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WaW Before I Do: Be Quick to Listen (Communication Part 2)

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Communication is very critical in Marriages or any relationship for that matter. I actually heard a leader say, “There is no such thing as Generation gap, only communication gap!”. Which come to think of it is actually true. Generation gaps would be omitted if only people would learn to speak up and listen. I recently started studying Counseling in Asian Theological Institute because now, counselors (yes, all kinds even marriage counselors) are required to take a board exam and get a license before counseling others. One of the subjects that we took (so far) focused on developing the skill of listening. This subject made me realize how a poor listener I was. As our final paper, we were required to listen to a counselee for 10 minutes, record the whole conversation and transcribe it (not easy!) while only practicing listening skills. The only times we can open our mouth was to share our empathic understanding (if I can even remember what that means), reflect their feelings, track what they said, paraphrase what they said or summarize. Three times my professor had to ask me to redo it because I was not listening enough! Unbelievable but very revealing. I believe many …

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WaW Before I Do: How Do I Better Connect

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Have you ever experienced talking to someone on your mobile phone and then going inside an elevator? Right before you enter, you know that you need to give the other party a heads up that there is a great chance that you will be disconnected. Have you ever wondered — What is it with elevators? Is it the steel casing? Is it the solid solid shafts that houses the elevator or is it where elevators are usually located that makes the signal hard to reach cellphones? Whatever it is, technology has not advanced itself enough to secure an established connection in elevators. Surprisingly, many marriages are like cellphones inside elevators. After so many years, the husband & wife are still disconnected. I recently told someone that there is a huge difference between hearing and listening. The former being involuntary and the latter requiring some sort of focus and attention. You might be right in front of me, and you may even be looking at my direction but it doesn’t mean you are listening. Before we go on further — on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being always clearly heard and understood — how do you rate the connection …

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WaW Before I Do: Keep Your Marriage on Fire

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Have you ever thought about Fire? Fire is good for cooking. It keeps you warm when it’s cold. Fire allows cars to move & planes to fly through combustion. However, Fire also burn properties down that results to huge losses and when you touch it without proper protection, it causes pain and even death. So what is it that determines whether fire is good or bad? During the Before I do Jumpstart event where we shared the stage with fabulous suppliers like Ian Cruz (Video), Darlene Salazar (coordinator), Alex Ruelo (Photographer), Madge Lejano (Makeup) and our very own Benz Co-Rana, we talked about Marriage being on Fire. For those who missed it, this article is for you. The fact is, Marriage is really On-Fire ! I shot a celebrity whose father was an actor as well and he said on TV “I don’t understand why my daughter has to spend so much money getting married when they will just separate a few years later. They should have just eloped!” Imagine that statement!!! Today I am proud to say that these couple are still going strong. There is a deep problem today especially if you came from a broken family yourself. …

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WaW Before I Do: Do your duty!

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We want to get intimate with you in this article by discussing a very beautiful act and yet a highly discreet topic: SEX. You see, during the wedding, the guests brings their gift for the newlyweds as their way of helping them start off their married life. God gives more than a gift. He gives the newlyweds the blessing of sex. Sex here is not the taboo one but a beautiful way to become one with your spouse. It is the best form of communication and intimacy. I know many (not all) couples already pre-opened this gift and tried it before the wedding. This gift may not excite them as much. But for many who waited – this is precious because sex is a true form of worship to God under the blessings of marriage. On their wedding day God gives them their blessing to go forth and multiply. We’ve heard about it and probably watched it in movies… husband asking the wife for sex and she gives excuses like “I’m tired” or “I have a headache” or vice versa. Whenever Monique and I do counseling, one of the first questions we ask is “How is sex life?”. This usually …

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WaW Before I Do: The Importance of Wise Counsel

