Sunday, 11 May 2014

Day 85: Before I Do

We almost didn't make it to the "Before I and After I Do" seminar.  The night before, we had a big fight which carried well into the following day. 

We fought about my fear of not having money. It's not about me needing money from him. It's  about me not having money to reciprocate the generosity he is extending to me. 

Last February 15, I retired from a very good paying job in preparation for marriage. I figured this is my last chance to be stupid and selfish. I wanted to focus on my "Eat, Pray, Love" phase. 

With freedom comes poverty. I feel really uncomfortable spending my savings even if I have more than enough to last me several years of unemployment. Psychologically, I feel constrained. I feel I could no longer give him nice gifts and take him to nice dinners like I used to. I feel embarrassed that recently, he is the only one spending.

S didn't understand this fear despite what I thought to be a very good explanation. For S, he felt that I am still doubting his capability to provide despite all he has given me. He felt insulted. 

How he came to understood it to be that way was beyond me. 

I tried all the tricks in the book. I tried to make him repeat what he said and then repeat what I said and then asked him if what we said are aligned. He still didn't understand.

Needless to say, I felt very frustrated.

I started thinking that our marriage will be filled with miscommunications such as this. I felt even more frustrated with myself because I was unable to get my thoughts across despite me knowing techniques from attending Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Effective People workshop, Coaching for Line Managers workshop, Effective Presentation workshop and from reading Theories of Transactional Analysis. I feel I have used all the tricks I learned from workshops I attended and from the book I read and none were working.

I started questioning if it is still right for me to consider not working after I get married. Worst, I started thinking if I should even get married

I thought once I'm married, I'll continue my career sabbatical for another year or two (or even forever) so that I can focus and enjoy being a Home Manager. I also wanted to be a SARAH and serve my husband.  I wanted to give him the opportunity to Lead and Provide, while I serve him and manage the house. 

 I knew that if I continue working, I will be busy and I will not have time to do any of that. I also know myself well. I know that if I work, I will have enough pride to undermine my husband. I have a solid track record in emotionally emasculating men.

S, however, has not attended any seminars or read any books in communication. He is also not familiar with his bible. It means we were both coming from different backgrounds, hence the obvious cause of our misunderstanding(s).

After the emotional rupture in the car, S took full control of the situation and drove us to CCF in Pasig. I went into the venue with a very heavy heart.

Then, John Ong Spoke about the roles of the husband. He said, "One of the key roles of the husband is to protect his wife not only from physical harm but also from negative feelings, including fear"

S looked at me, held me hands and whispered "I'm sorry".

Praise God!
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Monique, John's wife, talked after him. She is such a vibrant, smart and chic lady.  The moment she talked, I could tell she is a high ranking, career lady. So, when she talked about the roles of the wife, it was very humbling for me.  Here is a lady, who was the president of her own company and she now proudly claims to be her husband's helper.  

(Photo from:

I was willing to serve but i didn't consider about being a helper.  For me, serving is a job that I can do well and can brag about. It has nothing to do with my husband. For me, it's just like serving another company, another director or another Vice President. Being a home manager is also a job, I thought, it meant that I will the BOSS of our house. 

I realized I have a wrong mindset. I thought  being married means having a new job and doing it well! 

When Monique, shared an incident when she rained on her husband's parade during one of his "rah rah talks", images of the countless times I did the same thing to S flashed  before my eyes. 

I started working pro-bono for S a couple of months ago.  I bring with me 10 years of corporate training into his single proprietorship business. I started challenging his financials, questioning his strategies or lack of. I thought I was doing him a huge favor! I would get pissed everytime he would feel defeated. I told him that taking things so personally is so unprofessional. I coached him the way I coached my assistant marketing managers.

When another couple, both corporate directors, talked about communication I realized that while the intention maybe good, I may still hurt my husband's feeling if I don't do it properly. For S, he learned Always interpret in favor of the beloved.Hopefully incase I fail to package future feedbacks positively, he will keep this in mind.

Another important thing we learned is the V mode from one of my favorite couples, Edric and Joy Mendoza. I'm usually the one who easily gets agitated and when I do, I become bratty. S has his moments too but he usually just keeps quiet. V mode stands for Vacation Mode, a signal that mean "You are acting irritable lets go back to our happy place".  

(Photo from

The seminar also made me realize that I am so lucky that S has bought us a home so that we could LEAVE and CLEAVE.

Despite being the eldest and only boy in a traditional Chinese family, he decided that I deserve a home of my own, a home  where I can be the dominant and the only matriarch . 

And to think that I actually don't mind living with my inlaws because my future mother is very concerned with my health. I've lived alone with total disregard for proper diet for the last 10 years that I actually want to eat well for a change.

But S believed we must have own home, where can build our own dynamics and establish our own family norms and traditions.

All of a sudden, I felt guilt for complaining about his choice of furnitures. Here I am criticizing interior designs while other couple can't even afford to move out. 

The seminar made me appreciate my blessings.

When he was driving back home, we talked about our fight in the car. S said, he understood my fears now. He also explained himself in the context of what we have learned.

He said:

"When you lose self control, you panic and then you blame me.
I have learned to always be defensive 
That's my default mode
What I failed to do is to understand you.
I need to understand that some times you panic because you  are scared.
I need to understand that it's normal for you to have fears."


You know, if we didn't attend this seminar, we will definitely continue committing the same mistakes and perhaps bring selfish habits in our marriage. 

Most couples worry about the food, the budget, the videos, the DIYS. They forget that the most important thing to prepare for: MARRIAGE itself.

Wedding and Marriage are not exactly the same thing.  A wedding is a celebration that will last a day or two. A marriage is a partnership that should last forever.

This is the best investment we have made.

Still On Pause,


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