“What? Why? Where are you pushing me to?”

Krystin Bernandez, 36, had just finished her obstetrician checkup at a hospital and was immediately wheeled into the operating theatre.

“The fetus is growing outside of your womb. So sorry, I’m afraid we’ve got to remove it.”

Shell-shocked, Krystin broke down and cried. This happened in August 2018, just three months after their first miscarriage. Back then, the situation was dire as her husband, Joseph Hansel Canlas (“Hansel”), 32, was also down with dengue fever when it happened. 2018 proved to be an exceptionally trying year for the couple.

Hansel said, “Looking back at those months, of course I would not want to go through all those again. But in hindsight, those trials drew us closer to God. We also emerged stronger together, as a couple.”

Stronger together as a couple. This was definitely not how it was at the start.

Both Hansel and Krystin hail from the Philippines and have been working in Singapore for around ten years. They met at the Singapore chapter of Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF) through serving together. Sparks flew and the romance blossomed, which eventually led them to tie the knot with each other in January 2017.

Little did they know that their individual headstrong personalities soon revealed glaring cracks in their communication between, and expectations for, each other. 

As a gift, their mentors in church paid for the newlyweds to participate in The Art of Marriage® (AOM) organized by Cru Singapore in June 2017. AOM is a two-day, one-night retreat that gives couples ample time together, spliced with meaningful couple activities, supported by invaluable perspectives shared by notable Christian leaders over video.

“We loved the time!” Krystin recalls. “One important learning point for us was that in whichever season we are in, we should always remember that ‘love sizzles’—both of us should put effort to not let the marriage grow cold. Our experience at AOM was so positive that we immediately signed up to be part of a HomeBuilders® group. This means every week, we intentionally set aside time for each other and building up our marriage together with other couples.”

Moving forward from the painful episode of losing two babies in a span of three months, Hansel and Krystin have now set their sights on spiritual multiplication, discipling men and women in a new cell group which they have been tasked to lead.

“We’d like to work with other couples and help them grow as well. Our story of what we went through should never be kept to ourselves only. Life is meaningless if you spend it only for yourself.”

Krystin agrees. “Why should we think that it is our right to only experience good things in life?”

Both Krystin and Hansel are committed to using their time and gifts to glorify God and to show the unshakeable joy He can bring, even in the midst of hard times.

(Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on https://www.cru.org/sg/en/stories.html. Krystin and Hansel are expecting a baby in October 2019.)