I will never forget what one friend said to me a long time ago. He was divorced from his wife then. He said, “when the marriage flew out of the window, the friendship still remained.” He was best friends with his wife and remained friends with her up to that day. I have no clue if they got back together or not. All I know is that what he said never left me.
I wasn’t seeking to be in a relationship when I met my husband in 2005. I wasn’t seeking for a best friend either. All I recognized was the instant deep connection we had from the time we opened our mouths and started talking. I felt like we were the only people in the room … like we can talk forever. I asked him a question and we went back and forth, bouncing off our thoughts so smoothly.
Since our first meeting was never about us, we never saw each other again for two years. In fact, the only reason why I communicated with him again after that first meeting was because of an incident about another person. Well, that email opened the door for a beautiful friendship that eventually led to our marriage.
You see, my husband was visiting the Philippines when I first met him. I lived there and had a good life going on. As I’ve said, I wasn’t looking for anything at all. I was pretty much content where I was. When I sent him an email and reminded him of who I was, he emailed me back. I realized that we were no different in our emails than we were in person. We were just so connected. In just a short time we started getting more personal with each other. He didn’t expect I was still single when he met me; and I also didn’t expect that he will be interested in me because he was actually with another girl when I met him. That was the beginning of our long-distance love relationship, a relationship that made us long to be with each other someday. That someday almost didn’t happen because of the great challenges of having a long-distance love … talk about different time zones and the ache in your heart when you see couples together and all you can have is a cyber relationship. I remember us saying that we will be happy even if there was a glass separating us, for as long as we can see each other in person. During that period of ‘not being physically together’, we both ended up dating other people but kept in constant communication. We would exchange pictures and laugh at them because we felt we would look better together. We always ended up on the same page. When he broke up with his girlfriend, I broke up with my boyfriend. This happened twice in a row, and finally, he decided to go back to the Philippines to visit me.
It was a love relationship that was long overdue … a friendship that was cultivated over those two years of communicating online … a best friendship founded on real deep connection. A week after he arrived, we exchanged marriage vows on the ocean. He met my family a few days before he left back to the US. It was a joyful but painful time once again.
From my husband’s filing of a fiancée visa to its approval and my interview, and finally having the visa in my hands was a journey that I don’t want to go back to. It was very challenging, but surely made our coming together more meaningful.
I officially became Mrs. Lisa Maki on February 10, 2009.
The new journey began …
Despite our longing to be together and our strong love and connection, we still went through very tough times. We were both broken people when we met each other. Our coming together in marriage actually brought out our respective deep-seated issues to the surface … something I can greatly appreciate now, but which almost led to divorce.
Yes, we overcame divorce. Papers were filed and signed, and we were simply waiting to go back to court. It was during this process of being neither here nor there in our marriage where our best friendship was not only put to the test but became invaluable.
I didn’t realize how our roles in marriage separated us from where we started in the first place, a beautiful friendship from God. His being my husband made him feel that he was above me; while my being his wife pressured me to simply subordinate to him. The divorce process took away these roles from us and placed us back to being the best friends we used to be. We were able to talk about a lot of issues in our marriage that we couldn’t previously talk about without fighting. We actually became better friends as a result.
None of us went back to court.
Even if we got divorced and I remarried again, I don’t think it would have been fair for any man because my heart will always be with my best friend.
This for me is the very essence of marriage. It is a best friendship. It is a teamwork between two best friends who are not there to assert each other’s rights and wants, but to make sure that each one flourishes in the gifts that God has given him/her. It is about giving, but a natural giving at that … natural because it flows straight from the heart effortlessly.
Marriage is not about the husband dictating to his wife to submit to him, but submitting to her as well. It is a give and take relationship without forcing it to happen.
Marriage is not about the wife dictating to her husband to love her, but loving him as well. It is a mutual love that naturally happens.
Marriage begins by submitting to the One who creates and ordains marriage. He is the only One who can bring two people together in a friendship that will last forever.
Only God could have created this friendship my husband and I share.
Without God there was no single possibility of my husband and I meeting each other, let alone ending up together in marriage and overcoming divorce.
I will give credit where credit is due.
To God be the glory!
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