We’ve known each other since June.
We met June 14, we got together July 2, we got engaged October 7, and we got married December 2 in the same year. It all happened in less than six months.
The day I met him, it was just two weeks after GCQ was announced. Gatherings were more lenient then, so to speak. So, we met, we were wearing face masks and the only thing I really noticed about him were his eyes. He has very chinky, smiley eyes. So my first impression was “Parang ang happy person nito—very unassuming, very meek spirit, but also very funny, very open, very light.”
I first saw her in college. Nandoon ako sa isang building, tapos she was in the other building. Tapos yung five-minute break in-between classes, I saw her walking. “Uy, yan si Bettinna Carlos.” Ganda! It was in 2005 or 2006 tapos we were introduced this year lang. My first impression was down-to-earth rin, for her to be open to meet someone like me.
When I first got to know Bettinna, nandoon na talaga yung mindset na I wanted to be serious. I think throughout the conversation, I really opened up my life to her para alam na niya. Binuksan ko na lahat ng baho ko para if any of those things I did in the past are too much, para umpisa palang, she can say no already. But then, you know, I thank the Lord that she didn’t close the door. As we got to know each other, I knew in my mind I was serious in pursuing her.
Siguro the point when we became a couple would seem fast for others kasi ang basis nila is time, length of time, years. But ours kasi may have been short pero our values were aligned, our principles were aligned, so yung mga majors were aligned. There was no reason not to move forward in our relationship.
When he met my daughter Gummy, it was a very casual day. We had a dog date kasi Gummy loves dogs. At that time, she was asking me to get a new one. Mikki has two dogs and one day, I asked him if he could bring his dogs and if Gummy could play with the dog and he did. Initially, hiya-hiya. But it was undeniable how they clicked right away. The day they met, I also saw na “This man, naturally, is fond of my child. I guess he likes kids.” For me, a single mom, one of the major things I really have to look for in a man is “Will this man be committed to having a relationship with my child as his own?”
The day after I proposed to Bettinna in October, I was chatting with Gummy and thought of proposing to her, too. I started to plan it out. I just had to do it. I’m not saying na every guy who’s pursuing a single mom should do it. We don’t want to put so much attention to that. For me, it was also important for Gummy to have that bookmark of having a father. Before, I was hovering between tito and friend when I was still pursuing Bettinna. We would play together, we would make jokes, we would fart in front of each other. From the tito mode, it was just a fitting bookmark. “I want this. I want to be able to be a dad.” Yun na yung pinaka action step.
When I go back to that day, I think it’s for formality. I think when a single mom marries a man, it’s just assumed for the kid. It’s not really something that’s verbalized often. It's like, "By virtue of my mom’s marriage, I have a daddy." But for the father to really verbalize that and ask the child, “I want to be your father. Would you accept me as your father?” I think that was a humble gesture. That was really an answered prayer.
Was there ever a time we decided to take a break from love? You see all these people getting married in church and they’re on the spotlight. Parang wow, what a blessed relationship. Syempre, the culture that it creates is “Kailan kaya ako?” Parang ito yung mga nahahighlight, yung mga magagandang love stories. Kailan kaya ako mabebless ng isang magandang relationship? Ang daming failed relationships on my end naman na kasalanan ko din na parang I would pursue, hindi mangyayari. I would pursue or may gagawin akong mali. Hanggang parang I started to blame God na “Lord, I’ve been serving you naman eh. I’ve been doing all these things in church, I was leading Bible studies, I was singing, I was starting groups, I was telling people about you. Bakit hindi mo masagot yung prayer of me being blessed with a marriage?” Tapos dun na nagsimula yung “You know what? Magpapahinga muna ako.” Parang “I’m going to walk away from the Lord. You know what? I’ll do my own thing.”
Before Mikki, I was dating someone for two years and we never got our parents’ full blessing. Para kaming wandering aimlessly and I got tired of, of course, waiting. Of course, you’re already invested in the person, emotions, time, resources, etc. Sabi ko, “Lord, sayo na muna yung heart ko. Pwede ba bigay mo nalang ‘to kapag siya na? Kapag dumating na yung the one?” And that happened when Mikki arrived. Of course, I was guarding my heart but I also didn’t close it na “’Wag na. I don’t want to even try getting to know someone or being known by someone.” It wasn’t that naman. It was more of being careful how you interact with someone of the opposite sex. My desire for a relationship, especially a husband, I think I’ve come to a point na “I know, Lord, if you want me to have a husband because it’s best for me, you’d give it to me. Kahit hindi ako lumabas ng bahay.” Imagine, we met GCQ. Diba? We didn’t meet inside the church, hindi kami nagkita sa restaurant, sa rotonda kami ng meet. I think my conviction has become “Lord, if it’s best for me, you’ll give it to me, even if I don’t do anything.”
I don’t think you should be looking for the one. When I say don’t look, don’t actively go out pursuing. Yes, be open. Be open to friendships because that’s where it starts. Any romantic relationship will begin with friendship. Instead of using your energy looking, why don’t you focus on being? Being that person also that will be an answered prayer to someone else. Diba? Hanap ka nang hanap, eh ikaw, ready ka ba? Are you that person you want to be with also? Because I think that maturity is crucial in bringing you to that person.
There’s no one love story. I was also believing na there should be a step-by-step na dapat ganun ang what a relationship should be. There’s a peg, there’s a template. But ako, just like to echo with what my wife said, while single, focus on what is your character like. “Am I the kind of person the kind of person I’m looking for is looking for?”
Or in other words, would you want to marry yourself? Would you want to live in the same house as yourself? Parang if your answer is no, then there’s something that needs to be worked on and ironed out na you have to know also.