think of you before himself.

He will protect you physically from harm and from his own desires that would put you at risk. To young people this includes pregnancy and disease, but it also means meeting your physical needs in everyday life.

He will protect you emotionally by stepping up in times when you may need that extra sensitivity.

He will protect you spiritually by keeping a watchful eye over temptations and distractions.

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He will protect your relationships, conducting his relationship with you in a way that does not jeopardize the other relationships that are important to you. He will not be competitive or unnecessarily jealous, forcing you to choose him in order to feel more important.

Love inspires someone to care for others enough to protect them.

4. A Man with Vision

A person with vision has ambition with purpose. A person with vision has direction.

Some people may have goals, but vision takes you somewhere.

Most young boys have big dreams. Some young men have interesting ideas about ways to make money. But ultimately you will probably want a man that is focused on “making a life,” not just “making a living,” someone who wants to make a difference in the world,

Vision brings confidence, confidence brings strength and strength brings greater vision. (Confidence is a quality that brings so much to a relationship, because it allows us to deal with situations that come up by focusing on those situations alone -not on our own hidden needs that subtly affect every conversation.)

Well, these are a few important qualities … Maybe you can stuck this note away somewhere and let it speak to your heart in the months and years ahead.

My wish for you is to enjoy love in its greatest form.

Love,
Dad

When it comes to men, please do aim high. 
Characters matter more than you can imagine. 

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As a man on his own, a father knows the best what to look for in a man to became his precious daughter’s partner of life. If a human father hopes the best for his daughter, wouldn’t be our heavenly Father wants the best of the best for his children?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -James 1:17 [NIV]

A Godly partner of life is a gift from God. Ask him to guide your path to choose wisely. He knows the future. He knows which one is the best for you. God is not a God who wanted to hide the good things from you. But you have to let him guide you. And while you wait, grow in such a way that you will be the right partner for him too 🙂

Blessings,

Leticia

Photos by Baby Axioo Photography