Unplanned lives of Young people

7 10 2018

 

 

 

The movie of Abby Johnson’s book, Unplanned, will soon be out. In anticipation, I just finished reading the book a second time. Its a truly great read and I must confess, her recklessness youth is a reflection of the lives of many young people today.
From a good Christian family, yet she did all the wrong things. She dated and married a lowlife against her parents warnings, got pregnant, had an abortion, and flunked her grades at school.

Worse, in the middle of a divorce, she was hoodwinked into signing up as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, that abortion giant that has wrecked so many lives. She began working there as an intern and went on to become the director of the clinic. She had a second abortion at this clinic, again, without telling her parents.

While working at the clinic, she drifted further away from God, slowly deadening her conscience. Soon her heart craved only money, sex, and power. She took as her role model, those classy female executives of Planned Parenthood, admiring their high heels and glossy looks.

Abby worked for six years at Planned Parenthood, a facilitated abortions for plenty of women, though she herself was not directly involved in the procedure.

Crashing down

Funny, but it was at the very height of her achievements that everything came crashing down.
One day, when a nurse assistant failed to turn up for work, Abby was asked to assist in an ultrasound guided abortion. She was to hold the probe so the abortionist could see and better position his instrument.
As she held the probe to the belly of a woman lying on a couch, her eyes fell on the image on the screen and she was transfixed.

She saw, as it were, for the first time, the humanity of the infant she was about to help exterminate. The perfectly formed baby was sleeping peacefully in its mothers womb, until the abortionist’s probe pierced the amniotic sack surrounding it, and the baby began fleeing for life.

Beam me up Scottie, the abortionist doctor chuckled, lightheartedly. He was calling for the suction pump to be turned on, and within seconds, the baby was torn to shreds and vanished from the screen.

Abby was stunned! She felt the ground pulled from under her feet. Her world was turned inside out.

But touchdown to real world was just beginning. In 2008, PlantParanthood was pushing for increase in their revenue to avert the impeding financial crises. Her boss ordered her to increase the number of abortions in her clinic. And if that wasn’t enough, rumors was making the rounds that Planned Parenthood was going full time into partial birth abortions, a red line Abby had sworn never to cross.

Abby tried to resist, and her relationship with her bosses deteriorated. Her life became miserable as the classy women she had so admired were now turning against her.

In what I call, the moment of truth, she looked out the window at the Coalition for life, a pro-life advocacy group that had been organizing prayer at the clinic’s fence every day since the clinic opened, trying to discourage women going in to get abortions.
Those people have been right all along, she realized. It was like a splash of cold water. She was on the wrong side of the fence.
She had set out wanting to help women, but look at where she had ended up.

These were the people truly helping women save their own lives and save the lives of their unborn babies.

Abby literally ran to the other side of the fence, into the welcoming arms of members of the Coalition for Life, who had been praying for her for many years.

Later on Abby would reflect on how much influence her previous abortions must have contributed to her blindness to the evil of abortion.

From that moment, she knew what she lives for: to save lives, and to expose the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, for what it really is, and more important, to be the beacon of hope for the millions of young women who have had the tragedy abortion; having gone down that road, she knew best how to guide them towards forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
This was when authentic happiness begins for her at last.

But one might ask, how was it possible that with such a great Christian upbringing, Abbey went so dangerously wrong?

Well, as Bishop Barron says, “The greatest enemy of young people in the world is spiritual slot. ”

Many young people would spend countless hours researching the specs of the best smartphone to buy, making sure they get it right, but when it comes to their spiritual life, “What-everrr”, they say.
It seems the most important questions about life is less important than smartphones.

Yet, sooner or later, many young people face this same question like Abby Johnson, “What is my mission in this life?”
In the coming days in Rome, the Synod of Bishops are reflecting on Youth, faith and vocational discernment.

Besides asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten the Synod Fathers, every young man or woman should use this opportunity to meditate about their own path, because we all have a divine vocation, a reason why God brought us into this world, and it is in finding that mission, that purpose that we discover the meaning of our life, just like Abby Johnson did.

Faith is a powerful light, able to shed light on ones own future and to inspire desires of fulfillment. At that time in our lives, when maybe the certainties of childhood falter and also the light of faith may grow weak, just like it did for Abby Johnson, because of her mistaken choices, we are to remember the deepest truth about ourselves: that we are children of God, created out of love. He makes the most radical call: he calls each and every one of us to be fully happy at his side.

Again, what truly matters is that Abby Johnson finally discovered her true vocation in life this thanks God’s mercy

Abby’s story is a living proof that The Creator does not throw us into existence and then forgets about us: He who creates also loves and calls. Therefore, the discernment of ones own path must be enlightened by that faith in Gods love for us, for each one.

Just as Jesus spoke to Abby Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who suggests bold options of leaving Planned Parenthood, Jesus speaks to all young people, do not be afraid. Seek the good, follow the teachings of the Church, and live by faith.

