Stronger Together A Story of a Radiant Marriage

John and Toni Miranda Family Silver Wedding Picture J

The fact that you are reading this shows that you are wondering (if not interested in having one) about a RADIANT marriage. With all the horror stories we hear about marriage, reading a tale of a marriage that works is always a welcome change.    The truth is building a RADIANT MARRIAGE isn’t easy, but it is a rewarding experience.  Most marriages are complicated and messy. It’s always a journey of the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. When the marriage is riddled with tears and shouting matches, a RADIANT relationship seems to be nowhere in sight.   

As of writing, it’s 11:50 PM now on September 28, 2021. I couldn’t sleep so I took my hot brewed coffee (yes at almost midnight), grabbed my laptop, and reflected on my marriage. Three years ago, I wrote a detailed article about the real status of my marriage.  The article, which was titled When Everyone Thought My Marriage Was Perfect, discussed how I showcased a seemingly perfect marriage when it was falling apart.  

We were hypocrites living a dual life. Read the full story here.    

Tonight, my husband and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  John and I held a virtual celebration called “Stronger Together Silver Wedding Anniversary.” As I write, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with our journey. Our story is of a Radiant Marriage that went from being broken to blessed.    

For me, a Radiant Marriage is a life of love and blessings that radiate light glowing from the couple’s hearts, which are filled with God’s love. It is an intentional choice to be proactive in taking important steps towards making the relationship better holistically not just for the married couple, but for their children and grandchildren as well.    

We have shared our testimony at the CCF center last October 2017 and at 700 Club Asia, which was aired in TV and various online platforms. We also shared our story during the two runs of an online couple’s retreat called “Stronger Together,” which our Discipleship couple’s group launched this year (2021). Since we started sharing our story, we have been decided to intentionally be planning our Silver Wedding Anniversary. We wanted to inspire families by letting them know restoration and reconciliation in the family is still possible.  However, the pandemic changed our plans — from our business to our careers. But this isn’t the first time that we experienced a challenge in our marriage. Even after we reconciled, John and I faced challenges.      

There were times that we would still argue over things and admittedly, there were still temptations and negative thoughts that lingered. We also encountered relatives and other people who judged us, still critical about what we did and not focusing on how God restored us. We also experienced discrimination and persecution.    

But God already healed us. He equipped us and enabled us to be bold, persistent, and determined in using our testimony to fulfill His purpose, no matter how inconvenient it is. Wearing God’s armor and enabling the Holy Spirit to fill us, we journeyed through our married life with patience, perseverance, and obedience to our Lord. Life is still not perfect, but we now see the blessings instead of the disappointments. God changed our view of marriage— it is not only about us. God is also part of our RADIANT marriage.  

One of the best ways our obedience to God came into fruition was when we served in the Glorious Hope ministry (a ministry that we are still serving in). Challenging as it may be, my husband and I continued to boldly share our married life experience with others with the hope that our story will confirm that nothing is impossible when you obey God. We coached and mentored men and women who were experiencing the struggles we had.  

We were also blessed to attend the Haggai Leadership Experience at Maui Hawaii in 2019. This further equipped us both to actively share the gospel in the marketplace and whenever the opportunity is presented to us.  

As mentioned above, my husband and I were also blessed with the opportunity to share our story in an online retreat this 2021. COVID-19 did not stop us from sharing God’s work in our marriage. But COVID did try again recently.  

Our Covid Experience

Three weeks ago, John and I both tested positive for COVID, which forced us to pause and learn new things. We realized that despite all the challenges we went through since the restoration of our family, GOD’s love has sustained us and has been faithful. He is sovereign and consistent at orchestrating everything we need.   

John and I also realized how much our friends, our church, relatives, and children loved us. We had the opportunity to recalibrate our focus during this COVID season of our marriage. In quarantine, John and I learned how to re-focus on Jesus and to live each day by putting our hope in Him and not worrying about tomorrow. We also recalibrated our view of rest and the importance of our health. We also thought about how we can extend help, love, and care to others who are suffering the same. Finally, we learned the value of REJOICING, to have the heart of always rejoicing with the LORD each day in all circumstances and situations.  

As of this writing, we are going through big challenges in business, finances, and career, and GOD has been faithful. 

Despite the financial challenge, He blessed us with relatives and friends who sponsored our needs in putting together our Virtual Silver Wedding Celebration. We are in awe with how GOD orchestrated not just our courage to pursue this event, but also the hearts and willingness of our loved ones in making this wedding a success. Our virtual event organizer and on-the-day management was sponsored. The same goes for our attire and even my makeup and other needs. Our family and friends came together to help us celebrate God’s faithfulness in our marriage.  

Our wedding celebration was a night to remember. It was a meaningful renewal of vows and reunion with relatives and longtime friends, all in one event.

Actual Renewal of Vows and Wedding Ceremony officiated by Pastor Joby Soriano of CCF Alabang

This is the full video of our 3 hours ceremony and reception.

This is the video of our friends and relatives dance compilations to entertain our guests. 

A Radiant Marriage is possible for you too

Here are a few steps drawn from experiences that helped my husband and I navigate our marriage and thrive in uncertainties with grace with the help of GOD.  

