Advice Seeker: My marriage is on the rocks | Notes of an Imperfect Christian

After posting the entry When my Church hurts me, I was surprised to find a “request for advice” in one of the comments.

While this is totally unexpected for me and my not be my forte (Status: Unmarried), I guess it wouldn’t hurt if I give it a shot.

Here it is:

Hi W3bservant,

I totally understand what you’re going through. It’s part of our Christian life.
I hope you can enlighten me one way or another.

Here’s my current situation.

image lifted from http://embraceliving.net/relationship-problems.html


I am the sole breadwinner in my family and we live in a squatters’ area in Manila.
When it rains, it pours in our house. Laging may tulo ang bubong namin.
I just pray about it. Sometimes the rain will stop. Other times it will get stronger.

I am earning a good amount abroad but I am surprised that my wife does not get our house fixed.
There are always excuses.
Last month, I learned from my eldest son that their mom has been living a luxurious life
away from them. She bought herself a condominium and an owner-type jeep but
keeps it to herself. She does not let our children use it nor the condo.

The other thing is her siblings are all enjoying the same comfort living in her condo and she bought them tricycles and motorcycles. She even pays for the apartment of her parents in San Pedro.

When I talked to her about it, she got mad and threatened to divorce/annul our marriage if I bring the subject up again while insulting and cursing me in front of our children.

Now, I really love her and we’ve been through a lot.
I don’t want to end our long relationship. People are looking up to us and we don’t want to be a bad example to our fellow believers.

Please help me,
Ama

Anyone else may email me at:
monergistiama@gmail.com


Dear Ama,

Firstly, thank you for taking the time and investing trust to write to me and share your problem. Let me first get the disclaimer laid down: I’m a bachelor in my late 20’s. So I may not be able to directly address your concerns as married men could, but I pray to the Lord for wisdom and guidance.

As a starter, I can relate to your situation at some point. Ako ang panganay at  breadwinner biggest contributor sa aming finances and have been supporting a family of 6 this since I started paying taxes. Although not in a squatter’s area, we also live under a roof with rain holes.

There. Now let me address your questions with questions.

Do you happen to know how luxurious her way of living is? Is your remittance (or savings) big enough to sustain the monthly rental of a condo unit (kung sakaling dun nya kinukuha ang pambayad sa condo)? Any evidence that your wife bought the jeep for herself using your money? How many children do you have and how old are they? Bakit hindi sila magkakasama sa bahay? About your in-laws enjoying your money,  at what extent are they enjoying it? Ilan yung tricycle? Sigurado ka bang lahat yun binayaran ng asawa mo using your money?

I am asking these questions because ang unang gusto kong itulong sayo is to help you stop thinking that you have been cheated. Pag iniisip kase natin na dehado tayo, na niloko tayo, mas nagiging mahirap mag-isip ng matino. So FIRST STEP: STOP THINKING YOU ARE A VICTIM.

Pag binibigyan kase natin ng “benefit of a doubt” yung naka-offend sa atin, we are doing them a favor and that gives us a sense of control (sa sitwasyon at sa reactions natin). We can now choose whether we will allow ourselves to be hurt as a result (victim mindset) or we will be on top of the game and decide how the issue will flow.

About your wife’s behavior, since first-hand experience mo ito, obviously you don’t need evidences. Alin sa mga behavior nya ang kaya mong itolerate at alin ang hindi? Bakit malakas ang loob nyang i-blackmail ka with divorce/annulment? Divorce or annulment is a long and costly legal process, saan naman sya kukuha ng pera to finance that should she decide to push it through? Kaya nya nga ba talaga or namba-bluff lang sya?

And if she is really decided to push it through, it means ang pagpapahalaga nya sa relasyon ninyo ay hindi kasing timbang ng pagpapahalaga mo. I know this is painful but, is she worth keeping? Since nabanggit mo na she’s insulting and cursing you in front of your children, hindi kaya mas maging maginhawa ka pa in the long run kung hahayaan mo na sya umalis?

Yes, I know the Bible is against divorce/annulment, but if this relationship will adversely affect your self respect, spiritual and psychological health as well as that of your children, I believe that God is more concerned about your soul which is an eternal stuff than the temporal value of your marriage. About being bad example to fellow believers, seriously bro, of all these things naiisip mo pa ang reputasyon mo at iisipin ng mga tao? C’mon! Baka nga ikaw lang ang nagiisip na magiisip sila ng ganun sayo.

