How Prayer Saved My Marriage by Richard Paul Evan

9 06 2018

My oldest daughter, Jenna, recently said to me, “My greatest fear as a child was that you and mom would get divorced. Then, when I was 12, I decided that you fought so much that maybe it would be better if you did.” Then she added with a smile. “I’m glad you guys figured things out.”

For years, my wife, Keri, and I struggled. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure what initially drew us together, but our personalities didn’t quite match up. And the longer we were married the more extreme the differences seemed. Encountering “fame and fortune” didn’t make our marriage any easier. In fact, it exacerbated our problems. The tension between us got so bad that going out on book tour became a relief, though it seems we always paid for it on re-entry. Our fighting became so constant that it was difficult to even imagine a peaceful relationship. We became perpetually defensive, building emotional fortresses around our hearts. We were on the edge of divorce and more than once we discussed it.

I was on book tour when things came to a head. We had just had another big fight on the phone and Keri had hung up on me. I was alone and lonely, frustrated and angry. I had reached my limit.

That’s when I turned to God. Or turned on God. I don’t know if you could call it prayer—maybe shouting at God isn’t prayer, maybe it is—but whatever I was engaged in I’ll never forget it. I was standing in the shower of the Buckhead, Atlanta, Ritz-Carlton yelling at God that marriage was wrong and I couldn’t do it anymore. As much as I hated the idea of divorce, the pain of being together was just too much. I was also confused. I couldn’t figure out why marriage with Keri was so hard. Deep down I knew that Keri was a good person. And I was a good person. So why couldn’t we get along? Why had I married someone so different than me? Why wouldn’t she change?

Finally, hoarse and broken, I sat down in the shower and began to cry. In the depths of my despair powerful inspiration came to me. You can’t change her, Rick. You can only change yourself. At that moment I began to pray. If I can’t change her, God, then change me. I prayed late into the night. I prayed the next day on the flight home. I prayed as I walked in the door to a cold wife who barely even acknowledged me. That night, as we lay in our bed, inches from each other yet miles apart, the inspiration came. I knew what I had to do.

The next morning I rolled over in bed next to Keri and asked, “How can I make your day better?”
Keri looked at me angrily. “What?”

“How can I make your day better?”

“You can’t,” she said. “Why are you asking that?”

“Because I mean it,” I said. “I just want to know what I can do to make your day better.”

She looked at me cynically.

“You want to do something? Go clean the kitchen.”

She likely expected me to get mad. Instead I just nodded. “Okay.”

I got up and cleaned the kitchen.

The next day I asked the same thing. “What can I do to make your day better?”

Her eyes narrowed. “Clean the garage.”

I took a deep breath. I already had a busy day and I knew she had made the request in spite. I was tempted to blow up at her.

Instead I said, “Okay.” I got up and for the next two hours cleaned the garage. Keri wasn’t sure what to think. The next morning came.

“What can I do to make your day better?”

“Nothing!” she said. “You can’t do anything. Please stop saying that.” “I’m sorry,” I said. “But I can’t.”

I made a commitment to myself. “What can I do to make your day better?” “Why are you doing this?” “Because I care about you,” I said.

“And our marriage.” The next morning I asked again. And the next. And the next. Then, during the second week, a miracle occurred. As I asked the question Keri’s eyes welled up with tears. Then she broke down crying. When she could speak she said, “Please stop asking me that. You’re not the problem. I am. I’m hard to live with. I don’t know why you stay with me.”

I gently lifted her chin until she was looking in my eyes. “It’s because I love you,” I said. “What can I do to make your day better?” “I should be asking you that.” “You should,” I said. “But not now. Right now, I need to be the change. You need to know how much you mean to me.” She put her head against my chest. “I’m sorry I’ve been so mean.” “I love you,” I said. “I love you,” she replied. “What can I do to make your day better?” She looked at me sweetly. “Can we maybe just spend some time together?” I smiled. “I’d like that.” I continued asking for more than a month. And things did change. The fighting stopped. Then Keri began asking, “What do you need from me? How can I be a better wife?”

The walls between us fell. We began having meaningful discussions on what we wanted from life and how we could make each other happier. No, we didn’t solve all our problems. I can’t even say that we never fought again. But the nature of our fights changed. Not only were they becoming more and more rare, they lacked the energy they’d once had. We’d deprived them of oxygen. We just didn’t have it in us to hurt each other anymore.

