Being in a relationship for almost 11 years, we can say that it was not always full of happy memories. There were many instances when we almost gave up because of unmet expectations. Issues were bottled up and would easily explode by simple misunderstandings. We felt tired of the endless arguments that were settled before which kept coming back. Still, we constantly made sure to find ways on how to strengthen our relationship, as we have always believed in the saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.” And so, we decided to attend the Discovery Weekend (July 2016) as an initial step in our future plans as a couple.
Upon our arrival, the place proved to be relaxing and peaceful (surrounded by trees) which made us more predisposed to the journey we were about to take. We really liked the presentation of the talks, sharing of the couples, reflection time and of course the dialogue of each couple about a particular topic. The idea of starting it with the “Encounter with One’s Self” taught us to become more aware of our own feelings and “masks” that we wear to hide our own inadequacies. We realized that our feelings are neither right nor wrong. To experience the reality of our feelings helped us to be more aware of them. We learned that our unshared feelings all along became one of the sources of our conflicts. After the dialogue, we learned how to verbalize these emotions positively rather than acting on them with impulsivity. We were also given the opportunity to “lay down our cards” before each other to cultivate a sense of honesty and openness within the relationship. The confidence building took awhile because of our human tendency to become defensive. Yet, we really took it seriously and practiced expressing ourselves in a loving, nonthreatening way. Our dialogues have been very enriching and positive that we realized the importance of it in our relationship. With that experience, we both agreed to have our DT (dialogue time) as often as possible whether it be good or bad. We dialogued important matters which we believed may need to be agreed upon by any couple or at least reach a compromise to avoid conflicts later on.
Keeping the commitment and authentic love entail a certain level of maturity on our part. We are all different and it is a challenge to accept each other especially if you already have preconceived notions or expectations of what an ideal partner is. Throughout our DW journey, we realized that authentic love is not about trying to change the person but on how to keep your identities intact. Love is not just about the good qualities of a person but their entire being, including weaknesses. It takes a lot of maturity for a person to extend one’s limits for the sake of your partner’s growth since we have this tendency to become self – centered. However, because of love, we have embraced the process of extending our own limits such as going out of our comfort zone, lessening inhibitions, lowering down one’s pride and thinking beyond the self for the purpose of nurturing our growth.
For us love is a choice, a decision and not just a momentary feeling we have during good times like “kilig” moments. We may have been stuck in that notion that “I” is an important word because we thought that love and happiness will exist if “I” put my needs and expectations first more than anybody else. Maybe yes for awhile, since it gives you the feeling of importance but it eventually fades. Thus, we felt that “I” and “You” must be taken into consideration since authentic love is best shared with others.
We truly felt God’s presence in us. We now realize how God has become the “captain of our ship”, entrusting everything to Him especially those we think are impossible to achieve. As a response to His love, we are more empowered to spread and share in the mission of DW, particularly in building a stronger and more stable relationship among couples. We wish to express our deepest gratitude to the Bautista Family (Sir Mario, Sir MM & Ms. Shee) and to the couple sharers who shared their knowledge, experience, time and other resources in making our DW journey a very meaningful, memorable and enriching one. May God continue to bless you and your families a hundredfold. For the greater glory of God!
– Francis & Marion