A few months back, news was abuzz about the alleged revelation of a popular fastfood joint’s secret chicken recipe.  For years, those 11 secret herbs and spices remained a mystery. So I wonder if there really is any magical ingredient to their chicken’s sumptuously unique taste.

I honestly don’t think so. Whether the much-publicized “secret” recipe is indeed authentic, most of the ingredients are readily available in any local grocery store – nothing out of this world, so to speak. But what makes the recipe special is discovering the right combination and concise amount of ingredients necessary to produce that universally delectable taste so many have learned to crave.

The same principle applies to married life. Sometimes we try so hard to learn the secrets to a happy marriage. But each recipe is different for every couple. We may all use the same “time-tested” ingredients but achieving the right mix and blend is unique for every marriage. Successful couples know the necessary ingredients to keep each other feel loved, happy, healthy, and satisfied.

My husband Noli and I have been married for 12 years. We may not have reached half-way through the golden years, but we are both in for the long haul. At times, I find it quite difficult to understand how our relationship can be so happy and “rosy” one minute, only to turn into a battlefield the next day. Many times, we end up arguing a lot, stressing over every little thing, and getting on each other’s nerves. Making a relationship between two different, imperfect individuals work is that difficult. But with so much more to building a life together – raising children, managing finances, balancing work and home, in laws, personal responsibilities – keeping a strong marriage can be extremely tough.

As in any perfect recipe, marriage takes a lot of hard work and years of practice to achieve that desired taste. But with a good combination of time-tested ingredients and the right amount of commitment added to it, I realized it is indeed possible to create perfect moments despite our individual flaws. Allow me to share with you our very own recipe:

  • Start with 2 cups of friendship sprinkled with the right amount of trust and a joyful disposition.

If there is one thing I am confident and proud about my relationship with Noli, it’s our friendship.  From the moment we met, dated, got engaged, our love grew as friends.  Even in marriage, we continue to be each other’s bestfriend.

Being friends also means never stopping having fun. I remember a time when Noli was giving a talk in one of our community events, he used a joke to stress a point and I found myself laughing despite hearing it a number of times already. Marriage is about enjoying each other’s company. Laugh together, do things together, discover things together, spend a lot of time together.

  • Add a bowlful of selfless love, seasoned with loyalty, commitment, and respect.

On the day we got married, Noli told me that he will try his best to say, “I love you” to me everyday even if we encounter bad days. Up until this stage of our married life, he has remained true to his promise and for me, hearing those words each day is enough to assure me of his love, loyalty, and respect.

Of course, there are times when I would doubt its truth. I would demand too much from Noli, expecting him to know what I need without telling him or insisting he should understand what I am going through as if by special, mutant powers. Selfish motives often blind me from loving my husband fully and giving him the respect he deserves. So I try my best to understand my husband more each day and teach myself to love selflessly in spite of his shortcomings.

  • Top it with a lot of patience and forgiveness sealed with faith.

Noli and I are two distinct individuals, so we don’t always think alike or have the same opinion on everything. I learned that conflict will always be part of every marriage, but this should make our relationship stronger not break it.

Fortunately, we are blessed to be part of a community for married couples. We learn the value of building up our faith in one another and trust that we both desire only the best for our life together. More importantly, we discover to have faith in each other, in ourselves, and in God. 

Of course, concoting that perfect recipe means realistically taking into consideration the current state of one’s married life. Its success will depend greatly on our commitment to work together as a couple. The basic ingredients should stand the test of time, but we have to be ready to discover new things to improve its taste. Each new day is a perfect time to rediscover love and create meaningful, lasting memories together.


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