“I’M A DIVORCED AND REMARRIED MOTHER, PLS DON’T CHANGE CHURCH TEACHING .” by Luma Simms

4 11 2015

Luma sims with Family

The day my soul became Catholic was the day I found out that as a divorced and remarried woman I could not receive Communion. Tears of sorrow and joy flowed. Sorrow because I had by then grasped the truth of transubstantiation, only to find I couldn’t consume, and joy because at last we found the ground of real authority—his Church, the one he founded, the one tasked to keep all he taught her Apostles.

I came to Catholicism from Calvinism. That’s a tough row to hoe if there ever was one. It was that prescient and beautiful encyclical Humanae Vitae which softened my heart to the Catholic Church. After that, I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to hear what the Church believed in her own words. And so I kept reading—Theology of the Body, Familiaris Consortio, Mulieris Dignitatem, and Church documents significant to those of us coming from the Reformed tradition.

Because I had been divorced, and because another family member recently left his marriage after forty-three years, our children had many doubts and questions about marriage. One day around the dinner table one of the kids voiced their anxiety, stating in our presence that “you never know” if both mom and dad will be there for you as you grow up.

This clued us in to how deeply they had been affected by our choices and the culture that made them possible. As Christian parents we were keen to bring up our children in a Church unwavering on marriage. The Catholic Church offered a rich and beautiful doctrine of marriage in all its fullness, especially as a picture of Christ’s marriage to his bride, the Church. This vision was slowly leading us to consider the Church’s other claims.

But there’s more to coming to the Catholic faith than theological reading. As any convert can attest, there are many ups-and-downs during the journey: Struggling with doctrine followed by insights from magisterial passages coupled with Scripture, feeling still and alone followed by being overwhelmed by the presence of the saints before us, crying out to God for His presence and having Him answer in the Blessed Sacrament. Many times I woke up in the middle of the night thinking: How can I be considering Catholicism? But then in the morning at daily mass praying the liturgy, I experience the profound presence of God, even though I do not take the Eucharist.

Since I cannot now receive the Eucharist, it is through spiritual communion that I am kept spiritually fed by the Lord. This act of willing reception is not, as some may think, second-class communion. Far from it. To believe so is to diminish one of the ways Christ feeds his people, as Hans Urs von Balthasar warns in his book, Prayer:

For spiritual communion is by no means merely an act of longing for the reception of the Lord under the sacramental signs; much deeper, and more properly, it is the act of prayer of a living and understanding faith, by which it enters into living communication and communion with Christ, the eternal and living Truth.
Balthasar wants to impress upon the reader the objective reality of spiritual communion. It is not the absence of something but the presence of him. I don’t get to pine or indulge in self-pity during the distribution of the Eucharist. And God forbid I should become angry with my priest or the Church for not giving me Communion. As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput put it during the 2014 Erasmus lecture, “none of us are welcome on our own terms, in the Church we’re welcome on Jesus’ terms. That’s what it means to be a Christian, you submit yourself to Jesus and His teaching. You don’t recreate your own body of spirituality.”

Before you feel sorry for me, remember that the Church didn’t do this to me. I did this to myself when I disobeyed my God by walking away from my first marriage. Was I young and immature? Yes. Were there circumstances that drove me to such drastic measures? Sure. And yes, I am currently pursuing a Decree of Nullity, trusting God for a just decision. Whatever the outcome, I can not, and will not walk away from the Church for standing firmly on the teachings of Christ.

Some people may be shocked at the idea of submitting to a church that tells me because I’m divorced and remarried I can’t take Communion. But unless it can be shown otherwise, any tampering with Communion for the divorced and remarried will corrupt the doctrine of marriage, and—by diminishing the image of the Church as bride of Christ—debase the Church.

I have run to her for shelter. I now pray—for my sake, for my children’s—that the Church will not waver.

First Published in First Things





Did I Marry the Right Person? Denyse O’Leary

1 06 2015

Unhappy woman lying in couch

A woman asked a common question. She said, “How do I know if I married the right person?” I noticed that there was a large man sitting next to her so I said, “It depends, is that your husband?” In all seriousness, she answered, “How did you know?”

Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it is weighing on your mind. Here is the answer.

Every relationship has a cycle. In the beginning, you fell in love with your spouse. You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies.

Falling in love with your spouse was not hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You did not have to do anything. That’s why it’s called “falling” in love . . . because it’s happening to you.

