Love, Marriage, & Relationships: Kinikilig ka pa ba?

I joined a podcast with good friend, Ronna, and future dad of two, DJ Dre. Ronna, the #woMom behind Globe's Parental Guidance, invited me to talk about a topic that is very close to my heart. The topic for their second episode was all about getting kilig in marriages --- whoah! Is there even such a thing?

If you're not Filipino, you'd find the word funny. What is kilig? 

By definition, it's a feeling of romantic excitement -- butterflies in the tummy. It's when a guy does a grand gesture in all those romantic comedies or relieving the first time you met your spouse. Kilig is that spark that keeps on giving after your meet-cute. This feeling I am sure you are all too familiar with if you have ever been in loved or simply watched K-Drama once in your life. 😂

And we got into a discussion that I wish I could expound more in our already two-hour conversation. That’s why I’m here writing all that I feel was still unsaid in that ripe conversation with Ronna and Andre.

1. Is Kilig still important in marriage?

Like I said in the show, if you are coming into your marriage expecting roses all the time or that kilig feeling, DON'T get married. 

A marriage is built on partnership and understanding ---- and a whole lot of sacrifices. I say sacrifices because you will surely give up a lot of important things. If you are in that kind of marriage where your husband still does kilig-gestures on a regular basis, I salute you. But at the same time, I don't envy you. I find it exhausting honestly. Exhausting - of always putting my best foot forward -- thinking that if I don't do a particular thing or forget a particular date, it's the end of my marriage. I don't want it and I don't want that burden on my husband.

So, NO. Kilig is not important in a marriage. Why? Because that isn't the reason I married my husband. Yes, the gifts and the surprises are nice and Instagram-worthy. But if one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is just the sprinkling on the cake. It's the cake that's important. The cake won't taste any less if the sprinkles aren't there. 

These sprinkles - they are the add-ons, it's not the one you slowly measured, the one you perfected and placed at the right temperature. So think about, is kilig all that important or just nice to have?

2. If Kilig is not important, how can my husband show his love?

Men are not emotional beings so showing their emotions has to be in a big box with bows on it to be recognized. 

Is through kilig the only way that your husband can show his love for you? 

It took me a while and I kinda wrestle with this idea for a little bit because I do like nthings, too. I do find R's romantic gestures truly invigorating and I know it does positive things to our marriage and my self-esteem --- but I certainly don't rely on it. 

This stems from the fact that men are not emotional beings so showing their emotions has to be in a big box with bows on it to be recognized. And that's what I learned in our marriage I learned to see that R does show he loves me in ways I wasn't programmed to recognize. At least before.

I did mention in the podcast that the word kilig evolved over time for me because it did. What once was only reserved for those pa-tweetum moments in high school seeing my crush, receiving a love letter, seeing Leo D in Romeo and Juliet or simply getting the "did you eat na" text message - now are reserved for a quiet time with the husband, a smile from him across the dinner table while the kids make a mess of their food, and especially when he tells me how he's making sure to secure our future no matter how uncertain it is in our current condition.

Kilig now is seeing our two kids fight for our attention, when we hear a song we loved back in the day that reminded us of our pa-tweetum days. 

Kilig can come from so many ways. It's finding that pen he favored but doesn't have the time to look for. It's preparing his hot meal after coming home and taking a shower. It's the kiss you receive when all are tucked in bed and you're about to press play for another Netflix show. It's him braving the pandemic to get you your groceries. It’s even as simple as a quick McDo drive-thru so you can enjoy a fresh batch of fries. 

3. I don't feel kilig anymore

Stuck in a cycle of household chores, work, and problems, we want our significant other to see us again the way they saw us when they first fell in love with us. 

What is kilig for you? This is what you have to determine first. If you tell me because your husband no longer gives you gifts, or makes important events in your life special anymore (anniversaries, birthday etc.) then this is the conversation that needs full maturity.

"What? I have to tell my husband to surprise me and make me kilig? Hindi na nakakakilig un!" 

If there is anything we have come to learn from watching all these Korean Dramas is that the "love team" has the uncanny way of loving each other but lacks the basic tools in a relationship - honesty and communication. That's because they let their childhood issues take control of their relationship. The parts we await the most are when they get to be honest with each other. And when they do and air it out, that makes it worth all the sleepless night we poured into the series.

I think the truth is we want those kilig moments because we find ourselves feeling low on self-esteem. Stuck in a cycle of household chores, work, and problems, we want our significant other to see us again the way they saw us when they first fell in love with us. But the scariest I find in all these is how embarrassed or afraid we are to show our vulnerability to our spouses. We are scared to be honest with these feeling because we either don't want to appear weak or that we feel ashamed wanting validation.

Where was the strong woman he married if he needs to validate you, right? The things you do are expected anyway. But don't you deserve a little thank you? A little kilig moment to forget you're neck-deep in breastfeeding and diaper changes?

"GURL, I FEEL YAH!" but what I pointed out is the harsh reality of a common marriage. Mahirap man or mayaman, we all experience this. That is why we see ourselves becoming parts of mom communities because we want to know that we are not alone.

BUT - and this post certainly has lots of buts - have you ever thought that the person you should feel most vulnerable with should be your spouse? Shouldn't you feel protected at your weakness in the presence of your own spouse that you can tell him anything?

That is why it is so important for you to communicate with your spouse. To have a level of conversation that you can say things without feeling judged and ignored. The more you talk to each other, the better you get to know each other.

Our marriage evolves, from being just the two of you to have a child to having more kids, to whatever else that may change - new home, new careers, etc. I know there should be things that are left unsaid but don't let the important ones fall into the cracks. You shouldn't feel any less being honest with your spouse. Allow him into your world and vice versa. See where you can contribute more to each other's lives especially now.

