38 Year-Long Honeymoon

This past weekend, Edric and I were at a couple’s retreat. Edric was assigned to speak about the topic, “Romancing Your Spouse.” He shared about some of the crazy things he has done for me like this: Real Men Surprise Their Dates .

But his main point was that romance is NOT about the grand or extraordinary things we do for our spouse. That may be part of it, but it is so much more about the unconditional love we give daily.

Out of curiosity, we asked our children how they define romance between two people. This was their adorable list of romantic things that couples do:

You love each other
You love God
You read your bible together
You eat together
You have personal talks with each other You walk together
You listen to each other’s ideas even if you don’t always like each other’s ideas
You tell the truth to each other
You never shout at each other
You always forgive each other
You serve each other
You take care of each other
You have fun with each other
You play games with each other
You exercise together
You kiss and hug
You go out on dates
You talk to each other nicely
You respect each other
You give us an example of love so we can also love each other

Their perspective was very simple and pure, but it sounded a lot like 1 Corinthians 13… Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NASB)

During his talk Edric shared this list and he also shared how husbands can “romance” their wives. But I particularly liked what he said the wives can do. “Wives can unconditionally love their husbands by being appreciative.”

It is powerfully motivating to hear a wife say, “I really believe in you, hon. I really appreciate how hard you work and the effort you put into providing for our needs. I want you to know that you are such an amazing man and I am so blessed to be your wife.” Okay, so if that isn’t exactly accurate for your husband, then tweak it a little.

The point is, be an encouraging and positive wife. And you will inspire your husband to romance you daily!

As women, we often expect our husbands do all the “work” when it comes to romance. We want them to take us out, buy us gifts, remember occasions, and make Romeo and Juliet-like professions of love. But maybe they don’t do this anymore because they are not inspired to. Maybe our negativity and expectations de-motivate them.

I used to be hurt when Edric stopped opening the door for me. This was early on in our marriage. One day, I said, “Things have changed, huh?” I started to go on an historical account of how he used to do this and do that when we were dating. It wasn’t a good move. Instead of “convicting” him to change, he was annoyed.

So I decided I was going to be a more positive wife…to compliment and appreciate even the small stuff. One incident I particularly remember was when we were in Baguio years ago, before we ever had kids. We rode in one of those scary old boats in Burnham park. Edric had to row us across the lake and we were with some friends. I was so impressed with how he adeptly maneuvered the rickety blue boat we were in, like a sexy gondolier (pinoy-style), and I said, “Hon, you are so strong!” Of course, his friends busted out in hilarious laughter. But I meant it and Edric loved it! It became a standing joke among us friends that carried on for years. Yet, I learned a very important principle that day which has affected the way I relate to Edric. I affirm him even for the little things. And he has told me many times that it matters.

It matters because it makes him feel like I really trust him and his capacity. It matters because he feels energized and empowered. It matters because, next to the Lord, my opinion of him is the most important. I can either tear him down or encourage him to achieve and pursue his dreams, his passions, his God-given calling.

One of the best examples of this kind of wifely approach to romancing a husband has been my mom. Butterflies, bubbles, and beautiful roses come out of her mouth when she speaks. Obviously, I am exaggerating. But she truly is a positive person.

I didn’t inherit this genetic trait because this is a spirit-filled thing, not hereditary. (So I have to practice being spirit-filled to be consistently positive. Otherwise, the Jezebel horns come out.) My mom modeled being affirming towards my dad ever since I was a wee-little-Joy. My dad would often say, “Your mom is always smiling and positive.” I saw how it affected the dynamics of their relationship. Even though my dad wasn’t the kind of guy that does crazy things for love, he certainly treasured and cherished my mom. He still does.

This morning I had breakfast with some dear friends and we discussed what it means to be appreciative of our husbands. Someone said, “When I do that, my husband tends to slack off and get complacent.” I love this friend very much but I didn’t agree with her perspective. First of all, it is not our duty to reign in our husbands and keep them on some sort of leash so they “behave” the way we want them to. Secondly, their response is not our problem. It is God’s problem. He will deal with them. We are accountable to be life givers to our husbands. Proverbs tells us, “She (a wife) does him (her husband) good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:12 NASB) If a husband does get complacent, the real issue is that he has a heart problem and that is something that God will have to fix.

As wives, we need to remember that we do things “as unto the Lord.” Focusing on our husbands tends to make our obedience to biblical principles conditional. Like, I will be a good wife if my husband does his part. That is not the relational economy the Bible is talking about. It’s not, I give my 50% and you give your 50% so we can have a 100% marriage. It is give your 100% regardless and hope in God’s promises to bless you and your marriage.

Well, the couples retreat was certainly timely for Edric and me. We have probably been to almost 10 of these over the years, but we still learn so much and we get to review principles we have been neglecting. I also think one of the most encouraging things about attending a retreat with others who have been married for a varying number of years is this: Marriage goes through different seasons as the years go by, but it is possible to stay in the “honeymoon stage” or return to it when a husband and wife are committed to keep God at the center of their marriage, and apply His principles for loving one another.

The last evening of the retreat, my dad led the renewal of vows for the couples that were at the banquet. After we all listened to Mark Schultz’s song, “Time of My Life,” he turned to my mom who was at the table nearest the stage. And he said, “Deonna, you are the only girl I will ever love.” My gushing mom had tears in her eyes.