People in love sometimes say, “I was swept off my feet.” Think about the imagery of that expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something came along and happened to you.

Falling in love is easy. It’s a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few years of marriage, the euphoria of love fades. It’s the natural cycle of every relationship. Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts!

The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship, but if you think about your marriage, you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.

At this point, you and/or your spouse might start asking, “Did I marry the right person?” And as you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. That is when marriages break down. People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their marriage for fulfillment.

Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, church, a hobby, a friendship, excessive T.V., or abusive substances. But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your marriage. It lies within it.

I’m not saying that you could not fall in love with someone else. You could. And temporarily, you’d feel better. But you would be in the same situation a few years later. Because (listen carefully to this): THE KEY TO SUCCEEDING IN MARRIAGE IS NOT FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON; IT’S LEARNING TO LOVE THE PERSON YOU FOUND.

Sustaining love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. It will NEVER just happen to you. You cannot “find” lasting love. You have to “make” it day in and day out. That’s why we have the expression – “labor of love.” Because it takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it takes wisdom. You have to know what to do to make your marriage work.

Make no mistake about it. Love is not a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your spouse) to succeed with your marriage. Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws of relationships. Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship will make your marriage stronger. It’s a direct cause and effect. If you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable . . . you can “make” love.

Love in marriage is indeed a “decision” . . . not just a feeling.





Hard to Say Sorry by Sam Margulies

9 03 2014

couple not talking to each other

Although this blog is essentially devoted to the subject of divorce, every now and then I will discuss some aspect of marriage that leads to divorce and suggest ways to reduce the damage. Having mediated domestic disputes for thirty years it occurs to me that men and women regard apologies from very different perspectives. And simple as it may seem, these different views of apology are the source of extensive damage to many marriages. In short, most men don’t know how to apologize. In intimate relationships an effective apology can quickly heal an inadvertent injury. Similarly, an ineffective apology or the complete failure of an apology can cause an inadvertent injury to be experienced as a major wound to the relationship.
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For women, apologizing is a way of reconnecting with someone whose feelings you have hurt, however inadvertently. When a woman gets feedback that something she has done or failed to do has left another feeling offended or injured, she is usually quick to apologize. A breach in the relationship is avoided and the relationship continues undisturbed. Neither the woman offering nor the woman receiving the apology regard it as unusual but rather see it as a routine aspect of relationships.
Apologies for men are very different. Men tend to view apologies as humiliating and a loss of face. Scholars of gender communication have observed that for men, verbal communication is tied up with their concern for the way their status is perceived by others. Men are more conscious of the impact of what they say on how others perceive their power position or lack of power. So for a man to acknowledge that he has done something wrong often means that he feels diminished in the eyes of those who hear the apology. Thus a woman apologizes to maintain healthy relationships and feels no sense of loss. But a man apologizes and feels a sense of loss if not humiliation. The result of this difference is that men are reluctant to apologize and in many cases, do not know how to craft a sincere apology.
It is this lack of knowledge I seek to address here. Most of the women in the couples I see for divorce mediation complain that their marriages suffer from a terminal lack of intimacy. They report that their husbands are unable or unwilling to respond to their wives’ feelings and the husband’s tendency to stonewall when presented with a complaint leaves his wife feeling disconnected and alienated. It appears that in most modern marriages it is the woman who is angry at her mate more often than the reverse. Women express anger at their husband’s sins of commission as well as sins of omission. And the most common sin of omission is his failure to apologize when he has offended. So here is a brief tutorial for men on how to apologize.
DIRECTIONS FOR MEN:
NECESSARY ELEMENTS OF AN APOLOGY
There are six elements of a proper apology. If you do not want to waste your time you must include all six:
1. Acknowledge the Wrongful Act
You need to begin by saying ” I was wrong and I am sorry.” There are no substitutes for this admission. If you say something dumb like “I am sorry that you think I was wrong,” you might as well spare yourself and not bother. There is no getting around it. You were wrong so plead guilty and get on with it.
2. Acknowledge that You Have Hurt her Feelings.
Understand that your wrongful act has hurt her feelings and made her feel disconnected from you. You cannot reconnect without attending to the feelings piece. So you say “I was wrong and I am sorry that I have hurt your feelings” Once again, you cannot wimp out by fudging and saying ” I am sorry that your feelings are hurt” You have to connect your wrongful act to her hurt feelings.
3. Express Your Remorse
An expression of remorse and regret is the way you demonstrate your ability to feel an appropriate response to her hurt feelings. So you say, “I was wrong and I am sorry that I hurt your feelings and I feel terrible that I have done something that has hurt you.” (It will help here if you actually look remorseful)
4. State Your Intention Not to Repeat
This may be difficult particularly if you are a repeat offender but it is an expression of your acknowledgement of your need to reform. “I know that I am sometimes insensitive to what you need but I am going to try my hardest not to do it again.” If you smirk at this juncture you’re going to have to go back and start all over.
5. Offer to Make Amends
If you don’t know what would help ask her. “What can I do to make it up to you?” The particular act of contrition may be negotiated but the important thing is to express your willingness to do something by way of compensation. Of course, once you commit to do something you need to do it lest you render the entire effort useless.
6. Seek Forgiveness
Forgiving is an act that liberates the forgiver from anger so seeking forgiveness is not as self-serving as you may think. A simple “will you forgive me?” will usually suffice but if you want to avoid appearing presumptuous, or if your offense was particularly odious, you might want to first ask “can you forgive me?”
As you get better at it you will feel more comfortable creating your own sequence of the elements and adding those embellishments that mark your apologies with your own stamp of individuality. Master this simple skill and you will find your domestic life ever more peaceful.
Psycology Today





