Love Overcomes Cultural Differences

February 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Joey and I met through a business community and became good friends. We got along really well inspite of the race and a 10-year age difference. More than a year after we became friends, we became a couple. We had good intentions about each other but didnít know how to discern God’s will for our life then. We were both busy growing our businesses and were serious about each other but at the same time, we felt an insurmountable obstacle before us: getting my parents’ blessing.

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As our relationship matured, our personal relationship with Jesus Christ also deepened. We became members of a Bible-teaching church, joined a small group that studied God’s word together, and started serving in little ways in the church and in our business circle. We took advantage of this opportunity to learn more about each other, pray for each other, be accountable to each other. We realized it was more critical that we work more on our personal relationship with God, rather than focus on what we want or expect from each other. Our relationship grew into years, with no sign of approval from my parents. We understood their concern but at the same time, I didn’t want to give up on our relationship. One of the major reasons why I decided to stay with Joey was because I saw that he was hungry and taking personal responsibility to develop his relationship with God and I said to myself, this is a man who will not take me away from God but will lead me closer to Him.

I even remember when we celebrated one anniversary, he gave me flowers and he added an extra flower to say that next year, we will be married but it didnt happen. We were serving the Lord cheerfully but there was a part of me that kept asking God, “Lord, when? I’m already 35. It’s been 5 years.” Then in Feb 2010, Joey got confirmation from the Lord to propose to me. He brought me to the Clark Hot Air Balloon Festival, secured the “Heart Balloon” (appropriate since that’s what we called each other), and as we floated 400 feet up in the air, he asked me to marry him. I said yes of course.

We thought that it would get the ball rolling on the side of my parents, it didn’t. We continued praying to God and asking for Him to change the heart of my parents. When people would ask or joke about Joey and i getting married, they would really see my attitude change to negative or hopeless. It just really seemed impossible. Some people even suggested that Joey and I elope since we were grownups and can make our own decisions. But Joey and I really wanted to glorify God and honor my parents by waiting for their blessing.

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And then, a year after Joey proposed, God moved as He taught us how to pray for our request. My mother suddenly asked about Joey and from there, came the first meeting. Two months after, Joey and I sought our individual Scriptural confirmation that we should move forward with wedding preparations. Joeyís confirmation verse for the wedding: Ephesians 2:14 “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,ì My confirmation verse for the wedding: Isaiah 25:6 “In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heavenís Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.”

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We didn’t have everything planned and ready but having God’s promises gave us the courage to step out in faith. Joey then asked for my parents’ permission for us to get married and they said yes. Then God just continued to reveal Himself to us in both spectacular and simple ways as He worked with us for the wedding preparations. Provisions of all kinds came, from everywhere; and we were just so grateful to God for all that He did and was doing. So on November 24, 2011, after waiting a total of 8 years, we got married. We had 550 guests, more than half of which were guests of my parents. It was an amazing day, thanks also to Imagine Nation’s (plugging!) Jamie Lihan, Shayla Sanchez, and Danielle Tan. They even prayed for us before the wedding started, while we were getting ready for the day.

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A friend told us early on, that you experience a different kind of blessing when you get married and we couldn’t understand it, until we were married. All we can do is marvel at how filling our relationships are becoming, not only with each other but also with Joey and my parents and me with Joey’s family. We shudder at the thought of what if we had shortcut God’s will and timing in our relationship? What if we had gone ahead of Him? We would’ve missed all these blessings and life would’ve been so different, and we mean different in a negative way. We encourage couples: choose obedience to God’s words over your own wisdom and desires. Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. ”

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“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to Him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” — Psalm 128:1-2

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Oh, and two to three weeks after the wedding, we were already pregnant!

~~~~ Joey & Liza Magtibay

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