The Unhappy Millionaire

10 01 2019
Richard Mason the unhappy millionaire

Those who don’t believe that money doesn’t make you happy often hiss, “Let me have it and find out for myself,” when told about it. Perhaps this story of a man who had millions but lost health and family will convince the most virulent skeptic that there are things much more important than money. According to the dailymail.co.uk, Richard Mason, a multimillionaire and the founder of money market, a multi-million dollar company went for a medical check to discover the cause of his recurring ill health. He didn’t bargain for what he got. The doctor told him he had cystic fibrosis, a disease inherited from birth, and incurable. But worse, he told him that people who suffer from this ailment do not have children.

The millionaire shot back: ‘You must have got the diagnosis wrong because I’ve got three sons.’

The doctor looked at the nurse, as if to say, “How do we deal with this?” and turning to him said, “In this hospital, we manage 2000 men with your condition and none has children -well except for one who later discovered that his wife cheated on him.”

The doctors then advised Richard to speak with his wife.

Anxious and heart thumping, Richard texted Kate, his ex-wife and mother of his 3 sons, aged 23, 19 and 18. They had divorced 10 yrs earlier and though he had remarried, at 54, he hadn’t bothered to have any more children.

“Hi Kate, I have just  been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and can you believe, the doctor says that I am infertile from birth, please put me out of my misery and tell me they are wrong and our boys are my children.”

The reply wasn’t long in coming

“Hi Richard, I’m deeply sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but no matter what they say, the boys are your children.”

Still, suspicious Richard confided in his first son who called his Mom and she confessed to having affairs throughout her marriage, in hotels whenever she was on overnight business trips for the bank where she worked. She however flat out refused to name the father of the child.

Kate, Richard’s ex-wife admitted to adulterous affairs thought out her marriage to Richard but refuses to name the man

Left with a tons of money in his bank, bereft of everything worthwhile in life, family, his children and worst, the knowledge of having lived 21 yrs in a marriage that was a fraud. Richard recently admitted he had frequent thoughts of suicide. Life had lost all meaning.

The adulterous wife must have been desperate for children and sensing her husband’s shortcomings decided to try elsewhere. Richard may have been a negligent husband, hard as flint, an old miser who loves money above all. Furthermore, Richard divorced his adulterous wife even before he knew her to be one, love for his children notwithstanding.

Whatever be the case, we may be sure that in all the articles written about this disappointing union, no one talked about the couple’s relationship with God. I strongly suspect that, like in most western marriages, God didn’t play a very big role in this family. And I believe that vertical relationships helps horizontal relationship as many spiritual writers often contend. Vertical relationship with God helps our horizontal relationship with one another. And without the fear of God, man becomes squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old savage, secret and self contained, incapable of giving himself to another in sacrificial love. Hence the appalling divorce statics of western marriages, (about 50% percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher, Luxembourg: 87%, Spain: 65%). I think this due to their hurling God out of their marriages, feet first.

The story is long, complicated, and heart breaking and gets quite out of breath by the time it gets to the murky fights over alimony and Richard’s desperate efforts to discover the identity of the man who slept with his wife for in this unfortunate marriage betrayal runs deep ( you can read the full article here). I will cut all that and by a short route bring us to my take: common necessaries and common comforts of life satisfied, money does not necessarily make us happier.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





Illusory freedom of Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie

12 08 2018

The divorce between Brad and his wife, Angelina Angelina, started since 2016, is building up to a dramatic and sleazy end.

Both, divorcee, lived together unmarried for 10-years. The glamorous couple had 6 children; 3 biological and 3 adopted. When they finally decided to get married in 2014, cracks began to appear.

In a beautiful letter he wrote his wife that went viral on the internet, Brad claimed that his wife was depressed, stressed out, and uncommunicative. The letter was all about his gallant effort to win her back and save his marriage.

It’s unclear whether the double mastectomy Angelina had the previous year contributed to her illness. In May 2013, she had both breasts surgically removed after discovering she carries a genetic mutation that dramatically increases the chance of being diagnosed with potentially fatal breast cancer.

