“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously
the head, the heart, and the senses.”
– Lao Tzu
We were on our way to a wake in Tarlac that day. Dreus was driving when he got a text message, so he asked me to read it for him. We still weren’t married then, but we both knew each other’s phone passwords. I read the message aloud, “Bro, the ring you ordered for Love is already available.”
Dreus’ face turned red and he shouted, “Noooo!” My parents were with us in the car, so my dad asked, “Oh, so are you proposing, Dreus?” Surprise!
As I look back at that scene, I wonder if Dreus regretted asking me to read the message for him. Maybe he should have ignored the message or read it when he already could? Or maybe he should have kept his phone from me? But in our relationship, he was never one to hide anything from me.
Yes, my (Dreus) wife knows my social media, cell phone, and ATM passwords. This is OK with me. Before Love discovered about the engagement ring, I thought of doing a cheesy, social- media-like proposal that would go viral. But since we’re both the private type, I thought maybe a proposal in a coffee shop with all our friends would work better. I’d ask her to wear white while everyone else was wearing dark colors.Then I’d wear a shirt with the words “I love you.” The song Marry Me by Train would play in the background as I go down on bended knee.
But none of that ever happened. Like an impatient child on a roadtrip who continually asks, “Are we there yet?” Love kept asking, “Do you already have the ring?” With a smile on her face and an expectant faith, she hoped to see the ring before I even proposed.
At last, the day arrived. I was in her office when I received a message. I looked at her and blushed—I’m poor in keeping secrets. She smiled at me, her eyes bright as if asking, “Is your friend already here with the ring? The ring?” I said yes. So I went out to get it from my friend. I returned to her office and there she was—beaming with excitement. She then asked, “Can I look at it? Pleeeeeeease!” followed by, “Can I take a picture of it before you give it to me?” and “Oh, wait, are you giving it to me now?”
There goes my dream proposal.
Nevertheless, the proposal was still memorable. I (Love) will always remember it. February 13, 2013. A day before Valentine’s Day. Ash Wednesday. Very romantic, don’t you think?
During one of our couple dates, a friend asked for our opinion about sharing passwords and “private” stuff with our spouse. Our mutual response: Why not? Before, Dreus didn’t want to have social media accounts. But since he’s a Catholic preacher and speaker, I wanted him to connect to his audience. So I created his accounts with his permission. I also set his username and password.
When we asked our friend what his issue was with sharing passwords or information, he said that his phone is a personal belonging and part of his personal space. Because he doesn’t check his wife’s phone, he’s not comfortable with her checking his. I asked him if that was the only reason.
There are other reasons people are uncomfortable with this. One, it makes a person feel he cannot be trusted. “Why is my spouse checking my phone?” Two, the spouse has doubts and intuition tells him or her to check the partner’s phone or e-mail because something happened in the past that caused this mistrust. Three, miscommunication. Have you talked about the dos and don’ts of your personal gadgets?
Trust is a big word. If a password is meant to protect your personal information, trust is meant to protect your marriage. Trust is the bedrock of all relationships as we learned from our leader, Bo Sanchez. More trust, less control; more control, less trust. The issue of password sharing stems from either a couple’s past issue or each spouse’s self-issue. Past issue means there was an incident that caused your partner to doubt you. Self-issue is being paranoid about things before they even happen. This causes you to want to control the situation. But this can be resolved by confessing your weakness to each other. Anything hidden becomes forbidden along the way. Some marriages are destroyed because of this. That’s why we believe assurance is important. Trust your partner as much as your partner should trust you.
For those who love checking their spouse’s phone or e-mail, what’s your main reason for doing so? Is it a lack of trust? Do you doubt your partner? Or do you simply want to be updated with your partner’s activities?
Spend Time to Build Trust
Trust needs to be cultivated. Dreus and I would talk to each other for hours about our past, the current day, and the future until we fall asleep. I remember telling him how grateful I was that we were open about our feelings, fears, and dreams. We spend time building trust in each other and getting to know one another and ourselves. We are each other’s walking safe, mobile vault, and secret keeper. This is what I saw in my parents while I was growing up.
Listening to your spouse takes time but it’s a good investment that will arrest the root of mistrust and secrets. There is no invasion of privacy if there is trust between a couple. We know couples who’ve agreed not to share their salary details, passwords, or bank accounts with each other. But for us, we value unity when we said our “I dos.” Just imagine an emergency situation where your spouse does not know your important details. Don’t let this get in the way of your marriage. If there were issues in the past, talk about them and settle them once and for all. Build your marriage on trust.