Keri and I have now been married for more than 30 years. I not only love my wife, I like her. I like being with her. I crave her. I need her. Many of our differences have become strengths and the others don’t really matter. We’ve learned how to take care of each other, and, more importantly, we’ve gained the desire to do so. Marriage is hard. But so is parenthood and keeping fit and writing books and everything else important and worthwhile in my life. To have a partner in life is a remarkable gift. I’ve also learned that the institution of marriage can help heal us of our most unlovable parts. And we all have unlovable parts.

Through time I’ve learned that our experience was an illustration of a much larger lesson about marriage. The question everyone in a committed relationship should ask their significant other is, “What can I do to make your life better?” That is love. Romance novels (and I’ve written a few) are all about desire and happily-ever-after, but happily-ever-after doesn’t come from desire—at least not the kind portrayed in most pulp romances. Real love is not to desire a person, but to truly desire their happiness—sometimes, even, at the expense of our own happiness. Real love is not to make another person a carbon copy of one’s self. It is to expand our own capabilities of tolerance and caring, to actively seek another’s well being. All else is simply a charade of self-interest.

I’m not saying that what happened to Keri and me will work for everyone. I’m not even claiming that all marriages should be saved. But for me, I am incredibly grateful for the inspiration that came to me that day so long ago. I’m grateful that my family is still intact and that I still have my wife, my best friend, in bed next to me when I wake in the morning. And I’m grateful that even now, decades later, every now and then, one of us will still roll over and say, “What can I do to make your day better.” Being on either side of that question is something every married person should have as a goal.
Shalom





Kim Kardashian toes the path of Theresa of Calcutta

7 06 2018

Kim Kardashian toes the path of Theresa of Calcutta by helping a grandmother, Alice Johnson, who has spent 21yrs years in prison, regain her freedom. We pray that Kim continues on this path of light. Watch and enjoy





​The world is lying to us and to our children,  says Dr. Hahn

3 09 2017

“Just recently I was listening to this expert therapist on radio,  Dr. Ruth telling a 15yrs old boy who had called in to tell her that he was having sex with his 14 yrs old girlfriend and all she could ask him was, ‘is it safe sex? ‘” 
” I felt like shouting,’ Woman,  tell him to save sex for marriage!!'”

“When he told her that he was using some kind of contraception and she crackled , ” Oh that is so good ‘” 

 “I was like, ‘Woman,  he is a 15yrs old fornicating with a 14 yrs old.” 

“When I was 15,” continued Dr Hahn, “Canbery soup was  good,  not fornication!”   

“When he told her, he was using contraception,  she said that was great!”

” No it’s not, “said Dr. Hahn,  “When I was 14, flakes were great,  not contracepted fornication.” 

“Our kids are being lied to.  Sex isn’t good,  it’s not even great.  IT IS SACRED.” 

With these and many more stories,  Dr. Scott Hahn inspires  us  on how to  build  successful families. 


 “World Congress of Families, 2015”





10 Lessons on How  to Save  Your Family 

1 09 2017


Opening our eyes, we can see that the family in serious crisis. This being the case, as followers of Christ and defenders of the Domestic Church—the family—let us launch a concerted effort to save our children, save our young, by the means of saving our families. Pessimism, cynicism, and skepticism must not reign in our hearts, but rather confidence and hope that we can help construct a better world by striving for better, more holy families.

Therefore, we would like to offer Ten Vitamins to Vitalize Families. By this we mean to offer ten concrete suggestions to help all of us purify, improve, and perfect our families. Saint Pope John Paul II expressed this truth so clearly: The family is the basic building block of society… and… As the family goes, so goes the society. Hopefully these suggestions will truly make a difference in your struggle to form a good family. Never forget the consoling words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary that we read in the Annunciation: Nothing is impossible with God.

1. Family Prayer

One of the primary reasons for fights, quarrels, bitterness, coldness, and eventually separations is the lack of prayer in the family. What oxygen is to the lungs, so prayer is to the soul. Prayer should be at the very center and heart of family life. Remember the words of the famous Rosary-priest, Father Patrick Peyton: The family that prays together, stays together.

