Marriage Benefits-We Don’t Just Date For Fun
Myrtle Alegado: Do you remember when you began to seriously consider getting married? On today’s episode, we’ll talk to newlyweds who will share the progression in their relationship, from meeting, to courtship, and finally to marriage.
Welcome to Happy Life, a podcast brought to you by INC Media Audio that aims to help newlyweds navigate through the first years of marriage. I’m your host, Myrtle Alegado, and I’ve been married to my husband, Paul, since 1999. Later, we’ll hear some Bible-based advice through Brother Felmar Serreno, a minister of the gospel in the Church Of Christ.
Inspiration to make your marriage thrive, you’re listening to Happy Life
Myrtle: Today, I’d like to welcome our newlyweds from Yorba Linda, California to the podcast. Thanks so much for joining us on Happy Life, Aedelbert and Darlene!
Darlene Alejandro: Thank you for having us, Myrtle.
Aedelbert Alejandro: Hello! Thank you for having us.
Myrtle: How are you both doing today?
Darlene: We’re good.
Aedelbert: Doing good.
Myrtle: Well, as I understand it, you got married in January of this year, right?
Myrtle: Oh, well,congratulations to you both! Now, how did you both meet?
Aedelbert: So I moved to the Bay Area to finish college at San Francisco State University, and Darlene actually came up to me at one of our church events. It was a coastal cleanup. And, you know, I was hanging out with my guy friends, and Darlene came out of nowhere and just introduced herself to me.
Darlene: Yeah. [laughs]
Myrtle: Is that how you remember it, Darlene? Give us your take.
Darlene: Yeah, he was new to Daly City local congregation. And it was about a month before I met him that he was already living in Daly City. And normally when someone new or a new member [of the Church Of Christ] comes into Daly City, I usually meet them just to welcome them. I didn’t meet him yet, so when I saw him at the coastal cleanup, yeah, I just went up to him and I was like, “Hi, I’m Darlene. I haven’t met you yet, but welcome to Daly City.”
Myrtle: Aww. Well, that’s cute, Darlene!
Darlene: Yes, so I went up to him at the coastal cleanup. And then maybe a couple days after that, one of our mutual friends on Instagram posted a picture of their friend group, and that person tagged him. Since I met him, I figured, “Okay, I can follow him now.”
And then fast forward a couple more days, he posted this story about working out and he asked, “Who wants to be my workout buddy?” Mind you, I did not work out at that time but something inside me was like, “I’m going to respond and I’m going to say I’m going to be his workout buddy.” And that’s where we started talking or messaging with each other.
Aedelbert: Yeah, so after Darlene replied to my story and she said, you know, “I’ll be your workout buddy,” we actually planned to hang out one day. And you know, one thing led to another, we started texting more, and started hanging out more. That led to me falling for Darlene, and I started courting her, and then I proposed to her [in] June of 2021.
Myrtle: So, Aedel, you used the term courting, and I’d like to touch on that a little bit. In the Church Of Christ, we don’t use the term dating per se, because that implies that you’re just seeing someone in a kind of casual, romantic relationship. With courtship, we do so in a Christian manner, according to God’s teachings.
So, now you’re both in your late 20s, and you’ve been married for a few months. What do you think about those individuals who date just for the sake of dating or date just for fun?
Aedelbert: I think individuals who date just for the sake of dating or just for fun, at least from my personal point of view, I think they’re doing it just because you know, they’re bored or they’re trying to maintain this social presence online. They just want to be in this relationship so they can look cool to other people, or just simply not to seem that they’re alone, I guess.
Darlene: Yeah, I agree with Aedel to an extent. I mostly think that people nowadays date for fun because [of] peer pressure. I guess the times that a person could start dating is typically, like, when you’re a young adult. Maybe you’re a teenager and you start developing, and you want to understand more, like, these feelings that may come up with another individual in your life. And since you’re just discovering these feelings, you don’t really know what to think about them. But they’re strong enough that it moves you to do something about that, which is dating.
