Thursday, February 20, 2014

On that Road to a #BetterMe

I had typed the first part of this post at an airport, while waiting for my flight. Delayed turn-around flight, apparently. So I had a few hours to spare. I spent it thinking. And writing this (well, part of it). I had time to contemplate, and all these thoughts kept swirling in my head.

A few weeks months (!!!) ago, Kris (aka OCMomInManila) invited me to attend a Better Me event. At first, I didn't really know what to expect, except that it was a SoMoms thing, and Coach Pia Nazareno-Acevedo was speaking. Better Me. At the last minute, I took another look at the invite and noted it was about nurturing relationships with the spouse and children - alright, perfect.

I went to the talk with reservations. I must admit, with all that has happened this past year, my heart had given up. I had already decided that my marriage was, in fact, over. You must be wondering, why now? Why has it taken me this long to wake up. Please read on.

For the past 10 years, I have committed to fight for my family. The last three years saw me fighting a losing battle. My heart was weak. My spirit crushed. I no longer had it in me to go on. Part of me wanted to blame God for being silent. My prayers were left unanswered.

Then right before Christmas of 2012, my spouse came home and asked for forgiveness. Yes, R! I was floored. I didn't know what to make of it. I had been living my days without him in mind, without a prayer for restoration. Yes, you read that right. I was putting up a front - for the past year at least. In my head, I knew I had to keep praying, but my heart didn't have the will nor the desire to go on fighting for him. I brainwashed myself - filled my thoughts with the ugly pieces that made up the conundrum that is my husband.

Two weeks into it, one of our pastors prayed with me and told me to take a leap of faith. Another chance. And yet, a few weeks after that, I saw the old R. Same old, same old. And I built walls around my heart once again. No way was I going to let him hurt me this time. The wall went up. The mask, too. Three months later, he left. And you know, I blamed myself for allowing it to happen. I blamed myself for allowing him to penetrate the walls I had put up to keep my heart (and my kids' hearts) safe. My kids were hoping for restoration. And yet, I failed them.

The rest of 2013 went without hitch. We remained status quo - friends, married, separated, and yet, what were we exactly?

And so it happened that I accepted Kris' invitation to go to that Better Me event. And I have been struggling ever since.

Last week, after attending another one of those talks, I mentioned to Cai how I felt torn right after attending that particular talk in August. And you know, how I wasn't really publishing my half-written post because I didn't want my readers to think things were okay, when in reality, they weren't?

And yes, you're probably thinking: "Has K forgotten about her New Year's resolve?"

No, and that is why I am finally writing about it. That talk. That Better Me event that nagged at my innermost being. Sigh.

It's not that I didn't agree with Coach Pia. Don't get me wrong. I actually agreed with her on all points. And I must give credit where credit is due. Her talk spoke volumes, and in part, it actually convinced me to work on saving what we still have.

Coach Pia Nazareno-Acevedo
Taking notes...

I think the two life-changing points from her talk that really stayed with me all these months are these:

I know, cliché. But really, show me a person who says his or her parents' separation didn't affect him or her at all. It does. And you know, whether you like it or not, the kids bring it with them. It changes them and defines their adult life. I've been asking myself this since that fateful day in August, do I really want this affecting my kids? Do I want them bearing the brunt 'til their adult life? I have the power to change their future - at least the way my kids think about marriage and family. Why won't I give them that?

Nurture your spouse.
Loving unconditionally = sacrifice.

And that means transcending your personal ego, acknowledging your differences, letting go and forgiving past hurts, starting with a clean slate, and loving beyond words. How hard! I suppose this is where I struggled the most. Loving unconditionally, wow. It's so easy to say, but it entails so much from a person. Just the thought of it makes me want to throw in the towel at once. I cannot imagine myself loving R (or anyone else) when they clearly don't want to be a part of my life. Not that R showed signs he didn't want to be part of ours, but can you imagine loving your spouse in spite of... well, his sins?

And now, 7 months after that talk, I have come to realize that it can be done BUT it can't be done alone. After all, you cannot save a marriage on your own.

