Beyond Romance

It’s after dinner and we’re in our room resting (after we stayed for a while in the living room listening to Hannah practice her piano piece). Hannah has kissed us goodnight and gone upstairs in her own room. Tim has been sleeping with us ever since his nanny left almost a year ago. He sleeps in a cot at the foot of our bed, but sometimes he sleeps with his Ate Hannah. He hasn’t been utilizing his own room upstairs except to nap in the afternoons.

Tonight, he wants to eat one of the chicken adobo rolls that I baked. While he is relishing the savory bun, I tell him to let his dad taste it, too, so he gives him the other half. And the comments start to come.

“The bread tastes good but you’re right, it needs sauce,” he starts.

“Oops! There is a ginger!” He notices.

“It’s an adobo, of course there’s ginger,” I answer.

“Oh-uh! There is a bone!” He complains as he fishes out for the culprit, a tiny piece of chicken bone.

This was exactly what I was thinking of when I told one of our maids who assisted me to make sure that there is no bone left in the meat as she flaked it. I didn’t want to hear complaints. Even a tiny bit. For me it is a big sacrifice to bake or cook considering that I do it against hard breathing, dizziness, and exhaustion. By the time I finished kneading the dough and started to wrap the meat one by one, I was too exhausted to check if a piece of bone was left amongst the meat! I just wanted the work to be finished so I could take my rest.

My husband knows my condition so well. It’s just frustrating that instead of him appreciating whatever food I produce through my pained efforts, he heaps up negative comments and … I just feel discouraged. So disappointed and discouraged that I bury my face in my hands and sob. I think about the story of Julia Child before she became a culinary guru, how her future husband had endured the dish she cooked for him and remained in his seat and finished his dinner like a gentleman and never uttered a complaint or criticism. The same story I read about Ree Drummond and her future husband who was gentleman enough to eat the food she cooked (which turned out to be a disaster) and never left the table nor expressed disgust. I think about all these and I can feel the self-pity and resentment mounting. But then, I remember also that comparisons N.E.V.E.R. do any good.

He leaves the room. Maybe he doesn’t want the issue to get worse. He is like that. He never wants to engage in a lengthy argument.

I easily get exhausted, and when I am exhausted, I easily get frustrated or disappointed or discouraged. But I always find solace in the Lord, thinking about Him, talking to Him.

I know he will be gone for a long time so I tell Tim to sleep beside me for a while. I just want to rest my tired body and sad heart. Tim sleeps beside me and the warmth of his body comforts my cold places. And I slowly fall to a peaceful slumber.

The opening of the door wakens me from my semi-conscious state but I don’t open my eyes. My husband gently lifts Tim in his arms and transfers him into his cot, then he settles in bed beside me. He comes so close behind me and hugs me very tight. His way of expressing he is sorry he hurt my feelings and made me cry. We stay that way for a few moments, then I need to go to the bathroom and need his assistance.

He stands up and dutifully carries me to the bathroom (for I still cannot walk the short distance :( ). He does it with devotion, like a love that had been committed just for this cause, this vow, more than a decade ago. I know. I just know. He is faithful and dependable like that. In sickness and in health, he never left.

For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. (Mat. 19:5)

He cleaved to me no matter how hard the trials had been.

The Apostle Paul, in explaining about marriage, after he echoes the Lord’s words, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”, he proceeds to say, “This is a great mystery…” (Eph. 5:31-32).

And remains a mystery to me, too, for there are times that I have to grope for my love – where I should place it, whether I want to give it or withhold it, or what if I lack it, or worse, do I even have enough to get through every marital woe? I often and fervently pray for my love to expand and cover all hurts and mistakes and ugliness. And then practice it. But the craving and striving could sometimes become wearying.

 Maybe what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had written is really true?

“It is not your love that sustains the marriage,
but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
― Dietrich BonhoefferLetters and Papers from Prison

I feel it is true. For when I cannot grope for my love in the dark, the vow, the marriage, the commandment, the obedience to God are what holds it all together. To honor the vow, the commandment, is to honor God. We work hard on the marriage, therefore, ultimately to honor God.

He replenishes our love.

And here’s a photo of my freshly-baked chicken adobo rolls:

My gratitude list ~ the things I’m thankful to the Lord for. Continuing to count His blessings:

56. Painful divine pinches that remind this soul to walk perfectly before God, constantly leaning on His strength, wisdom and grace.

57. Singed fingers by hot glue stick – just a simple sign of a love that is willing to serve.

58. the people that assist us

59. His leading and help for me to be able to finally complete my first ebook.

60. the door that He mercifully and faithfully opens so that this soul will be liberated from whatever is holding it captive.

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,


  1. Vanessa Santillan says:

    Dear Ate Rina,

    Praise the Lord!

    Thank you for sharing your life here in your blog, it truly touched my heart every time. The Bible verses that you shared in each of your blog really inspires your readers and gives them more courage to live life in God’s guidance through His Words. Whenever I find time, I used to visit your blog to take some inspirational thoughts. Again thank you. Just continue touching other people’s lives! You are truly a talented and blessed woman! Glory glory to God! May our Dearest Lord Jesus Christ bless you more!

    More power and God bless you so much!

    Best Regards,

    Sis. Vanessa

    • RinaPeru says:

      I give all the highest praise, thanksgiving, adoration, and glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords! Truth be told, I am ever dependent on Him for light, wisdom, guidance, anointing, and strength! I draw inspiration from the Wellspring, the Fountain of Life, and I’m ever so grateful that He made me worthy to be used by Him even through this modest writing, for it His power that is always at work!