Your heart, it’s like it’s telling you one thing, but then your brain is saying another thing, and it’s hard to differentiate the two. And that’s why I think some people want to experiment, and they date around to see who is the best option for them.
Myrtle: And what are your opinions on this mentality?
Darlene: Dating just involves a lot of feelings in general and, personally, I feel like it involves more negative feelings than positive. To hear about the concept of dating, and dating multiple people, or dating around, someone is bound to get hurt at some point. I think it’s just inevitable.
Aedelbert: I just disagree with ‘dating for fun’ or that mentality of dating for fun. Because, honestly, what’s the point of dating when the whole reason is eventually you’re trying to get married, which goes back to courting someone in a Christian manner. At least when we’re courting someone we try and find, like, their Christian values, what they believe in, seeing how one person’s beliefs aligns with yours. For me at least, I was always taught that growing up. And if you’re going to date someone, you’re really trying to figure out why you want to spend the rest of your life with that specific person.
Myrtle: Just curious, you know, you mentioned that you want[ed] to find somebody whose values kind of align with yours. Do you think that people don’t look for that these days, that the youth don’t think about that?
Darlene: Personally, I feel like nowadays, to find someone with the same values as you, or the same faith as you, I feel like it’s not at the top of a person’s priority. Most people just think of personality traits right off the bat. Like, they have to be funny, or they have to be a certain height, or they have to, I don’t know, have brown eyes, brown hair. Stuff like that.
Aedelbert: I think people trying to find if their values align or not is lost, because people are in it for, like, a social standing type thing. So they do it for a specific reason, that they’re trying to attain this specific thing, and they know that this person can help them get it.
Myrtle: But you know, at what age or point in life do you think people should start seriously searching for a ‘forever’ relationship?
Darlene: Honestly, I can’t really put a number on it, because I didn’t think I would get married at this age. I’m 27 right now, I didn’t think I’d get married at this age. But I think they should hit certain goals in their life first. Like, for example, I think someone should be established in a career, or at least confident in the path that they’re taking in their life. I definitely think they should also be confident just on their own. To have a partner, like a forever relationship, they are just like an added blessing.
Aedelbert: There’s no set age that someone should start looking for their ‘forever’ relationship, because everyone has their own path in life. Everyone accomplishes a certain, you know, achievement in life at different ages. First of all, someone should be established in their career, just so that it doesn’t put that financial burden when, you know, it’s time to get married. Like you should be confident that you could be okay with yourself, who you are as a person, and then finding someone else to share those blessings with you in your life, then that’s the perfect time to move forward and look for that relationship.
Myrtle: And I just want to add that, of course, you should also have the blessings of your parents to go forward with a ‘forever’ relationship and, you know, that next step in life, or next step in the relationship, engagement and then marriage.
So, you know, these days it’s common practice for boyfriend and girlfriend to just move in together and not get married at all. We, as members of the Church Of Christ, do not follow this practice, and later we’ll hear what the Bible has to say about this, of course. But I’m curious about how you two feel about this.
Aedelbert: I don’t think it’s right for this type of practice. Honestly, because I think it gives people an option or like a way out. But if you’re married, of course, you got married before God and then we learned that it’s till death do you part. So you’re always going to have to figure out how to work things out. And I think at the end of the day, when you’re going through all these things on a daily basis, of course, you’re going to work through things, and try and figure out where things could be improved on, and you’ll always get through it. And when you’re married, there’s no trial and error compared to those who just live together without the benefit of marriage.
Darlene: Yeah, I agree with Aedel. There’s just no obligation to stay and, like, work things out. How do you know that they’re going to stick around for the rest of your life? Like, how do you know that things are going to work out? Compared to when you’re married, there’s that official stamp that you’re both in this for life.
Myrtle: And in your opinion, what are the positive aspects like, you know, financial or emotional to get[ting] married?
Darlene: One positive aspect to getting married, well, there’s financial benefits because obviously there’s an extra income, but it also teaches you a lot about just how to handle your money. Budgeting and saving is very essential when you’re married. I’ve been telling some of my friends, like, you really don’t know how expensive it is just to live, and have your place, and have things set in your everyday life until you’re married. I don’t know if it’s just me. [laughs]
I’ve been encouraging some of my friends, who could be on their way to getting married, to start this when you are engaged, maybe even if you have a feeling that you’re going to be engaged, to start saving a lot and learning about how to budget your money.
