ASK JAM AND PAULO #4
Hi Jam and Paulo,
First of all, I’d like to say I absolutely adore the two of you. Such a God-honoring couple in so many aspects. Thank you for being an example for both dating couples and single brothers and sisters.
Hi! Thank you for your encouraging words. It really means a lot to us knowing that our relationship has been a source of inspiration to many. ￼ This is Jam by the way!
QUESTION: I am really curious as to what it meant for you guys to be exclusively dating before becoming an official couple. How did you guys even communicate about entering an exclusive relationship?
ANSWER: To be honest, our relationship didn’t start in the inspirational-perfect-traditional way everyone expects. Just like most of us in this generation, it all started with friendship. We became close because were (and still are!) both active in our ministry works.
I can’t remember exactly how and when we talked about going exclusive. It just happened because we’re the type of people who don’t go around looking for other guys or girls to entertain once we like someone.
When our friendship started to grow (spending time together, endless chats, etc.), Paulo told me he liked me. At first, I didn’t know what it meant and what he wanted me to do after he admitted. Way before I met Paulo, I promised God that I would not entertain anyone until I felt like he was the “RIGHT ONE”.
When he told me he liked me, I was afraid. I was afraid of going through the cycle of what society calls M.U. (Mutual Understanding without any formal commitment), especially since I was living in the shadow of that for a long time!
I was afraid of being attached to him because I knew it might lead me to compromise again by being just “M.U.”. I was so afraid of our age gap, what our parents would think, if our church and leaders would approve, if it will ever work, etc. I was afraid of so many things. So I took the time to really, REALLY pray about it.
Fortunately, we were close, so I was open to him about what I felt.
Paulo is a type of guy who knows how to commit. When he’s committed to something, he will give his absolute best (studies, music, hobbies, interests, a person he likes, etc.).
When I told him about my worries, I think he was challenged to prove me wrong. He promised that he was different, he promised to stay forever, and he promised to do his best to be the right guy for me.
After that we just let things be. We remained close friends, we prayed about God’s plan and, we continued our service for God through our ministry work.
QUESTION: What was it like exactly to be “waiting for God’s perfect timing?”
I think a few months after what happened, Paulo asked for his parents’ permission, about asking me to be his girlfriend. That was the first attempt. During that time, he was still a freshman in college. His parents were afraid that he would be distracted or lose his focus. They said that he was too young to be in a serious relationship (which was true). They told him that they were not against anyone, but that we should focus and enjoy our friendship first. They taught him a lot of hard lessons. (Also during this time, my mom didn’t know anything about us yet. She started to observe us, though, she tells me she was just quiet about it because she didn’t want us to commit to anything just yet.)
Waiting was hard for us both because everyone knew about how we felt about each other. We were close and it was obvious. Paulo couldn’t hide his feelings anymore (giving flowers, always sitting beside me, treating us to movies and food trips and a lot more).
Even if it felt like everyone approved, we both knew that it was still not the right time to make it official.
We had to work on a lot of “deeper” and more “serious” approvals. We had to earn our parent’s trust in many different areas. So we both worked hard to prove our parents that this relationship would not distract us. Most of all, we did our best to earn God’s approval and blessing. (Blogged more about it here).
QUESTION: How did you guys draw the physical, emotional, spiritual boundaries in exclusive dating?
ANSWER: Ohhhhh great question. This was and is one of the hard parts! THE BOUNDARIES!
When we were not yet officially boyfriend-girlfriend, we were not allowed to do so many things!
Examples (this only scratches the surface!):
- No holding hands or any physical contact. No playing with each other’s hair or cheeks, no pat in the back, no tap on the shoulder. Nothing. And if we sat beside each other we were not allowed to connect knees or any part of our body. :))
- No staying in the same room if it’s just the two of us.
- No I love you’s (on my part — Of course, I had to hold back!)
- No sweetness on my part (but he broke this rule a lot)
- No social media posts about us that may imply how much I love or like him (even if it’s very VERY subtle)
- Not allowed to watch a movie alone together (and until now we don’t do this often either)
- No photos with just the two of us (unless approved by my mom)
- No dates without our parents’ approval
I know what you’re thinking, I felt like a teenager too! It was so hard. Sometimes I felt like it was so unreasonable. But eventually, I saw the beauty of setting boundaries. It helped us value and respect each other more.
(I remember my mom sending me viber messages like
“Sige na nga mag akbay na kayo para hindi awkward ng pose nyo. Disenteng akbay, ha!”) Hahahaha!
QUESTION: How did you answer when your friends/family asks for your relationship status with one another?
ANSWER: This was also hard. We often smile, or I simply say that he’s courting me, or that we’re exclusively dating. Others assumed that we were together already. Haha! It was hard because our situation wasn’t common. Most of my close friends and relatives couldn’t understand why we needed to wait!
This is why I DON’T recommend anyone to admit their feelings for someone if they’re not completely ready, or if their situation in life makes them unable to commit.
It’s not easy, and it won’t be. It was a hard 4 years for us but we thank God that He was merciful enough to guide us along the way. The important thing is to have a teachable spirit. Be willing enough to be corrected and instructed, especially by people who’ve been there.
I hope my multi-part answer helps you in some way! We’re planning to release a more detailed version of our story which will be the “official” account of our relationship journey, so expect more content from us soon! Thank you again for the question and God bless you!
Disclaimer: We’re facing time constraints, but we’ll do our best to answer as much questions as we can! Send your questions/messages here: http://tinyurl.com/