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I have watched my mom and dad’s marriage closely. And I have seen the not so perfect aspects, but these are very few and rare. What I do know is they have been married 38 sweet years and they still think they are in their honeymoon stage. It certainly makes me look forward to growing old with Edric. I hope we can someday say it’s been a 38-year long honeymoon and counting…

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Comments

  1. emmajohnsola says:

    I love reading your blogs. I closely follow the messages of Pastor Peter and somehow reading your blogs gives me a glance of how and who Pastor Peter is in person. I am so blessed and encouraged. I just got married and by God’s grace, I hope to follow the principles of Jesus in my family.

    In Christ,
    John

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      May God bless your family, John!!!

      • emmajohnsola says:

        Reading your blogs is encouraging me to home school my future kids. πŸ™‚ I just sure hope my wife is up for it when the time comes.

        • Joy T Mendoza says:

          Pray about it together and do a lot of research about it so you can make a wise decision about homeschooling πŸ™‚ There’s alot of info out there about the benefits and challenges.

  2. Learning as I read πŸ™‚ Thanks, Joy!

  3. I love this message.THanks joy .I learned a lot from this message:)

  4. Beautiful! And i just realized you look so much like your mom. Lovely girls! πŸ™‚

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Oh, come on! πŸ˜‰ She is such a blondie πŸ™‚ but I think we have similar personalities πŸ˜‰

  5. Hi, Joy! This is such a beautiful post. I got teary-eyed πŸ™‚ Jerome and I attended the marriage seminar sponsored bt Revicon that you and Edric facilitated. Hopefully in God’s time, we can also join the marriage retreat next year πŸ™‚ It is such a blessing to read your blog. Your family is really a great example on how to live Godly lives. I am always inspired to be a better wife to my husband. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

  6. Ash Magbanua says:

    I’m glad I read this, truly encouraging!

  7. Jan Mamauag says:

    Thanks, Joy. Reading “38-year Long Honeymoon” brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me that as a wife, I have the power to bless my husband by the words I speak. It is a Godly reminder of my role as a wife. May the Lord continue to use this blog to reach out to others and may you continue on writing and inspiring.I also thank Lisa M for sharing the link in her FB.

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Thanks Jan. I have to remind myself to guard my tongue a lot. It’s not just about affirming and building up our spouses, it’s also about being careful about the negative things we can say, too. (I am working on this!)

  8. Karleen Legaspi says:

    SInce the time we enrolled our son at TMA- remote, we have been reading your blogs to to help us through the journey. You and your family has truly blessed us. I can say, you and your family are part na of our lives. Looking forward to meet you someday. Thank you so much Joy. : )

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Praise God, Karleen! I am so glad you are homeschooling. And I am so glad I can reach out to you somehow. It is so encouraging to know that God can use this little blog to bless your family. It’s a privilege to be able to impact your lives somehow. Thank you, Lord!

  9. Jenn Ensigne says:

    This is very encouraging Joy, a blessing to anyone who reads. I have a friend whom I shared this and when she got to read this she said to me that she will send a text message to her husband (who’s working abroad) to appreciate him and say thank you for all his hardship that he’s doing for their family. God bless you more Joy and your family as you bless also many.

  10. Hi Joy, I’m learning a lot from your blog. It is truly a great blessing to read your articles. May our good Lord continue to inspire you to write. I am sharing your blog to my D-group members and friends. They are asking me on how to subscribe to your blog in Facebook. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  11. Hi Joy,
    I was in Edric’s English class and Paul’s MS class in Ateneo. πŸ™‚ I am happy that I found your blog. Your whole family is so inspirational. Whenever I read your posts, I feel like I am able to put life in perspective. What you value and work hard for are the things that truly matter — family, faith, love…

    Keep writing!

  12. Anonymous says:

    correct me if I am wrong – but grammatically, shouldn’t it be:
    Well, the couples retreat was certainly timely for Edric and ME?

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      You are correct! I will edit it! Since we are the object of the preposition in that sentence, it should be Edric and me. πŸ™‚ Thank you! πŸ˜‰

  13. Hi Joy: I truly thank the Lord for bringing me to Him. I learned a lot from all the messages God revealed to us through your Father and all the pastors in CCF. I always admire at how your Dad And Mom put into practice what they preach and the fruit of their parenting as what we see in your family and that of your siblings. I want to read more about your sharing as they continue to inspire us by teaching us how to be more intimate w/ the Lord and be Christlike. Seeing how you and Edric homeschool your kids when Elijah gave his testimony. Thank you so much Joy for sharing. I’m sure everyone wants to have a family like yours.

  14. Praise God, your marriage is made in heaven and what we all wish for, we’ll have too…it’s really difficult being married to an unbeliever husband…it’s a cross i have to bear because of disobedience…reading through all your blogs inspire me though to keep on praying for God’s grace and mercy to be upon my marriage too, as is in yours…Your sharings are really helpful. Your marriage may be “fairy-tale-ly” to others, especially when comparing it with others’ or mine, but thank God we have the same God and loving Father! πŸ™‚ thank you really, for the inspiration…

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Hi Ninmei, it’s really quite an imperfect marriage! But, God is awesome, as you said. He is the one who makes it “made in heaven.” May your example touch the heart of your husband so that he comes to know Jesus personally too! πŸ™‚

  15. andreamaralit says:

    im really blessed!!! <3 im starting to read your blogs .. thanks for this πŸ™‚ i will apply this in the future πŸ™‚ or in the people around me right now ..

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38 Year-Long Honeymoon