It is not uncommon that such drastic actions could result in regrets and self-loathing as time goes by. After all, a woman’s breast is a significant part of her beauty and attractiveness. Fears that her husband no longer finds her attractive could have triggered a feeling of insecurity that lead to her depression.

Many people were disappointed when in 2016, the couple announced that they were divorcing, citing irreconcilable differences.

Thing went dark quickly. Last year, Brad was investigated and cleared of petty child abuse accusation brought by his wife.

Then again, recently, the media was abuzz when Angelina, again, accused her husband of not paying her child support for their 6 children. A ridiculous accusation given that she is super rich.

In the entire hullabaloo, the real losers are their children.

Already Maddox, their first child, is not on speaking terms with his Dad and is showing signs of anti-social behavior; and Shiloh, their first biological daughter, is in a deep confusion, behaving like a boy and preferring to wear boys’ clothes. Studies show that divorce harms children.

Add to this; different men and women may soon be entering their lives, demanding the entitlement of a new mother or a new father (most Hollywood stars remarry shortly after divorce)

Angelina and Brad should consider their children’s right to be brought up in a stable, intact home and work harder to reconcile their differences.

When married folk talk about “irreconcilable difference” to get a divorce, it’s often about themselves, but they end up injuring their children as well.

Look, when parents sacrifice their own selfishness for love of their children, they have made a choice, and the more they love the greater will be their freedom. If their love is great, their freedom will bear much fruit in their children’s good

Couples who decide to stick it out, for better or worse, make a choice which derives from their blessed freedom. This presupposes self-surrender, for God’s sake, and for the children’s sake.

But unfortunately, Brad and Angelina are greatly ignorant about what freedom really is. They are aspiring to an illusory freedom without limits as though it were the ultimate goal of happiness. Yet, both have been down this road before. Angelina was previously married to an actor called Bob Thornton and walked away. Brad left a fellow actress, Jennifer Aniston for Angelina. Now they are at it again. Where will it go from here?

Marriage is about reconciling irreconcilably differences. When a man and woman marry, they reconcile themselves into one. The two shall become one, as the Holy writ says. We reconcile our differences by deliberately choosing to do so, out of love because love is not true if it’s not forever.

In a way, it all goes to support C. S Lewis arguments that if marriage is not for keeps, it’s better not to get married in the first place, and the Catholic Church insists that marriage is for keeps, and for the sake of children.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

The Editor





Should I keep this secret from my spouse?

1 08 2018

Marriage experts and real women debate the gray areas of keeping secrets from your husband or wife.

What you don’t say in a marriage can be even more telling than what you do say. Stacey Greene, author of Stronger Than Broken: One Couple’s Decision to Move Through An Affair, knows this fact better than most. After learning about her husband’s secret affair, she wrote her book to document her harrowing journey of recovering from that infidelity as a Christian woman. While writing and working through her unfortunate situation, Greene realized a simple truth about marriage: no secret is worth keeping from your spouse.

“In fact, while we were resurrecting the marriage, we began being brutally honest with each other, even if we knew it would hurt the other one’s feelings,” says Greene. “Marriage is rough, but honesty is paramount. It’s okay if I say, ‘Does this dress make my butt look fat?’ and he says, ‘Yes.’ I simply change dresses.”

That may sound extreme to some of us who like a little confidence-boosting white lie every now and again. But as far as Greene is concerned, one small secret as mild as an unflattering piece of clothing has the potential domino into more secrets and jeopardize the foundation of trust between husband and wife.

“Trust is at the pinnacle of any lasting and meaningful relationship,” she says. “We need to ask ourselves why would we even want to keep a secret from our wife or husband. What is the purpose? What are we afraid of the other person finding out about us?” Greene’s argument suggests that the underlying motives for telling the truth should outweigh the sometimes awkward or temporary wounded recreation your spouse might have. To her point, most of us don’t really want to leave the house in a dress that doesn’t look nice.

The truth will come out

Greene argues that no matter what kind of secret you may want to keep, your spouse will eventually learn the truth.

