We attended a Marriage Preparations Seminar before we got married. One of the best topics that was discussed in the Seminar was “Leaving and Cleaving”. This is one of the things that some Filipinos do not practice because we have this culture of being too generous when it comes to family members that we don’t mind sharing our own house with them – we even gave a name to this kind of culture…extended family.

I grew-up in a household where we welcome some relatives to live with us for a period of time (years) while they are studying or looking for a new job. It was fun because I was the youngest then so, I don’t really have a specific chore to do at home. I get all the help that I need aside from the helper that my parents hire, people at home are always there for me. But things got a little tougher when I reached puberty. I started hating a lot of things and sometimes the people around me. I am no longer comfortable sharing some of our things at home.

When my sisters got married, none of them were allowed to live with us because our parents are teaching us to be responsible. They wanted us to be able to experience living on our own.

In my case – I was already independent when I reached the age of 21. I have my own place and a job. So, leaving and cleaving will never be an issue for me. I learned to be independent even before I got married.

When it was my turn to get married (I was 28 then), we were already prepared to start a new life together. We were able to save money for a beautiful Wedding. We refused to accept financial help from any relative because we want to have the liberty of inviting only those who are really close to us.

Two years after our Marriage (when we were about to buy a house), I received an SMS from my mother, telling me about their predicament. There were times when they feel scared to leave the house especially at night because we do not have neighbors. She is also diabetic and she’s afraid that no one will look after her in case she needs some medical attention.

In short, she was able to convince me to move in with my husband. What seems to be temporary almost changed our lives when they offered us to buy the house so they could leave the City and start a new to their retirement home in the South. It was smooth sailing at first but when my other sibling expressed her interest for our house, the issues started to rise. It was difficult and I felt that I was also hurting my husband – he couldn’t move freely at our home.

When we received the approval from the bank for the housing loan, I told my husband that we should think really hard if we’re going to purchase the house. conflicts may arise, because my older sister wants a piece of that cake for free. On the second day of the approval, I told my parents that we decided to just leave and purchase a different house. They were okay with our decision since my youngest brother already came home – someone will already look after their welfare.

We would have honestly saved a chunk of money if we purchased the house from my parents. Considering the value of land nowadays, it was a steal.  Plus, I know every corners of that house since I was a little girl. But, I had to decide to let it go because I value my Marriage. We had to leave before misunderstandings become ugly.

My Mother died the same year. I was the closest daughter to her. I guess, leaving our house prepared me to face such a depressing moment. I don’t have to deal coming home to the same house with all the memories. I wouldn’t have to deal with waking up every morning at the same house where I spent 21 years with her. It will be very difficult to move on.

Leaving our house and cleaving to my husband made me stronger. We’ve been through a lot and we always have each other’s back. Who cares if it might take some more years for us to save up for our dream house? We were able to save our marriage. It is nice to wake up wearing whatever clothes I want at home without having someone comment on how short my shorts are. I can scatter things at my working table as long as I want and no one will ever question why I allow three cats to sleep on our bed.

We chose to live the life as husband and wife – where I am the only queen and he is the only king of our own little kingdom.

Leaving and cleaving is not only for the rich but it’s for the brave couples who can promise to stick together for better or for worse.

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