I LOVE YOU! FOR FIVE YEARS?

6 01 2014

  I LOVE YOU!  FOR FIVE YEARS?

1. Marriage is for life
If someone says: “I love you for five years” or “I marry you for five years but later…I have to reconsider it again, I may ask for a divorce…” Who likes to hear these words? We feel that there is something wrong in this approach to marriage and we are right; this would not be a real marriage according to our human nature and dignity. We deserve much more than five years. Our human nature and dignity asks for a decision for life, without putting conditions to love. Unfortunately we realize that a falling out after some years of married life is quite common.

2. Courtship is a very important preparation for marriage.

Marriage is a very serious step. We bind ourselves for a whole lifetime. Therefore, a period of courtship is necessary; a period of time during which a person can get to know sufficiently well his or her lifetime partner, before making the decision to get married.
During the period of courtship, the man and the woman have to help each other. Human love should not be selfish; marriage is a life of dedication and service to the other and one has to be well prepared. During this period, the most important task is to know the dispositions of the other’s soul, the spirit with which he or she will face married life.

Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. We are persons, a marvelous unity of body and soul; to surrender our own body to one’s spouse signifies surrendering our own self to him or her; honest sexual language demands a commitment to lifelong fidelity.

When a person is not yet married, there is as yet no true commitment; there is no marital bond and a free decision to be with the other for life has not yet been made. (Let us be honest!). If he or she has not committed his or her freedom totally, as the other deserves because of his or her dignity as a human person, one have to admit that the possibility of changing his or her mind in the future still exists; therefore the totality of the gift of oneself would be lacking. Pre-marital relations are a lie.

(Perhaps with an example we can understand this better). If before marriage, one of them suffers an accident in which he or she is disfigured, the other one could decide not to marry that person anymore and it would not be an injustice. There was no true commitment of married life yet. But for a married couple, it would be a terrible lack of justice to leave the other. In marriage, the commitments radically changed their status in life. They promised each other to be faithful in any circumstance.

Those commitments of a married person, so radically change his or her life that a period of courtship is really important and necessary to prepare them.

Courtship should be seen as a time of testing, a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity and the hope of receiving one another as a true gift from God. They should reserve for marriage, expressions of affection that belong to married love and help each other grow in chastity and love (cfr. Pope John Paul II address on the 6 of Feb. 1993).

3. Consequence of the truth about love and courtship.

Man and woman complete each other but expressions of love cannot be governed by feelings alone. We are humans. If the couple does not act prudently, progressively concupiscence can end up governing the relationship and reducing it simply to sexual attraction, each one becoming an object for satisfying personal desires, lowering the relation to the animal level, contrary to the reality of the human person. We should be governed by our mind, which is above our feelings, ready to give ourselves to the other out of love, not out of selfish feelings. For this reason, prudence has always advised that the length of the engagement before marriage be relatively brief (one or two years seem enough to acquire a deep mutual knowledge). External guarantees of stability, such as provided by age, professional situation, house, cannot be forgotten.

Authentic human love is an instrument of sanctification and those in courtship have the obligation to preserve it from selfishness; they are laying the solid foundations for their future stability and fruitfulness.