2. The Father as Head of the Family

When possible, the Father must be the head of the family; the Mother should be the very heart of the family. A family without a head is a Frankenstein; a family without a heart is dead. May the Father assume the role of Spiritual Leader of the family! If you like, the Father should be the priest of the family. This means, the Father should say Yes to life. The Father should love his wife and children. The Father should be the spiritual leader of the family and this means the leader in the prayer life of his family. The most splendid example for the Father should be the best of Fathers, good Saint Joseph!

3. Forgiveness and Mercy

In many families coldness, indifference, and even bitterness permeate the entire family fabric. Why? One of the reasons is due to a lack of forgiveness. Family members must be merciful and forgive, and not just seven times, but seventy times seven times—meaning always! If we want to be forgiven, then we must forgive from our hearts. The Our Father commands this: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

4. Winning and Victorious Words
The British poet, Alexander Pope penned these words: “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Family members, cultivating true humility of heart, must learn to say these words: “I am sorry…” and equally important: “I forgive you!” These words said often and with humility of heart can save families!

5. Servant Attitude

Jesus, Son of the living God, washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper. He Himself stated: “The Son of man has not come to be served, but to serve and give His life in ransom for many.” (Mt 20:28) Each and every individual family member must not look to be served, but to be always ready to serve the other members in the family. Love and service are really synonymous.

6. Express Graditude

Even though it is small, and at times, seems to be almost insignificant, these two words can add a condiment to the family recipe, and these two words are Thank you! Saint Ignatius of Loyola asserted: “ The essence of sin is ingratitude.” Cultivate in your families an attitude of gratitude! In sum, what do we have that we have not received from God? Only one thing: our sins—these we chose for ourselves. God loves a humble and grateful heart!
7. Take a Break From Gadgets

A key time in family life must be the meal time. Normally it is when the family connects, comes together to share experiences, to spend time with each other, to bond with each other, in a word, to grow in love with each other. Our Lord’s Last Commandment was: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13:34)
There is a comic strip with a family all sitting together on the same big couch. The Father is watching TV, the mother is on her tablet, the son is playing a computer game on his laptop, the teenage daughter is sending a text from her phone, and the family dog has earphones on. We laugh at this, but we also weep, because we can see our own family in this comic strip. Therefore remember, at meal times—even though it might be a mere 20-25 minutes—no phones, tablet, computer, radio nor TV. Each person has infinite value, and their soul being immortal will live forever; the computer screen and all other electronic gadgets will come and go and be disposed of!
8. Learn to Listen

How hard the art of listening really is, especially with family members. We all tend to be in the fast-lane, frenetically rushing from one activity to the next like a chicken with it’s head cut off. As such we fail to listen attentively when a family member wants to talk to us. I invite all to seek out Harry Chapin’s song Cats in the Cradle. In short, this song woefully mourns the sad fact that Fathers never really connect with their children because they are simply too busy! Son, I will listen to you, but later… Later never becomes a reality; then it is beyond his grasp!

9. Celebration

The famous Catholic author Jean Vanier, who founded a group working most especially with the handicapped, and with forming families with handicapped members, made this discovery: families are called to celebrate!

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays such as Christmas and Easter, and many more—all are festive and exuberant moments of celebration in the context of the family. We should celebrate the other in the family —especially their birthday, Baptism, and saint day! Therefore, if you want to inject a good dose of joy in your family, get in the habit of celebrating! Saint Paul exhorts us in these words: “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again: Rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)
10. Marian Consecration

In my retreats, I have often presented an efficacious means to arrive at the very Heart of Jesus. This is done by spending about a month meditating upon the 20 mysteries of the Rosary, with a helpful commentary for each, followed by a meditation on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, each with a commentary. At the end of these days of preparation for consecration, all the members of the family will formally consecrate themselves, individually and as a family, to Jesus through Mary. Our Lady will then be at the very heart of their family. Our Lady will produce abundant fruits in their family: peace, joy, love, happiness, sharing, understanding, patience, purity, meekness, kindness. In a word, by consecration to Jesus through Mary, families will become sanctuaries of true holiness as Jesus commanded: Be holy, as your heavenly Father is holy. (Mt 5:48)

You can lead your family in such a retreat with my guide, Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary.

