Michelle: Maxine, a sales lady in one of the big malls in Cebu, is currently in a relationship with Keno, a bank teller. He is a good, kind and hardworking man but Maxine’s family does not approve of him. They prefer Angelo who owns a retail store. Her family said that since Angelo is rich, he will be able to provide a better future for her and her future children. But Maxine says that her heart is with Keno. She asks what she is going to do. Maxine, let me tell you what you are not going to do. Please do not succumb to the pressure of letting others make decisions for you. You have a say in your future because it is your life. And having someone else tell you, even if they’re your family, to choose a rich guy over a guy that you love, does not seem right.

DJ: I understand her family means well but Maxine has to remember that it is she who is going to live with the consequences of her decision. Since she’s of legal age and has a stable life, she already earned her right not only just to listen from the experiences of others and learn from them but also to ultimately call the shots.

M: If you know your priorities, your preferences and your family’s preferences can take a back seat when you have to decide what to do or who to choose. While money matters, not everything can be resolved by money. Didn’t your family consider that while Angelo owns a retail store, you might not like him or love him? And just because Keno is a bank teller, doesn’t mean that he cannot provide a better future for you. Not all those who marry rich guys end up with rich husbands. And a guy with humble or modest beginnings can provide his wife and their family a far better life than they even imagined.

DJ: There’s nothing wrong with Angelo. But Maxine loves Keno. And Maxine is fortunate to love and be loved by someone as good, kind and hardworking as him. This is not about feeling giddy or weak in the knees. We know it’s not Valentine’s Day every day. Reality tells us that relationships have to face those tiny, often unglamorous folds of the fabric of life. And she will have a shot at extracting fun out of “unfun” situations—errands, differences, delays—when she needs to prove true to what she thinks and feels.

M: Some say it is not love but money that makes the world go round. Well, one can have all the money in the world but have no love in his heart and have no love for others. I think it is more important that you and Keno share the same values, dreams and aspirations. Being in a loving, supportive relationship inspires people to do better, be better, aim higher and accomplish more. Love is a decision. You can decide better if you discern with faith and love in your heart.

DJ: Unlike death and taxes, choosing a life partner is within one’s full control. I suggest for Maxine not to relinquish this right. Every relationship has highs and lows. Both Angelo and Keno won’t likely end up getting an A in every ideal in Maxine’s list. But who among them can she see as a companion for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for the rest of her life? She only has one lifetime. It matters that Maxine picks the right partner for the right reasons.