The Realities of Marriage
With marriage comes relationship challenges like miscommunication and financial problems. Listen to real wives discuss how to have healthy arguments
Mariel: You’re listening to Faith & Family, a Christian-family community that aims to provide Christian advice and promote Christian values. I’m Mariel Gutierrez.
When we walk down the aisle, we have our hopes and new lives just along the horizon: the man of our dreams, the kids we’ll have, the house we’ll own, the places we’ll travel. But if you have known, if you HAD known about the heartbreak and the trials that would come along the way, would you have run away instead?
Today we’re talking about marriage, moms with wife hats on. How do we tackle the hard times? With me today are Jewel Buenavista, Emirick Haro and Bernie Rosquites. Hello mamas! How’s everyone today?
Jewel, Em, Bernie: Hi! Hello! Good, I’m a tired mom. Haha!
Mariel: We’re talking about marriage. Alright, who here’s married?[laughter]
Mariel: Just kidding. So when we went into it, I know that some of us were younger, we were all at different ages when we went into marriage. So what were your preconceived notions about marriage vs. what like it actually is? [laughter] I guess Bernie’s gonna go first.
Bernie: I think that you come into it, and you think everything’s gonna be…just because you’re this happy couple that, as long as we’re happy and we love each other, that love is enough.
Em: I kinda walked into it thinking it was just gonna be like the dating period. It was just gonna be prolonged dating, but even better ‘cause we were gonna live together!
Bernie: It wasn’t? Haha…
Em: Oh yes, it was. He’s still downstairs so…[laughter]
Jewel: For me, it was…I’ve always believed in fairy tales so it was…growing up, you watch all these fairytales…
Bernie: Massages every day! [laughs]
Jewel: …always having butterflies when you’re looking at your husband, you know from a distance…and so, that’s how I’ve envisioned marriage.
Mariel: But what is the reality?
Jewel: It IS like that![laughter]
Mariel: Is he in the room too?? [everyone laughs]
Jewel: [jokingly] Why are you laughing?
Mariel: I’m sure we’ve had great courtships, it was fun. And then, all of a sudden, marriage. Bam. So it’s a lot of hard work.
Em: I’m not gonna lie, it was hard after the “I dos”.
Mariel: Yeah, right? Almost instantly too!
Em: Yeah, it was like…what happened??
Bernie: Yeah like, looking at your spouse like, “Who are you? And why didn’t I get the memo about you?” “What is happening right now ‘cause you weren’t acting like that when we were dating?”
Jewel: What I did wanna say was, “What is reality?” I remember people would always say…like people you look up to, that you admire their marriages…one of the advice they would always tell me was, “Marry somebody who you’d be compatible, like your best, like your companions, great companions type-of-thing.” Now, I really know what that is because it’s… it’s the whole giddiness and all of that in the beginning where it’s like, “Oh I can’t wait to see you!” you know, all of that DOES go away, especially when you start having children…
Mariel: But it’s not necessarily bad, right? It’s replaced with something else.
Jewel: No, it’s not. What I love, when I think of Harmony (Jewel’s husband), I mean, we’ve had our challenges, but really because we were able to overcome them with God’s help, it’s like when I see him, I always tell him, “You’re like my comfort.” When I see him, I feel comfort, you know?
Mariel: Yeah. You feel safe?
Jewel: Yes, I do. I feel safe, I feel like my best friend is here and is gonna protect me. We’re going to do this together.
Mariel: It’s so funny because I did the same thing! Someone told me when I had just gotten married, “Wait ‘til you’re best friends.” And I got so offended. Cuz I was like, “No! I don’t wanna be best friends. We’re gonna be romantic and in love forever!”[laughter]
Mariel: But, you’re right though. It’s like, definitely. You see him and you’re like, “I’m safe” right?
Bernie: Yeah, that’s how I see Jerry.
Mariel: Was there ever a time when both of you, you and your husband, had to really REALLY put an effort into the marriage? Was there a bump in the road that you had to work through?
Bernie: Many! Many, many many.
Mariel: Describe one. We just want one, and how’d you get through it?