I am convinced that if families truly allow Mary to take root in the center of their lives, she will help their lives be turned from water into wine, and will truly be able to live out the greatest commandment of Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you! (Jn 13:34) I hope and pray that all will take these Ten Vitamins to Vitalize and form vibrant and holy families!

by Fr. Ed Broom, catholicexchange.com August 29, 2017





Top Wall-street Female Exec with a six figure salary, resigns to join the Catholic Church

28 08 2017

Carolyn’s husband was a violent man who loved money, jet aircraft and champagne more than anything. He pushed her to work ever harder, flying into a rage and physically and verbally abusing her if he didn’t get his way. Her marriage was on the rock, but her career was rocketing. A top Wall-street investment consultant with a six figure salary, yet she walked away from it all to join the Catholic Church, her husband’s religion. She was born Lutheran. Find out why in this one hour video that is worth every minute of your time where  Carolyn talks about how God led her into Catholic Church through the Scriptures





​The Story of Pure Love: Armando and Martha 

17 08 2017

22yrs Armando Valladares, a young journalist was working at his desk at a newspaper company when soldiers came to ask him to publish a communist propaganda supporting the new government of Fidel Castro. 

 He refused knowing full well that there would be consequences. He didnt have to wait long.  Armed soldier stormed his residence at night and arrested him. 

 For refusing to support communism, Armando was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was arrested in the middle of the night and transferred to a notorious prison where hundreds of enemies of communism were beaten on a regular basis. 

But it was in this prison that Armando received a miracle in the form of a woman he met. She was one of the daughters of fellow prisoner and her name was Martha. 

They fell in love when they met, and began to write each other in secret. 

Years of communicating together deepened their love for one another. 

When the communist tried to force Armando to enroll in a compulsory reeducation program, Armando and his companions again refused. 

As a punishment, he spent 8 years in a special solitary confinement, with no windows, and no light coming in, only a small hole for his wastes. 

After 10years, the communist tried another technique, promising him freedom if only he could sign a document praising communism.

 But instead of signing his name, Armando, took the document and started writing poetry at the back. The guards tried to stop him but he changed tactics, writing with his blood instead on the back of onion skins which he smuggled out to Martha.


As the holocaust survivor, Victor Frank once said, “A man can endure any how a long as he has a why” From then on, nothing the soldiers did could hurt him anymore. 

His love for Martha broke down the prisons walls as he wrote poem to her using his own blood, and fresh breeze of love lifted him high, carrying him towards the sun.

Martha fled to the United State, and published thr peoms which became a bestseller raising a campaign against what Castro’s government was doing to her beloved. 
Amnesty international and other human rights group caught on and pressed the Cuban government for his release. 

Terrified of his growling fame the communist tried an old police trick to shatter his unshakable love for Martha.

They told him that Amnesty groups had dropped name from their list of prisoners of war, and that Martha had abandoned him. 

He responded in a serene and cheerful way saying, Now I know for certain that my Martha is succeeding in getting me out.”

He was right; a short time later, he was released from the prison where he had spent 22 years, unbroken, defending his own conscience,  and the dignity of every man to live in the freedom of theirs. 

His 22 years of unbroken resistance to tyranny demonstrated that man is capable of withstanding great evils when he loves and he is loved by another.

On his release from prison, he was finally united with his sweetheart Martha and he was caught on camera showering her with kisses right front and center before the flashing lights and world media. They got married soon after,  a crowning perseverance of love. 






Did Jesus Permit Divorce? By Kelvin Ugwu

18 07 2017

​*CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS: ON MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND THE BIBLE*

Because of Chinaka’s awesome response, I had an experience last weekend that has prompted me to write this. I got into a debate with some Protestants pastors, at first I did not know their intention was to mock Catholic teaching when they asked, “Did Jesus permit divorce? Can there be any situation in which a Christian can be allowed to divorce his or her spouse?”

My answer was clear: “Christ never permitted divorce, and there is no situation that allows one to divorce his or her spouse once the marriage is valid.”

Then, their reply got me thinking: “You Catholics make me laugh. Christ gave an exception that in the case of adultery, divorce is permissible. This is why I keep saying it, Catholics are idol worshippers. It is a secret cult. They do not follow the bible, they follow their silly tradition. Stop misleading people with your lies.”

Those words sincerely got me worried because of the people it came from. I really do not understand why some persons hate the Catholic Church with passion, or should I say, why it seems to some people that any teaching coming from the Catholic Church is not only wrong but evil.

So, let me ask you the same question that I was asked. Did Jesus permit divorce?

