Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘marriage’

Pressured To Marry

She’s nice. She’s cheeky. She’s bubbly. She’s your typical story-filled housewife who got some good cooking. Until she blurts out. “What a beautiful girl! Does she already have a husband?”

Ok. I’ve encountered this question a hundred times. This time, she was asking my mom while she was eyeing me whose head to toe is donned in my favorite yellow, flowered dress. “No.” My mom replied as a matter-of-factly.

“That can’t be,” she gasped, just like any typical gossip-obsessed housewife. It came with that typical warning that never failed my irate eyebrow rocket towards my hairline, “You’ll grow old a spinster. You should have children.”

With that sympathizing look, she made me look like another human casualty in the evolution of genetics. Fine.

If I would point out my argument in the middle of that dusty, rural street she would never understand. Just like hundreds of married people who have asked me that same question.

I just couldn’t understand why they have to pressure me with that farcical question.

Our Asian culture dictates women to marry at a young age. Women at their thirties are considered too old to marry, more so get a boyfriend (I’m sure I’d be fatally labelled a “leftover woman” in China). As time and culture evolves, women are becoming more empowered, independent and are given more choices to challenge themselves outside the confinement of motherhood.

I am one of those women who have chosen that path.

Of course, that does not mean I don’t want to marry. I would like to fall in love and be loved. I would like to see myself wearing a wedding gown and kiss the man who is destined to be The One. But I am not in a hurry. Why should I marry if I am not in love and no one’s in love with me?

Just like many modern women today, we are given a wide range of choices and paths to take. Be the CEO of a prestigious company. Go into extreme sports and adventure. Explore the Mariana Trench. Manage fifty lucrative businesses. Achieve the Air Force with flying colors. Claim the Miss Universe crown. Win a presidential race. Save the world.

This is the viewpoint of women (and even men) who live and work in the metropolis. But not those who live in the rural life.

I would honestly never forget my chagrin when a member of the Badjao community had told me I should get married so I can have kids who would bury me when I die. Girls as young as 13 are marriageable to this group of people while 18-year old ladies are considered a spinster among them. I could not believe the limited perspective these people have nurtured throughout generations. 

This line of thinking is almost similar to the people living in my community. Partly rural and partly urbanized, most residents living here are below middle-income earners. Some were not finished in schooling. Basically, their choices are limited, as well as their resources. This leads them to the pattern of living-eating-marrying-working-have kids-die.

Ok, it does not mean one dies immediately after giving birth. But my point is most of them believe this is the same pattern everyone should go through. And every women should marry in the age history had dictated on man.

Or maybe, the age that our ancestors have dictated on man.

“Thirty! You’re too old to get married.” Rolls eyes.

“I’m married at 18 but I’m happy.” That’s your happiness, not mine.

“Would you like me to recommend somebody?” Shows me a picture. Throws up in the trash bin.

“You should marrying –” Shhhhh!! I don’t have a boyfriend! You mean I’d marry my toenail?!?!

I have sighed endless of times at those sickening questions. Gentle warning, some would say. But for me it’s the gripping reality on how limited a cultural perspective could be. 

I am not in a hurry to get married. I don’t worry about not having children. Too many marriages are broken because they have served their own selfish urges or followed the dictation of society without testing it through wind and fire. Marriage comes with careful consideration, prayer, commitment, and refinement. 

No one could ever understand when one is different among them. A single lady living among married contemporaries is as odd as the house of the Mad Hatter standing among the same tattered houses. Society dictates us to go through the same path they have gone through. They call it normal. I call it boring.

One’s destiny should not be dictated by the majority who knows no other way out of the box. Our age and status is not the basis of our purpose in life. Man’s judgement is not the fulfillment of things. No one has the right to taint the purity of our choices as only we ourselves can understand why we have chosen this path that’s different from them. Only God knows the best for us and society can never grasp that for our sake.

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Through the Pages of “Real Men Are POGI”: Getting Ready for My POGI Man Of My Life

IMG_20140720_185240At first glance, Ardy Roberto’s “Real Men Are POGI” is obviously written for men. With its tag line below it, “How to be Handsome in God’s Eyes para maging Ready for your God’s best”, it serves as a man’s handbook guide for Christian living. But no book lying on our living room table would be spared from my book-hungry eyes. Once I sat down flipping through page one, this lady bookworm enters a heart-to-heart talk for real men. 

I’m not used in reading taglish (short for Tagalog-English) books. But Ardy’s conversational tone caught me staying up to the last page (though I wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting). Reading this book is like listening to an interesting, light, lively talk on stage. Peppered with humor and anecdotes, Ardy puts his point that goes straight to the heart.

Without giving much away, I’d give you an idea what POGI means. In Tagalog, pogi means handsome. But the POGI Ardy is talking about here is a man whose character is approved before God’s own eyes: Pure, Obedient, Gentleman, Intense in his love for God, his lifetime partner, and his family. Wow! This is what a single woman would love to ask for!

Sounds too good to be true, right? Especially, when the world says to go with “what everybody does”. But the testimonies in this book encouraged me. Even the writer’s very own story of intense love for his late wife (how he stayed up with her to her last breath) and his newfound love touched my heart. (Oops…I’ll try not to give spoilers :P). As he breaks down the characteristics of a real POGI, I totally nod and agree that this is what I want…

And while reading, I was praying while reading the book: “This is the kind of man that I want God!!”