Bernie: It happened kinda twice. There was one when we were almost in our 10 year mark, maybe around 8 years where we just got comfortable. We just got really comfortable with each other and when we went through our frustrations…and not necessarily with each other but we were just going through these individual frustrations but we didn’t go to each other and check in and like, “How are you doing?” you know. Then, the second time it happened was when our son came along. All of a sudden, like we all know, you throw kids into the picture, mortgage and just the daily things of…it becomes routine that you always think that, “ The kids are first. The kids are first.” And that’s fine and we were having our family time but we weren’t having our US time. And you know sometimes, I just need a hug, you know what I mean? Just like our kids. Sometimes I just need you to hold my hand, kiss me on my forehead, tell me everything’s gonna be ok, even when it’s really not. But that portion of our relationship, we really had to work hard because there came a time, we were bumping heads and it got ugly to the point where I was like, “I don’t even know what’s going on between us. I don’t even know who you are. I don’t know who I am when I’m with you, and vice-versa.” Where we had to really like, pray. So…prayer is good! Thank God we have God to run to on those times.
Mariel: Well, when you’re in a position where you can still stop and talk about it, you know, that’s always good, right? When you get complacent and you’re just like, “Whatever!”, that’s the worst.
Bernie: I mean, I found myself being complacent and that’s when you don’t even…for my husband, when he was letting things out, I’d be like, “Ok, do you feel better?” And then really, that’s not the way to do it. I realized that saying nothing is worse than saying something. At least say something. Whatever it is, say something so he knows that I’m listening and that I’m aware of what he’s going through. And I had to learn that. And there was a part of me where I felt like, “Do you feel better? Ok fine. Are you done?” And that was wrong! That was so wrong because we all go through our emotional issues and sometimes we may not have the solution to whatever their problem is but sometimes, I think they just need someone to say, “It’s ok” or “I support you. We’re gonna get through this together.” ‘Cause sometimes, that’s all you need to hear sometimes.
Em: I completely agree with you that you have to talk it out. The cliché saying is communication is key. But it’s so true! If you do keep it bottled in, you don’t make progress. Nothing happens if you keep it all bottled up inside. You do have to communicate. You have to talk about it, you have to…even though you think it’s dumb to share this feeling, just share it! Just share it and work it through and I agree with you that talking helped us a lot; saved us.
Mariel: And you mentioned prayer, too.
Jewel: Communication and prayer’s key. When you say marriage takes hard work, when Harmony and I first dated, I know myself. I already knew myself that I will admit, “I’m not high maintenance materially but I will admit that I am high maintenance emotionally.” And like, he jokes around today like, “What does that mean?” Now he KNOWS what that means.
Mariel: He’s like, “I would have rather bought you the bags, dear.”[laughter] [continuing to joke] “Can I just buy you some shoes?” And everything would be ok.
Jewel: But I do wanna say, when it comes to communication, I really do believe that. I wanna share a story that, when we got married, again, we were a little bit older so we kind-of knew what we wanted, we kind-of knew ourselves already. So our first year was, “Oh my gosh!” I was always excited to see him. When we woke up, and when he was leaving, I was sad. And I was so excited when he came home from work. It was all excitement, you know? And then, I got pregnant. And then, when I gave birth, I felt a physical change in me. I felt like there’s moments when, I have to admit, I wasn’t as excited to see him when he came home. As a matter of fact, I was like, “Here’s the baby!” I was just so filled with…I was just tense and all of this. And I remember a month after birth, I was laying there by myself in the room and I was crying. And the reason why I was really sad is I was sad at the fact that I was not excited to see him when he came home the way I was before. And I knew things were changing. But I didn’t want to keep that to myself so when he came home that day, I wanted to talk to him. So he’s like, “Why, what’s wrong sweetheart?”
Mariel: He’s like, “Oh no…..” I’m just kidding. [laughs]
Jewel: But here’s the way I said it. As painful as it may sound, I was open and I said, “I don’t know what it is that I’m going through. It makes me sad to think…” See, I’m getting teary-eyed right now! [continues story] “It makes me sad to think that for some reason, I’m not as excited to see you when you come home. And I don’t know what this is. Whatever this is I’m going through, I don’t know what it is!”
Mariel: What was his reaction to you saying that to him?
Jewel: And that was the thing! He basically said, “Well, I don’t know what it is but we’ll go through it together.” And that’s how I feel, that’s why I really believe in communication regardless if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Cuz there’s a lot of ‘first things’ that we experience as a married couple, right? And so one side is, “I don’t know what this is! I don’t know what these feelings are! I don’t know why I’m experiencing this! But I want to communicate to you that I’m not doing it on purpose, you know?”