4. Men and women are different.

Men and women are different; in body and emotions.
Men can easily get aroused. Women are not aroused easily to sexual pleasure. Even if a woman loves someone very much, she may stop some kind of advance which is not proper. For men, this is more difficult. She has slower rising of sexual desires. This is a kind of protection for her, part of the plan of the Creator. This difference in behavior corresponds to the way God made man and woman; it is obvious that the consequences of a sexual act in a man are different from that in a woman. Men do not get pregnant. Women can get pregnant. Women get more trapped, so to speak.

Their hearts are also different. A man can separate sex from love. The average young lady does not generally separate love from sex; for her, feelings of romantic love and sexual desires are closely related.
For the man, sexual desires come suddenly; can be intense and not necessarily related with the heart. He does not feel deep emotions of love and tenderness; he wants immediate satisfaction and pleasure. The woman should understand that the biological and psychological conditions of the man are different. ( Cfr. Jimmy Achacoso, Documentation Service, Philippines, July, 1998).

True friendship is impossible if one allows lust in it. Lust disturbs the capacity of clear discernment and calm thinking. The physical attraction should be subordinated to the spiritual level, to mind and reason.

5. Conclusion

Courtship is a time for holiness, a time to pray, a time to cultivate a love in which the spiritual, emotional, affective aspects are well harmonized and open to the consequences of a married life. A time to fall in love not only in a sentimental way, just because of feelings. But to fall in love, using the mind, the heart and the freedom to chose, for life, a person who has the qualities to be one’s husband or one’s wife until death, and who will be the father or the mother of one’s children.

6. A practical approach.
Some suggestions for the period of courtship:

a) Sincerity. To discuss seriously important topics: children, finance, home, in-laws, work, etc.
b) To avoid travelling alone with him or with her.
c) To avoid certain places, late-night meetings.
d) To get to know his or her friends.
e) To get to know his or her workplace.
f) To seek advice from parents and mature persons.
g) To avoid less decent way of wearing clothes.
h) It is good to have serious disagreements that are quickly solved. In married life these will occur as well.
i) Prayer for happy marriage.

Based on a publication about the topic: DOCUMENTATION SERVICE on Courtship, Dating and going steady, Philippines (1998). Special thanks to John Paul II and Jimmy Achacoso. Written and arranged by Jose Pedro Libano M.