Although the book is addressed to men, I began checking on my character too. Being given a partner, I should also be a good steward in loving him. I should learn to be responsible in things, emotions, and thoughts. I should also learn to take care of myself so as to take care of him, too. The book serves as an encouragement that yes, there is that POGI man out there that God is grooming for me and that I am also being groomed for God’s best for me. I am also encouraged to pray more for his coming and to be prepared when he comes…in surprise!

This book goes like a checklist to the kind of man that God wants for me. Also, I’d recommend all my bros and my male friends to read this. 

It’s true that our character cannot be perfected especially by our own. But only by God’s grace we would be able to be changed from glory to glory. “Real Men Are POGI” is just one of the books worth reading, not only to men but also to ladies waiting for their God’s best.

Why Am I Single (and Enjoying Every Minute Of It)?

“How old are you, Rhema?” A question I’ve always been asked in this time of my life.

To which I’d grin and reply, “I wish I can say I’m seventeen…”

Then I’d pause and watch them react with laughter, “C’mon,” they’d say, “how really old are you?”

With a sigh, I’d reply after my sheepish wince, “Well, I’m actually almost twenty-eight.”

Wide eyes and gasps follow, “Then, you should get married!”

I’m not greatly offended with such replies. It just bothers me how this society have stuck to the idea of getting married before thirty — some of them seemingly threatening me by reminding that my biological clock is running out of season.

By the way, I belong to the NBSB club — No Boyfriend Since Birth.

One might ask me, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend — not even once yet in your life?” When I give them my answer, most wouldn’t understand it. I’m not your conventional woman. To get into a relationship is a crucial matter…and every decision affects one’s destiny greatly.

Marriage is such a crucial matter that it does not only affect one’s inner circle but every aspect that you have known and lived from the beginning of life. To meet the one made for me and the one whom I am made for is not easy. It requires discernment. It requires confirmation. How should I know? The heart is deceitful. Yet when it surrender to the Lord and it is soaked in prayer, the Lord will reveal it…and I’m not sure how because I still don’t know. Having a boyfriend/fiance is a step towards marriage, so as for the moment, let me enjoy this gift of singleness.

I believe this is not yet my season of marriage. Age should not define the most crucial decisions in life. I have crushes, yes I do…but the Lord is teaching me that I am not worth for the second best. I am a highly emotional being. Attraction is a natural thing for me as anybody has. But I have to be careful so as not to have a broken heart and a broken life.

I believe that we are all meant for a special someone — well, not unless one has the gift of single blessedness. I do believe in match made in heaven — no, it should be the match made by the Father in heaven. For my bros and sis, let me remind you of almost every Christian youth’s fave verse, Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” From the beginning of time, the Lord has written down our life story, from the moment we were conceived up to the moment our time on this earth is up (Jeremiah 1:5). Including that is our “love story”. From the start, He only wants the best for us which only He knows. The one we are created for is one of His best for us.

In fact, this singleness is something that I should enjoy. Don’t you smell freedom, my fellow single friends? 😀 This is the time to explore people and friends. This is the time when dates are purely friendly dates and we can have all the time to ourselves. This is the time we seek our destiny like treasure hunting. Like a little kid, I’d always ask the Lord what He really wants for me and what He wants me to be. He lets me discover so much of myself, my friends, the world, and most importantly His heart. By this, I would learn and know where should I really go and what’s my mission in this life.

Also, this is the time when the Lord is refining me to the fullest. To get into marriage is to get into greater responsibility. I am not yet prepared for such a responsibility. Not that I reject it, but it is important that I must learn how to handle it well. In marriage, I will share to my future husband every aspect of my life as he will do the same for me. To our future children, we’ll both will have to share and give so much of ourselves to see them grow well. It requires a character that is after God’s own heart — the character of a good parent who wishes to give the best to their children. I would need the character of Jesus — a partner who will not be self-centered and who will love unconditionally. But in order to be like the Lord, I have to die to myself. And as I can see myself, I have so much to die from myself yet.

And by the way, it hasn’t been revealed to me if I’m meant for someone or if I’m meant to be single forever. Haha! The beauty of single-blessedness. If so, that means the Lord has plans for my life in which marriage will not fit in. Now, this reality scares my mom off as any parent would sure do. Most of our parents think that being married makes us well-off for the rest of our lives. When I asked her what if I have the gift of single-blessedness, she couldn’t answer me. But one thing’s for sure: it is the Lord who will sustain me and take care of me. His love will surely satisfy and strengthen me forever and a day. ❤

For a number of times, I’ve almost fallen victim to fatal attraction. But my Great Dad knows how to protect His Lovely Little Princess 🙂 In fact, He always remind me that the love of the Bridegroom Prince — that is Jesus — is faithful, pure, satisfying and forever. Now, what can I ask for? Yet, I’m sure you can relate with my distresses during waiting periods, as any young person would. But great is the blessing of waiting. Let me, and every single person, enjoy such a season; thus we receive the best that is from our Father in His precious and perfect timing. 😉

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