Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Category: Married Life (page 1 of 5)

Four Years of Love

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Mare Cris and I celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary today!

I wish I could say that all of our goals and dreams for life in the USA have come true, but they haven’t. We have, in fact, recently experienced an extremely disappointing setback in our quest for a job/ministry (the most painful one so far). We’re still feeling the emotional aftershocks.

But God has been good to us, and we have much to be grateful for.

And I can handle shattered dreams as long as she’s by my side. She is, after all, my dream come true.

We’ll make it through this . . . together.

Kahit saan, basta kasama kita (translation: anywhere, as long as I’m with you).

The First Hello: Four Years Later

One important tip I’ve learned for strengthening a marriage is to celebrate your story. It makes sense to remind each other of how you met and the infant stages of the relationship. That wasn’t too long ago for Mare Cris and me, but we enjoy talking about it nonetheless. It brings back really great memories and emotions that we want to preserve.

Meeting your spouse on Facebook has one distinct advantage: you can go back and look at some of your first “conversations.” I decided to do this a couple of weeks ago. It took a while to scroll up through thousands of messages, but I eventually reached those first few paragraphs that marked the beginning of our relationship. I copied and pasted them to a word document so we’d have easy access to them.

That very first message from Mare Cris came four years ago today.

I had just moved to Angeles City the evening of All Saint’s Day. I chose to move during this holiday because I knew there would be minimal traffic to interfere with my exodus from Manila (virtually all schools/businesses are closed on November 1st). Everything went smoothly: I had somehow managed to downsize just enough to allow all my possessions to fit in the moving truck. The trip to Angeles City took a little over an hour, and unloading everything took about the same amount of time.

The apartment (things still in disarray).

The first floor of my apartment on November 2nd (still in disarray).

My new apartment was half the cost of my place in Manila. It was located in a really nice subdivision near every imaginable amenity (grocery stores, coffee shops, etc.). Erwin, a dear friend and ministry partner, lived just a short walk away. Everything just came together beautifully.

My life could not have been better . . . or so I thought.

The very next day would bring a blessing in my life that I had not planned or even hoped for: a message from the beautiful woman I would marry just a few months later.

Life has never been exactly the same since that first “hello.” For this I’m extremely grateful.

Macau (December 2011)

Macau (December 2011)

Facebook and Fidelity

2000px-F_icon.svgA few years ago I read about the negative effect social media is having on marriages.  A survey by a British legal service, for example, found that Facebook was involved in 30% of their divorce cases (it has been blamed for 20% of divorce cases here in the States).

Needless to say, I don’t believe social media is evil (it’s how my wife and I first “met”).  But I do understand the inherent risks of using Facebook and similar sites.  Many spouses are led astray by ease and anonymity with which they can interact with the opposite sex.

Here are some simple steps my wife and I have taken to protect our marriage and keep healthy boundaries in our online interactions.

1.  Complete Transparency:

My wife and I have complete access to each others’ social media and email accounts.  This is, in my opinion, the most important step we take to guard our marriage.  She is welcome to open my computer/tablet and look at any email, chat, or profile (the same goes for my cell phone).  I am free to do the same with her.  This is not something we regularly do–the point is not to have a “weekly inspection.”  It’s all about attitude–we both understand that having a private online world is harmful and dangerous.

2.  Boundaries in Communications with the Opposite Sex:

It is not uncommon for young ladies to email me asking for relationship advice (it’s the nature of having this kind of blog).  I do respond to their questions as a pastor/minister.  I also keep in touch with a few classmates, workmates, and former ministry team members of the opposite sex.  But I do not get involved in frequent, lengthy chats  with women.  A message here and there is fine, but daily, intimate conversations are reserved for my wife.

3.  Profile Picture:

A while back I decided that my profile picture on Facebook will always be one of my wife and me together (she does the same with her profile).  The reason is pretty simple: we want anyone to runs across our individual profiles to know we’re happily married.  This may not seem like a big deal, but I believe this first impression does send a powerful signal.

4.  Public Pages:

Another step I’ve taken is to put a little more emphasis on my public Facebook page.  This is especially helpful for bloggers or public figures who want a way to connect with people that is a little less personal.  My wife is an administrator on my page and can read any message that a follower might send.

More Ideas:

Some  may decide to be even more cautious with social media.  Mare Cris and I haven’t taken these steps, but they are worth considering.

Joint Account(s):

I know of some married couples that have decided to delete their individual accounts and just use a single account as husband and wife.

Deactivate:

Another option is to simply deactivate your Facebook account altogether.

Hopefully I’ve given you some helpful ideas for guarding your marriage while using social media.  You may want to read Hedges by Jerry Jenkins for more advice on this topic.

Three Years and Going Strong

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Our friends’ wedding (February, 2015)

Mare Cris and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary today!  We are so thankful for the way God has blessed our marriage through the joys and trials of the past year.

We still face an uncertain future as we pray for God to show us what’s next.  But I know His timing and plans are perfect.  I also know any future that includes my wife will be more wonderful than I could ever imagine.

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