Still In Love

Still In Love

Theresa Fuentes Millarez met her husband, Christopher Millarez, during a church evangelistic outreach. She shared the Gospel with him. She never thought they would meet again after that, but eventually, they did. Now, they’ve been married for 12 years and have two children, Lindsey Miles, 10, and Lyndon Klyde, 7. Theresa currently teaches an elementary grade in a public school. She got her master’s degree in teaching English.

The numbers on the clock showed midnight. My eyes were still wide open. My mind was too disturbed to fall asleep as I looked at the man by my side. Although I loved him, questions kept surfacing: “Does he really love me? Will our marriage last until we grow old? Can I really stay in this relationship? Why isn’t my husband like other husbands? “

Respect, special treatment, love, and courtship are the things that every woman wants to experience in marriage. I wanted them, too, but instead I was always crying; I was always getting hurt. I did not understand why it kept happening. After all, I had prayed for this relationship and I knew we were meant to be together. However, our relationship was far from the idealistic one I had hoped for when we got married.

I wanted a man who was thoughtful and expressive. But, my husband is not like that. I always had to remind him about our special days. In 2012, I told myself I would not remind him it was our wedding anniversary. I would see if he could remember it himself. By 3:00 pm, I had heard nothing from him. When he realized I was annoyed, he drove me to a fast food chain for an afternoon snack. Then, I told him, “Next year, please try to be more thoughtful.” But on our next anniversary he forgot again. I acted sad but I didn’t tell him the reason. Finally, he remembered, but it was too late to celebrate. Then, he got angry, too. He said; “You know how busy I was today. Why didn’t you remind me? You are selfish not to remind me!”

I was also disappointed that my husband did not talk to me as much as I talked to him. I always told him everything that happened to me, and everything that I had heard that day. I expected him to do the same, but he just listened, and did not say much.

I was really vocal at times. I told him, “I am a woman. Even before I express my thoughts, you should know them already. Why are you so insensitive?” I thought that he should read my moods and my emotions. I expected him to sympathize when I got angry. Little by little I felt he became a stranger to me. What I did not understand at the time were the feelings of my husband. I didn’t realize that he was hurt, too. He doubted my love for him.

We were in this situation for a long time. In 2013, my husband applied for work abroad. Before he could leave the Philippines, he had to stay in Manila for several months. He left me with our two kids in my hometown in Roxas City. I really missed him when he was away. I wanted him to call me often, but instead, he only called me once or twice a day. He only talked for short periods of time and I got angry and cried; I would text him and tell him how I felt unloved and neglected.

Of course he would explain his side, and say I was wrong. Finally, he expressed his feelings to me on the phone. He said; “I don’t know you anymore! I think I am doing my best to please you, but it’s hard to make you understand. You always see mistakes in me. This is me. Why do you expect me to be someone else? I really appreciate you for being a good mom to our two kids, but as a wife to me, I find it hard to understand you. Don’t you know you are destroying me? I don’t know myself anymore. You are not the same person I used to know. You expect too much from me. Please stop comparing me to other men. I am different!”

I awakened to the fact that I had been comparing him to other men, and overlooking how unique he was. I pointed out all his faults without considering his struggles. I remember saying things like, “That husband is good. He fetches his wife on time.” Or, “That man is good, he allows his wife to take the lead in the family.” At other times, I would murmur, “That wife is so lucky, her husband adores her so much.” Then I concluded that maybe my husband didn’t love me because he was not like those men.

In times of struggle in marriage, it is always a big help to remember the promise we made in front of the altar on our wedding day; that we will love each other no matter what. I may not be able to recall those promises word for word, but the truth remains that we determined to hold on to each other forever, knowing that God is our witness in the journey we decided to take.

Pride is always present when a couple quarrels. It’s hard to admit you are wrong. However, God changed my heart. Every time I felt like giving-up, I reminded myself, “Hey! What about the promise you made to this man and to your God? Did you not promise God to love this man, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?”

I realized that I had to accept my husband for the man he is. I told myself to look at him through the eyes of Jesus. I admitted I have lots of imperfections, which he has never pointed out to me. I also recalled the friendship that we had, how close we had been even before we became lovers, how I chose him because of his simplicity and genuineness. I remembered his loyalty and truthfulness and his dedication as the head of the family. I remembered his reverence for God. I counted his good qualities and realized how blessed I was for having him as my husband.

That moment of realization led me to a decision; I would do my part as the wife God called me to be: I decided to always pray for my husband; I decided to think first before I spoke; I decided to be more considerate of him. I decided this, because in the end, I know he loves me and I love him. In return, my husband became expressive, and malam-bing to me. Now, we can converse about anything under the sun, and we end up laughing together about funny things. Marriage is team-work involving three persons: my husband, our God and me. Prayer, Bible-reading, fellowship with other believers, regular conversation, and open communication are essential to a husband and wife relationship.

Today, we still have little arguments, but we see changes in each other. We patch up things easily. Settling arguments really matters because it shows your partner you are willing to adjust for the good of both of you.

Our kids say they are happy and proud that we are their parents. At night after prayer time, we have giggling time with the kids. Their papa tells jokes and they tease each other. I massage them until they fall asleep. Always before they fall asleep one of them says, “Mama, I’m happy today. I love you and Papa.” In many ways, they express gratefulness for the family we have and it makes me thank God.

This is, I think, the best consolation of having a life partner who fears God: We may not be the ideal man or woman, but we see each other as the perfect partner that God provided for each of us. Every morning it is exciting to face the man I know will not turn his back on me. He is the man who hugs and kisses me and expresses appreciation for what I am doing and my importance to our family. Every time I face trouble, like health problems or work-related problems, he is always there to listen to me. There are times that I make mistakes in my finances and he always lets me feel he understands, but he never omits giving good advice and he never plays the “blame-game.” He taught me to refrain from blaming people when problems come, but to learn from the problems, and look for a solution.
It is more than a year since I have had sleepless nights because of arguments or hatred. My husband recently joked, “Ang tagal ko nang di ka naririnig magdrama a.” Our married life was almost ruined, but God redeemed it.