Bernie: Right, well that’s good!
Mariel: And it’s scary to think if you’re the only one feeling it, you know?
Jewel: Yesss! And that’s what it is, Mar. The fact that he was…I’m sure that it was very painful for him to hear that I wasn’t excited to see him when he came home. But I did communicate, “I’m not intentionally doing that on purpose to hurt you. That’s why I’m trying to figure out why I’m feeling this way.” And so, obviously it’s all the hormones, all of the postpartum whatever-it-is.
Bernie: Yeah, you just had a human come out of you!
Jewel: And I love….it made me closer to him to know that I wasn’t going through it alone, that he was much more understanding when…
Mariel: You know what, too? He could’ve made that all about him, right? And he didn’t!
Bernie: Yeah! It could’ve went sideways, and it could’ve ended.
Jewel: And so, a lot of bumps in our road, in our marriage is similar to that story where either one of us is experiencing something for the first time. But the important part is that we communicate it right away so that we both are experiencing it together. At least it’s not like, “What in the world is going on with you?!” You know what I mean? “And so are you doing that on purpose just to make me angry or what?” So we both have learned that through communication, it’s not something we’re intentionally doing. It’s something that….especially me. I guess because of the physical changes that happen in your body as a woman when you give birth, all these hormones, not that we’re giving excuses but it really does change you. And so it’s important to communicate that.
Mariel: And what’s beautiful about you both is that there’s no judgment. Like, “I’m gonna say something that may be painful but it’s not because I wanna hurt you. I just wanna make sure that you know how I feel and maybe you can help me.” And what’s funny is that when you’re married, you’re like, “This is the person I choose” but except that person changes, and you change too. And what’s funny about that too is that every time I would have a kid, I would panic. And I’d be like, “Oh my gosh. Who am I? Who am I gonna be to offer…like, what am I gonna offer this child?” Because I was so young, I didn’t get to finish college the first time I went. And so I was in my 2nd year I think and I was like, “Oh, I’m going to get married!” And so I got married. And then I had a baby two years after that and I was like, “I got to go back to school.” So I did that. I went back to school after my daughter was born. She’s 10 now. And then after that, I went to school, went to work. And then you know, work, school, and then baby was just too much! So I had to stop. And I was a deaconess too at the time.
Bernie: Oh my goodness!
Mariel: So, I had to get rid of one, and obviously you can’t get rid of the baby or your work so I was like, “I’m going to stop school for a bit.” So that was on hold. And then I got laid off and then I had another baby. And then the same feelings came up again. It was like, “Ah man! If I’d have finished school, I would’ve had my degree, I could’ve done this, this, this.” And I panicked again. And so I went back to school and I thought to myself, “For this time it’s going to be real. Choose what you want to do. See it through.” I had to stop because I ran out of money to go to school. And for a while, I was on forbearance because I wasn’t making any money. I was unemployed. And I had a lot of money to pay back. And so I had to go back to work, and me going back to work means daycare for my kids.
Bernie: Sure, that’s another expense added too.
Em: And emotional toll too.
Mariel: Emotional toll, yes. That’s another one that was really hard for me to deal with. I think for me, maybe what had made it the hardest is because we were so busy juggling everything, we forgot to pray about it.
Bernie: Mmmhmm!! And that’s easy to do!
Em: Yeah like, you don’t need to. You just kind of fall asleep like, wherever.
Mariel: And so how we got through it….recently, we sat down, like you guys said- communication. But I think we both admitted that we had forgotten about God. We forgot to just be like, “Hey God, we’re having a hard time.” Because initially, when I was having a hard time with the loans, I was like, “God help me find a solution”, He gave me a job, which is great. But then after that, that’s when it slipped.
Bernie: Because you’re thinking, “I got a job. Ok, we’re going to start paying. All is copacetic!”
Mariel: It’s like, alright. So we’re able to pay things off. We’re living ok now. We can now, like when we go to Target and the kids want random snacks, we can say yes.
Jewel: You know what? Finances I think is…I think every marriage goes through some finance….that’s one of the biggest challenges; finances, the first year of marriage. Cuz I’ve been in real estate. And when the real estate crashed, it was a very very tough time. I’m glad it happened because it really brought us closer as a couple because what brought us closer was prayer. We literally ran to God and just, “What do we do?” And I loved how Harmony just really took over and got stronger in leading the two of us in prayer. And that’s where I feel like…that’s why finances, I’ve learned that every couple will go through financial craziness but somehow, one way or another, God will always provide. When you look back in your life, God always provides as long as you reach out to Him first.