You have been carrying a lot of things lately my dear brother, try to unload.

Keep in mind that the Lord is sovereign and knows everything. Maaaring hindi natin naiintindihan sa ngayon, the ride ahead may be crashy and bumpy, but trust that GOD IS IN CONTROL.

Finally, Find a good church in your area, wala pa ring tatalo sa support system na naibibigay ng isang local fellowship of brethren na physically there para sayo.

I hope nakatulong kahit papaano.

In Christ,

w3bservant

13 thoughts on “Advice Seeker: My marriage is on the rocks | Notes of an Imperfect Christian

  1. Thanks for taking the time W3bservant.
    I agree to most of your points and will consider doing them except on the part on looking for evidence.

    I don’t think I am the one who needs to search for proofs and documentations. I know it’s not enough evidence to only hear it from my other relatives and friends. But the main trust issue is she does not take the time to answer my questions or even bother to talk about it. I think she is the one who needs to show me receipts on how she is spending or budget. At least show some pictures of the repaired issues on our home. At least show some grocery receipts. Wait, she could be bringing it to her family. Or an explanation why our children are undernourished while she and her family are all gaining weight! Oh! I’m not mad at you. Just venting.

    I don’t think she seriously considers legal separation but just hiwalayan. She knows I love her so much that she would use it against me.

    What did your mentors say? And your pastors? Hopefully I can get another opinion.
    Everyone in me and the people around me tells me to give it up. But… I must answer to God to any of my decisions. Keep me in your prayers.

    Readers, what do you think?
    Drop me an advice on
    monergistiama@gmail.com

    Thanks!

    • Hindi ka ba pwedeng umuwi ng bansa at kausapin sya ng personal at masinsinan sa isang lugar na kayong dalawa lang? Palagay ko mas madali mong mapagaaralan ang susunod mong hakbang base sa magiging paguusap ninyo. Naniniwala akong may pag-asa pa ang relasyon ninyo. Makapangyarihan ang panalangin. So alagaan mo sa panalangin bago ka umuwi, at pagkatapos ay manalangin kayo bago kayo magusap. Kung tunay syang mananampalataya, ang kapayapaan ni Kristo ang hahawak sa puso nya para hindi sya maging bayolente pag nagusap na kayo.

      • Minsan na akong umuwi para maayos ito kaso, kagaya nga ng nabanggit ko, ayaw nya itong pag-usapan at binalaan akong maghiwalay na lang kami kung hindi buo ang tiwala ko sa kanya. Kaso ayaw naman nyaing patunayang karapat-dapat siyang pagkatiwalaan. Di ba ang trust ini-earn at hindi lang basta-basta ibinibigay?
        Pasensya ka na sa haba ng problema ko. Kaya ko lang nagagwang magtiis ay dahil sa pag-ibig ko sa kanya. Pero ewan ko. Sana may madaling paraan. Balitaan mo ko pag nagpayo ang mga leaders mo ha. Thanks!

  2. Finally made up my mind.
    It not the easiest decision to make.
    If I’ll severe my relationship with her, I’ll be losing a lot.
    Prestige, honor, applause of men, and the edge of dealing businesses being the husband of an influential religious and political figure.
    But there is more important things than temporal things.

    But my heart knows it is not right. Until she change her ways, I won’t reconcile with her.
    I love her even in our separation. And I will continue to pray for her.
    I will renew my vow to her, only if she will renew hers and never again neglect us.

    Pray for me, and my ex-wife as we start a new life away from each other.
    By the way, my ex-wife’s name is JILL.

    As I end, let me quote ML Quezon, which my ex-wife taught me:
    My loyalty to my CHURCH ends where my loyalty to my God begins.

    Salamat muli W3bServant!

    • As long as this decision is made in good faith and out of a pure conviction of a loving heart, I believe you’ve made a sound decision.
      Naniniwala akong sa kabila ng lahat, mahal na mahal mo pa rin sya. Hanga ako sa katatagan ng iyong puso.
      May isa lang akong hiling sa iyo: wag mo syang siraan sa mga anak ninyo. Even if sometimes you feel like you wanted to, even if it seems she deserves it.

      The issue is between 2 Christian adults, wag nating idamay amg mga bata. And mas hahanga ako sa iyo at maging ang ating mga mambabasa kung sa kabila ng mga pambabastos, panlalait at mga di kagandahang ugali na ginawa nya sa iyo ay hindi iyon magtutulak sa iyo para gumawa ng paraan na mapalayo ang loob ng mga anak nyo sa kanya. Huwag mo sanang i-sabotahe ang respeto ng mga anak mo kay JILL out of selfish and ulterior motives (even though JILL deserves that). In the name of Jesus, I ask you this as another brother in Christ. Pls remember that God also did not punish us even if we all deserve it.