But you know what? Here's something I learned from church (I will write more about this on another post): the prodigal spouse doesn't have to agree on saving the marriage. He is not your partner in this quest. This is exactly why all my efforts went to waste in the past. I kept assuming my stand wouldn't work because R refused to save our marriage with me. And it was so easy to give up on him because I thought I couldn't love him the way I did before. You can't do it alone. You need GRACE to fight for your marriage. That's how you love unconditionally - you have to learn from the One who loves us in spite of past hurts, in spite of the many times we fall short of His glory - the One who forgives us, regardless.

So yes, readers, we are working on the marriage. We: God and I. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but these issues are all about me. Not R. He has to deal with his personal issues on his own. I have forgiven him and will continue to forgive him, no matter how long it takes (or how often). And right now, we're friends. We're not exactly there, but we're getting somewhere. In fact, I would say, we're better now than when we were together. And you know, this loving unconditionally business gets easier by the day. When I don't feel like loving him that way, I just think about my kids, and know in my heart and mind that this is what I should do. I think about my own shortcomings and how we all don't deserve forgiveness and second chances anyway, but God gives it freely. So with that mindset, I know R deserves the same even when he doesn't deserve it. Yep, GRACE.

I sit here today, and I know I made the right resolve. I am my better me today, because of this. I've thrown worry, doubt and bitterness in the bin, and have started anew.

I'm sorry it took this long for me to write this piece. I want to thank YBS (Your Brand Story) and One Core for making talks like this possible. This particular talk has really, really made a difference in my life. Thank you to BPI for supporting this Better Me session (and for my really cool and very helpful finance journal), and to OMBU for a really delicious and memorable Filipino lunch (I love, love, love your Binakol!). 

My cool Financial Wellness Journal from BPI.
You guys should try Ombu. I love their Binakol (okay, I said that already)!
Ombu Modern Filipino Restaurant
G/F Sequoia Hotel, 91-93 Mother Ignacia Avenue, corner Timog Avenue, QC; (02) 441-0518
With Coach Pia, BPI and the SoMoms! What a privilege! Thank you, Kris!


  1. Hugs, Kaye! May God's guidance continue to bless in this journey :)

  2. It seems to me that you're the only one willing to give unconditional love in your so called marriage. Ever heard of that story about this man praying to God to save him from drowning? I'm not remembering the exact narrative right now but it goes a little something like this. So the dude's flailing his arms waiting for God then guy in a boat throws him a life preserver but he doesn't grab on to it. He dies goes to heaven then asks God why he didn't come down to rescue him? God goes, you idiot, I made that guy throw you a floaty that was me. Lesson of the story being, READ the SIGNS! I've been reading your blog and I'm sorry but you have to move on and accept your husband will never change. Acceptance, learn that word. You are lucky. There are so many women who can't leave their abusive relationships but God never failed to provide for you and your kid's needs. Ok so you want him back for your children's sake. But he keeps messing up si what message do you think it sends to your children especially your daughter that you make it so easy for him to come back and manipulate your feelings? These kids are going to think that love and marriage means one of the spouses giving everything and the other selfishly taking. Is it ok for you to see your daughter in a similar situation as you? Naiinis ako sa yo! You have a job, financial stability, God, friends, your kids and your family of origin backing you up. You don't need his bullshit. I think you have codependency issues.

  3. It's very obvious that the post by Anonymous does not know God's word on divorce and remarriage and God's heart on forgiveness and reconciliation. This person is talking from the flesh. Many people say move on, you deserve better, find someone else. We are to stand at the gap for our prodigal, their salvation and our marriage. What does God's Word say?

    ONE FLESH-you can't undo it.
    Genesis 2:23-24, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9, Ephesian 5:31


    Malachi 2:14-16, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 1 Corinthians 7:39,

    REMARRIAGE IS ADULTERY-remarriage is adultery as long as the covenant spouse is alive

    Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:2-3

    ADULTERERS WILL NOT GO TO HEAVEN-those in remarriages that God calls adulterous will not go to heaven

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Hebrews 13:4

  4. The message Kaye sends to her children is a message of God's mercies that are new every morning, His amazing grace and favor, and a heart of Christ like forgiveness. Her children will also see that kaye relies on the Lord Jesus for strength and joy. And even if she has to pick up the pieces sometimes, everyone around kaye knows that her life is not dependent on people but on her Savior Jesus Christ who is the hope and anchor of our soul.


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