If you are ready, follow me let us explore the bible to find the answer together.

This whole misunderstanding is coming from Matthew 19:9 where it seems Christ gave an exception for divorce: “Whoever divorces his wife except for unchastity and marries another commits adultery.”

The exceptive clause, “EXCEPT FOR UNCHASTITY” is the major issue here. Simply put, unchastity is a good reason to divorce one’s spouse.

You may want to ask, what constitutes ‘unchastity?’ We shall get to know soon.

We all remember that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. (Even my grandmother knows this.) The Greek word for unchastity is “PORNEIA.” The Protestants argue that this Greek word “porneia” means adultery. This is why if you read the Protestant New International Version of the Bible, Matthew 19:9 is translated thus:

“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, EXCEPT FOR MARITAL UNFAITHFULNESS, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

For most Protestants, though marriage is meant to last a life time, but adultery justifies divorce and remarriage. This is because they interpreted the Greek word “porneia” or “unchastity” as adultery. This is not so with Catholics.

Catholic biblical scholars believe that it is wrong to translate the Greek word “porneia” as adultery. In the Catholic New American Bible, Matthew 19:9 is translated thus:

“I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

Here, the exceptive clause is: “UNLAWFUL MARRIAGE.”

If you read King James Version of the bible, the translation for PORNEIA is even more interesting. It translates Matthew 19:9 thus:

“And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for FORNICATION, and shall marry another committeth adultery.”

Here, the exceptive clause is Fornication. And fornication is the sin of two unmarried people having sexual intercourse. If either person is married or both are married to other people, the sin is called adultery. Following this translation, the only way that a couple could commit fornication is if they were never really in a Christian marriage to begin with.

Many recent translations of porneia in Matt 19:9 used “sexual immoralities.” That still begs the question on what sexual immoralities could mean.

In all these, what really is the correct translation for the word PORNEIA? Is it the Protestants’ adultery, the king James’ fornication, or the Catholics’ Unlawful marriage? Even if porneia is to be seen as unchastity or sexual immoralities, what constitutes unchastity?

The answer to the above questions can be better clarified using the bible. 

I will give you two examples: Matthew 15:19 and Mark 7:21-22.

Matthew 15:19 “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, ADULTERY, UNCHASTITY, theft, false witness, blasphemy.”

Mark 7:21-22, “From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, UNCHASTITY, theft, murder, ADULTERY, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.”

Pay attention to this: Adultery and unchastity are both prohibited in the texts above. If you read the Greek text, it is “porneia” that is translated as unchastity, in some bible it is translated as sexual immorality. While the Greek word “moicheia” is translated as adultery. Therefore, from these passages we can see that porneia does not mean adultery as that would be an unnecessary repetition.

The word for adultery in Greek is ‘moicheia.’ If the author of Matthew 19:9 felt that Christ was talking about adultery, he won’t have used ‘porneia’ which means unchastity.

If you read Act 15:28-29, the Apostles addressed the gentiles prohibiting four things:

“For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain 

(1) from what has been sacrificed to idols, and (2) from blood and 

(3) from what is strangled and 

(4) from unchastity. 

If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” RSV (inserted numbers, mine)

Take note of (4), still talking about Porneia or Unchastity. These four prohibitions above were coming from a deep rooted Jewish tradition found in Leviticus 17 and 18.

If you read it through, you will discover that in chapter 18, what the Jews mean by unchastity or Porneia was explicitly explained. It was simply an incestuous marriage. Having sexual intercourse with close relative was greatly forbidden, not to talk of marriage. For the Jews, marriage of this nature is unlawful. This was what Christ was referring to in Matthew 19:9. It is a reference to an unlawful and thus invalid marriage. It is not reference, as Protestants view it, to a specific act committed during a legitimate “life-long marriage.

Jesus’ teaching on divorce was revolutionary. Remember that it was to answer the Jews who thought that one can divorce his wife for some reasons that made Jesus to give the answer he gave. If Jesus permitted divorce, what then makes his teaching different from the one Moses taught the Jews in the OT.

If Christ’s teaching on divorce was that simple, how can one explain the surprise that surrounded the disciples when they responded in the next verse?

Matthew 19: 10, “(His) disciples said to him, ‘If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.'”

The truth is, if there is anyone who is faithfully following the bible, give it to the Catholic Church. Quote me anywhere.








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