Marry Late, Divorce Early By Mary Eberstadt

3 01 2014

Late marriageAlas and alack, the end of summer turned out to abound in the sort of personal news one really dreads hearing – especially the more one hears it. Several friends and acquaintances now have the same problem in common: they are all getting divorced. And though every divorce is apparently unhappy in its own way, the similarities among these cases are striking enough to suggest some common denominators. All have occurred among older, married, financially (and apparently otherwise) stable people. All have involved small families – most often, an only child. And each was a shock.
All of these divorcing partners, in other words, had ostensibly followed today’s secular wisdom about marital happiness to a T: don’t rush into marriage, take time to find yourself first, establish your own career before settling down, don’t have more children than you can afford. So what went wrong?
I suggest that at least part of the answer – and by extension, perhaps part of the explanation for the staggering Western divorce rate more generally – might be summarized in two words: late marriage. Of course, we can all conjure examples of blissful marriages made in mid-life or even later, just as we can all think of early ones that have been flaming disasters. But if we step back from individual cases and look instead to the general good, the pluses of early marriage do loom large.
Many a sociologist would quarrel with that point, of course. Teen marriages, they remind us, are in fact the most likely to break up. As the contrary-minded sociologist Mark Regnerus has recently observed, that cautionary note is true – and truly misleading; for who said we were talking about teens here? What about marriage in the slightly higher demographic – say, people in their twenties? Why aren’t our churches and other organizations dedicated to family life encouraging more of that?
Regnerus has written a compelling essay in the August 2009 Christianity Today called “The Case for Early Marriage.” He zeroes in first on one particular (and rarely discussed) problem with discouraging early marriage: it means that men and women generally are expected to stay chaste during the same years that are best for childbearing, and in fact far longer than many of them will. “Over 90 percent of Americans,” he observes, “experience sexual intercourse before marrying,” and “the percentage of evangelicals who do so is not much lower.” (The percentage of Catholics probably isn’t, either.) Yes, abstinence education is all to the good, and yes, religious teaching itself is not at issue here; to the contrary, it is a given. “I’m certainly not suggesting,” the author concludes, “that they cannot abstain. I’m suggesting that in the domain of sex, most of them don’t and won’t.”
Regnerus goes on to detail other drawbacks to waiting till today’s fashionably older ages to tie the knot. It encourages men to have a ridiculously prolonged adolescence, as the popular “culture” of many twenty-something males readily demonstrates; it encourages churches to lean too heavily on sexual ecstasy as the foundation of marriage itself; it forces many women, especially believing Christian women, to look long and hard for a suitable partner in a world where many men their age have become anything but; and very seriously indeed, such waiting risks compromising the fertility of any woman who wants to have a family of size – sometimes even the fertility of any woman who wants a child, period.
To these minuses admirably addressed by Regnerus, I would add one other potential plus for earlier marriage that sociologists have yet to grapple with: treating marriage like the home version of Waiting for Godot also risks perpetuating a kind of human consumerism, a habit that cannot possibly be good for anyone.
After all, once a sufficiently large number of relationships have all failed to lead to marriage for one reason or another, it becomes terribly tempting to view the whole enterprise as more like comparison shopping than spiritual discernment. For example, I once knew a man who had dated a great many women by his late twenties – so many that his friends privately rejoiced when one finally appeared who seemed perfect for him. They shared the same religion, political views, and other interests; she was smart, successful, and what today would be called a real babe, to boot. Yet the consumer’s diffident response upon meeting her rang far more of the Consumer Checkbook than of the swain. “I’m not sure,” he temporized. “Her complexion seems really sallow.” Needless to say, no walk down the aisle.
This is what comes of people shopping, perhaps – the destructive habit of making comparative checklists about human beings. No one does it consciously, of course; but still the pernicious voice of experience assesses the goods. He gained thirty pounds, and my other boyfriends never would have, it tells some people, or she looks great for her age, but not as great as my secretary who’s ten years younger, and if only I had married X, Y, or Z instead, we wouldn’t be having all these financial/medical/romantic problems.
Of course there are good reasons to wait for marriage, chiefly that it is the single most important earthly decision that many of us will make, and that the world we live in does indeed make it easier than ever for things to fall apart. That said, from the point of view of trying to bring more, rather than fewer, thriving families into that same world, Regnerus is right: there’s much to be said for bucking the prevailing cultural aversion and marrying young.

Mary Eberstadt is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution





Live Together Before Marriage Get Divorced After Marriage: Strange World By Janet Smith

3 10 2013
 Live Together Before Marriage Get Divorced After Marriage: Strange World By Janet Smith
Black couple fighting and depressed

We live in a strange world in which people live together before marriage and get divorced after marriage. There is a much higher divorce rate for those who cohabit. The figures just go up and up. About 65 percent of those who cohabit before marriage get divorced. About 50 percent of the rest of the people do, but since more and more couples cohabit, the divorce rate is just going to just keep climbing and climbing.

As a matter of fact I think some people get divorced before they get married; that is, some people have two or three extended cohabitations, get “divorced” from them, and then they get married.

I feel I must apologize to those in this room who are younger than I. I often feel that my generation — I am 55 — owes anybody younger than we are a big apology. They call my father’s generation “the great generation”, they lived through a depression; they worked very hard. My parents are of that generation: they have been married 58 years. It’s just incredible. I think a good name for my generation would be “the stupid generation.” Whereas, my parent’s home is very well ordered, if you looked into my refrigerator, you wouldn’t know when I last did anything in that refrigerator. It’s a kind of scary place. I find it hard to pay my bills on time. I find it hard to get the oil changed in my car. I have a hard time doing what my parents do with great ease. In fact, my whole generation is pretty much always stressed out. We were exceptionally stupid in our youth. We were the generation that started the whole drug and sexual revolution. We went off to college and experimented with drugs. We thought that that’s what college is all about. We’ve got to smoke marijuana, if not take a little bit of cocaine and LSD. Yeah, well, why not? That’s what you do when you got to college. And certainly have sex. Our poor parents, they had to get married to get sex. They had to rush into marriage. We thought they probably married some totally unsuitable person so they could have sex. I remember hearing people say, “You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, so surely you wouldn’t get married without having a test drive. And you wouldn’t buy a car without taking several for a test drive. So certainly you would do that in respect to marriage. You’ve got to find what model you like.” We thought that way. That’s my generation.

