The Secret to 30 Years of Marriage

My dad and mom were supposed to split up during their first year of marriage. Back then, my parents had opposite personalities and they came from different family backgrounds which triggered the tension, arguments, and emotional and physical hurt between them. But, by the grace of God, He used one of my dad’s best friends to share Jesus and the Bible to my parents and it turned their lives around! Last night, our family celebrated their 30th anniversary and we thanked God for His goodness and grace in their lives.

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During our family dinner, my siblings and I took turns in asking our parents about the memorable experiences they’ve had and the lessons they’ve learned since they got married. It was an encouraging time with the family because we got to know their hearts more as they opened up about their past. They shared about some of the mistakes they’ve done and how they were encouraged by God to keep on learning and improving for His glory. They also recalled how God changed their hearts and allowed them to grow in their relationship with Him, which greatly influenced the way they dealt with the hurdles and calamities that our family encountered these past years.

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However, if there was only one thing that I could take home from our celebration last night, it was our parents’ emphasis on the grace of God. It was because of God’s grace, that our parents were able to honor God and be faithful in their relationship throughout the years. After attending Bible studies and knowing Jesus more during their first year of marriage, they realized that they were just living their sinful lives for themselves. They understood that they needed our Savior, Jesus Christ, and by His grace, they placed their faith in Him and accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

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It says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God desires that we spend an abundant life with Him for eternity because He loves us so much. However, because of our sins, we were separated from Him. In Romans 6:23, it even says that the penalty for our sins is death – and this death refers to us spending eternity in hell; being separated from God forever. But, the amazing thing about God and His Word is that we always have hope in Him. God already made a way for us to be reconciled and to spend eternity with Him in heaven by sending His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us and to conquer death when he rose again after three days. It is only through Jesus that we can have eternal life.

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Three decades ago, my parents came to know Jesus and experienced Him in a personal way. This radically changed the way they lived ever since. Their desires for sin lessened and their love for the Lord grew. And because of the overflowing love and grace that they received from God, they were encouraged to share Jesus to each other and to others too, including us (children), relatives, and friends. Whenever they are tempted to sin, to be bitter towards each other, or to dwell on their mistakes, they would be reminded of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness and their hearts would be changed.

What was the secret to their 30 years of marriage? It was experiencing God’s grace and sharing it to others.

My dad and mom still have arguments and still get hurt by each other every now and then, but by God’s grace, they continue to trust in the Lord and choose to honor Him in their marriage.

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Dearest Dad and Mom,

I want to take this time to honor you and appreciate you both. Thank you for being faithful in your relationship with the Lord and with each other. It is inspiring to see you reach this milestone despite the many bumps you’ve experienced along the way. Indeed, it is only by His grace that you are still happily married and serving the Lord together. Hehehe. I pray that God would continue to touch your hearts and help you grow more in love with Him each day. Thank you for constantly sharing Jesus and His word to the people around you (e.g. during birthday parties, wake services, casual meals, vacation trips, and at different church activities). Thank you for encouraging us to always seek the Lord, spend time with His word, and honor Him by discipling others. Thank you also for giving us practical tips on how to manage the resources that God has blessed us with. May the Lord continue to use you to be a blessing to the people around you. I love you, guys! Happy 30th anniversary!

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Encouraging others one treat at a time. :)

Thursday Tune #29: You Are My Rescue by Royal Tailor

As I was crossing the street from our office around 3:30 pm today, I saw four fire trucks quickly driving by and heard their sirens ringing. My heart suddenly beat faster as I and the other people on the street watched them hurry to their destination. It reminded me of the time when our house in Kapitolyo, Pasig city burned down. It happened 10 years and a day ago.

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Our helper woke my parents up when she noticed that the house was burning. It was around 1:30 in the morning when it happened. Then, our parents rushed to our bedrooms and gathered us all in the master’s bedroom. At that time, dad tried to fill up large pails with water and he ran to the family den (where the huge fire was) and back to the master’s bedroom to get some more water. After a few seconds, I think he realized that the fire was getting worse so he instructed everyone to leave the house immediately.

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The smoke already filled the air by that time, so we couldn’t clearly see our way. My mom, siblings and I  lowered our bodies, held each other like we were one big caterpillar, and immediately walked towards the main gate. Dad stayed behind to get a few things and after a minute or two, he got in the car that was parked in the garage and he drove it out to the street.  I remember seeing the ceiling (that was covered with fire) collapse and fall to the ground a few seconds after dad got the blue car out. Whew! It took a while (maybe 20 to 30 minutes) before most of the fire trucks came, so the house was pretty much gone by the time they arrived. But, God still allowed this to happen because it was for the best.

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Despite the loss of most of our material things that day, one of the major highlights that our family experienced together was the peace that God placed in our hearts while we were watching the house burn and crumble into ashes. It was a different kind of peace. We didn’t cry nor worry. We were just amazed and hopeful at the same time. God was in control and He will always be in control no matter how terrible the situation is.

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When I saw the fire trucks drive by the street a while ago, I thought about how difficult it is for those who are experiencing a similar situation today. I still don’t know where the fire came from or what their situation is right now. But, seeing these things again reminds me of God’s love for us and how He graciously sent His son, Jesus, to save us from experiencing eternal death in the **fiery lake of burning sulfur. Jesus died and rose again to save us so we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

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**“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

I learned about this many years ago, even before our house burned down. By His grace, I repented, acknowledged my sins before Him, and I asked Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior. He has changed my life and heart ever since. It says in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

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Whenever our family would remember November 19, 2004, we would always thank God for his grace and faithfulness. We could have died 10 years ago, but God didn’t allow it to happen. And maybe one of the reasons why He added 10 more years to my life was because He wanted me to take this opportunity to share His love and grace to you, dear reader.

He loves you and I want you to know that.

He loves you more than you can imagine and wants you to have an intimate relationship and an abundant life with Him too.  Don’t wait for a ‘fire incident’ to happen before drawing near to God. Don’t wait for the next day. :)

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Before I go to bed tonight, I want to share a song that touched my heart recently. It’s called “You Are My Rescue” by Royal Tailor. :)

 

Encourage yourself one tune at a time. :)