Myrtle Alegado (host): So the wedding rings have been exchanged, you’ve tied the knot, and all those months of planning and anticipation have come and gone with your “big day.” Maybe part of you wishes you could go back and make that excitement last just a little bit longer… But what you’re probably asking yourselves now is “What’s next?”, “How can we get that amazing life we have always dreamed of?”
And looking at the numbers on www.CDC.gov with nearly 50% of marriages ending in divorce, and on Statistics Canada with divorce rates on the rise, the more important question is: “How can we have a happy married life?”
Welcome to Happy Life, the newest podcast brought to you by INCMedia that focuses on newlywed concerns. We tackle topics from marriage challenges to newlywed struggles and throw in some tips and advice.
I’m your host, Myrtle Alegado. This past May my husband, Paul, and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary, but we became boyfriend and girlfriend in 1995. Now, whether you’re newly wed or have been married for some time, stay with us to find out what you can do, so that all will go well in your marriage and in your life .
Inspiration to make your marriage thrive, you’re listening to ‘Happy Life’
Myrtle Alegado: So after the honeymoon, you and your spouse are now living under the same roof, and you’re thinking, “Well, what’s next?” Let’s hear from newlyweds Abigail and Kenneth who have been married for a little over a year now. Welcome to Happy Life, Kenneth and Abbie.
Abigail Sarmiento: Hello.
Kenneth Sarmiento: Hello. Thanks for having us.
Myrtle Alegado: Oh, it’s great to have you here! So, can you share how your first few months as a married couple went. How did it go?
Abigail Sarmiento: First few months. Okay, so first let’s go to our honeymoon. We took a three day mini-getaway to Whistler, which is here in British Columbia, Canada. Then a couple months later we went to the Philippines, because you know it’s nice to get away, just us, to relax and focus on each other.
Myrtle Alegado: Oh wow! Yeah that sounds great. So, okay, you get back from your trip, and then what happened? What sorts of adjustments took place?
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yeah, in terms of dealing with adjustments, I’d say the biggest adjustment so far was when we moved in together into my parents basement unit. Abigail’s adjustment to the new living situation was more challenging, because she definitely missed her parents and her comfort zone. And what else, Abbie?
Abigail Sarmiento: Like, my bedroom and all other familiar things.
Myrtle Alegado: Well that’s understandable. So, how did the transition take place then?
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yeah, I remember that in the first few months, she would always visit my in-laws at least three times a week after work. And so sometimes I was home alone waiting for her until past 10pm.
Abigail Sarmiento: Awww.
Kenneth Sarmiento: But, you know, I didn’t complain much since she’d always bring back cooked meals from her mom.
Abigail Sarmiento: Of course.
Myrtle Alegado: Wow, that is pretty late, but you know what, home cooking is always nice, so.
Kenneth, if you could just hold your thoughts for one minute, if you don’t mind, because Abbie I want to ask you to try to explain why it was hard for you to transition to moving in with Kenneth. I mean, you just got married and you just got back from your honeymoon. So why were you feeling a little bit lonely? Can you try to explain?
Abigail Sarmiento: Ooh, okay. Yeah, it was hard because of me thinking of the ‘what ifs.’ It was a new environment for me, living with my in-laws. And, you know, we might have different perspectives in some things. Unlike when I was with my parents and brother, I can say or do whatever I want because they know me well. So, when I moved in, I would start thinking, “What if I do this? What if I do that? Is it going to be okay with them?” Or “am I doing it right?” There were worries like that in my head, and that made me a bit lonely.
Myrtle Alegado: Aww, so kind of like you were second guessing yourself on certain things.
Abigail Sarmiento: Yes but, actually, fortunately, as I see my in-laws every day, as I talk to them whenever there’s a chance, I could say that my in-laws really made me feel welcome as a new member of the family. And I believe having the same faith definitely helped.
Myrtle Alegado: Oh, that’s awesome! So, okay, Kenneth back to you now. So when you saw that Abbie was having, you know, a hard time adjusting, was maybe a little bit homesick, how did you help her transition? She said that your parents were very, you know, accommodating to her. So, how did you help her transition?
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yeah, first of all, as her husband, of course I was concerned. I really wanted to make her feel more comfortable. So, we talked about it and really tried to stay open to each other, and most importantly, we also pray together.
Myrtle Alegado: Can you maybe expand a little bit more on what your communication looked like? How did you comfort Abbie through those adjustments when she felt homesick?
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes, there were times we communicated with words, and also other times just by our actions. So let me try to explain this a little bit. With words, we try to speak in such a way that we express honestly what we feel or think about a certain issue, just like a straightforward, direct approach. Almost like when you talk with your best friend, there’s no guessing or hesitation. Meanwhile, when we communicate through actions, usually it’s because we’ve noticed each other’s moods or expressions. For example, if Abigail is unusually quiet,
then I know it usually means that-
Abigail Sarmiento: Mmhmmm.
Kenneth Sarmiento: -something is bothering her.
Myrtle Alegado: Uh oh.