My generation went down a lot of dead ends and fell into huge potholes and we’re having a hard time climbing out. I want to save other people from going down those same dead ends and falling into those same potholes. If you don’t know exactly what you think would be the right direction, at least look at what we did and do something different. It doesn’t much matter what it is, just do something different.

Divorce Rates

I would like now to make a case that contraception is a factor leading to the increase in divorce. In the 1960s, 1 out of 4 marriages in the United States ended in divorce. Compared to the rest of the world and the US itself for most of its existence, that is a very high rate of divorce. At the turn of the century in the United States well under 10 percent of marriages ended in divorce. The divorce rate had been climbing up all century — contraceptive use had been increasing all that time as well. Again, in 1960 the divorce rate was 1 out of 4 marriages. By the mid 1970s 1 out of 2 marriages ended in divorce. It has stayed right about there.

Why did the divorce rate double between the 1960s and the 1970s? That’s a social revolution of unprecedented proportions. Never in the history of mankind has the divorce rate doubled in a short 10 to 15 year period. Why did it? Robert Michael, an economist from the University of Chicago, studied this phenomenon. As an economist he was interested because divorce, just like unwed pregnancy, is terrible for the economy. For some extended period of time people who are in divorced households often live on about half the income they had prior to the divorce. As an economist Professor Michael finds financial explanations most persuasive for explaining the increase in the incidence of divorce. He says that he has the data to show that couples who have a baby in the first two years of marriage and another one in the next two years — two babies in the first four years of marriage — have marriages that will last a lot longer than those who don’t. He explains that women who have babies early in the marriage become financially dependent upon their husbands. Even if things are going badly in the marriage, they’re going to stick it out and work at the marriage because a woman with babies at home needs the support of her husband. Now women are delaying childbearing until four or five years into the marriage. By that time a woman is established in her own career. She’s financially independent and so if the marriage goes badly and there are no children, she can kick her husband out. Even if they do eventually have children, she’s established herself in a career and she can take care of the children.

I suspect there is great deal of truth in Professor Michael’s explanations but I would like to suggest a few others. I think that when people have babies, they become much better people. In another talk I claim that the purpose of children is to make adults out of their parents. In fact, a person married to a parent is married to a better person. Being a parent nearly forces the parents to acquire certain virtues. Parents must become more disciplined, more charitable, more responsible, more hard-working. It’s hard work to get up in the middle of the night to take care of someone who’s crying and to change diapers and to plan for college and all the rest. That’s hard work. Both spouses take life more seriously. It’s as natural as can be.

One of my favorite people on the face of the earth is the first time father. I have had the great privilege and pleasure of seeing several of my male friends shortly after their first baby was born. Within about three sentences they all say the same thing. They float about 2 or 3 feet off the ground, they’re kind of dazed and they say: “Everything is different now.” And they mean it. Yesterday they didn’t care how good the school system is, who the chief of police is, whether the playgrounds are safe. Now that they have a baby, they do. They want to make this world safe for their children.

Robert Michael also says that adultery has skyrocketed since contraception has come on the scene. Can anybody figure out why that might be the case? If 80 percent of women are using some form of contraception, that makes a lot of women and a lot of men think that there is no problem with having sex with someone who is married to someone else. Many people had multiple sexual partners before they married. They don’t see any particular reason to stop after they get married. Because, you see, sex was no big deal before they got married. There’s no particular reason to think that it’s a big deal after marriage. Before marriage, sex was not an expression of lifetime love. Sex was not exclusive before marriage. It was just a fun thing to do with another person. How, when you get married, do you all of a sudden turn sexual intercourse into something that is profound, something that is a deep, intimate, exclusive expression of love for one person? How to do that 180-degree turn?

That’s why I want to talk about natural sex — which is not what people in our culture are having. The pattern in marriage in our culture is this: people have generally three sexual partners or more before they get married. Most people have sex in high school. If not in high school, certainly before they leave college. Maybe by the time they leave college, they are on their second or third partner. They split up with their current partner because there’s no real relationship there. Now they are out in the real world and it’s hard to find somebody. They start dating, pretty quickly they have sex, if not right away, eventually. Before long they are spending all their time at his place or hers. So they move in with each other. Why pay rent on two places? After a period of time people are saying: “When are the two of you going to get married?” The couple looks at each other and say: “Why don’t we get married? The sex is pretty good; we don’t fight that much; and who wants to start all over again?” That’s what I call “sliding into marriage.”