Myrtle: Okay, I’m going to do a shameless plug for our episode number two. If you haven’t listened to that yet, it’s the episode with Chris and Alyssa about Buying Your First House as Newlyweds. So, they talk a lot about budgeting, financial planning, and just being, you know, able to have that open discussion. So yeah, as per Darlene and what she’s been telling her friends, give that episode a listen if you want to know more about that aspect of getting married.
Darlene: I heard that episode when it came out, and I was still able to learn from that and we’re already married. But yeah, it’s a great episode.
But going back to positive aspects, another positive is the emotional benefits. He is my calm whenever I have anxiety, so it’s very peaceful to have him around.
Aedelbert: To kind of continue on that, I think one of the biggest benefits that we get from being married is you’ll always have someone there to really go through everything together. Whether it’s little, big decisions in life, they’ll always be there to support you no matter what you do. And you won’t really have to go through anything alone anymore.
Myrtle: Well, thank you for sharing, you know, what you believe are the positive aspects of marriage. And now that we’ve touched on some of the financial, social and emotional benefits, I’d like to hear what the biggest benefit of getting married is.
Returning to Happy Life is a minister of the gospel in the Church Of Christ, Brother Felmar Serreno. Hi again, Brother Felmar!
Brother Felmar Serreno: Hello, everybody. So getting right to it, I think the question was, Myrtle, what is the biggest benefit of getting married?
So, the biggest benefit of true marriage is being blessed by God in more ways than you can imagine. Just listen to how the Bible describes a husband and wife who have been blessed by God. In the Book of Psalms, the chapter is 128, the verses are 1 to 4. We’ll quote from The Good News Translation:
Happy are those who obey the LORD, who live by his commands. Your work will provide for your needs; you will be happy and prosperous. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in your home, and your children will be like young olive trees around your table. A man who obeys the LORD will surely be blessed like this.
[Psalm 128:1-4 Good News Translation]
Brother Felmar Serreno: Isn’t having a happy, prosperous, and blessed home what every married couple dreams of? But what should we understand? Only the Lord our God can give true happiness and prosperity to a married couple. And this goes well beyond material things.
For those tuning in, never forget that there are many things money cannot buy, such as: God’s love and favor; the development of patience, understanding, and harmony between husband and wife; the growth and the strengthening of love and faith; God’s guidance and protection upon us day by day; the truth of God’s words taught to us in the Church Of Christ, which, when obeyed, paves the way to God’s tremendous blessings in this life and, more so, in the life to come. But what home will surely be blessed like this? The Bible stated, “Happy are those who obey the LORD, who live by his commands.”
Therefore, we should never do anything that would lead us away from obeying God’s commands that have been taught to us based on the Bible. Otherwise, we would forfeit God’s blessings upon our marriage and our home.
In connection with that, it’s important that we are reminded about the warning of the apostles regarding how we should live, especially nowadays. Let’s listen to Romans, chapter 12, verse 2, in The Message translation:
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
[Romans 12:2 The Message]
Brother Felmar Serreno: The Bible teaches that we should not become so well-adjusted to the culture of society that we end up fitting into it without even thinking. So what should we do? Members of the Church Of Christ ought to discern if a practice or belief proposed by society is something acceptable to adapt [to]. And doesn’t our Church Administration continue to lead us in this regard?
For example, through the lessons we receive in worship service, aren’t we guided on how to analyze and compare what we encounter in the world with the teachings and values we have been taught based on the Bible? Well, why the Bible? Because it is the word of God—and that’s been proven to us many times in our Bible studies and in our worship service lessons. And what should we never forget about the words of God, His teachings, and His ways? In Hosea, chapter 14, verse 9, in the Today’s English Version:
May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.
[Hosea 14:9 Today’s English Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: The Lord’s ways are right. God’s teachings are the ultimate truth. That’s why it’s His words or teachings which should reign supreme in our life.
