Mr. and Mrs. Kolokoy's Secrets Revealed

I’m flattered when people tell us that they admire the kind of relationship I have with my husband. One time years ago, I got a Twitter mention from an avid reader saying, “Happy Wedding Anniversary to my favorite online couple!”


Ansabe ng KathNiel, AlDub at LizQuen sa JeBoy?! Cheret! Bwahahaha!

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Being a blogger for nearly a decade, I guess some of my very loyal readers have the impression that our marriage is ideal. Although it’s flattering, I think that it’s unfair for my online friends to perceive our marriage as such given that they only have a 1% glimpse of what really happens between me and my husband. But our closest friends, who we sometimes cry our hearts to, also have the same perception. Boyet and I have somehow turned into a “resource person” of our single friends when it comes to topics concerning relationship and marriage. Yes, it’s flattering. But I will be a hypocrite if I say that I don’t feel any pressure knowing that real people actually look up to us. When one of our best friends got married a couple of years ago, they actually had the audacity (haha) to ask us to be their ninong and ninang. We were both 31 years old at that time! HAHAHAHA!

Boyet and I met in college in 2000. We were friends for 5 years before we started dating in 2005. We got married in 2011 and battled infertility for four years before we became parents to Zayne in 2015. I’m not sure what our friends see in those 17 years that made us worthy of being “image models” of MAY FOREVER. The imperfections in our marriage make me feel ashamed of the kind of prestige that people around us give us.

Cliché as it may sound, marriage requires hard work. My husband and I wake up each day thinking how we need to work harder for our marriage. I’m not an expert here, but let me give you some of our secrets. (Ayan, sinabi ko na. Hindi na tuloy secret. HAHAHA!)

1. Strive to be the kind of person you want your partner to be.

One time, one of my husband’s colleagues asked him, “Sir, paano po ba makakahanap ng gaya mo? Lagi na lang kasi akong malas sa mga boylet e!” My husband told me what his reply was.

“Bago mo tanungin kung paano ka makakahanap ng gaya ko, tanungin mo muna paano ka magiging kagaya ng asawa ko.”

Me: So paano nga ba maging gaya ko? Cute, mabait, magaling magluto, marunong mag-program, maalaga sa pamilya, pandak, medyo pango. Genern. HAHAHAHA!

His reply somehow reminded me of a Religion class discussion I had when I was a sophomore in high school. At that time, my classmates and I were starting to discover the world of having crushes. Some even started having boyfriends. (Panget ako nung high school, kaya never ako naligawan. Bwahahaha!) Our Religion teacher asked us to list down the qualities we want for our future husbands. I wrote the following:


Our teacher then said, “Now, class. Put your name, followed by the word IS before the qualities you listed. Then ask yourself if it’s true. If not, then you need to start working now to make it true.”

Je is SMART. Consistent honor student po ako.
Je is CUTE. Hindi kagandahan, pero pwede na rin.
Je is FUNNY. Minsan.
Je is HARDWORKING. Marunong po akong maglaba, mamalantsa, maglinis ng bahay.
Je is HONEST. Hindi po ako nangungupit sa wallet ng nanay ko.
Je is KIND. Choppy ka, besh. Helloooooooo?!
Je is PATIENT. K. Tnx. Bye.

A lot of us get disillusioned when we see that the people coming into our lives don’t exactly fit the mold that we have in our minds. Here are two things I learned after years of getting in and out of failed relationships. First, when I realized that I was slowly turning into the best version of myself, that was when I stopped settling for less! I already had enough self-worth so no guy could mistreat me and make me question my worth. Second, the moment I became conscious that I needed to become a better person, that was when I felt like I was being drawn to better people, too! And it’s not only with romantic relationships! I also started to develop better and deeper friendships with other people!

Does this still apply to marriage? Definitely! You have no idea how my PATIENT TANK developed since 2011! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

2. Compliment and complement.

COMPLIMENT. My husband showers with me with tons of compliments. He actually has an innate talent of making every compliment sound very sincere. There may be times when it’s too cheesy, but I know that he always means it.

