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,