So, now I want to comment on something we heard earlier in today’s podcast. So, even if things like “dating for fun” or “living-in together,” without getting married first, might be common practice in today’s society, remember, that doesn’t make it the right practice.
Those practices lead to fornication or pre-marital sex, which goes against morality or God’s teachings. Actually, we just took that up in a recent episode with Kegan and Aila[faye]—so to all our listeners out there, if you want to hear Bible-based teachings on why the Church Of Christ does not agree with pre-marital sex or live-in relationships, please listen to that episode as well.
Myrtle: Thank you for those Bible verses, Brother Felmar, and for joining us again on Happy Life.
Brother Felmar Serreno: Well, thank you again for having me, Myrtle. Thank you to the Happy Life team. God bless to all the married couples.
Myrtle: So, Aedel and Darlene, how important is it to find a future spouse with the same faith and values as you?
Darlene: I think it’s so important to find someone with the same faith and values, because this is like what you hold at your core. Your faith and what you value in life is what motivates you to make decisions. Marriage is a forever thing. It’s a big decision that couples make, and when you have someone who agrees with you and understands you at your core faith and values, it just makes decision making in every step, after getting married, much easier to take.
Aedelbert: And I think it’s important because it allows your relationship to run more smoothly. You can make those decisions together, and you won’t clash because both of your values are the same. And like I mentioned earlier, with those values and beliefs aligning, your goals will also be very similar. So, then you’ll both know what it’s going to take in order to work together and reach those goals, so you know you’ll be able to maintain a happy marriage.
Myrtle: For both of you, was your faith in the Church Of Christ instilled in you at a young age?
Aedelbert: Definitely. Growing up, everything that I did revolved around Church [events]. You know, I went to all the Church activities. I was born and raised in the Church, even to the point where my family was so active they always helped and planned local activities. So, ever since from a young age I was always involved.
Darlene: Yeah, same for me. I was also born and raised in the Church, and I did also grow up going to all of the activities inside of the Church. But other than the activities, like, my mom was an organist for the choir, my dad was a head deacon. Both of those roles in the Church, you have to be at the place of worship early. When I was a kid, I was the only kid there. And then, sometimes, with those roles in the Church, you are also one of the last to leave. So I was also the last kid to leave the place of worship with my parents.
And that also carried into just growing up inside the Church, like when I was a teenager, to a young adult, and still now.
Myrtle: And how important was your faith to you in your late teens and early 20s?
Aedelbert: It was very important to me. Thinking back how my late teenage years, you know, when I was still in high school, one of my close friends actually asked me, he’s like, “Are you going to be doing this for the rest of your life? Are you always going to be going to your church worship services and activities like this, because you never really hang out with us and party with us.” And you know, it was a Friday night, I had choir practice scheduled, and I replied to him, I told him, “Yeah, that’s where my priorities are, and it’s always where I’m going to be.”
His reaction was like, he kind of looked at me weird and he’s like, “Oh, okay.” You know, “Do whatever you want to do, I guess.” I could tell that he didn’t really understand why I’d rather choose Church rather than, you know, go hanging out with them. He just didn’t really understand why I chose Church.
Myrtle: I know that you said that your friends didn’t really understand, you know, your stance and how much your faith meant to you. But what did it mean to you to stand up for your faith and to make sure that that was always a priority in your life?
Aedelbert: My family, my extended family, all of us were very active. They just instilled in me that no matter what happens, whatever you come across, always choose [the] Church and God first. Because of our faith, we were always taught to do what God wants us to do.
Darlene: Same thing for me. Growing up in the Church, my faith was also very important to me, especially because my parents were very active and they were officers, and same for my brother who was also an active officer in the Church. And it even went beyond my family. I had a lot of friends who were at the same activities as me, and at the same worship services that I was attending. So I am blessed to say that I had a community of friends and family inside the Church, and they all definitely helped me stay afloat in my faith. But this was especially essential during my teen years.