I’m a shirt-jeans type of girl, but he makes it a point to compliment me out of the blue. Kahit na pang 10,948 times ko ng nasuot ‘yung same shirt at jeans combo ko, bigla pa rin siyang hihirit ng, “Nay, ang ganda ganda mo today.” And when I wear a dress… “Nay, patulugin mo ng maaga si Zayne mamaya ha!” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

COMPLEMENT. Do you remember what Renee said to Tom in Jerry Maguire? “You complete me.” Admit it. That line alone made your heart melt. It made mine, too. But over the years, I realized that no matter how romantic it may sound, finding someone that completes you is not a guarantee that your relationship will last. Why? Refer to my first point. Be the best version of yourself. It means, you should already have the conscious effort to become COMPLETE and not have another person do it for you. I guess the better statement should be, “You complement me.” I know it sounds less romantic, but believe me when I tell you that the one word we changed in that statement makes a great deal of difference. To complement means having two complete entities making a better combination when put together. It’s like burger and soda, fish and chips, wine and cheese, tuyo and champorado, french fries and gravy (for me, at least).

3. Throw away that pride!

When the universe showered pride, I was wide awake with my arms wide open. I have to admit that my husband and I struggled so much during the early years of our marriage. My pride was eating me alive. I spent nights sleeping with anger in my heart. Then one day, with God’s grace, I finally came to my senses. We had this one major fight which made me realize that my pride was not doing any good in our marriage. I know a lot of people reading this are still struggling because I still do. Do you know what helped me with it? Let me tell you a story.

A very good friend of mine from work told me and our lunch mates that she and her husband had been fighting. At that time, she hadn’t talked to her husband for 3 days! She even went out of her way to stay longer at work so she wouldn’t see her husband at home. What they fought about was really petty. It didn’t involve any major life decisions, and she admitted that it was just their pride that was preventing them from making up. I told her, “Alam mo kapag ganyan na mababaw lang naman ang away namin, isa lang iniisip ko kaya ako na ang nagpapakumbaba e. Iniisip ko na lang na SHET BAKA MAMATAY ‘YUNG ASAWA KO NA MAGKAGALIT KAMI!!!” She went home that day, and made up with her husband. “Iba talaga ang mga life lessons mo Je,” she said. BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

4. Support each other’s interests.

Part of my wedding vow says,

A lot of people spend the rest of their lives searching their soul mate but never finds them. So now that I have found you, I promise to never let you go. I promise to love you faithfully. I promise to take care of you and the family that we are about to build together. Even if I hate basketball, I promise to let you watch the NBA games. I promise to eagerly listen to all your stories. I promise to laugh even at your corniest joke. I promise to inspire you to be the best that you can ever be. I promise that I will remain to be your number 1 fan, your grammar teacher… your confidant… your best friend.

We’ve been living with one television at home ever since we got married. Can you imagine how hard it was for both of us? HAHAHAHA! My husband and I love to watch movies and go on food trips. (We are always on the lookout for the best ramen and samgyeopsal in town! Hahaha!) But other than those two, we’re like North pole and South pole when it comes to interests.

A lot of married couples complain that they feel like they have lost who they really are after marriage. And this is why it has been a conscious effort for us to retain our individual interests despite being engulfed by the demands of marriage. My husband is a big fan of Game of Thrones. I let him watch it and talk about it non-stop even if I haven’t seen a single episode (I tried watching the first few minutes of S01E01, but I felt like throwing up after it.) On the other hand, my husband lets me giggle like a sixteen-year-old while I watch Korean dramas. My default gift to my husband is a Lego set because that’s what makes his heart flutter. In return, he fills my bookshelf with more books than I can ever read!

5. Don’t be pressured by social media.

Those #CoupleGoals #RelationshipGoals are undeniably cute. Seeing couples online can help you aspire to become better partners, but it can also put a strain in your marriage. Have you ever felt like some marriage couples have “advanced” more and faster than you and your partner? “Oh, they already have a house! How come we only rent in this small apartment? What? They are having a vacation in Europe? They were in the US a couple of months ago!”

I already fell in that trap, but I’m so glad that my husband pulled me out of it. It happened recently. I asked him why he didn’t even bother to post a birthday greeting for me on Facebook. I said it in jest, but a part of me was triggered when instead of giving me an answer, he fired back with a question. “Bakit, required ba?” I got mad, as in really, really, really mad. In between sobs inside the bathroom, I realized one thing. I totally forgot that my husband woke up very early to cook breakfast for me. He snooped around to know my birthday wish list, and he bought the gift I was wishing for. He didn’t let me lift a finger with the household chores. And there I was, sulking on top of the toilet seat, only because my husband didn’t post a long and cheesy Facebook message for the whole world to see. That day, I finally made terms with the fact that my husband’s language of love is different from mine. And more importantly, I promised myself never to fall in the same trap again.

