Malu Ortiz is a beautiful, simple, inspiring, authentic woman, a painter, makeup artist, photographer, athlete, speaker, and a bestselling author! Her previous book, Ikaw Na Ang Maganda hit the Number One spot at OMF Literature and Number Seven at the National Book Store Bestseller’s List!!! That, along with her Embracing God’s Purpose for My Special Needs Child are now available at Amazon! Even so, she remains humble with a genuine heart to encourage women from all walks of life. She has this undeniably hot and passionate love affair with Jesus and by how she just naturally shines and radiates joy, love, beauty, excitement, you wouldn’t be able to guess the struggles and challenges she faces until you listen to her testimony shared to give glory to the God who overrides these challenges with His protection, provision, and presence.
I am amazed at how God uses her not despite the trials that He allowed in her life but precisely because of them. By faith, she surrenders and allows Him to use those to mold her to be the godly woman He wants her to be. It is a great encouragement because it is proof that life does not have to be perfect before God can use someone. Her life is continuing proof that in weakness, God’s power is made perfect
When I see her, anything that discouraged me would fade because she is like the apostle Paul, planting seeds of joy and thanksgiving in others’ hearts when he himself was facing huge challenges. She is always on the lookout for a situation that will give hope to others.
Here is our chat about her latest book…
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): Hi Malu! Your book title sounds exciting like a telenovela! … Nakakaiyak ba ito o nakakatawa?
MALU TIONGSON-ORTIZ (MTO): This book is not funny at all. It’s about women who have been rejected, abandoned, or neglected by their husbands yet they choose to hold on to their marriage because they want to obey God and believe in miracles.
BITS: Oh I see…Why did you choose this title?
MTO) “Ang Diary ng Legal Wife: Hope para sa mukhang hopeless na marriage.” I chose this title because in today’s society, many people have forgotten the real concept of marriage. Some women opt to be a mistress and simply do not care about the legal wife or their children’s feelings. With so many movies and teleseryes about mistresses, why not about the legal wife naman and let them know the other side of the coin?
BITS: What do you mean by “the real concept of marriage”?
MTO: … based on God’s original plan for marriage to be permanent, that what He put together, let not man put asunder. In His eyes, a husband and wife are to become one flesh. Tim Keller says, “The marriage that used to be about “us” is now all about “me.”
BITS: Who is this book addressed to besides the obvious legal wife?
MTO: The book is addressed to all wives, young and old, single women who plan to get married in the future and husbands can gain insight here, too.
BITS: What inspired you to write this?
MTO: My personal experience in my marriage inspired me to write this book. While others chose to give up, I chose the harder way, and that is to let go of my husband but not give up on The God who is able to do the impossible.
I wrote this book to share to other hurting wives what God had taught me, to inspire others and let them know that there is another option… a better option than annulment and divorce. That this is one thing in the world that is worth fighting for…
It is true that when a marriage fails, the rejected wife has the option to pursue annulment or divorce. Because losing a loved one is so painful, many women choose to take their case to court. And when the marriage has been annulled, they opt to find another man who can replace their husband. They may think that this is the best solution and the easiest way to heal their wounds.
But I believe that there are women out there who would still hope for reconciliation whether it be for love or for their children’s sake. They are willing to change, to forgive and to give their marriage a second chance. However, they are not able to take a stand for what they truly feel. Pride gets in the way. The wife doesn’t want to be labeled as a martyr wife or the wife who was exchanged for a younger woman. Her heart says, “Forgive just as God has forgiven you,” but her mind tells her, “I can’t… I won’t… I don’t want to get hurt anymore.”
Isn’t marriage worth fighting for? When you said your vows in the presence of God and your guests at the altar on your wedding day, didn’t you say that you would love your husband in good and in bad times, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part?
These are legitimate questions. It is difficult to love an imperfect husband or to love him even if he doesn’t love you back. Love is such a big word. The truth is, the natural self expects to be loved back in the way we want. This is conditional, for the benefit it gives back. Sacrificial love is not based on feelings, but a decision for God. When we understand how much God loves us, we too are able to love even the unlovable. A friend of mine who chose to fight for her marriage said, “I have chosen to endure this particular suffering not because I am overly dependent on my husband for my happiness, or because I can’t live without him, but because I felt this is what God is telling me to do. I have decided to forgive and show love by doing good to my husband. ‘You overcome evil not with evil, but with good.’”
In today’s modern society, I personally had to make some difficult, painful choices. I opted to contest our annulment case. It took a lot of prayer, fasting, and courage to take this leap of faith. Peter Tan-Chi, Senior Pastor of Christ Commission Fellowship Church (CCF) and his wife Deonna say, “This decision and stand may seem revolutionary, may appear strange when compared to popular opinion and practice. However, this view is based on the timeless truths and unchanging principles found in the Creator’s Manual on life and relationships, the Bible.”
