Musings on a Cross-Cultural Marriage


When I first met her, she was just an awesomely beautiful blue-eyed blond,twenty-one year old nursing student and I was a thirty-one year old pastor working among foreign students and United Nations diplomats in New York City. That was thirty-five years ago. Never did it occur to me that eight years later I would marry this beauty. I honestly admit that when she was first introduced to me I was almost so ungentlemanly and greeted her in a very nonchalant way. The reason for this blasé reaction was because she was to be one of my student volunteers and I made it a personal policy not to get romantically involved with any of my students especially the female kind. I felt that as a pastor, it would be so inappropriate and would ruin my credibility in the ministry. In our profession, we have no three strikes. One strike and you are out. So, from the very beginning, there was not even an iota of romantic interest or even a tint of attraction towards this beautiful creature, all because of this personal policy I set for myself. And it was very difficult for me because some of my students and volunteers were so gorgeous and so nice. I had to hold my horses. But that was thirty-five years ago and now I am married to this awesome beauty who helped me produce three beautiful and loving children.

So there you are. We started this symphony with a non-positive note. Well, not really. Because she was one of my faithful student volunteers, she was constantly by my side working together in the different aspects of my job.  And because her dorm was just a block away from my office, she was always there to help. Every Sunday evening she would be there to help me with the dinners and the spiritual mentoring I did with the students.  So there was no lack of togetherness and closeness. In fact, we became very close friends and I was like a big brother to her. I was the shoulder to cry on, the advisor for personal problems, the driver when she wanted to be home with her parents, the official mover if she needed to move to another place, and her escort if she wanted to see a ballet or a show. Ironically, I was also her arranging dates for her to give her a sense of being wanted. For some reason it never worked for her and later I would discover why. She told me later that the reason why it did work for her was because she had loved me from the very start. If it did not feel like a stab on a guy’s heart, I don’t what else would. No wonder, for years and years before we got married or even got serious, she was constantly by my side. That was thirty-five years ago. Now I’ve been married to this wonderful girl for almost Twenty-seven years and we have produced three awesome looking and loving children. Her Scandinavian physical features are so different from my Filipino looks, her culture not so close to mine, and her family background miles apart from mine. Like all marriages, ours is not perfect but I could honestly say that every year it just gets better, every year our love gets stronger.

Well, this platonic relationship with her went on for about six years. I have had girlfriends during those years and nothing seemed to work. The longest relationship I have had would last for only three months. I would break up with them or they would break up with me. I thought it was a waste of time and effort and very unfair for me and any girl if I stayed on in a relationship that would not end on a permanent relationship. So here I was looking for the right girl when she was right under my nose. And it was so ironic because practically most of my girlfriends looked like her – blond, blue eyes, and of course, so beautiful. After years of being so close as friends, I did not realize that it would suddenly turn to romance. Here’s how it happened and it was so unromantic. As her big brother I always made sure that she was safe in New York City. So whenever she wanted to watch a movie, I would accompany her so she would feel safe and not feel alone in a movie theater. I really was her big brother and sometimes I would forget my wallet and she would pay for the movie. Because of our brother-sister relationship, it was no big deal. One night we went to an action packed movie, “Raiders of the Lost Arc” starring Harrison Ford. I don’t know what got into me, but the moment we stood up after the movie ended, I just kissed her and she responded very warmly.  There was no warning, no full moon above us, no violins. It was just a kiss and the rest is history. A couple of years later, we got engaged and got married just two months after that. And even the engagement and proposal if you call it that was so unromantic too. We were so close and so in love that one night and I just said, “We have been such good friends all these years. Let’s get a ring and get married.” A scene like this would have never be shown in a movie. So businesslike. We bought our ring and I did not even have enough money to buy it so she just pitched in. How unromantic. She wanted the proposal to be more romantic so when I took her to our favorite Greek restaurant, she pushed the box with the ring inside across the table and said, “Here, now propose to me.” My lesson of the day is that, when God wants two people to live together as long as they live or when He wants things to happen to us, no amount of mistakes we make will prevent the right thing to happen. And the condition is to depend totally on Him for guidance and pare it with obedience. That’s our story. What’s yours?

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  1. Thank you for another informative blog. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

  2. Wow…Gods purpose?yah seems like a miracle….if two people bound together…inspiring I wish I have that kind of story….movie likes….and the thing is the race…two different culture or jobs….wonderful!!

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