The Pope wrote in his letter to the youth announcing this synod. Our personal search can give rise to a certain anxiety, because we feel the dizziness of freedom. Will I be happy? Will I have the strength? Will it be worthwhile committing oneself to it?
All these questions tormented Abby as she wrestled with her conscience, knowing what she must do.
Not even then does God leave her alone. He inspired her. He will inspire us if, we too know how to listen to Him. That is what we ask of Him every time we pray the most beautiful prayer: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: Thy will be done in me, in you, in each one of us.
As we think of so many young people who wish to second Gods plans, let us ask that they receive not only light to see their way, but also strength to want to follow the divine Will like Abby Johnson did.

It will be helpful if we realize that when He asks for something, He is actually offering a gift. We are not doing him a favor: it is God who enlightens our life, filling it with meaning.

After leaving Planned Parenthood, Abby found her true self, the cloud of sadness which surrounded her life suddenly lifted and she truly came alive. Many of her friends noticed it and told her, Abby, you look so happy, you are glowing.

What’s more, she is now more effective than ever, helping millions of people men and women. Her book is selling millions of copies and will soon be turned into a movie.

I hope, that reading this book, and perhaps later, watching this movie when it comes out, many young people and adults alike, understand that loving God, and wanting his will in our lives is not an obstacle to our own dreams, but their crowning. All desires, all projects, all loves can be part of Gods plans. As St. Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei would say, “Well-lived charity is already holiness.”
And Dolores Hart, a former movie star who became a nun said, “We are meant to serve God with the gifts He has given us. Sin is not so much doing something wrong; sin is not being true to who we are.”

Prior to bolting away from Planned Parenthood, Abby couldn’t pray, the emptiness in her soul was like a chasm, but as soon as she made that decision and left, her relationship with God grew in leaps and bounds. She began to see Jesus as a real person, who had given His life for her, and for whom she, must give her life, thus confirming what many Christian authors say, that the Christian life does not lead us to identify ourselves with an idea, but with a person: with Jesus Christ.

For young people as well as for everyone, an important way of growing in friendship with Christ is to ask this simple question often: Who is Jesus Christ for me? Is he my friend? Is our friendship deep and strong or is it broken?

Thus, they will discover the gifts the Lord has given them, gifts that are directly related to their true mission. They will know how to put themselves at the service of all persons without being deceived by lies like Abby Johnson was for a long stretch of her life, and will see more clearly the place God has entrusted them with in this world.

In a society that often thinks too much about comfort, faith helps us to look up and discover the true dimension of our own existence. If we are bearers of the Gospel, our passage through this world will be fruitful. I will finish with this quotation for John Paul II, Homily on Boston:
“Dear young people: do not be afraid of honest effort and honest work; do not be afraid of the truth. With Christ’s help, and through prayer, you can answer his call, resisting temptations and fads, and every form of mass manipulation. Open your hearts to the Christ of the Gospels — to his love and his truth and his joy. Do not go away sad!…
“Follow Christ! You who are married: share your love and your burdens with each other; respect the human dignity of your spouses; accept joyfully the life that God gives through you; make your marriage stable and secure for your children’s sake.
“Follow Christ! You who are single or who are preparing for marriage. Follow Christ! You who are young or old. Follow Christ! You who are sick or ageing; who are suffering or in pain. You who feel the need for healing, the need for love, the need for a friend — follow Christ!
“To all of you I extend — in the name of Christ — the call, the invitation, the plea: ‘Come and follow Me. ”





33 Ways to Keep Your Virginity till Marriage by Niphmy Isiwa

16 09 2018

In a world filled with sexual imagery, and boyfriends demanding for sex, so many girls are wondering how they can possibly keep their virginity till marriage. Here are some rules that help you keep your virginity and still enjoy a loving relationship with your boyfriend.

 

  1. Turn the lights on.

Getting caught up in the moment is way easier to do in the dark. Darkness hides things, but if you keep everything in the light, you’ll be able to see more clearly both in your head and in your heart.

 

  1. Get out.

It’s easy to let your hangout default become something that involves snuggling while glaring at a screen. Too much of that and you’ll get super comfortable and then super bored. Bored and comfortable can lead to trouble. Get out and get active. Volunteer for a worthy cause, be adventures in the great outdoors, pick up a new hobby, play a sport, learn a new skill, whatever it is, your time discovering new things together will help you discover new things about each other. And while you’re at it, invite another couple, or your entire posse, to join you.

 

  1. Put yourself in interruptible situations.

While this isn’t always possible, do your best to allow yourself to be interrupted. Something as simple as cracking the door to your dorm room ensures that you won’t let things go…

 

  1. Be accountable.

If you’ve struggled with sexual purity in the past, find yourself an accountability partner who will ask you how things are going. It will motivate you to know that you can give a good report when prompted.

 

  1. Spare the details.

Having the “how far have you gone” conversation is mainly about idle curiosity and can stir up unnecessary images and desires. You don’t owe your boyfriend/girlfriend a detailed account of your sexual history. There may come a time when general information that will affect your relationship needs to be shared, but again, spare the details.

