It’s been one year since our wedding! Can you believe it? Sometimes, we can’t. In the past year, Jehovah has patiently taught us many valuable lessons about how to make our marriage happy and satisfying. And we are still learning. Every day.
We thought we’d share with you, our dear friends and family, whether married or single, what Jehovah has so kindly helped us learn so far.
How was your one year of married life?
Reg: Happy! Of course, Jehovah was being truthful when he said that a married couple will have “tribulation in their flesh.” (1 Corinthians 7:28) But besides the bumps along the road, the journey has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying.—Proverbs 5:18.
Maj: Awesome! 😀 It’s an adjustment process, true, but it can be rewarding. I realized we all need to adjust with life’s changes and assignments. It took me one-and-a-half years to adjust to my TSP assignment in Guiuan, two years for the circuit work, and about a year for Bethel. If it takes time to learn the ropes of these assignments, how much more so with adjusting to this life-changing milestone? But the ease of that adjustment will be directly dependent to how much Christ-like qualities we have cultivated.—1 Corinthians 2:16.
What do you love most about being married?
Reg: The biggest blessing for me is getting to know a truly amazing, super inspiring and deeply spiritual person like Maj. Along the way, I also fall deeper in love with Jehovah. I’m also grateful to have a best human friend, someone I could cry to, bare my heart to, release my innermost feelings to. And whenever I do, it helps to have Maj’s logical, scientific mind to stabilize and balance out my sometimes erratic emotions.
Maj: Jehovah said of Adam: “It is not good for the man to continue to be alone. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.” (Genesis 2:18) It is a blessing to feel complete just the way Jehovah designed Adam to be. Of course, that works best if we live up to the complementary roles God has set.
How is Maj like as a husband?
Reg: In one word, Christlike. (Ephesians 5:25) He willingly makes sacrifices to make me feel loved and cared for. Whether that’s not going overtime so he can spend time being “together together” with me or listening to me pour my heart out without giving solutions (even when it’s so hard for him to do that), he makes me feel that I am important to him. I also appreciate how he freely expresses his affection towards me, reassuring me of his love. Through a tender touch, a sweet smile, a loving gaze or just by his saying “I love you” a thousand times each day, he proves that he’s not only Christ-like, but also Isaac-like.—Genesis 26:8.
How is Reg like as a wife?
Maj: She’s becomes whatever Jehovah wants her to become. She’s willing to learn and make sacrifices. For example, she did a lot of things before we got married, but cooking is not one of those. Yet she’s a determined learner. Now she’s an amazing cook! I also appreciate the sacrifices she is willing to make for Bethel. Living and working in Bethel has its own special challenges. But since Regine is a willing learner, she adopts to and polishes her Christ-like qualities even more to accommodate the institutionalized settings and the wide variety of personalities. It makes clear to me that she really is “Jehovah’s slave girl”—always willing to serve the bidding of our Master wherever our assignment might be. (Luke 1:38) Just like Jehovah who looks beyond what we are now and sees our potentials, I’ve seen Regine’s malleability and willingness to grow. That makes me excitedly look forward to an eternity with her, observing how she will still become whatever our Master wants her to be.
What were your toughest adjustments?
Reg: For me, it was being super attached to Maj. While we were dating, I didn’t feel that way. But after marriage, I constantly craved for Maj’s company and attention. It was such a new and strange feeling. I realized Jehovah was really not lying when he told Eve that her “longing would be for [her] husband.” (Genesis 3:16) The challenge here is, Maj’s time as well as his mental and emotional energies are not unlimited. So there would be times when Maj would be too tired, and yet I would feel an intense need for his time and attention.
And the chores! I did not get used to marketing, cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, folding clothes, mopping, dusting and all sorts of cleaning. Of course, I had to learn all of that—while adjusting to the new life in Bethel, a new work assignment, new people, new culture, new congregation. There were days I beat myself up for losing my husband’s sock, cooking him a soupy paksiw, or failing to wipe down our dinner table.
Also, I had to start from scratch with my spiritual routine. When I was single, every morning, I read my Bible. Now that I’m married, every morning, I need to cook breakfast. When I was single, I could devote at least two hours a day to personal Bible study. I thought I would still be able to do that when I got married. I needed to adjust my expectations and build a completely new spiritual routine that could accommodate all my new responsibilities as a wife, and still spend time drawing closer to Jehovah.
Maj: The Bible commands husbands: “You husbands, in the same way, continue dwelling with them according to knowledge [showing them consideration; understanding them].” (1 Peter 3:7) The Bible specifically asked husbands to do this, not wives. The problem is, especially at certain times of the month, a number of women said they cannot even understand themselves! It requires conscious effort for me, and honestly I would sometimes forget, to show extra understanding, love, and patience in tenderly caring for my love in her “most delicate” moments.
Have you fought? If yes, what about?
Reg: We’ve never had screaming matches or objects flying towards each other. But we have had our own share of misunderstandings. As most married couples could attest, misunderstandings mostly begin with small things. Or small statements. At times when I am overly sensitive (read: PMS-ing), my husband would say something and I would interpret it in a totally different way from what he originally intended. So Maj has this joke, “My wife is a mind reader… But not a very good one.”
What helps you to resolve problems?
Reg: One practical advice I’ve learned from our Bible-based articles that really works is… Instead of saying, “You barely have enough time for me.” It’s better to say, “I miss spending time with you.” It puts more emphasis on how I feel instead of attacking the other person. Also, we have learned that when we’re both tired, it’s not a good idea to have a serious talk. So we just try to get a good night’s sleep and reserve the discussion for the next day.
Maj: First of all, show Jehovah’s qualities, for it solves all woes. Secondly, listen. Really listen. Even when you’re sleepy. 😆 Understand her. See things in her perspective. (James 1:19) And very importantly, do not try to solve the problem right away. Okay, that sounds counter-intuitive. (Right single boys?) But yes, males and females not only have different physiques, but in general they also have very different emotional compositions. So Regine and I will both have to recognize and accommodate our differences. We should not expect each other to be alike, for we are not clones, but complements.
They say you only really get to know your mate once you are married. Were there any surprises?
Reg: From the beginning, Maj and I had determined that we would not put our best foot forward while dating. And that was a good move. Truth be told, the best in my husband came up not before our wedding, but after. Back then, I would listen to him give life-shaping public talks and I would think, “Wow! What a deep spiritual person!” While we were dating, we would have the most profound conversations and I thought, “He’s even deeper than I thought.” But when we got married and I got to know my husband more, I concluded: “I only knew him one percent.” His determined devotion to flesh out Jehovah’s thoughts, qualities and ways was, and still continues to be, life’s pleasant surprise.
Do you miss being single?
Maj: Nope. When I was single, I observed there were single people who badly wanted to get married. And there were married people who wished they were single. It is a classic example of “the grass is greener on the other side.” The Bible on the other hand teaches contentment, making the best use of our situation, and that true joy lies not in our marital state but in our relationship with Jehovah. (Psalm 32:11; Ecclesiastes 6:9) Back then I reminded myself to appreciate and value the many benefits singleness brings. So that one day, when I cross the line of no return, I can say to myself, “You’ve lived and enjoyed your single life to the full. Jehovah made it very good and without regrets. Now with Jehovah by your side, go and live to the fullest life’s next chapter.” Book one, satisfyingly, is done. With Jehovah, Regine and I are now writing out book two.