I say this with so many emotions -- the more you communicate, the easier it is to get the kilig-feeling. 

Story time!

R and I are not the perfect couple and oh the scars have certainly piled on. But one thing I am always sure of is that we can be honest with each other no matter how painful it is. It is only through communication that we get to work on our marriage. Some things get resolved and there are those that needs more work. But when it comes to kilig feeling, he can certainly ring all my bells and I, his.

Just a few years ago, he promised me to buy me an apple watch. The stingy in me started to look for affordable second-hand watches online. It was the Apple Watch series 3 I was aiming to get. I didn't want him to spend so much money since I am well aware of our finances. On the day of my birthday, we planned a trip to the mall to enjoy some pizzas at Pizza Express. I had GC's I could use to lessen the gastos we had to make for my celebration.

When we got to Megamall, he asked me to look around Power Mac to check the watches. And we did and looked around especially on what they had. He was against me buying a second-hand so he said we might as well check if they still had the Series 3. Of course, they didn't. What I didn't realize then - although I had a an inkling - that he will get me a watch. When the salesperson said they only had Series 4, R asked him to get one. I was shocked. Pleasantly surprised but also I felt it was too much and told him so. I told them not to get one and that I'm okay with second-hand Series 3 I already saw on Facebook marketplace. I know R knew I was worried he was spending too much and he pulled me aside and said, "I told you I only saved up for this X amount but what I didn't tell is I really saved for a Series 4." 

And who wouldn't feel all giddy and loved, right? He knew I was okay with a second-hand but because he wanted to surprise me with a brand new Apple Watch! It totally made my day and everytime I see that watch I feel that kilig all over again. Not because of the amount he spent on it but the efforts he put into surprising me to get me a better version. 

It happened again before the pandemic when I was saving up to buy a new couch. A trip to the mall made me realize that R had already set aside funds to buy us a new couch! He told me that he would rather I spend my money on making him great meals and buying things for the children and myself and that he'll take care of what the house needs.

More than these surprises, it assures me that R will do his very best to become the best provider for our family.

With these thoughts, hindi ka na talaga kinikilig sa asawa mo? Or hindi mo lang narereliaze and mga kilig moments ninyo sa isa't isa?

4. You are just Settling, Shen.

I've heard this a few times from well-meaning friends. But I always say that isn't being married getting settled in? What is settling but understanding the man I love have his limitations and I have come to accept them and him, accepting mine? Wala-wala na lang ba iyon? Give-up na ba dapat?

I understood from the get-go that my marriage will keep on changing. Our priorities will keep on changing. If I keep on clinging to the thought that he will one day bring back those loving feelings, what am I doing in this marriage? Are those the only reason why I married hin? Wasn't I loving him for the changes that he went through and him loving mine as we raise our children and build a home together? 

I say it proudly that I am settled but that is not "settling". I love the life we have together albeit it comes with its fair shares of challenges and hardships. I find myself seeing and being kilig with how well our children are coping with the pandemic, how we are thriving as a couple after one year of lockdown. I feel kilig during small and quick intimate moments with my husband, and how we always support each other. I love looking at him and despite the physical changes I still see the young man I saw across from me in our Crim Law class. I get kilig when he tells me how much he loves his job and how well he is thriving in it - I feel at ease as well that even if he is the only provider, work is not a burden for me. I get kilig when he asks me what's for dinner and I get to reply I cooked his favorite meal and then he tells me he can't wait to go home.

5. When was the last time you felt kilig?

I realized in our conversation that the little things do matter. But if you are looking for a grand gesture - a big spend - R has planned something for us for Mother's Day that will not only lead us to some exciting adventure but also relieve fond memories we had as boyfriend and girlfriend. But he isn't only doing this for me but also for the family and himself. 

This is a truly big gesture for me. Something we never thought possible in this pandemic and it may not even happen, but the fact he poured so much effort in it and I see it every day with how excited he is, the kilig is overwhelming. 

But even without it, kilig has evolved so much for me it transcends it having butterflies in the stomach.


This has been a long read but if you're still here, thank you for reading it. But I want to leave you with these thoughts --

We are no longer the people we were when we took those vows. We promised to love and to hold, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health... When we made those vows and we actually do abide by them, it changes us. We become a part of a unit that needs you to constantly make these vows became a reality. It is no longer promises but actions. So be weak if you need to be but be strong for the most of it. Don't let your fragility cause a rip between you and your spouse but rather make it a reason to bring you closer together.

Communicate. Dedicate a time where you can be honest - an open door - to each other. This takes a lot of work because our culture thrives on indifference when it comes to marriage. But your marriage shouldn't be. Kilig is just sprinkling on the cake. Don't let your marriage fail just because of an add-on.

With that said I hope I enlightened you just a little to look way beyond the kilig norm. And see the true kilig that needs to be felt in marriage that has blossomed over time. And if you still feel it is lacking, talk to your spouse. 

As DJ Mandre pointed out through the help of the movie Frozen, Love is an open door! 

Listen to our discussion on the Rated PG The Podcast on Spotify!

So, kinikilig ka pa ba? ANswer in the comment section below!

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  1. Thank you for sharing and yes, I read it from start to end! It's been a while since I last visited your blog but I like the change in theme, coinciding with the changes in your life. I just got married last year and my answer to your blog's question is yes. But with all that social media tells us and notions about kilig surrounding us,I agree with your main points especially the cake and sprinkles analogy. Indeed, a sign of maturity and genuine love in a relationship.


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