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yeah, and then I respond first by maybe giving her a hug, making her feel more comfortable, and then I ask her what’s on her mind.
Myrtle Alegado: Oh, you know, that’s great. It sounds like, you know, you’re really in tune with each other’s moods, and you can adapt to one another.
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes.
Abigail Sarmiento: Oh, don’t get me wrong. At first we had these embarrassing and awkward moments too, because, you know, we were together almost 24 hours a day, right? So, we got to see each other’s flaws and weird habits that we did not really show each other when we were still dating.
Myrtle Alegado: Right.
Abigail Sarmiento: Yeah, and then there were times we would have different opinions on matters in the home and other topics like that.
Myrtle Alegado: Okay, so how did you deal with that? You know, what was your approach? Were you, like Kenneth said, you know, as if talking to your best friend, brutally honest with each other, or did you have to choose your words carefully sometimes?
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes, in the beginning, some things that would leave us both irritated were criticizing each other’s driving skills, or like buying stuff that isn’t really needed. Like for example, when Abbie and I go shopping, whether it be food, groceries or even clothing, just before we leave the house we already have, like, a what to buy list in our minds, or write it down on a piece of paper. And then, when we’re at the store, all of a sudden we see the 50% off aisle or the buy-one-get-one aisle.
Abigail Sarmiento: Yes! Savings!!
Kenneth Sarmiento: Well, next thing we know it, we bought more things than we’ve actually really needed.
Myrtle Alegado: I can relate, I can relate.
Kenneth Sarmiento: But, you know, after those experiences we just try to remind each other that, just gently remind each other maybe we don’t need those things now, or maybe we can buy those in the future.
Or maybe there are some experiences or issues that gently reminding each other doesn’t clearly work out, or if we really needed to talk things through, then Abbie’s been the one who usually initiates the conversation. If for some reason she didn’t feel like talking, but I could feel that she was really struggling with something, then I would try to open up and start a conversation.
Myrtle Alegado: It sounds like you’re both taking turns initiating the conversation and that’s really awesome. Earlier, Kenneth, you mentioned that you pray together. What did you pray for specifically?
Abigail Sarmiento: Okay, so first of all, the reason we probably don’t have big fights, is because we talk openly with each other, as Kenneth mentioned a while ago—we communicate.
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes.
Abigail Sarmiento: And regarding our prayers, we always include that may our Almighty God strengthen our relationship to be loving, caring, loyal, trustworthy, faithful with each other. And that God may guide us in all our decisions and goals in this life.
Myrtle Alegado: Yes, those are wonderful things to pray for. And after hearing examples of these challenges newlyweds face, let’s bring in a minister of the gospel in the Church Of Christ, Brother Felmar Serreno.
Hi Brother Felmar, and welcome to the podcast!
Brother Felmar Serreno: Hi Sister Myrtle. Thank you for the warm welcome. I am truly happy to be here, really excited for one of our latest podcasts brought to you by the Church Of Christ through INCMedia. And hello! Hello to everyone who’s tuning in.
Myrtle Alegado: Oh, thank you so much brother Felmar. We’re happy that you were able to join us today. Now, for the married couples, especially the newlyweds who are tuning in and who may be going through the same types of struggles that Kenneth and Abbie experienced, does the Bible have any advice for us? How do we tell our spouse we think they need to, perhaps, change some habits that bother us? And, you know, what we all really want to know, how can married couples be truly happy?
Brother Felmar Serreno: So we have three questions here right, sister Myrtle?
Myrtle Alegado: Yes, that’s right.
Brother Felmar Serreno: Okay. Well, the answer to your first question is a resounding yes. The Bible has plenty of advice for married couples. In fact, the truly essential and fundamental teachings and guidelines on marriage are in the Bible. Why? Because the Bible is the Word of God. And God is the one who instituted marriage.
Let me skip to your third question before answering the second one. So your third question goes: “How can married couples be truly happy?”
Myrtle Alegado: That’s right.
Brother Felmar Serreno: Let’s all direct our attention please to what the Bible says here in the book of Psalms, chapter 128, verses 1 to 4, as rendered in 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: So true happiness in marriage, and in life, isn’t dependent on wealth or exotic vacations, as what TV or other media portray at times. Rather, according to the Bible, it is those who fear God who have true happiness.
How can you identify those who have holy fear of God? They have true respect, obedience, and submission to God and His ways. What can people who live this way expect? They will be happy, the Bible says. Their marriage will be happy, and their home will be happy. Why? Because they will surely be blessed by God.
Therefore, we must allow God to be at the center of our life, and we must allow His teachings to be the foundation of our marriage. Now for your second question, if you could remind me please, Sister Myrtle.
Myrtle Alegado: Oh it was, “How do we tell our spouse we think they need to perhaps change some habits that bother us?”
Brother Felmar Serreno: Right. So it goes without saying, when you go into marriage many adjustments will happen. Right, Brother Kenneth and Sister Abbie?
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes, it does, Brother.
Abigail Sarmiento: A lot, a lot, Brother.