Before I came to know the Lord’s word on marriage, I myself filed for the annulment back in 1981, ironically, instead of granting it to me, my husband decided to woo me back. He thought of our son Carlo and for his sake, he tried to change. We eventually had two more children— Paolo and Clarissa. I am grateful to God that my husband fought for our marriage; otherwise, we wouldn’t have had our two children. Now that it is my husband who filed the annulment, doesn’t it make sense that I now do my part to fight for our marriage?
As a Christian, I learned that it’s better for me to forgive than to harbor bitterness. I’ve also realized that life is not just about being happily married.
God created me for a higher calling, and this goes beyond having a successful marriage and raising children. God created a woman not solely for her husband, but for Himself alone.
The husband is one of God’s greatest instruments to achieve His purpose for our lives. Through the pain and difficulties we experience in marriage, we are drawn closer to God and learn to completely rely on Him for our emotional, financial, physical and spiritual needs. Like diamonds in the rough, God can cut our flaws and turn our failures into victories. The husband is God’s tool to cut and polish us.
If I had discarded my marriage without even trying to fight for it, I would be closing the door of opportunity for God to display what He is able to do. Our God is a God of second chances. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask for or imagine— whether there is a husband by our side or not.
There is hope in the midst of a crumbling marriage. When you put your trust in God, you will no longer be just the “legal wife” — you will also be the “godly wife” to your eternal husband— Jesus.
BITS: What do you hope to accomplish through this book?
MTO: I hope that many women will learn from what God taught me… to rely on Him for my happiness and for my every need. To help them realize the sin of idolatry— that is loving a husband over God.
BITS: What do you mean by “loving a husband over God”?
MTO: When happiness is dependent on the husband and we would obey him over God, this would make us guilty of idolatry. This is the painful lesson I had to learn. In my early years of my marriage, I thought that the sole purpose of my life was to love my husband and children, and to care for them. Loving my husband was the focus of my life. My world revolved around my husband, and I hungered for the times when he would act in exciting, adventurous ways, and be very loving. But on days when he acted differently from my expectations, such times would really affect me and make me feel unloved. I made my husband my god, and I loved him over God.
BITS: How did you overcome this idolatry?
MTO: I knew the Ten Commandments but at that time, I saw it as something that had nothing to do with my life. When I started reading the bible, I realized I should be loving God above all but in fact, in my life God was the least. First came my self, then my husband, then my children, then my work, then God last. I had distorted priorities. If I had a problem, I would resort to my own ways and means. It seems just right to love husband… The marriage vow is to love the husband BUT not over God.
As I studied the bible more, my relationship with the Lord started getting stronger, my order of priorities fell into place. God became first. I think this is the most important message of all.
BITS: That’s a good point, Malu. That’s probably almost a universal default order of priorities, the first one you mentioned. When the Number One place in the heart isn’t occupied by God, when a wife is not holding on to God Himself First and Foremost, it could be the reason the enemy can use a marriage problem to let the wife go into depression, even contemplate suicide, resort to seeking revenge, and other unproductive ways to cope. Maybe it’s a process of growing in the Lord… the sooner God is put as Number One, the better off the wife will be.
Even if you have a good husband, if God is not number one in the heart, when that good husband dies, that’s another problem.
As they say, the battlefield is in the mind. Perspective, a biblical one, radically changes one’s wellbeing for good.
Do you know of people who stuck it out whose marriages were restored?
MTO: I shared in my book a few of the many stories of restored marriages like Pastor Danny and Dawn Urquico, Pastor Albit and Gina Rodriguez, and my sister Lysa and her husband Jason San Agustin. Nothing is impossible with God.
BITS: Where can people get a copy of the book?
MTO: Now available at OMF Bookstores, PCBS, Powerbooks, and National Bookstores. P75 only.
BITS: Thank you, Malu. Now I want to read your book!
Thank you for your inspiring example to choose God. You are a lovely poster girl as the Bride of Christ, a testimony of fruitful, joyful, beautiful waiting upon the Lord as you surrender your life to Him. You are putting all your expectations on God Himself and not on any human being. All your days were written in His book before one of them came to be and by your giving Him your giftings, you allow Him to unleash His power and unfold His plan to prosper you and give you a hope and future, all of which He already thought of before you were born. God’s favor upon you is evident. A person in your situation might be brokenhearted and bondaged by fear and depression but in you I see freedom, a crown of beauty not ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. You have a choice and free will to go your own way but you choose to stay with God and He stands with you, never leaving nor forsaking you. It was after all not a contract between two but a covenant among three, The Alpha and Omega being one of the parties to that covenant.
You are allowing Him to mold you to be the best person you can be! May you continue to shine! May your book become another bestseller! May the Lord use it to speak His almighty hope and encouragement to hurting wives around the world in Jesus’s name and for His glory, amen.