Bernie: We just had a (worship service) lesson about that too! I think it was a weekend where it was like, the minister was saying, it was actually Bro. Bob Pelien, and the lesson was incredible. One of the things that really stuck to me was…you know, you’re going to go through stuff, and that’s just part of life. But if you can look back and see what you went through knowing that you went to God…I mean, if you put Him first, then guaranteed God will give you what you’re asking for, what you need or what He feels that you need. But if you just put all that trust…and that’s what Jerry and I learned is that sometimes, you gotta let go. You just need to do your part for God and then the rest…of course you’re going to pray and you have to do your part to help whatever it is you’re going through. But at the end of the day, thank goodness we have our faith because we can either have our devotional prayer at home or we have our devotional prayer at Church, but thank God, at the end of the day, no matter what it is that we go through, we have our God to cry to, to open our hearts to. And I think when Jerry and I were going through our things, I had to switch up my prayer a little bit because at first, I was thinking, “Lord, please help him with whatever he’s going through.” But, what I had to say, what I learned to say was, “God please help us both. Help me have an open heart and an open mind and be able to see and feel what he’s going through and at the same time, help him also make sure that he’s going to You individually. Help us both as a couple.” And that saying, let Him take the wheel.
Em: I think you nailed it right there. My prayers used to be specific about exactly what I wanted, like, “I want this, I want that.” But ever since…as you grow up and you become more mature, it really is just…I just ask God to give me the right heart, the right mindset you know?
Jewel: Yes, that is precisely it.
Em: It’s like, “Whatever it is, it is. Whatever I have to go through, I have to go through. But just give me the right heart. Shape me to see things the right way and to have the right attitude, to have the right responses when things happen.”
Jewel: The thing is, the beauty about being in the Church is divorce is not an option.
Bernie: You gotta work it out!
Jewel: So that’s why you have to, since it’s not an option, there’d be times where it would feel good to just say, “Forget it!” That’s not an option. So you think, “Ok what can I do to change myself or vice-versa so that we can make this work.”
Bernie: And that’s where the word ‘WORK’ comes in.
Jewel: Because it is a conscious effort but ladies, yes it’s hard work but I would not have it any other way. I LOVE being married. I love that I do have my partner. I really do feel like we’re in it together. There’s way more laughter than there are tears of sadness. There are more…I mean, we’re always laughing. And just sharing our faith and us going through this journey raising our kids together, watching them together, there’s so much of joy of marriage that the bumps in the road, yes we’re talking about it, but it’s the fact that we…all of the positive stuff of marriage is what helps you get through the hard part.
Em: I think you’re right, you’re absolutely right. And I love seeing my husband as a father. It’s one of the most beautiful things that I have in my life that we share together. And it’s like you said, we still really enjoy each other’s company. He’s my best friend and we laugh together and I can’t picture without him. And even though it’s hard and it has it’s bumps and it’s bruises, but I feel like God puts that there to help you grow as a person, to make you stronger. It makes or breaks you.
Bernie: Gold gets tested! Gold gets tested, it’s in the Bible.
Em: I know. I know the purpose of this is to share with our audience that when you are going through those hard times in marriage, it’s real! Everyone goes through them I think. But then, we’re hoping to illustrate that you can get through it! You don’t have to give up. You don’t have to throw in the towel. There’s still so much beauty about marriage out there. So you gotta keep working on it and you gotta factor in God and I think you’ll get through it and you’ll be better for it in the end.
Mariel: I think that that pretty much sums it up perfectly. Marriage is demanding, right? Ready or not, that’s what it is. And sometimes, we’re ready for the situation that life throws at us, and then there are times that we are pushed to the limits. But as we learned today, just like between us, as long as we put God at the center. That’s not just something that is said in worship service, but when we actually put that into practice and action, we get through things.
So moms listening, whatever trial you’re going through, remember: this too, shall pass. Right ladies?
Em, Jewel, Bernie: That’s right. Yes. It will.
Mariel: We’re here for you. We understand you.
Bernie: Thank you, this was an awesome show to be on.
Mariel: Well, we’ll talk again next time. We hope you guys come back here on Faith & Family.