First and foremost she applies this to money. “If it is a financial secret, it will no doubt come out at some point,” she says. “Maybe it will come out at tax time, or when you must declare bankruptcy or lose a home. There goes trust and security in the marriage.” Financial talks are difficult — there’s no doubt about it. But between arguing about truths now rather than realizing your assets were actually a pack of lies later … which would you choose? And this goes both ways: if you feel you’re in the dark about your joint finances, don’t stay there; speak up. There’s no time like the present to find out the real scoop.

But the other big lie married couples often worry about is fidelity: “If it is a relationship secret (like cheating or being cheated on), there is a distinct probability that the affair will eventually be found out,” says Greene. “If it is a health secret (like he or she had been sleeping around), then diseases can be transmitted to the innocent partner. If there was a secret child from another relationship, that child may look up his biological parents and disrupt the lives of the biological family.” So the chances of being caught in your lie are many, and possibly all even more hurtful than hearing the truth directly from your partner. Though, of course, it’s always better simply not to do anything in a marriage that you feel you need to lie about to begin with.

She adds, “What we have to understand about secrets is that there is always a chance of being caught, which erodes trust.”

Anni Harry, who is a married Catholic woman, agrees that chances are good you will get caught no matter what, so you might as well be honest with your spouse in the first place.

“I am an open book,” she says. “I don’t have anything I keep from him simply because I am a firm believer that he will find out anyway. Also, I believe a lie by omission is still a lie, and most secrets are kept from someone to keep them out of the loop.”

But are there tiny exceptions?

Still, some married people argue that there are minor or short-term secrets that may be safe to keep, as long as your relationship is still largely based on trust and open communication.

For instance, gifts. “Small secrets — like, what you are gifting for birthdays, Christmas, etc. — are okay, but if it is pricey, I run the price by him first,” she says.

Alicia Schonhardt, the blogger behind the Catholic homeschooling blog Sweeping Up Joy, says that her secrets are her harmless guilty pleasures.

“My secrets involve the amount of chocolate I’ve consumed in one day and what fluffy TV shows I watch regularly,” she says. “If asked directly, I answer honestly. Yes, I watch Dancing With the Stars. No, I’m not proud of it. That’s pretty much it.”

Schonhardt adds, “There might be other things that I don’t tell him, but nothing is off the table for discussion if he brings it up.”

Chiara Pierpaolo Finaldi, a married Catholic woman in London, doesn’t believe you have to own up to all your tiny, embarrassing mistakes … though don’t expect to keep such matters a secret for long.

“You don’t need to tell [your husband] straight away that you ruined his favorite shirt when you washed it or shrunk his really special sweater that accidentally ended up in the dryer,” she says. “He will eventually find out.”

But slightly more substantial secrets may make sense to guard, too. If your friend has told you something in confidence that has absolutely nothing to do with your husband, many women feel you can keep mum on the matter.

“I keep to myself the things friends tell me if they don’t give me permission to share it with him, like marriages falling apart, for instance,” says Jennie Lawlis Goutet, who runs the blog, A Lady in France. “I always ask my friends first. But he’s respectful of my friends’ privacy and doesn’t ask further questions about things they’re not willing for him to know.”

Another type of secret that may make sense to guard is specific gossip about your husband.

“I keep negative things other people have said about him, from him,” says Leah Gray, who blogs about her experiences as the wife of an addict. “My husband battled an addiction and sometimes people say unkind things. The other thing I do is make it very clear I won’t listen to it either. It’s a personal integrity thing. He has no idea I do it, but I want to bless him in my secret life as well.”

Other than that? “I have no secrets from him,” says Grey. Because, while there are teeny exceptions, most secrets are hurtful, if not downright damaging.

by Aleteia, aleteia.org July 29, 2018 05:00 AM





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





What is Your Marriage Worth?

18 03 2018

Many years ago I listened to a preacher share about how his wife would leave the television on at night and sleep off and they lived in a country where you pay based on how long you keep the TV on. Leaving the TV on therefore increases the television bill.

