Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I met my husband 11 years ago to this day. 

Like many others, both of us were survivors of past tumultuous relationships. We talked about our experiences openly, and we soon found out that these conversations led us to heal. Ours was not the usual "first date getting to know each other" kind of thing. We started out as with a long distance relationship for a year until my husband decided to fly in and establish residence here.

How did we make it work? Of course there is trust and respect for each other. In addition to that, we never had any intent to change each other. Acceptance was what made this relationship strong.

Let me share our secrets to a long lasting relationship. Take a deep breath. Here goes...

Accept each other's uniqueness

My husband is American. I am Filipino. Two people from vastly different cultures living under one roof. It took a whole lot of adjustment for both of us. He could not understand the Filipinos' need to eat rice with every meal, and I could not imagine having native Filipino dishes without it. Pork sisig with mashed potatoes? Nah. I don't think so.

I have written an article a few years ago about how me and my husband are complete opposites and yet somehow manage to keep our relationship healthy. How different are we from one another? Well, for the record, he's handsome and I'm gorgeous. Ha ha.

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Communicate and compromise

Relationships are not always full of the joys of spring every day. In reality, couples disagree and have their "moments" from time to time. Just like we do. I am a tinderbox ready to explode when I am swamped with work, and he is a crabby patty when he's in pain. Through the years, we have learned to avoid getting on each other's nerves during these "moments." The trick is to communicate your need and if it cannot be met, then settle for a compromise.

Learn from each other

It is very important for us to never stop learning from each other. My husband is like my very own Google. I don't need to do a search for something, I simply ask him and he knows! Whenever I compliment him and say, "Oh goodness, you're so smart!" He'd just reply with, "No, I'm not. My brain is just full of useless information."

He is trying to learn to understand Filipino, but after more than a decade, he only understands a few words. That's okay. I never grow tired of trying how to teach him how to properly pronounce the names of the cities or municipalities when he reads a news item about it. Our cultural differences are our bridge of learning. We are like toddlers, always curious about anything and everything related to being American and being Filipino.

Find humor in everything

Both me and my husband suffer from chronic illnesses. Although these are not life-threatening, there are days when things go bad. There's the back pains, the joint pains, the fluctuating blood sugar levels, the migraine headaches. During those bad days, we make it a point to find ways to distract our attention away from the pain. I greet my husband with, "Hello, Stephen!" when his joints are stiff. He says, "You're so sweet" when my blood sugar reading is high.

Our bodies are no longer the same ones when we first met. Eleven years ago I was fit and slim and he was fit and strong. Now, we don't look anything like we did before. Does that matter? Nope, not one bit. We may be old, but we are still in shape. He is now shaped like a long rectangle, and I am shaped like a trapezoid.

Keep the Faith

Putting God in the center of the relationship strengthens the bond between couples. My husband and I are both Christians. Although he's Protestant and I'm Catholic, we still believe in the same God. He reads the Bible almost every day and it is such an admirable trait.  He encourages me to read the Bible, and lets me know what to read when I encounter trials, need guidance or to praise and thank God for blessings received.

One of the biggest blessings I received is having my Poppa bear in my life. And I thank God immensely for that.


Little things are important to keep the spark alive

Simple, heartfelt tokens of affection go a long way. A warm hug as we  pass each other on the way to the kitchen, a kiss on the forehead to wake one up, or even just holding hands while watching a silly sitcom means a lot to us. Couples have terms of endearment for each other. Well, we do too, and we call each other "Poppa bear" and "Momma bear." We live in a "bear cave," and our kids are the "bear cubs."

Doing housework may be the most mundane task, however, the efforts we put in is enough to show how much we care for each other, and for our family.

The bears go through a huge pile of clothes in a week and laundry day means back-breaking labor for me. I know how important it is to keep choose the right laundry products for our clothes to be clean, fresh smelling and if possible, bacteria free too. So, I do not scrimp on laundry detergent. I also choose a good fabric conditioner that will give our clothes a long lasting fragrance.

Del is my fabric conditioner of choice for the longest time now. When I learned they had two new variants, Del Forever Joy and Del Forever Love. I just had to get some and try it!