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There was a guy working in our office who discovered that his wife was cheating on him.  He called me for some advice and after hearing him out I told him to give his wife a chance but to make sure she is repentant and that the affair was over. He started crying and said “I’ve asked advice from so many friends and all of them said the same thing — leave her! but after hearing you, yours made the most sense.”  So, he followed my advice and got back together. Proverbs 11:14 says “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” Not only in Marriage but anything that we do, it is always good to have good advisors around you. You can never be too good or too experienced to not need one.  And a trusted adviser, gives us a third person perspective about the situation and shows us our blind spots. Here is a sad fact: There are no schools (at least in the Philippines) that offer courses on how to be a better husband, wife or parent.  So, who or where do you go to for advice? With the # of cases of broken families, sometimes we can only look into what we’ve seen …

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WaW Before I Do: 5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before They Tie The Knot

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Before they marry, specially in the few days prior, couples are often faced by multitudes of questions.  Some of these questions are ok to be left unanswered as they are not as toxic or as harmful as some.  These are questions that are just part of the wedding jitters but there are some that should never ever be brushed aside because these are supposed to trigger warning signs should you be not ready. I know it’s been said before to almost all people getting married that “any sign of doubt, you should put off the wedding” but out of every 100 weddings, how many do you think gets set aside until smoke clears out? One or maybe not even.  Usually, we pay more attention to the stronger feeling of (1) Shame – what will people say?  We’ve already sent out invites, (2) Waste – we’ve already spent so much and (3) Confidence – maybe its just part of getting married and we’ll just sort it out once we are there. Well, do me a favor and keep the questions that I mention… dwell on it and be sure of your answers. So if you seriously used the questions above to figure out whether you are with …

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WaW Before I Do: Understanding Your Covenant

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One of the common questions we get as counselors is this “If you catch your spouse with a 3rd party, is that enough reason to quit the marriage?” Or “What if you’re not happy with the marriage, what do you do?” Our general answer is “Stay and work it out!”. The only reason we can think of that can justify ending the relationship is when your life is in danger. Other than that, go back and work it out. One of our other common reply also is “Are you sure that you have totally exhausted all possible measures?” If they say yes then we give them things that usually couples have not tried. Have you ever tried working out in the gym and think you can’t do another rep, till your trainer or spotter says “Go! 3 more!” and you end up being able to do it. When you think you’ve exhausted everything, contact us and we’ll show you how you can do 3 more things to keep that relationship alive. Husband & Wives, as they enter the marriage, should stick into their minds that there are “No escape buttons, no ejects and no quits in marriage”. It’s different when …

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WaW Before I Do: What Would I Say If I Were Your Best Man or Maybe Even The Father of The Bride?

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This is just a thinking out loud article so please pardon me. What if you got John Mateos Ong to be your best man and do a 10 minute speech during the reception about making your marriage work what would he say? Here are the top 5 things on my mind… Invite Jesus in – This is the most important thing you can do so don’t take it for granted. You can go to church, you can pray (or at least murmur a bunch of words) and even read the bible but if you have not surrendered yourself then it’s all useless. When I say Surrender it means the same as how a soldier would surrender himself to the enemy. It means stopping the the fight, giving up and allowing him. It means submitting yourself to God’s will, His rules and dominion over you realizing and believing what he wants is the best for you. You may not agree with it 100% but you know in case you don’t see eye to eye — He’s probably right and you’re probably wrong. It’s a process – Marriage is not the end, its the start of a new journey and from here …

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WaW Before I Do: Sex Is Important

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Sex is a gift from God for married couples.  It was made for the primary purpose of procreation.  Sex helps couples learn to become one flesh – therefore it is designed to build intimacy and pleasure. It also serves as protection within the marriage from outside temptations and hazards. Sex is beautiful and powerful if activated within its proper function. Sex before marriage is the cheap imitation of the real one.  First, it will make you believe that you are in search of the “sexually compatible one”.  Then the world dictates that you are missing out when you don’t test it out.  It also promises to make your relationship grow deeper and move to the more serious level of your relationship. These lies are selling like hot cakes because while people are not talking about it, it is a walking epidemic trend. You can tell by how many people go haywire after a failed relationship. Unfortunately, we bought the lie and we can personally tell you that though sex before marriage may be pleasurable, it actually ends up as a curse. It seems very exciting in the beginning because it is done in secret, in the heat of spice and …

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WaW Before I Do: 3 Things I Hope You Are Doing In Your Marriage