That attitude of his wife would annoy him and he was always angry at his wife for doing that yet it continued. It was obvious it was going to become a strain in the marriage.

Then one day while ruminating over this issue, I asked myself, “Is your marriage not worth fifty dollars extra at the end of the month? If this attitude of your wife will mean an extra bill of fifty dollars, is it too much to pay for peace to be in your marriage?”

Unlike me, my wife is not a morning person. I can wake up by 2:00am, work till 5:00am, go back to bed and still get up by 6:00am and start my day. For my wife, I literally have to drag her out of bed in the morning. Her day begins only after she has had her bath.

In some homes, the wife is the one who goes to the kitchen to heat up water for the family to bathe. I guess it comes naturally with women. In my home, heaven help me if I wait for my wife to do that. I will wait for a long time. So I have resolved to make that my responsibility.

Even with the kids I will still have to be the one doing that in the morning because my wife is not a morning person. If that is the price I have to pay for peace to be in my home, it is worth it. We are talking about the price of peace.

One of my friends shared with me how his wife will never monitor the fuel gauge when driving. It is when the car finally stops that she realizes the car has run out of fuel. Guess who she will call? The husband. He will have to be the one to sort out the problem.

After several of such calls he had to find a way around it. He ensures the fuel tank is full at the beginning of the week which will take the wife through the week. That way he does not get any phone call that the car has stopped. It is the price of peace for him.

When I was working on this article I requested that people share some of the prices they have had to pay to maintain peace in their homes. I got a lot of responses that revealed that no marriage is perfect. The reason we see certain marriages as better than ours is because the parties in those marriages are ready to pay certain prices to maintain peace in their homes.

Let me share a few of the responses I got.

“In my home I just have to tolerate my husband’s attitude. He has this habit of talking over issues repeatedly. He can talk, talk and talk when a situation happens and will nag you till you fall over. So to allow peace what I do is try and keep my mouth shut. No argument, no talking back or simply walk away so that peace can reign.”
-Ajo

“I usually don’t turn off the lights in a room when I’m done using it. At the beginning of my marriage, hubby will tell me to always make sure I do that when exiting the room, but after correcting me several times without change, he decided to just check back anytime I leave a room and will help turn the lights off. He just stopped complaining and started helping me do it. Eventually, I had to determine in myself to be more aware and I’ve gotten better doing that.
-Olu

“My wife has a thing for matchsticks. After using one, she keeps it for ’emergency’. This act irritates me. No matter how long we discuss this (more than 9 years now) she still does. So I decided to dispose them and then I offer her a fresh one should an ’emergency’ arise.”
-Dapo

“I don’t pressurize my husband to do or not to do anything, especially something he really wants to, or really doesn’t want to do. Putting pressure on him will only irritate him. I keep quiet and I pray instead. That way, I have peace and also get what I want. On the other hand, my husband will always hang the mosquito nets, switch off the lights and unplug my phones, because I always sleep off. He has stopped complaining. He will do the job instead.”
-Bisola

Those were just a few of the several responses I got about the price of peace that people are paying in their homes. A lot of other people were encouraged when they saw that they were not alone. You think you are the only one having an issue until you listen to others.

Sometimes we need to do things we don’t like for the sake of peace. If it is not too high a price then why not just do it and move on with our lives? Not every battle is worth fighting.

That is why it is important to be able to lead yourself because for these people whose reports we just read you find that either they or their spouses took responsibility for peace. That is part of what personal leadership is about.

I could have picked a fight with my wife for refusing to get up from the bed in the morning. Hamzah could have picked a fight with his wife for that thing with the matchsticks.

Fatimah’s husband could have picked a fight with her for always forgetting to turn off the lights. But personal leadership helped us to take the other route thereby maintaining peace in our homes.

Now this does not mean you will never have to correct each other in the relationship or continually be in endurance mode throughout the marriage especially when it has to do with abuse. That is a completely different matter. You don’t endure abuse. But instead of fighting over why your spouse always presses the toothpaste tube from the middle, why not buy a second one so you have yours and he has his and both of you have peace? Has that not solved the problem.





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