Brother Felmar Serreno: All right. Now let’s remember, brethren and our friends who are tuning in. Let’s all remember, prior to marriage you were living with your parents maybe, or you were living on your own. And for so many years you followed how your parents did things around the house, for example. Or you followed your own method of getting through the day, developing your own habits along the way. But now you’re living with your spouse, your God-given partner in life. Although physically two distinct human beings but now, through marriage, the two are one in the sight of God, as stated in the book of Mark, chapter 10, verses 7 to 9. So not only because of your love for each other, but also because of our love for God, and giving due reverence to holy matrimony, husband and wife have to cooperate and make the team up work—ergo, adjustments. And yes the adjustments can take years.
Myrtle Alegado: And years, and years.
Brother Felmar Serreno: And years and years. Right Sister Myrtle. So, let’s all be guided by additional teachings coming from the Holy Scriptures. When it comes to making those adjustments, husband and wife, as we go on in marriage, especially on the part of the newlyweds who are tuning in at this time. So, let us listen to what is stated here in the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 4 to 5 in the New International Version:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
[1 Corinthians 13:4-5 New International Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So, taking into consideration that the Bible teaches us to be patient, kind, don’t be proud, don’t dishonor or disrespect others, so applying this to marriage and our issue right now on ‘making adjustments,’ so both the husband and wife should be willing to make adjustments in themselves and be willing to support their spouse in the adjustments that he or she is facing.
But here’s the important part, what is the foundation for making those adjustments, whether it be in our character, lifestyle, habits, making those adjustments as a married couple? So the foundation for making the latter should still be God’s teachings which are recorded in the Bible.
Myrtle Alegado: Thank you so very much, Brother Felmar, for being with us today and for sharing with us those wonderful teachings and advice from the Bible.
Brother Felmar Serreno: The honor is mine, Sister Myrtle. God bless to all.
Myrtle Alegado: So Kenneth and Abbie back to you and your experiences. Have you had any other situations or topics so far that, you know, you didn’t exactly see eye to eye on.
Abigail Sarmiento: Uh, what else, Kenneth? Maybe division of chores and other responsibilities.
Kenneth Sarmiento: Ooh, that’s right. Though we live in the basement unit of my parents’ place, we have to decide for ourselves now how to manage things.
Myrtle Alegado: Well, that seems to be a popular one amongst newlyweds, trying to decide that. So you’ll be happy to know we have a few tips that we found to share, that we pulled from some sources, and here they are.
So, practical tips on division of chores. Number one is: list your chores. Sounds easy enough but sit together and make a list of chores that needs to be done, you know, daily, weekly, monthly, maybe even yearly, and just divide them. Number two: make chores proportional. Look at how much spare time you both have outside of work and divide the chores accordingly so that, you know, one won’t end up having more leisure time than the other and Abbie can’t have a movie marathon while poor Kenneth is vacuuming the whole house, you know. And then number three: take turns. So rather than trying to equally divide each chore every day, try taking turns. If there’s a task you both loathe, alternate who does it but, you know, make sure that the turns are fair. Better still, learn to love the task because it has to be done.
Abigail Sarmiento: Right.
Myrtle Alegado: So Kenneth and Abbie, believe it or not, we’ve come to our last question for today.
Abigail Sarmiento: Woooo!
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes!
Myrtle Alegado: Are you ready for it?
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes, we’re ready.
Myrtle Alegado: You sound too happy that this is coming to an end. All right. Well, the question is: “Are you happy?”
Kenneth Sarmiento: Yes we are.
Abigail Sarmiento: Yes we….wait are we? Yeah, of course we are happy. Although we know there are still plenty of challenges that we have yet to face but we are confident that, with God’s help, we will stay a content and happy married couple.
Kenneth Sarmiento: And yes, we are happy but we are still adjusting and improving our communication as we go on. We know marriage is a lifetime commitment.
Myrtle Alegado: Oh, absolutely. Well, first of all, let me say a big thank you to Kenneth and Abbie for joining us on the show today.
Kenneth Sarmiento: Hey, thanks for having us. We had a great time.
Abigail Sarmiento: Yes, it’s a pleasure. It’s happy to be here.
Myrtle Alegado: Now to all of our listeners, especially all you newlyweds out there, if you noticed Kenneth and Abbie remarked that they are happy as husband and wife, but they also acknowledge that they are still adjusting to each other and improving their communication. And chances are all you newlyweds are going through the same thing, which is why we’re excited to invite you back for our next episode, which will actually start off a series about effective communication in marriage.
So be sure to join us in our next episode as we educate ourselves on the importance of communication for newlyweds and touch on some of the challenges. Until then you can visit www.incmedia.org to find more information on Christian relationships. We’d also appreciate your feedback about this new podcast of the Church Of Christ. You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Happy Life. Feel free to also email us your questions about marriage, or even just to say hi.
Well, that’s all we have for you today. On behalf of everyone here at Happy Life, thank you all for tuning in. God bless to all the newlyweds out there.
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