Marriage Is Hard Work Because Communicating Is Hard Work

When Darel and I were still dating, we make it a point to schedule at-least once a month to have a “talk”. It’s when we ask questions to each other like, “How are you?” and “What is God teaching you lately?”. When we celebrate our anniversaries, we change the questions to something like, “What are the things you’ve learned in the past year of being in this relationship?” and “What can I do better to improve on being a girlfriend/boyfriend?”. We thought it’s a good way to assess whether our relationship is helping us grow as individuals or not, and in what ways are we hindering each other in pursuing our first love – God. It also keeps us on the right track, because if we realize how toxic our relationship is slowly becoming, then we definitely need to do something about it.

We have practiced asking hard questions even back in the days when we were still in the courtship stage. I remember when Darel confessed that he wants to pursue me and I asked him, “Why? Why do you want to enter into a relationship? Why me? And if ever things would go well, how do we glorify God with this partnership?”. (I posted this on my Instagram last year). Haha! You may think that it was too much and too serious, but I was 25 back then and I’ve been into a number of failed relationships that I’ve become tired of unnecessary heartaches. I also told myself that if ever I will be in a relationship again, I will enter it with “marriage” in mind. Because what’s the whole point of dating if you don’t see yourself marrying the person? Also, as a woman, I strongly think there’s nothing wrong in clarifying the real intentions of the guy who wants to be part of your life. My questions clearly showed what I value the most and I was certain that only the guy who is on the same page as me is worth my time.

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10: From the very start, he was so certain that this is something different. Kulang na nga lang ang itanong nya agad is, "will you marry me?" instead of, "pwede ba kitang ligawan?" Hahahaha!! I know it sounds cheezy but it's kind of rare nowadays to find a guy who would clearly tell you his intentions. He was never the type who would give signals and then wait for me if I will reciprocate. He was very straightforward about his feelings na medyo stressful for me kasi hindi ako sanay ng ganun. Normally, I can easily shot down a guy who would make damoves, pero ito iba eh. It was in my conviction that if a man doesn't understand and believe the God that I believe in, I won't bother to waste time on him. I have done the opposite, many times in the past that's why this time I was really serious. I have asked all the hard and very important questions, but he will just never back down . Ang hirap. Sobrang hirap labanan ng kilig and emotions. (Hahaha. Kadiri to ah. ) I mean, nasa harap mo na nga eh, andami mo pa kaartehan. Pero I just had to. I was in denial and wrestling with God asking Him, "Lord, joke lang kasi yung prayer ko. Joke lang din ba 'to?" I was thinking na baka tinetest lang ako ni God. Haha. I wasn't really ready to put down my walls. Iniisip ko talaga hindi rin tatagal itong isang 'to. But because he was really persistent, I asked him to give me 100 days so we can individually pray about this. Nung time na yun I just wanted to be really sure sa mga ganap sa life ko. I wanted us to get to know each other more, not by constantly texting each other, or lalabas ng kami lang. Ayoko din ng special treatment. In short no intentional usap for the meantime. Hahaha. Weird, I know. I had to come up with that kasi nga crush mo diba. Haha. Ayoko maging biased sa feelings ko, so I decided with my head and not with my heart. And you know what, I'm so glad I did.

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Now, why am I sharing these things? Haha. It’s just actually a background of how Darel and I have practiced communicating in the past years of being together. Now that we are married for a year, it’s funny how we sometimes find ourselves having difficulty finding the time to have that “talk”. Kung kailan magkasama na nga kami sa isang bahay, diba? Well, maybe it’s because we don’t get to schedule it anymore. It randomly happens at any time of the day, that’s why we don’t consider it the same like how we used to do it. However, it’s sad to say that we seem to have forgotten to make it intentional because we were so busy adjusting to the married life and of course, enjoying it as well.

Few days ago, we decided to bring it back. The “intentionality” of our “talks”, I mean. It was over dinner, and Darel started with, “So, how are you?” and for some reason, all I was able to say was, “Okay lang naman”. Hahaha. I was trying to recall all the feels and thoughts I’ve had in the past week but I think I was able to share it all to him (on random occasions) so there’s nothing left to tell him anymore that evening.

It was a bit awkward because obviously, we haven’t done it for several months. I told him, “I think I’m fine. I already told you everything. How about you?”. So he started sharing the things in his head like what bothers him at the moment, what makes him anxious, and something like that. Everything was okay until he said something that made me respond, and I started making comments on what I think about it. It was such an innocent moment (at-least for me), that I failed to realize that I slowly took over the “sharing time”. (Parang all of a sudden kasi I remembered na meron pa pala akong gustong i-share. Haha.) Well, Darel listened to me as my comment slowly turned into rants while expressing all my thoughts.

Like what I said, I didn’t notice that I interrupted him, and I thought everything was okay because he didn’t say anything. Until slowly, he started to become annoyed and it felt like he just wanted to end the conversation. Now, that bothered me so I asked him, “Are you mad? What’s the problem?”. He said he was fine, so I continued talking. (HAHA. Napaka-manhid mo, Renel) That happened twice. I guess he couldn’t take it anymore when he blurted out, “Ikaw nanaman eh!”. I was surprised. He even said, “Ubos na yung oras for me to share.” Now, I wasn’t just surprised. I was confused. In my mind, I was thinking, “Ahh, ano bang time limit natin tonight?”. Well, it turned out that he have set a specific window hours for our “talk” that evening, and I was clueless about it. So, obviously, that turned into a little argument.

After a few minutes of trying to pacify ourselves (I washed the dishes calmly haha), we eventually decided to talk about it. I said sorry for being insensitive because I didn’t let him finish what he was trying to share. That was totally my fault. But I also told him that he could’ve just said it nicely because I even asked him twice if everything was okay. He apologized, and said sorry too for not letting me know that he planned to end at a specific time that evening. I asked him if he wants to continue what he was saying before I interrupted him, and he said okay. I did my best to listen and just allowed him to pour out everything that was in his head.

That night, I realized that we still have a lot to learn when it comes to communicating to each other as husband and wife. And I think that learning about it will never stop so you really need to actively think of ways so you could improve on it. I’m happy because we were able to settle that little misunderstanding and we agreed that next time, we will keep in mind that we will not disrespect each other by the way we speak (even in expressing our disappointments), or how we behave when the other one is talking. We decided to pray as we ended.

They say that marriage is a hard work. I agree, because communication isn’t that easy to do, and there are lots of communicating involved in this married life. I took a mental note to remember that night, because God taught me that indeed, “Everything we do must be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14). Ahhh. Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me how to become more like you in circumstances like these.

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