1. Identify the reason you got married in the first place 

When we got married, John and I both had unpleasant experiences with our families, which resulted in character defects. These defects are rooted in a series of experiences and beliefs that we were exposed to when we were young. Frankly speaking, we got married because we loved each other. We thought our love will “keep us alive,” as the old song lyrics go. We both had unspoken ulterior motives, which was to escape from what we thought was unfulfilled life. We thought this marriage would fill in the void in our lives.  These reasons did not create the right foundation for our relationship. We were unable to know each other on a deeper level and we did not also understand our own personal heart issues.  

How about you? What motives did you have when you got married? What expectations did you have with your spouse and their family? If your answer to “Why did you get married?” or “Why do you want to get married?” is simply “Because I love him/her,” you need to reflect on your motives for marriage. If your motive is shallow, you may want to re-think the reason you are saying, “I do.”  

2. Be an extraordinary and radiant husband or wife

So often, without much thought, we view the role of the “husband” and “wife” by the secular portrayals offered by society.  Worst is we end up considering marriage as a competition; who can do the relationship better?    

You need to overhaul how you see marriage, relationships, and your role as a husband or wife.  You’re not “just a husband” or “just a wife;” you are companions, helpmates, and lovers for life!  It is important to understand and acknowledge the marriage paradigm that GOD created. We are called to consciously build our relationship with GOD so you and your spouse will bear fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This is essential in building a Radiant Marriage founded on Jesus.   

3. Cultivating intimacy (or intentional building of intimacy)

Sadly, many couples have a narrow view of what intimacy is. Some of them think it is about affection and communication. On the contrary, intimacy involves a deeper understanding of what connects you to your spouse. The devil takes advantage of this weakness since he does not want couples to enjoy intimacy in marriage. He will keep you from rebuilding your intimacy.  

Understanding the plot of the enemy can help couples protect their intimacy. Your first step is to fight for each other, not each other. A Radiant Marriage only happens when both husband and wife are determined to defend their relationship from the enemy.  

Instead of wasting your time fighting and arguing with each other, pour all your efforts into enhancing all aspects of your intimacy: physical, sexual, emotional, recreational, and financial intimacy.  

4. Choose to always make it work.

There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage. After all, no one is perfect. A straightforward marriage is composed of two people choosing to make the relationship work every single day. They are able to do so by allowing God to heal them from their character defects.   

When things don’t go the way either of you planned, return to your purpose or the primary motivation of your marriage. Ask God to reveal to you the purpose of your bond. Whenever you’re caught in a conflict and are tempted to say hurtful things, pause. Stop whatever you’re doing and start praying.  

Remember: when you fight, no one wins but the devil. You and your spouse must come together in prayer. Fight the devil by praying for each other. Ask God to help both of you obey through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

5. Form RADIANT habits.

Putting good marriage habits into practice can help establish a radiant relationship between you and your spouse. Do not just practice the habits that the world taught you.  Create habits that aligns with God’s teachings.  Consciously build your individual relationship with God. I want to say it is impossible  to resolve our marriage issues on our own strength it can only happen by GOD’s undeserved grace through the Holy Spirit and very few couples see this truth. Which is why when couples say they can change, that’s not true. It is important that we stay aligned with Christ, the only One capable of helping us make the changes we need. By subscribing to God and His ways, we strengthen ourselves with His power to overcome weaknesses that impact our marriage.  

Every day, express your love to them in their love language. Consider what your spouse needs first before your own. Also, regain spiritual intimacy by praying with your spouse and attending couples’ Bible study groups together. Pray for an opportunity to have a heart-to-heart talk so both of you can express your thoughts, forgive your hurts, and become a radiant couple.  

As mentioned above, changing for the better on your own is impossible. Instead, embrace your weakness and ask God to strengthen you. How can you do this? Build on your radiant spiritual discipline.  

As a couple, draw closer to the Lord. Attend corporate worship together, be intentional with your bible studies and devotionals, make time in being with GOD regularly and be part of a couple’s discipleship group. Lastly, in all aspects, do not forget to intentionally commit, communicate, and forgive each other. Seek God to strengthen you to do all of these. It won’t be an easy walk, but with Him, it will be a straightforward one. 

 

This is our Family MTV to express our gratitude to our relatives and friends who never left us for 25 years 

Final Thoughts on Radiant Marriage

Marriage is truly no walk in the park, yet we are blessed to have the Lord in our midst. He has great plans for John and me. We are eager for Him to use our story to expand His kingdom whether through our corporate work, ministry, or the people He brings into our lives.   

Thank you for reading till this end. Hopefully, this blog post has helped you with your journey toward a Radiant Marriage.  Remember, it takes two hands to achieve this journey. Two hands to clap and rejoice and two hands to pray for the marriage to work.  

We are excited to get your feedback and hear another beautiful GOD’s love story through your marriage. Let us hear your story! Get in touch with us today so you can share your RADIANT marriage. You may also send us a message to learn about how you can make your relationship work via God’s way, which is always the best way. 

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MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
1 month ago

Amen and all glory to God! Praise God for sharing your marriage journey through thick & thin. i absolutely agree that with God it can be changed from broken to blessed marriage.

MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
1 month ago

Wow! you both look so professional singers here! Love it!

MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
1 month ago

Best wishes Toni and congratulations John for making it through with God as your foundation of your marriage! God bless you both and your marriage forever!

MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
1 month ago

keep up the good works you are both doing for our Lord God! i am sure you have been a blessing to many couples…..all for God’s glory!

MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
MARGARET PACHECO GONZALES
1 month ago

It is only now that i have watched this segment in 700 Club. So touched and can’t helped not to cry as i watch it. Our God is indeed amazing and sovereign!

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