We've been together for more than six years, Cathy and I.
Last year, I posted the testimony below as tribute to the beloved, long-suffering life partner that is my wife. This year, with the help of many of her friends and family, I produced a handmade scrapbook of photographs and testimonials to her love and kindness. I should probably scan that to show y'all, but some of the photos there are private, so maybe not this time.
Regardless, God has superblessed me with many things, the best of which is having someone by my side to love and serve Him. I am terribly flawed, but by God's grace, I have been redeemed by the sacrifice of God's Son on the cross, and to be given such a wonderful woman as partner and co-heir in His blessings, well, it just overwhelms me.
Happy 3rd year anniversary, dearheart. I love you to pieces.
On July 15, 1999, I entered the office of De La Salle University - Manila's Psychology Department. There was only one person in the room, a woman wearing a blue and white checked blazer over a simply plain white polo. Her hair was short, cropped a la Demi Moore during her cute Ghost days; on her face, glasses with thick lenses. She was going through her desk drawer, and when she glanced up to see who entered the room, I felt my world stop.
"Good afternoon," I smiled, "Miss Midel?"
"Mister Deen?" she smiled back.
In such a formal fashion began my love affair with Catherine Midel. That day was a blind date, set up by mutual friends of ours who were in the throes of a love affair of their own. We lunched at L.A. Yaki, a Japanese fusion restaurant on an upper floor of the nearby University Mall. I ordered oysters that did not agree with me; I forget what she ordered. We talked about life - and learned of a mutual appreciation of all things Deborah Gibson. The restaurant has since closed down; our relationship, however, is still going strong after more than five years.
Back in college, I wrote an essay about never wanting to get married, about jumping from one affair to another, possibly having a child, but not open to marrying the mother. Reading that essay now, I cringe at my misplaced priorities. Clearly, marriage mayn't be for some people, nor long-term relationships up the alley of some individuals. For me, however, I find it has brought me closer to this woman who I am so proud to call mine.
Let me tell you a little bit about my wife. Catherine and I are virtual opposites. While I am gregarious and talkative most of the time, she would prefer to sit back and listen. While I like going out to parties and being with a lot of people, she would rather stay home with chocolate and a movie. While I am admittedly on the chubby side, she's managed to maintain, to a certain extent, that hourglass figure with which God has so generously blessed her.
She and I do share things in common, though. We are both extremely passionate about things we believe in, and when you get us started, we'll talk your ears off in minutes. We both sing, although she in a key all her own. We both enjoy comedies, the occasional trip on the road, and obviously each other.
Catherine's personality is the love-her or hate-her type, and I fell for her head-over-heels. For me, she was easy to love: she never kept things from me, always lifted me up from my insecurities, always was concerned with my well-being. She also accepted my unconditional love, temper tantrums, and incessant desire for tickling, which she hates.
In 2000, Catherine found her way back to God. I, however, was content with my comfortable, relatively painless relationship with God. God told her to leave me if I would not commit myself to Him; she cried and fought, but was faithful. She never told me about what He told her, but God is faithful, too: a few days before her self-imposed deadline to leave me and remain faithful to God's instruction, I, without knowledge of her dilemma, accepted Jesus into my life.
It changed our lives forever.
It's been more than