Currently people have had several sexual partners before marriage: some of those break-ups were accompanied with some degree of heartbreak, probably much confusion, perhaps some regret and guilt. Nearly everyone brings some sexual “baggage” in a marriage. Nearly all of the sexual intercourse they have ever had and will ever have is contracepted sexual intercourse. They contracepted before marriage and after marriage. Within marriage, they stop for a short period of time to conceive a child and then contracept again. Then they stop for a short period of time to conceive child number two. Then they get sterilized and then they get divorced. That’s the pattern in our culture, over and over again. People have had a very short period of time, if any, of what I want to call natural sex. They have never had a prolonged period of sex with someone whom they deeply love, to whom they have made a lifetime commitment, and with whom they are open to having children. Most of their sex life is contracepted, some of it in an uncertain relationship.

After one of my talks a man came up to me and said you missed a step in that little story you told. He said after the vasectomy or tubal ligation, one or other of the spouses often engages in an adulterous affair. He said he saw it at his place of work all the time. Man after man came in after he had a vasectomy and before long he was having an affair and before long he was divorced.

What you need to know is that couples using natural family planning almost never divorce. This is the biggest selling point of natural family planning when I’m talking to college students. The fact is, young people hate divorce. Either they’ve grown up in divorced households and they know the pain of divorce very personally or their friends have. Even if a couple has been married for 25 or 30 years and they think they are never going to get divorced, their kids don’t think that. The kids know someone else at school who went home and dad was packing up or mom was gone and they think it could happen to anybody. And so they’re living in this very fragile world. “Yeah, I don’t think Mom and Dad are going to get divorced, but Kevin didn’t think his mom and dad were going to get divorced either and they did.”

There is also an amazing difference for couples who don’t have sex before marriage. People who don’t have sex before marriage have an immensely lower divorce rate. Abstaining before marriage is one of the surest predictors of not getting a divorce. There is a study that shows that of people who were born between 1933 and 1943, 83 percent of the males were virgins when they got married and 93 percent of the females were virgins when they got married. And every decade thereafter it goes down about 10 to 15 percent of those who were virgins when they got married. Staying a virgin until marriage is one of the surest predictors of a long lasting marriage. Is that bizarre? Why would it be bizarre? You’ve waited for this one person. You probably chose this person fairly carefully. You said I’m saving myself for marriage, so I’m not just going to slide into marriage. I’m going to be very careful about this relationship. I am going to get to know someone slowly, let someone get to know me. The sex isn’t going to be at the beginning of the relationship; the sex is going to be at the beginning of the marriage. We’ve got a lot to know about each other before we can even begin to think about making that commitment.

Contraception’s Bad Consequences

What are the bad consequences of contraception?

It facilitates sex outside of marriage.

It increases the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

It leads to unwanted pregnancy and single parenthood.

It causes and leads to abortion.

It contributes to divorce and it contributes to social chaos.

Does anybody think there might be a reason to rethink our enthusiasm for contraception?





The Selfish Spouse

27 09 2013

selfish spouse2

Extreme selfishness or “narcissism” has been described as one of the major enemies of married love and of love within the family. This description is psychologically correct because selfishness, while falsely appearing to have many benefits, actually turns the person in upon himself/herself, thereby interfering with healthy self-giving which is essence of marital love. Subsequently, this personality weakness creates significant pain and suffering in marriages and families. It is a major cause of marital anger, permissive parenting, addictive behaviors, infidelity, separation and divorce. Unless it is uncovered and addressed, selfishness will lead spouses to treat loved ones as objects and not as gifted persons. Studies show that selfish people are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short lived, are at greater risk of infidelity, lack consistent emotional warmth, exhibit game-playing and dishonesty and manifest overly controlling and violent behaviors. These behaviors in young adults are often fostered by highly permissive parents.

Charles, a 32-year-old married father of three children and a successful professional, manifested periodic explosive anger in his marital relationship particularly when his needs were not met immediately. Charles was overly demanding, insensitive, self-preoccupied and he had difficulty in giving himself to his wife, Kimberly. As the older of two children, he was always his mother’s favorite, and according to his wife, he had always been spoiled. In addition, Kimberly believed that her mother-in-law had never accepted her and she found her to be intrusive in the marriage.

In marital therapy it was pointed out to Charles that he manifested a number of narcissistic personality traits that predisposed him to excessive anger. He was highly resistant to therapy and attempted to blame all the marital problems on his wife. It was suggested to him that when he felt extremely angry he should try to act in a more mature and giving manner and to think about forgiving his wife.