6. Treat your relationship as a partnership.

During the earlier years of our marriage, my husband told me a story. He said that he got laughed at by some of his friends when he told them that he washes the dishes. “Under ka pala e!” Most of us grew up in a household where the husband is expected to earn for the family and maintain his macho image, while the wife is supposed to take care of EVERYTHING around the house. I wasn’t raised that way. I grew up watching my father help my mother with the household chores.

When Boyet and I started dating, his first test was to learn how to wash the dishes. He knew how to do it, but he wasn’t used to doing it given that he grew up with three older sisters. Also, my mother-in-law has always been a plain housewife. I made it clear to Boyet at the very beginning that I need a husband who will treat marriage as a partnership. Now, I cook, and he washes the dishes. I wash the dishes at night while she bathes Zayne.

Would you believe that my husband learned how to operate the washing machine we bought before I did?! That’s because he sometimes does the laundry!!! Does that make him less of a man? NOPE! Does that make me the superior in our household? NOPE! There are many times when I offered to do the laundry. But because I still breastfeed Zayne, my husband lovingly does it. I haven’t heard him blurt out a single complain! Instead of feeling bad about being called an “under”, he embraced his role as my partner in our kingdom!

boyet and zayne
Laundry Time = Family Time 
Look at our little helper! =))

That is why cuddle time with my husband becomes more meaningful because I know that he invested his time, love, sweat and blood to make our clothes smell fresh all day! Look how cute we are!

Just kidding! Hihihi!

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Now, this is really us! Miniature version nila Doug and Chesca! Hihihi! :p

But seriously, Del Forever Joy and Love Fabric Conditioner now has 15x longer lasting bangooooo vs a regular detergent brand based on consumer test in Metro Manila! I guess this is Team Kramer’s secret to having clothes that smell mabango all day!

One of the things that attracted me to my husband was his natural scent. Ang bango bango niya nung college! Look at our old photos! =))

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I even love to smell his kili-kili especially when I was still pregnant with Zayne! But my love for him is not enough to endure his sweaty shirt after he goes jogging or plays basketball! The amoy-pawis remains even after washing. Hindi talaga kaya ng detergent + other fabric conditioner + my endless love! HAHAHA! I guess Del is saving our marriage, huh?! :p

Do you know how our household discovered Del Forever Joy and Love apart from the fact that Team Kramer trusts it to keep their clothes mabango all day? It’s because my parents also use it, which leads me to my next point which is to…

7. Find role models to look up to.

When Boyet and I were picking people to stand as our ninongs and ninangs in our wedding, we did not look for those with power, money or influence! We looked for people who would really guide us in our marriage.

Boyet’s parents stayed married despite life’s difficulties. I remember this one time when my mother-in-law said this to us. “Kapag nambabae ka Boyet, itatakwil kita! Hindi kita kakampihan. Je, kapag niloko ka neto, isumbong mo sa’kin.” I guess that says a lot given that a lot of parents usually take the side of their child.

My parents have been married for 35 years. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, then you’re probably aware that Boyet and I got married on my parents’ wedding anniversary. Their marriage is far from perfect, but they have managed to guide us from the beginning. They welcomed us in their home for the first couple of years while Boyet and I were saving for our own house. I also vividly remember this one time when my father gave me the “talk” about how I should be treating my husband. My father noticed that my very strong and dominant personality has been affecting how I treat my husband. I was taken aback when he told me, “Je, hindi ako relihiyoso. Pero sigurado ako na importante ang magpasakop ka sa asawa mo. Hindi ibig sabihin nun na mahina ka. Nakikita ko naman kay Boyet na importante ang opinion mo sa kanya. Learn to compromise.” I was like, WOAAHHH!!! I remembered the same “talk” my father had with me when I was 16 when he told me not to engage in premarital sex! (Over pizza, guys. Hindi ko nakain ang pizza ko that time! HAHAHAHA!) But seriously, I was so shocked that it came from MY father. I’ve seen parents tell their daughters, “Huwag kang magpapatalo sa asawa mo! Dapat ikaw lagi ang nasusunod. Ikaw dapat ang batas.” But, no! My parents never tolerated my bad behaviors. I was so glad that I had that talk with my father, because I started to realize the importance of valuing and honoring my husband’s role in our marriage!