      Thank you for the encouragement, the love and prayers! God bless you and your family, too!

  2. Anganie says:

    God bless you and your beautiful family, Rina, how I enjoy your writings, how I marvel at God’s restoration in your marriage, You are blessed, so blessed, continue allowing Jesus to be glorified in your life and in your marriage. I like how you say about your husband “He is faithful and dependable like that. In sickness and in health, he never left.”, your husband is one honorable man, he has chosen to do the right thing and God will richly bless him and all of that blessings will also be enjoyed by you and your two beautiful children, Truly God has given you beauty for ashes.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Amen, Anganie – “beauty for ashes” is what He has graciously given us. I am ever so grateful to the Lord for everything He’s done and continues to do in our life. This is what I always sing to Him: “Great is Your mercy toward me, great is Your grace…” And thank you for your beautiful words that encourage, Anganie. Your sincerity and love are felt and received – thank you! May our gracious Lord bless you so much more!

  3. Laura says:

    Rina, your family is beautiful and your rolls look delicious! My heart sank as I read the first part of this story and I felt lonely and sad for you, my friend. I love that your husband showed you his love…and I love this way of loving that is beyond romance. Beautiful.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you, Laura. The next day, I made a sauce for the rolls and the family enjoyed them the more :). I read your Monday post when I was on your blog linking up. Yes, it would be lovely to visit a bookstore like Hearts and Minds, but we don’t have like that in our place, which gave me the idea to just grow our home library :). Blessings!

  4. Hazel Moon says:

    Men often state the “facts” and don’t realize until later that we can take negative facts personally. It is good that you both understand each other and that you know love in acts of kindness. Thank you for sharing your story at “Tell Me a True Story.”

    • RinaPeru says:

      They do. My husband just states the facts plainly but sometimes, I get offended. Marriage, I’m finding out, is a continuous learning process :).

  5. One of my greatest blessings in this world is that my husband rarely ever fusses at me or causes me to feel angry. I was married for 15 years to someone else and the vast majority of it was one argument or fight after another … lots of abuse. Dave is a gentle, caring, and loving husband.

    I’m quite a bit older than he is, and my age is beginning to make me less active and less general energy. But he helps. He’s been a wonderful step-dad, and he’s a wonderful grandfather. My kids were in their early teens when we married 27 years ago. A caring husband, as, overall, your also is, makes a huge difference in our lives.

    Thank you for sharing and for the, overall, lovely loving.

    • RinaPeru says:

      How wonderful that your husband never fusses and is just gentle and kind! Thank you for sharing a bit of your life here, Joanne. It sure will serve as an inspiration! Like you, I just want to practice tender loving every moment, everyday. But sometimes, I fail and err, too.

  6. Kathleen says:

    You have a maid?! Wow, what a blessing that is. In America only the very rich have maids. I pray you are completely healed by the Lord Jesus and very quickly…. “by His stripes You are Healed!” Amen…. The rolls look delicious :) You should post the recipe! Bless You!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Hi Kathleen! Yes, we do have two full-time maids. In our country the Philippines, it’s ordinary to employ maids, even average-earning families can afford it. But lately, it’s becoming a lot harder to find a good maid, because most of them prefer to work abroad, they are called domestic helpers or generally, OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). I had written a few posts mentioning my laments on HAVING to employ full-time maids. If not with my illness, I would prefer to do all the work on my own. But as it is, we need the assistance of maids. It is our family’s fervent prayer though that someday, we can do without maids. It’s really hard, esp. if they are not Christians. We had brought some to the Lord years ago but lately, we haven’t been that “lucky” with the maids we’ve hired.

      Re: chicken adobo rolls, I used Parker House rolls recipe by Bobby Flay of Food Network. The chicken adobo is a very popular Filipino food. I might post a recipe of it in the future :D.

  7. Jelli says:

    What a lovely post! This is my first time visiting your blog (from Christian Mommy Blogger) and I can’t wait to dive into more of your posts. I really enjoyed your honesty here, and how you learn to lean on the Lord when people sometimes let you down.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you, Jelli. I’m just learning lately that coming out honest and real like that is the way to go, and there’s really nothing to fear for although we may feel vulnerable, the Lord’s love covers us.

  8. Alecia says:

    Our men aren’t perfect but they love us the best they can, what a sweet story. I have a friend from the Phillippine’s and I remember her saying how it was common to have maids and cooks and even drivers, you didn’t have to be rich like you do in America to have those things, it was just more common and cheaper.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Yes, Alecia, it is just common practice and cheaper, cheaper than paying a babysitter, for example :D! I believe there are two reasons why this has been the practice for generations (or centuries for that matter): our country has been colonized by Spain for three centuries and their culture was they hired maids in their homes. They were senoras and senors, senoritas and senoritos. So, the families that came after them adapted this practice. I believe also that this was retained until this modern age because, as you well know, the Philippines is a developing world, and many people, especially from the rural areas, are still poor, and the easiest job that they can be hired is being a housemaid :D.

      What you said, “Our men aren’t perfect but they love us the best they can” is excellent!

  9. Heather says:

    Such a needed reminder… Love your sharing – all – including Bonhoeffer’s quote & I don’t want to forget your words, “To honor the vow, the commandment, is to honor God.”
    God Bless you, HL

    • RinaPeru says:

      Lifting up praise to our Savior, Heather, for touching your heart with this. Inspiration from Him is infinite! Blessings to you, too!