Kimberly was an intelligent, giving wife and mother. She was highly committed to making her marriage work. She came to realize that her major emotional conflict was that of being an enabler to her husband�s narcissistic behavior and by doing that, she was damaging their marriage. She embarked on a course of healthy assertiveness with her husband. For a number of months the tensions intensified in their relationship to the point that Charles threatened to divorce her.

She viewed this threat as highly manipulative and challenged him to proceed. At the same time Kimberly tried to forgive Charles regularly for all the hurts of the past caused by his narcissistic behavior even before he made a commitment to try to change. She also tried to work at forgiving her mother-in-law in order to protect herself from the damaging effects of her own resentment toward her.

The possibility of divorce created enormous stress and anxiety for Charles and motivated him to work on his narcissistic anger. When angry, he began to employ forgiveness exercises. He came to understand that he had developed strong narcissistic tendencies because of his childhood and adolescent relationship with his mother. He worked at trying to forgive his mother for spoiling him and for depending too much upon him as a source of happiness in her life. He apologized to Kimberly and asked for her forgiveness and trust. Charles’ impulsive and explosive behavior diminished slowly through the use of past forgiveness exercises with his mother.

Unfortunately, many narcissistic spouses are reluctant to change and their marriages end. Some individuals would rather give up their spouse and children than give up their self-indulgent behaviors.
How selfishness harms marital/family love:
It can lead to
a. an inability to maintain a healthy loving relationship
1. strong feelings of loneliness and sadness in spouse and children
2. a poor marital friendship
3. failure to seek the happiness and good for one’s spouse
4. poor marital communication
5. a marked weakening in the ability to trust which is the foundation for loving
6. substance abuse or pornography
7. unhappiness at holidays, birthdays or special family events
8. an unwillingness to work on resolving marital difficulties
9. a lack of faith
10. unstable self-esteem
11. permissive parenting
12. lack of respect for one’s spouse
13. mistrust in the family members and leads to anxiety
14. weakness in self-giving to a spouse and children
15. regular overreactions in anger
16. resentment in regard to self-giving to a spouse and children
17. excessive love of self to the disdain of spouse and children
18. immature behaviors and weak leadership in the family
19. infidelity, separation and divorce
20. a materialist mentality
21. the contraceptive mentality

— Richard P. Fitzgibbons

 





My Advice To Married Couples After Divorcing My Wife Of 16 Years By Gerald Rogers.

23 08 2013

Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had:

1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.

2. Protect your own heart. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.

3. Fall in love over and over again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.

4. Always see the best in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.

5. It’s not your job to change or fix her… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.

6. Take full accountability for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.

7. Never blame your wife if you get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.

8. Allow your woman to just be. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.

9. Be silly… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.

10. Fill her soul everyday… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.

11. Be present. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.

12. Be willing to take her sexually, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.

13. Don’t be an idiot…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.

14. Give her space… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)

15. Be vulnerable… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.

16. Be fully transparent. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don’t know i she will like what she finds… Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.

17. Never stop growing together… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.

18. Don’t worry about money. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.

19. Forgive immediately and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.

20. Always choose love. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.

In the end marriage isn’t about happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come. Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.

These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late. But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I loved being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.

If you are reading this and find wisdom in my pain, share it those those young husbands whose hearts are still full of hope, and with those couples you may know who may have forgotten how to love. One of those men may be like I was, and in these hard earned lessons perhaps something will awaken in him and he will learn to be the man his lady has been waiting for.

MEN- THIS IS YOUR CHARGE: Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from you. Be the type of husband your wife can’t help but brag about.

You can view the video bellow

How to Become an Epic lover

(From the Editor: We wish  to thank Joachim Cabanyes for sending it  to us for publication,   Joachim Cabanyes is an honorary member of Authors-choice blog.)





How to Hurt a Spouse

7 08 2013

A lady sought advice from a Marriage counselor. ‘I hate my husband. He’s making my life miserable. I want a divorce and I want to make things as tough as possible for him.’ The counselor advised, ‘Begin by showering him with compliments, indulge him in every whim. Then when he realizes how much he needs you and wants you, start your divorce proceedings.
‘Six months later, the counselor met the woman and asked, ‘When are you going to file your divorce papers? “Are you out of your mind?’ replied the woman indignantly, ‘We’re divinely happy








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