Sometimes, I can’t believe there actually is a woman who loves me for me.

Last night, I went through Cathy’s and my ‘memory boxes.’ A memory box is a box that, well, houses your precious memories, and Cathy and I each have one. In these boxes we have stored cards, knick knacks, and keepsakes from all our years together.

I had such a rush of emotions going through the boxes. Reading the cards with the terrible poetry and the mushy sentiment. Reading through the lines during that four-month period of separation when I left DLS-CSB to work at MyPhilippines, when we almost broke up but didn’t. Reading and reminiscing, grateful to God for His Hand that kept us together.

I can’t believe it’s been almost nine years. I met Cathy June 1998. We became a couple September 12, 1998, and wed December 7, 2002. Next year, we’ll actually celebrate ten years of knowing each other.

Ten years. Only by God’s grace.

I remember there were people who felt it would never work. Like that guidance counselor whose reaction to Cathy’s telling her that she and I were a couple was nothing short of offensive shock. Like those family members who perhaps somehow hoped I’d end up with someone different, or that Cathy married a pure Chinese man. Like those people whose fairytale lives are marred somewhat by the thought that a person like me could actually attract someone like Cathy.

Then I remember the good times. And the not-so-good times. And it boils down to three values, all of which show themselves prominent in our memory boxes.

The first is we communicate. Our cards aren’t empty. They are full of stories, of emotions, of our life together, the direction where we headed and where we continued to go. We spoke of what we wanted, what we didn’t want, and the desire to communicate because we knew this would make our relationship open and strong.

The second is we grow. You can see the growth in our cards. My earlier communications had the occasional expletive and sexual innuendo; you could see the change I am so grateful to Cathy for bringing me to a relationship with Jesus, and grateful for her prayers everyday.

The third is we trust. I am human, and flawed, and Cathy knows that. Nevertheless, she continued to trust that I would remain faithful to her – and I continue to do so. Through the years, I may have stumbled on pornography, self-stimulation, and doing things behind Cathy’s back, including bingeing on chips and soda. Each time, I came back to admit these faults to her, and she’s forgiven me.

The biggest hurdle was when I entered a costly venture that, all summed up, virtually wiped out our nest eggs. Any lesser woman would have left her husband by then. Not Cathy. She trusted God to provide, and trusted I would bounce back. A godly woman who stands by their not-so-perfect husband sends a message of love and positivity out to the world, saying “I promised this man for richer and poorer, better or worse, and I’m standing by it.

Looking through my memory box, I am in awe of God’s goodness. Sure, there may not be millions in the bank, and day-to-day living can be stressful more often than not, but everyday, I wake up to the three biggest blessings of all: a godly woman for a wife, a beautiful family, and a brand-new day I can use to make good memories for myself and others. And that’s what counts.

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