My take on them? I give them a 10 out of 10! It does make our clothes smell fresher, longer! I just love opening my closet and discovering that my clothes still smell fresh and fragrant, even after two weeks have passed! It is true that Del Forever Joy and Love now has 15x longer lasting bangooooo versus a regular detergent brand based on consumer test in Metro Manila. Fantastic!

I also found out that Team Kramer, an adorable celebrity family with three active kids, also trusts Del to keep their clothes smelling mabango the whole day! Now that I am using Del too, I can be sure that  my sons won't smell stinky and sweaty when they come home from sports practice. My daughter will smell like she just came out of the shower even after her long commute to work. For me and my husband? We enjoy this new scent! More hugs, more closeness, more love!



Give no less than 100% in everything you do.

Whatever you do to keep the relationship strong, give it your best and give it 100%. Give your full attention and really listen to what your spouse is saying. It means a lot to a person when they know you are actively listening to them.

From cooking, to cleaning the house, to running the business, do it out of the goodness of your heart. Things done haphazardly will only be reason for misunderstanding.

I used to hate doing the laundry, however, I have found an hassle free way to get the task done. I soak the clothes overnight, run the wash cycle in the morning and finish off with Del fabric conditioner. I am hooked on their two new scents! I used Del Forever Love last week when I washed our beddings and curtains. Now our bedroom smells like a flower garden in full bloom! I love it! Check out Del's Facebook page and read about how people are raving about their products. You just have to believe in Forever!

For the record, I am not a marriage counselor or a psychologist. The secrets to our long lasting relationship are simple and come naturally. What works for us may be different from yours, as we all know that every relationship is unique.

Now that I have shared with you the secrets to our long lasting relationship, I would love to hear about yours. Share them in the comments below.

Live. Love. Stay Blessed.

17 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your secrets. For us is simply "do not give up".

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    1. Exactly. Especially if you have children.

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  2. Awwwwe.. just like that, your love stories seems to be just like the detergent soap, there is a match for everyone else, provided that both will compromise and accept for what and who they are.

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    1. I agree. We must be mature enough to get into a relationship.

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  3. It's amazing that he wanted to live there with you sis. Don't you guys have a plan to settle here in the States?

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    1. We considered that before, Rose, but he said he has everything he needs here. He loves the place where we live now, because we are within walking distance to the hospital, the grocery, church, and mall. Maybe sometime we can visit, but he prefers to stay here.

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  4. Sounds like you figured it all out and that is awesome. I try to find humor in everything, too, and it definitely helps my marriage!

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    1. Oh yes. Humor is essential in making a relationship work. A good laugh makes us forget about the pain and other physical symptoms of illness. What is important though is to laugh at the situation, not at the person. :)

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  5. Compromise is the key to any relationship. Communication as well because you cannot compromise if you do not communicate!

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    1. Yes, they do go hand in hand. Last night my husband wanted to watch a documentary that would overlap with my soaps. So we made a deal - I get the last slice of pizza, and he gets to watch his show. :)

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  6. My husband and I have been together for 13 years (married for 10 as of last month.) Relationships are TOUGH! I don't think anyone has a "perfect" relationship, but I do think that they all require hard work to make them work.

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    1. Congratulations, Jaime! Wishing you more years of blissful togetherness. I agree, there is no perfect relationship, and there is no guidebook on how to make a marriage perfect. I believe both parties need to commit to make the relationship work.

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  7. What lovely ways you honour each other in your relationship! I think everyone could learn from your story and how you've nurtured and allowed your relationship to grow. Wishing you many more happy years to come!

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    1. Thanks Beverly. We have this promise that we will both grow old together, watching sunsets by the bay, holding each others' wrinkled hand as we sit on our very own "his" and "hers" wheelchairs. :)

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  8. It sounds like your relationship is really healthy. I'm a big believer in the importance of open communication!

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  9. Learning from each other and being patient with one another is so important. That is the best way for two people to grow old together.

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  10. This is beautiful, inspiring, and encouraging. I’m a newly wed of only 4 years so this is very helpful! You guys are too cute by the way!

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Feel free to share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you too.