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 in our flawed homes for guidance.
As a wedding supplier, I see that many couples would rather spend time meeting with their wedding supplier and planning the wedding, than to learn about improving their marriage. Let me wake you up to this fact – “What good will your great memories be, should your marriage fail?”
I remember 2 couples who siblings whose wedding I both shot, eventually one of them goes up to me to ask “Would it be possible for us to have 2 albums?” when asked why he explains “because my brother already broke up with the wife and since they won’t need the album anymore we were thinking of just using it.” that was less than a year since their wedding.
So where do you find these wise counsels?
- Books, blogs, websites & Podcasts – If you are the type who is either busy or shy to open up to a real person or group, this is the best place to check out and they are all over the net. Now the challenge is how can you tell if you can really trust it and that it’s opinion is based on unbiased truth.
- Your God parents (principal sponsors) – the fact that newlyweds usually need a lot a lot of guidance probably is the reason why we have a tradition of having god parents (principal sponsors) that are not practiced anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, though, with a lot of weddings, it has been a showcase of who you know rather than who can you count on to help you just in case. They get celebrities, politicians and other prominent or popular people who I have nothing against unless they are nowhere to be found anymore after the wedding. Keep in mind that when choosing your god parents, that they should be:
- People who are wiser and more experienced than you.
- Cares for you as individuals and as a couple (will not take sides) and
- will make themselves available on a regular basis (or at least in case you need them).
- Support group – a bunch of couples who are on the same stage or phase as you who commit to meet on a regular basis. This is usually called by different names: dgroup (short for discipleship group), cell group, small group or household but actually means the same thing. This is led by a leader called discipler or mentor or coach who facilitates the discussion and picks a topic that is discussed. There are two types of discussion – a life on life wherein people share what they’re going through whether good or bad and people voice out their encouragements or praises or lessons wherein the leader teaches a topic that ends with a discussion. Should you
- Retreats / Marriage encounters / Conferences – Monique & I make it a point to be able to attend one every year. Having it acts as a recharge point for our marriage and don’t be turned off in case they talk about the same thing year after year. Yes, the topics may be the same but we are people of reminder. We need to be reminded regularly and usually, the topics speak to us differently depending on what season we are in our life.
- Pre-Marital Education – Did you know by taking your pre-cana or attending a pre-marital workshop you are lowering the chance of divorce (or annulment) from 50 to 19%? If one of you do not want or not agree to go through one, I sincerely believe this to be a big warning sign. How serious are you in making this work? For sure, every marriage will have its own issues and problems — so why not get ready for it? Don’t fool yourself that you can do it on your own.
If you are just planning your wedding, talk about these 5 things now and agree that you will not wait for any problem before seeking counsel. Just like in physical sickness, the best cure is prevention.
Being products of failed marriages ourselves, Monique and I have committed to equipping couples through the Before & After I do workshop (beforeidoworkshop.com) which we do at least twice a year, by making ourselves available for counsel & advice in person and online, through the Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF) Family ministry and our weekly couples DGroup. Coincidentally, we are going to do our next Before I Do on Feb 26, 2017 in Robinson’s Magnolia where we will talk about “Marriage on Fire”.
Read more of John and Monique Ong’s Before I Do articles at weddingsatwork.com/category/waw-before-i-do/.
- About John & Monique Ong:
John is a pastor at Revelation City Church, Scuba Diving instructor and owns Imagine Nation photo + Video. He is a graduate of business management at DLSU and took up Masteral in Marketing in the same school and is currently in the Pastoral counseling course at Asian Theological Seminary. Monique is a creative wife / help mate to John, a wedding hosts and heads Post Ad ventures (an Events Management company), a youth pastor in Revelation and writes in their blog called “an ounce of faith”. She took Tourism in UP Diliman.