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Monique & I both love traveling. We love traveling with our families (even if packing, waking them up is a pain) but also at least once or twice a year, we also make it a point to travel by ourselves. I know for many hands on responsible parents, this is a huge NO-NO! Kids should always come… right? But what if your marriage is damaged, won’t that affect your kids too? Saying No to “time alone” says this — if we focus on being good parents being a good spouse will follow. May I correct you? It’s actually the other way around. When you become a good husband or wife and your kids see it, you are actually modeling a good example for them to follow. So I’ve come up a list of three things that I believe every family should be doing so that your marriage will be strengthened and so will your parenting. 1. Pray together out loud – this may get intimidating at first and sometimes in our family, my kids Ezra and JD would actually even point fingers at each other on who would go first. First of all, I show them that it’s never a …

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WaW Before I Do: Becoming Closer

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We’ve organized the “Before & After I do” www.beforeidoworkshop.com 21x the past decade. Recently, I’ve been thinking, for couples who attend who are not fully surrendered to Jesus and for whatever reason do not read the Bible (either busy or they don’t believe in it) and perhaps some may even be there happy to pick-up a nugget of gold or two (selective in what they are to accept), what probably is the topic that they most find not clear or hard to swallow. Aside from the wife submitting to the husband, I guess it would be this diagram. What this says is, that if you want to be closer to each other, the only way to do this is to get close to God. Do you get the point? A non-debating Christian would probably agree, a normal Christian would probably ask some questions and a cynical person would ask the following questions: If you look at it at a normal person’s stand point, the questions do make sense and so in this article, I would like to give clarity to it and stress out why I believe this principle is correct. The main point in layman’s term is this: “You …

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WaW Before I Do: 10 Financial Tips Before Getting Married

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1. The Great Huddle Find a time to sit down and discuss all financial matters between you and your fiancé. In this huddle session, you are to be transparent regarding your financial status. It’s like presenting your Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) to each other. Here you can have a clear picture of how much each one earns, spends, invest and in some cases what kind of debt you will be marrying into. This meeting is a MUST because it gives you a framework of the life and lifestyle you will be having as a married couple. 2. Seek a Financial Counselor to see how to merge your finances We are strong believers in seeking help to build a strong foundation of marriage. You may want to attend financial learning seminars like the Family and Finance Seminar. You can opt to sit with a financial adviser to help give you direction and can help build a 5- year plan for your family finances. 3. Set up your first budget as a couple. You can start putting down both your monthly income in an excel file column (make sure its net of all taxes and benefits such as …

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WaW Before I Do: The Marriage Club

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Do you know that it is only in the Philippines where we have godparents as part of our wedding entourage?  In several cross cultural weddings, foreigners would find it very unique for Filipinos to have “Principal Sponsors”.  We believe “godparents” are handpicked to help couples be guided through married life. We have seen godparents of the bride and groom from their baptism or dedication become the same godparents in the next phase of their life. There are those that have impacted the couple the most in their career or relationship that they find it significant for them to be part of their sponsors list. In many Filipino weddings they invite very respectable and honorable VIPs to be part of the married couple’s life. The concept of having godparents is an ideal picture for any married couple starting up their family. Interestingly though, 90% of the time godparents never really play an active role in the marriage of the couple. That is why treading into married life can be very lonely at times.  I say lonely because you have no one to confide to when issues creep in. No one is cheering you on or is giving you a check and …

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WaW Before I Do: Temperaments

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Monique and I are really quite different. I am a born leader and visionary. I want to make things happen and will do everything to reach it. I am very result oriented. I get the greatest high seeing things accomplished. Then I met Monique. She is very creative. She loves talking and is the life of the party. She is Ms. Congeniality. But there are things that gets to me. She has the tendency to be late. She is a great starter and she inspires people but she thrives in short projects and can’t seem to be doing something on a routine. I realize while we were dating that we are really two different people. This is my proof that I do love her because despite the flaws I have learned to love the whole package and appreciate how God made her. But as we know many couples will find themselves in a major hurdle because they can’t seem to pass the fact that their spouse can irritate them. Are these one of the things that are issues to you? If one of these things bother you, we have good news for you. It’s really no biggie. Every person has …