On Having a ‘Third Party’
The danger in hiding something from your spouse is that it starts with one secret and leads to another. You may think there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing and you won’t notice the impact of little white lies until it confronts you during a heated argument. Sometimes people lie to avoid fights, but this undermines trust. Unknowingly, couples can have “third parties” in their marriage, which don’t always translate to a lover in an extramarital affair. It could be external factors that affect your marriage on a daily basis.
1. In-Laws and Relatives
We are supposed to love our relatives and in-laws, but when it comes to decision-making, do you consult your spouse first or do you ask your parents or relatives for counsel? Dreus always asks for my (Love’s) opinion before making a decision, especially if it will impact our family. This tells me that I am his priority. I feel valued and that my voice matters to him. Making your spouse your “go-to” person gives him or her the sense of trust.
Parents and relatives are an important part of your support system. But you need to know where to draw the line. You are building your own family once you get married. You are building a familial culture for your children. When children see their parents decide as one, will it not assure them that all is well?
We know a wife who is an introvert, so she enjoys spending time at home with her husband and kids. But her husband is an extrovert who draws energy from people. He loves surrounding himself with friends. At first, they were OK until the wife noticed that her husband would always spend time with his barkada (peer group) after work. He goes out with them on Friday nights. He comes home late and rarely spends time with the kids.
I (Dreus) understand that the husband needs time to spend with his friends. His inner circle is a source of bonding and strength. It’s OK to go out once in a while for as long as you and your wife agree on that. But if this causes a conflict, you have to settle it with your spouse. Sometimes, aside from time away from your family, your finances are also affected because you spend too much money on your friends.
Remember, you are already married. Your priority is your family. You also have to take note of the company you keep. Are they bringing you closer to your family? Or are they keeping you away? Do you trust your friends more than you trust your spouse?
I have a circle of friends that I usually go out with. Sometimes we go out with our wives, and sometimes only the husbands meet up. We believe that marriage is important, so it’s understandable for any of us to say no to a get-together if we’re needed at home or when we have work. We are also mindful of the time and we try not to stay out late because we know our wives are waiting for us. It’s not being “ander” (a Filipino term for a husband who follows all that his wife tells him to do). It’s about knowing your priorities. It’s about being happy in loving your family.
3. Vices and Work
Sometimes, the third party comes in the form of vices and work. Alcohol, pornography, smoking, workaholism, gadget addiction, or any vice is a third party that can damage your relationship. Why? These are the things that keep you away from your loved ones. They take your time and money, and later on affect your health and that of your loved ones.
Love and I are guilty of this. We can be together at home but our eyes and hands are glued to our phones as we check our social media accounts or working on our brands.
While you need to earn for your family, is it still worth it if your spouse no longer feels your love?
A friend told me that his wife is career-oriented and brings her work home even on weekends and holidays. He reminded her to prioritize their family. When his wife shared their problem to her colleagues, they encouraged her to focus on her career and leave her husband for not supporting her dreams. Sadly, the couple separated because of “irreconcilable differences.” The wife trusted strangers more than her own husband. Who then suffered the most? The children.
We have to guard our “marriage circle” as much as we protect our passwords and personal information. Remember, people and everyday situations affect our perspective on decisions for the present and future of our family.
God as the Third Party
We agreed that God will be the only third party who is allowed in our marriage. He is the One we trust the most. He binds us and will forever remain at the center of our family life. Before making decisions, we first consult His Word. We also have our individual quiet time with Him.
When we are full of pride or our spirit is crushed, we run to Him. He knows everything—our deepest desire and the core of our being. It feels good to know that we are guided in our everyday activities. Other people’s opinion will not matter for as long as we have God to help us. We invest in doing life together, nurturing faith, praying, and serving together. We learned the importance of doing a “self-check” in our married life. We ask each other if there is a third party weakening our marriage. Then we talk about it and move forward.
Is there any third party that is destroying your married life? How much do you trust each other?
We pray, Lord God, that You bless our family life. May we experience daily the love that we have for each other. If there are things that need to be patched up, let Your healing flow. Heal our married life and family life. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
*This excerpt is taken from Love Connect: The Couple’s Language to a Happy Marriage by Dreus and Love Cosio, launching this February 2020 at www.feastbooks.ph!
Photo from Unsplashed.com