Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Marrying for Religious Reasons

Would you say “yes” to a guy who’s courting you and agree to be his girlfriend by virtue of this guy’s reflection on a Bible passage?  You might think that it’s weird or overly religious but that’s what I did six years ago.  I said “yes” to a friend of mine who decided to court me. 

Let me share with you parts of the journal entry I wrote days after I made that decision.

Around past midnight of last Wednesday – that was already October 19 -- God gave me a much unexpected surprise. 

We have just attended Bible study at Greenbelt chapel.  When we arrived at my apartment, I asked him his insights on the Bible passage I asked him to meditate on, 1 Samuel 15.  I have received this passage in my prayer time and I felt strongly that it was not only for me but that I needed to share it with him.  So after much thought and prayer, I decided to give it to him.  At the back of my mind, I was thinking and quite expectant that after he reads it he would decide to stop pursuing me.  Well, aside from the fact that I wanted him to do that, I also know very well the main lesson in that passage.  It talks about King Saul’s disobedience and God’s rejection of him as king because he went ahead of God.  So, I was very surprised and I think a bit shocked when he shared his insight.

He said that he was struck with verse 17: “Even though you consider yourself of no importance, you are the leader of the tribes of Israel.  The Lord anointed you king of Israel.”  I was really taken aback when he shared that he was struck by this verse so I asked him to explain why.  His reflection surprised me even more.  I was speechless for a few moments.  I could not believe I was hearing those words from him.  What he shared was very different from my expectation.

He said that he was struck by that verse because that’s exactly how he feels particularly in his relationship with me.  He feels so unworthy of my affection especially because he knows I’m more spiritually mature than him; but because he loves me, he continues to ask God for me.  And to receive that word from God, he felt so blessed that God has anointed him.  That although it’s something that he thinks he’s undeserving, he expects in faith that God will answer his prayer.  He chooses to believe that God can give me to him.

At that point, I could no longer ignore or deny that God’s favor was upon him.  God instructed me in 2001 to use the character of King David as guide in choosing my future spouse.  I studied his life and his character so that when someone comes my way, I could discern if he has David qualities or not and that would enable me to decide whether I should choose someone or not.  I have learned that David means “God’s anointed or God’s chosen one.”  I have learned that David has a very humble heart and a very strong faith in God.  So, after hearing his insights, I realized that he has David qualities and that God has anointed him at this time for me to choose him.  So although I didn’t want to choose him initially, I chose to trust God’s wisdom and to submit to His plans because I know that God has anointed him.  I have anointed him that night after hearing God’s voice.  He’s now my boyfriend.
I honestly had a lot of hesitations and fears but I simply chose to abandon them and trust God completely.  I have so much faith in Him.  I know that He would not give me something that would harm or hurt me.  I know that His plans are best and that He knows me best.  I know that I could not rely on my heart because the human heart is so deceptive and unstable.  But I know that God’s heart is very reliable.  He has repeatedly told me that He sees and knows the hearts of men and so I asked Him many times in the past to show me who is worthy of my love and I would accept and rejoice in His choice.  I would be a hypocrite if I do not admit that I didn’t struggle to accept and rejoice in God’s choice.  I struggled much actually but I chose not to focus on the struggle but to focus on the truth of God’s Word.  I have always used His Word as a lamp to my feet and that night, He gave me just enough light to make another step of faith.  I thank God for the grace to say yes not only to George but more importantly to Him.

That Bible passage paved the way for me to have my FIRST and ONLY boyfriend.  Yes, you read it right.  He was my first and only boyfriend.  And I was not romantically attracted to him at first.  He was one of my good friends then and I struggled to see him as more than a friend.  He was very blessed that God endorsed him. ;)  That friendship barrier was broken eventually and I fell in love with him.

A year later, I married this guy mainly because of religious reasons.  You read it right again.  My main reasons were religious in nature.  I was already romantically attracted to him but my feelings then were just secondary.

I can give you a long explanation why I said that but since this is simply a blog entry, I will keep it a bit short.  If you are interested to know the details of my journey to married life though and you have time, you can read my book When MyBridegroom Comes and Bo Sanchez’ book 40 Stories of Finding Your One True Love, where our love story was included.    

Now, here are my religious reasons:

1.    I discerned that God was calling me to the married vocation and that it is in this state of life that I can love and serve God best.  Moreover, I discerned that it is in the married vocation that I would grow in faith the most.

2.    I discerned that God was calling me to love Him and express my love for Him through this man.

This may sound very spiritual to you or most people but that’s the truth. 

Last Sunday, I was surprised and happy to hear the priest say in his homily that men and women should marry mainly because of a religious or spiritual reason.  He shared that he has interviewed many couples who were planning to get married in his ministry as a priest (more than 20 years if I remember it right) and that’s one of the things he wants to hear when he interviews couples who are planning and preparing for marriage.  He further said that even romantic reasons are not enough to keep married couples together for life.  He said that all marriages should have a third party but the only third party that should be allowed in a couple’s marriage is God.  I was struck the most when the priest said that when men and women marry, it should be because he or she commits to let the woman or man he/she intends to marry to experience the love and faithfulness of God through him/her.  Wow!  It was the first time I heard that.  Looking back, now I know why my family and I celebrated Mass at Gateway suites last Sunday.  We normally celebrate Mass at PICC during The Feast but because we needed to meet someone in Gateway last Sunday, we decided that it would be practical to hear Mass there as well since there's a Mass at Gateway at 5 PM also.  I realized that God wanted me to hear that priest's homily.  :)      

This was a pleasant and delightful surprise for me.  I felt that it was God affirming and honoring me for the decision I made this same month six years ago.

So, will I choose to do the same thing if I go back in time?  Absolutely!  Not because my marriage or family life is perfect; but because I believe that marrying my husband is part of God’s perfect plan for my life.  I did not marry Mr. Perfect; but by marrying my husband, I was able to say “yes” once more to my perfect God and Father.   

How about you?  Do you think you’d marry for religious reasons as well?