Myrtle: Because of your faith, how significant is it that you’re able to pray to God regarding your marriage? Darlene: Being able to pray to God, especially about our marriage, it’s really important to me. But before I say more, I have a funny story, because when we were still dating I actually used to pray, like, “Dear God, if Aedelbert is not the one for me, please end things right now for the both of us.” But obviously we’re married now, so God had other plans. And now that we’re here, now we pray together. We started praying together when Aedelbert was courting me, and we still pray together now as a married couple.
Aedelbert: I think prayer is very important, especially when you’re in a relationship, because before we even got together I had a devotional prayer. And I prayed and asked God, “If Darlene is the one for me, if she’s the one who you want me to court, you know, show me the signs and allow everything to fall into place.” I think that if you don’t have a devotional prayer, if you don’t pray for this person, how do you know you’re supposed to be with that person? How do you know that person was given to you from God?
I mean, obviously, Darlene is the one for me because, you know, we’re married now. But I think it’s very important, even more so now that we’re married, that we continue to pray together. Now, we pray every single morning before we start our day, and then every single night we pray again, you know, just to ask God, “Thank you for being with us, thank you for all the blessings that we received today.” And the biggest thing is to let God be the center of our relationship, so that we never forget about him. And the whole reason that we are together is because of Him.
Myrtle: So God gave you the blessing to court Darlene, but how hard was it to get her parents’ blessing?
Aedelbert: Honestly, I was terrified. San Francisco Is not that hot. It’s very cold over there. But when I went there, I remember I was walking to the house, I was so warm. I was just sweating like crazy. I was super, super nervous.
Darlene: My whole family was there, my mom, my dad, and my brother. But not me, because I didn’t want to be there. So, I was in another room just letting him deal with whatever my family had to say.
Aedelbert: I sat down with her parents. I just simply asked, like, “Hello. I just want to ask for your blessing and for your permission if it’s okay to court your daughter.” And surprisingly, everything went really smoothly. Yeah, everything just fell into place.
Myrtle: Well, now you have almost six months of marriage under your belt. How has married life been, and how have you been blessed by God up to this point? Aedelbert: With the new transition to a new city together, and we’re both relocating our new jobs, I was from San Diego, Darlene was from the Bay Area before we even got married, I feel blessed because everyone always says, “You don’t know your spouse until you actually live with them.” And, you know, you’re going to figure out all these little things that will just annoy you. But, so far, everything just worked out. Everything just seemed so seamless and smooth, that when we feel that somehow things won’t work out, somehow God always ends up providing things that we need.
Darlene: To go off of what Aedel said, we’re not saying that it was, like, 100% easy and 100% smooth. Like of course, there were adjustments that we both had to make, because this is obviously our first time living together. So, we did have to make adjustments. But it was, at least for me personally, moving in together and transitioning to married life together was significantly easier than I expected. It was stress-free for the most part. But yeah, if there were any moments where it didn’t feel easy, especially having God on our side, like, we knew at the end of the day that everything would be okay.
Aedelbert: Honestly, marriage isn’t something people should be wary of. Life feels so much more blessed having someone, my wife, Darlene, to share it with.
Darlene: Yeah, I agree. I am also very blessed to be married to you. Like it’s not just being able to be with your best friend every day, but it’s a blessing to know that this is my person, and he came from God. God gave Aedelbert to me, and that’s a great blessing to have.
Myrtle: And I’m so thankful to you, Aedelbert and Darlene, for giving us your perspectives on this topic and for sharing the benefits of marriage that you’ve experienced.
Darlene: Thank you for having us. This was fun.
Aedelbert: Thank you.
Myrtle: We hope that this topic we covered today has provided a new outlook on the benefits of marriage and reminded us about the fact that it is an institution that is truly a blessing from God.
This brings us to the end of our episode for today! To learn more about Christian relationships please visit www.incmedia.org. If you’d like to say hi, send us a question, or see who our newlywed guests are, you can visit our Instagram account: @happylife.podcast.
Please also remember to share our podcast with your family and friends and all the newlyweds that you know!
Thank you from all of us here on the Happy Life team. We’re so glad you joined us today, and hope we’ve all been reminded about the blessings of marriage.