I’ve been asked a lot recently about how I can live for extended period of time, without my husband and why I would choose to delay my return to the Philippines by another few months. Many people seem to struggle to understand how we cope. I am aware that it is regularly remarked when I’m out of ear shot ‘what sort of marriage is that? They mustn’t love each other much if they can live like that? Do you think they married for visas?….they probably won’t stay married for long!’
The answer to the question of ‘why we currently live separately’ is simply because we believe God has said that’s the right thing to do. When Gibs and I first decided that we wanted to be married, we knew that we would likely find ourselves living apart for certain seasons. We talked in depth and prayed about these things, eventually we made the decision that whatever, whenever or even wherever God directed we would do it. After we married we spent six month together in the UK and when it was time for Gibs to return to a Manila we knew it was right for me to stay behind. It has been important for me to be in the UK to grow relationships and ensure that we have good people supporting us as we plan to restart our projects in Manila. Although physically apart we are building important foundations for what we will in a few months build together.
I had expected to rejoin him sooner than now, however God has continually said ‘wait’. Has this been hard? Of course it has! It’s been one of the hardest periods of my life, but out of obedience to God we persevere. During this extra time we have managed to gather enough money for a vehicle (as mentioned in the previous post) and Gibs has been able to establish his business and a regular client list without the pressure of a regular busy ministry schedule. I have been able to build strong friendships here in the UK, which will ensure we never feel as alone as we have the last few years. I believe this season has laid foundations for bigger things to come and for new lasting partnerships in ministry.
We endure this time of separtion to secure the future of our ministry and our marriage. It’s bigger than just us, it’s about what’s conclusive to building the kingdom. If God has asked us to stay apart for a while longer then we can trust him to sustain and hold together our relationship. It’s a decision we made together, in light of what we believe God was asking of us, yet knowing he would not force us if we chose not to. We talk via video call almost everyday, and share the tiniest details of our day with each other to ensure we stay connected. We still pray together, make decisions together, laugh, joke and cry together. While we may miss physical proximity and intimacy this is not what our marriage is built upon, it is built on love, trust, mutual respect and a shared faith in Jesus. We look forward with excitement and anticipation for our reunion in a few months time, and for all that God has for us to do together in Manila.
I believe our marriage survives this testing season because of our faith and it is strong because we love each other enough to do so at a distance.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.