MANILA, July 19, 2012—While the wife of every overseas Filipino worker (OFW) has remarkably tough circumstances to contend with, ways to deal with the difficulties are never lacking.
“I have to be both father and mother to my children during those times that their father is abroad. And it is difficult, that without God’s grace I think I can’t make it,” said Judy Mae Esteban, a mother of 4 whose seafaring husband spends most of the year away from the Philippines.
There were times that I would be moved to tears especially whenever my children were ill and needed medical attention. There were also times that I myself was ill. During those times my extended family also helped,” she explained, grateful for the presence of her husband’s family for support.
Amid the challenges, Esteban and her husband of 23 years have built their marriage and raised their family. The wife attributes much of her ability to hurdle the hardships with optimism to God’s loving hand and to her faith in the lifelong commitment that sacramental marriage is.
“Our marriage is not problem-free but it is a great blessing for me, for us. God really blessed and is still blessing our marital life, our relationship as a husband and wife, as a father and mother, and as a family,” Esteban said.
With the eyes of faith
This faith has been the foundation of the couple’s relationship since before tying the knot. She believes that married couples can be better equipped to have a successful marriage if they enter into marriage with the eyes of Faith, she explained.
“Couples about to be married should consider a marital relationship as God’s will for them. How? First they have to determine — each of them — if married life is God’s will for them, and if the partner they wish to commit their whole life to is likewise God’s will for them,” the wife and mother said, adding that the process can take years of discernment. “Tall order huh?” she quipped.
The Masbate-based Esteban criticized attempts in the past to make the idea of divorce acceptable – even desirable – in the Philippines, with some sectors even making moves to make the idea into a reality via legislation. She expressed her desire for people in legislation to work to understand the nature of marriage and family so as to better serve the people with policies that will strengthen families and build society.
“You know, marriage is a commitment and that commitment can only be fulfilled by seeing it as a covenant made by a man and a woman drawn with God as the Instigator – not just a mere social contract by a male and female without the bond of Faith,” Esteban pointed out.
She said the breakup of quite a number of marriages could be due to either lack of maturity “in love and grace, or they might have false or romanticized ideas about love and commitment.”
“Perhaps instead of following God’s will, some have fallen into the trap of selfishness,” she lamented.
Regardless of individual circumstances, Esteban hopes that officials who have the power and duty to craft civil laws will let themselves be guided by the nature and ends of marriage.
“Think of us many women who dearly love our family, husband and children… it would be a disservice to us if a law that would erode our faith in marriage, as well as its sanctity and permanence, be made.” (CBCP for Life)
Intelligent discussions and exchange of views on issues are encouraged among our readers. Anyone can post comments or feedback about the news, features or stories uploaded in this site. However, the editorial board reserves the right to edit comments for clarity and brevity. The use of foul language, personal attacks or hate campaign on a person or an institution is not tolerated in this site. Likewise, promoting one's own agenda or interests (such as those that are commercial or political) through this site is discouraged, hence will be deleted.