Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Six Months

A long overdue post. Sorry. Sometimes, the longer I don’t blog, the longer I don’t want to. It is probably because I feel like I missed so much already. But sometimes it is good to come back to an old habit that helps you jot down and reflect upon a portion of your life.

Six months. I’ve been married for six months. I cannot imagine how things have changed so much in six months.

As Wai Jia and I spent last weekend celebrating being married to each other for six months, I started to realize how much I have changed. I understand a lot more about her which I never had before. I discovered there’s a lot more I do not know about her, about myself and about us. Above all, I am in awe at how God has brought us together.

After watching our video, many people often think our story is a fairy tale. In a way, it does portray that things were dreamy and beyond both our imaginations. When I first read about Wai Jia on her blog, I just thought it would be nice if we were together but never seriously considered the steps I would take to court her. In fact, there were many moments where we  sought the Lord when it  concerned us. Those moments, though, were not just asking the Lord to bring us together. We simply surrendered our relationship to the Lord and let Him lead.

For me, these spiritual experiences and lessons taught me greatly about our Father’s heart and His Ways. He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to follow Him. He wants us to surrender to Him. He wants us to love Him so much that wherever He goes, we will follow. There’s a strong security and assurance in this Love. Perhaps this is why Jesus tells His disciples to abide in His love. I find it amazing, how the idea of love (agape), the sacrificial love, is one of the key characteristics of the Holy One. Just reading 1 Corinthians 13 is a small glimpse of this love. It is not a doctrine too far for us to grasp. It is real and it is genuine. This love from Him is the solid ground where we can build our livesupon.

I used to be one of those people who was so tired of listening to 1 Corinthians 13 at a wedding. I would tighten up and tell myself, this is out of context. Though it is true that Paul wasn’t writing this letter with marriage in mind,  I cannot help but see that our marriage is filled with that same agape love. Marriage should be the spiritual union of two people formed through this type of love. And why not? After all, God is the one who created the institution of marriage (Genesis 2). He also uses marriage as an analogy between Jesus and His Church (Ephesians 5). In this case, marriage, my marriage, should reflect His Love and His Glory.

When it comes to marriage, there are generally two groups of people. The first group is the cynical group. This often portrayed by the media that once you are married, your life is over. Perhaps this is also related to some of the heartaches we have seen when marriages didn’t work. Then, divorce takes place and families are broken. Maybe this is why we are cynical. It is a very personal and painful subject that we need a defense mechanism for. On the other end of the spectrum, we have this fairy tale belief that once you have found your partner, it will be happily ever after. There will be no more heartache.Perhaps, we also sold ourselves into the ideas projected from movies.

I believe that both views of marriage are incorrect. Marriage is neither a living hell nor a heavenly paradise. The truth is Wai Jia is not perfect (though she is great in many aspects!) and neither am I. We both have our strengths and our weaknesses. We both have our differences. We have our own struggles and our own aspirations. When two driven individuals who grew up in opposite ends of the world come together, there is bound to be conflict from these differences. Because of the commitment we promisedeach other through marriage, we aim to encourage and build each other up, not tear each other down.

Many missionaries told me that when you are out on the mission field, all the sins which you thought you had dealt with will rise to the surface very quickly. I see that in myself. I thought there were areas in my life which I thought I had dealt with. The marriage helped me expose areas where I needed to work on. I honestly believe that conflicts within marriages are usually not the other person’s fault. They are mirrors of the sinful nature which I need to put away. The fleshly part within meneeds to die (and die QUICKLY!).

This is hard work. It is hard work because not many of us want to talk about it. This is one of the differences between dating and marriage. When Wai Jia and I date, we just want to have fun: go to a nice dinner orwatch a movie. Sure, we pray and read the Bible together but it is nothing like the intensity of living with someone on a day-to-day basis.

When I sin, she bears the consequences. There are some sinful actions or words I wished I didn’t do or say to hurt Wai Jia. She, in her very forgiving and loving nature, doesn’t give up on me or ridicule me. Rather, we talk about it. We pray against it. We accept each other. We try to help each other grow.

Whenever I read about Paul’s passage that we have to be worthy to live out the calling of being God’s children,, these words become reality when I grapple with my sinful self.  In Colossians 3, Paul says we have to put our old selves to death, while in Ephesians 4, he says we are to lay our old selves down and put on our new selves. Wow.

As I look back, some of the best things thathappened to our marriage were in the preparation stages before being together in marriage. The Marriage Preparation Course taught us the “Speaker-Listener technique” to work through our differences. It really helped us invest in building a foundation for our marriage. For me, to be one with Wai Jia is far more important than the logistics of a marriage (getting the house, what type of furniture to get etc.) Stuff comes and goes. They are important but they are not the most important. Investing in ourselves and in each other, building each other up, loving each other are far more important.

I hope I can still say the same thing a year, five years, ten years, and twenty years from now.

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