I have to clarify first for those who would readily jump into conclusion that I am having trouble with my marriage. Haha! Nope, I am not in a hopeless marriage but this book caught my eye in a Christian bookstore that I believe some of my friends would benefit from. But before I give them this book as a gift, I have to check first if it would give value to their lives.
It is a small thin book but contains a lot of gems to consider for wives. What is interesting about this book is that it is written by Malou Tiongson-Ortiz who is separated but not annulled to her husband. It is hard to follow the advice of a person who doesn’t have a successful marriage of her own. But then as you read on, you realize that she used her experiences to become a lesson for sharing and inspite of her troubled marriage, she is blessed with wisdom & fortitude. She is a graduate of Fine Arts in University of Santo Tomas and currently pursing the Masters of Arts in Pastoral Counselling at the Asian Theological Seminary. She also is the former Vice President of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines. She has written several inspirational books. She is also a mother of 2 boys and one girl.
Malou started her book saying that ‘Marriage is not a joke.’ (Magasawa’y di biro). That is true. Marriage is not a fairytale story. It can be bloody and messy. It is a lot of hardwork. But it is also a source of joy, inspiration, contentment, support and of course, love. She recounted a bit of her unsuccessful marriage and justified why she is writing this book. Her book is anchored heavily on the Christian view and the Bible. She emphasize the biblical approach of marriage which is very hard to swallow for the modern women of today that ‘Wife should submit to their husband.’ She explored on the meaning of love. She gave an example of Agape Love, how God love us unconditionally which we try our very best to emulate with our husbands. We must love them, warts and all because we have to face it, wives, too, aren’t always the Disney princesses they aspire to be. She emphasized that “Love is a decision, not a feeling.”
Malou has a chapter on the Legal Wife – You and a chapter on the Other Woman – Her. She gave an example of an ideal legal wife through the bible – the Proverbs 31 woman. We can try our best to be a good wife to our husband according to God’s plan. However, there are circumstances that inspite of the wife’s unfailing love, broken marriages still happen. Then the question is ‘Martyr ka ba?’ .
Then there is the Other Woman. Husband take on another woman whether the wife has shortcomings or not. How a woman become the Other Woman could be due to a deeper psychological need that hasn’t been addressed.
Of course, there is the option of annulment (divorce is not an option in the Philippines). Is that the solution? Annulment is the dissolution of marriage but in the biblical perspective, there is no such thing as annulment. You may annul your marriage but in the eyes of God, you are still marriage. So that may be the premise of the author why she remained married in name to her husband even though they are not living together.
If I will have a take-away for this book is that you should offer your marriage to God, do the best that you can in your marriage, don’t burden your husband by forcing him to be the only source of love and happiness and no matter what happens, life goes on. It is nice touch in every end of chapter is a prayer.
I recommend this to all marriages may it be hopeless or not.