I’m proud to say that my parents are hardworking meat vendors. They refuse to retire even if they’re already in their 50s. I did not come from a well-off family, but my parents’ teamwork in their humble business gave me and my younger brother better chances in life. Petmalu ‘yan sa kasipagan! BWAHAHAHA! (Sorry, I cringed when I typed that.) My parents’ job is not the most glamorous out there. Pati damit nila, hindi amoy glamorous! Mama tried everything to keep their clothes smelling fresh every day. She tried all brands of fabric conditioners before finally settling with Del! True story ‘to, mga beshie. Walang halong eklavu! Mama vouched that Del, especially the purple one (Forever Joy), can take away the amoy-palengke off their clothes!

del fabric conditioner

You see, my parents have been guiding us from giving us life lessons to introducing us to trivial things like what fabric conditioner to use! HAHAHA!

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8. Have LOTS of sense of humor.

People always tell us, “Para lang kayong magkabarkada!” I’ve been documenting the fun side of our marriage through my Kolokoy Household posts. I guess our sense of humor is what has been keeping us sane after going through tons of hardships throughout the years. You should have seen how my husband made me laugh during those years when I felt like I was about to go crazy after going through numerous failed fertility workups. I’m not saying na daanin na lang lahat sa kalokohan! My husband and I take our marriage very seriously, but a little laughter sometimes makes all the difference. Let me give you an example.

My husband and I have been paying for our own house since 2012. Last year, we also got a car. Four years of fertility workups somehow put a dent on our finances. We’re both very frugal and hardworking. We’ve changed our lifestyle ever since we started saving for our house. But there are still days that seem to be harder for both of us.

Me: Grabe, parang wala na naman tayong pera. Nabawasan ko na naman ‘yung emergency fund natin.
Boyet: Nay, noong hindi pa tayo kasal, wala tayong pera pero nakagastos tayo ng kasal natin ng hindi humihingi ng tulong sa iba. Wala tayong pera noong kinasal tayo pero nakapagpundar tayo ng bahay at kotse. Ngayon, wala pa rin tayong pera. Hindi ka pa rin ba sanay?
Boyet: Look at the bright side. Dati bago tayo ikasal, 3 lang ang briefs ko… ngayon 7 na! Count your blessings!


Again, I’m not saying that you should just laugh off at your problems. You both need to work hard to resolve whatever issues you have in marriage. But then again, a good laugh once in a while won’t hurt. *wink wink*

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9. Pray together.

I don’t want to sound so preachy, but praying together has helped us big time. I remember those days when Boyet and I would cry our hearts out as we pray for a child every single night. Now, prayer time at night has become more colorful with Zayne! She’s turning two in a couple of weeks, but she can already recite a prayer. I don’t think we could have raised such a child had we not made a conscious effort to include praying together in our marriage.


10. Sometimes, it all boils down to…


When you and your partner commit to make your relationship work, you’ll move heaven and earth to make it work. There is no perfect formula in marriage. The things I mentioned above may or may not work with you. And that’s absolutely fine!

Some say you should not go to bed angry, that does not work for us. We’ve had arguments when I would rather sleep or talk to the wall than make up with my husband! Some say that you shall not raise your voices when arguing. We tried so hard to make this happen, but there were a very few times that our hearts could not contain our emotions, and the only thing that could prevent us from going nuts is by shouting at each other. They say that makeup sex is great, but we’re like… NO! Don’t touch me! GALIT AKO SA’YO!!! SA SOFA KA MATULOG!!! 

I have a long list of marriage clichés that don’t work for us. But if you ask me how my husband and I keep our relationship strong, it’s because we have the same level of commitment to make it last! =)

This is my entry to Nuffnang’s Secrets to a Long Lasting Relationship with Del Forever Fabric Conditioner Blog Contest. To know more about Del Fabric Conditioner, visit their Facebook page.

UPDATE August 18, 2019:
Almost two years after I posted this (I won second place, BTW), Boyet and I decided to do a vlog about it. :)

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