    • Isa pa, wala ka nung lumaki sila, hindi mo alam kung gaano sila ka-mature maghandle ng ganito kaselang issue. Maaaring isa o dalawa sa kanila napakataas ng respeto kay Jill (lalo na yung mga mas bata), at kung malaman nila ang mga ganyan, baka masira pa ang pag-aaral at buhay nila. Pakiusapan mo rin ang mga matatandang anak mo na alagaan ang mas bata, at piliting patuloy na maging ehemplo ng katatagan sa mas maliliit, huwag aalis at mahalin ang kanilang ina, imperfect as she is.

      I should know, kasi kahit 7 years old lang ako nung naghiwalay sina mama, kahit kailan hindi ko sya narinig na nagbanggit ng masama laban sa papa ko (even if drug addict si papa). She even insisted na tuwing Xmas papasyal ako and to keep in touch. Dahil dun, lumaki akong walang bitterness sa puso, marunong ako magpatawad. Siguro kung sinabotahe ni mama ang image ni papa sa akin, lalaki akong may galit sa kanila pareho. Mawawalan ng tiwala, siguro pati sa Diyos dahil hinayaan nyang masira ang pamilya ko. Alam kong naisip mo na rin yan at naniniwala kong hindi ganun ang motibo mo. Nararamdaman ko mabuti ang puso mo.
      As a Christian leader, and a matured believer, alam kong mas alam mo ang nararapat.

      May God bless your loving heart.

      Salamat sa pagtitiwala.

  3. W3bservant,

    We should have been celebrating our 34th anniv if I didn’t decide otherwise.
    BTW, here’s my ex-wife Jill’s FB in case you want to know her:

    http://www.facebook.com/jesusislordchurch

    It was one of the painful seasons of my life, yet I don’t regret a thing.
    I’ve never felt so free to follow God’s leading now that my utmost is wholly only for His Highest.

    Thanks again for the unbiased opinion.

  4. Ohhh, thanks for finally breaking out of cover. Of course, i knew you were referring to her (after you gave her name). I knew her so well, In fact, she’s my foster mom.

    The real me is a JILian. But this blog is non-partisan. I also commented in one of my entries that I am not a loyalist. Just like you, my loyalty to my Church ends where my loyalty to God begins. You must have seen my stand in the entries: Is my Church a Cult and Traits of an Abusive Church.

    https://w3bservant.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/is-my-church-a-cult-part1/

    I also have experienced painful seasons with her and from her. Or to be more exact, from her leaders and workers. That’s why I can see where you are coming from. (Wait til I write more about that).

    But I also realized this: God is sovereign. He wouldn’t have allowed all those painful things to me, let alone coming from His bride, if not for my good. And if I also will be honest to myself, I will admit that these very painful things sharpened me and made me a better person. And is this not the essence of James 1:2-4? This is the reason why I believe in the necessity of the desert.

    In my heart, I still believe you love her. If you need to rest, if you need to leave, then go. Ganun din ang ginawa ko noon. But please, wag mo na idamay ang mga maliliit at mahihina.

    Let us not focus on the FLAWS, but rather on the FLOCKS.

    Ang totoo, pareho tayo ng pinaglalaban, but I chose to stay with her until makita ko yung mga pagbabagong gusto ko makita. Not by my might, not by my power, not by my harsh words or judgmental statements, but by the Spirit of God, who is first and foremost LOVE.

    Shalom.

    • By the way, thanks for the honesty. We may be from the opposite sides, but let me tell you, the respect and admiration is mutual.
      I wish I can meet you in person, I’m sure the conversation would be a fierce one, as Iron sharpens iron. Can’t wait for that. =)

      At least for now, let us agree to disagree.

      With much respect.

      -W3bservant

      • Well, I guess you are in the world but not of it.
        Whatever floats your boat brother.
        I hope you keep your self grounded on the Word and be not
        like every political activist of our time who once elected, becomes just like the one they sought to reform: trapo. One day you might be one of the “elite, world-class leaders” of her. Who knows? Please remember me. But most importantly, why you stayed.

        Please PM me. I’d like to know how you managed to keep the rather abusive relationship.
        A love story that should have ended up in court.

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