 

  1. Give yourself a curfew.

The later it gets the longer you have to let things go too far. Set a definitive time to say goodnight and go your separate ways. Grandma is right: “Nothing good ever happens after 2 AM.” Or is it midnight? I guess it depends on who your grandma is. Either way, figure out what is reasonable for you and stick to it.

 

  1. Be committed. Know who you are and whose you are. Know why keeping your virginity till marriage matters. Then make a commitment–to God, to yourself, and to each other–that you will strive for keeping your virginity till marriage. If you’re halfhearted, your resolve won’t last long. And if you’re not on the same page, it’ll be very, very difficult. But if you’re both serious about being holy and keeping your relationship pure, you have a real shot.

 

  1. Pray for each other. The purpose of dating is to discern marriage; the purpose of marriage is to get each other to heaven. If you’re not praying avidly for your partner’s sanctification, what are you doing? Pray to keep your virginity, of course, but pray for your partner even more. It’s easier, I think, to be willing to compromise your own salvation in the heat of the moment than to endanger the soul of someone you love and for whom you pray daily. Making little sacrifices and offering them for your partner’s virginity will keep this at the forefront of your mind–and probably bring that desire to mind when other desires threaten to push it aside.

 

  1. Set boundaries. “We’re not going to have sex” is a great start, but there’s more to keeping your virginity till marriage than just avoiding intercourse before marriage. Sit down early in the relationship and discuss what you think is appropriate in different stages in your relationship. It strikes me as fairly obvious that touching things you don’t have (pause to make sure everyone’s grasping my euphemism) is reserved for marriage. But maybe you’re like me and you think “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do with your grandma looking on” is a good rule of thumb. Or maybe you don’t want to kiss before you’re engaged. Maybe you want to talk about how many feet should be on the floor when you’re cuddling. Try not to be too legalistic, but do be aware that there’s more to keeping your virginity till marriage than sex. If you’re not comfortable having this conversation with your partner, you might want to reconsider either this relationship or your readiness to be in a relationship. It might be awkward but it’s important enough to endure

 

  1. Dress chastely. Your bodies are lovely and there’s nothing dirty or wrong about them. But they were made to be given only to the body–and the eyes–of your husband. Even if you’re not willing to dress chastely for the myriad men in your life who are trying desperately to see you as a person and not an object, do it for the one man you love. If you’re dressed like you’re wearing clothes, not underwear, then he’ll have less trouble

 

 

 

  1. Don’t watch pornography! The solution to temptation is not to indulge that temptation in another venue. Using pornography and masturbating don’t release sexual tension, they distort it and cause it to grow. Pornography is also as addictive as crack and has serious consequences on more than just your love life. Here are some tips on leaving pornography behind. Do it now.

 

 

  1. Repent. You’re going to fall. Don’t give up! Get up, get to confession, and redouble your effort. Reconsider your relationship and the rules you’ve set for yourself. Talk to a trusted friend. Cry and pout and punch a wall but do NOT give up. It’s a hard road, but remember that you follow a God who fell three times under the cross. He knew you would fall. He forgives you. He wants you to try again.

 

 

 

  1. In the same spirit, avoid activities—whether together, alone, or with other friends—that will fill your mind with carnal themes and heighten your sexual arousal. Resist the devil (James 4:6-8) as he tempts you to sext, talk dirty or posture your body in suggestive ways, surf or rent even “soft” porn, wear revealing clothing, participate fully in a rowdy, worldly party like a bachelor or bachelorette party (eg. where strippers or unrestrained drugs or alcohol will be present).

 

  1. Don’t be fixated on physical intimacy. Learn hobbies, skills, new challenges, gifts, talents, ministry and personal goals, conflict resolution, and communication skills are all necessary facets for developing a solid and interesting friendship on the spiritual foundation of Christ.

 

  1. Go to church regularly. Participate in ministry together. Serving together in a shared ministry will increase your awareness of the world around you and dilute your focus on each other.

 

  1. Do more group activities than alone-together activities, especially if physical intimacy is becoming a distraction. Hang out in public places, hang out with family and friends, and don’t spend too much time in the dark or alone in your vehicles or residences.

 

  1. You may have to go on a “relationship fast” to help reset your relationship on an operating system of purity if you have become physically involved. This would involve breaking off all communications for an agreed amount of time to seek the Lord and His direction and strength as well as consult others to restart the relationship on a clean note.

 

 

  1. Encourage him to be the kind of man that you want him to be. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, but don’t do it in a condescending way, like he’s a well-meaning child. “I love going to adoration with you,’ with an affectionate hand squeeze (or, if appropriate, cheek kiss) is more likely to produce the desired results than a two hour heated debate. Good men love to do things for the women that they care about, and knowing how much you appreciate these gestures will make him want to do them even more.

 

  1. Invite one another to pray. The easiest way to pray more is… to pray more. It’s great when he takes the lead on this, but it’s just fine for you to do so, too. If he’s smart, he’ll get the clue. Pray at the start and end of dates. If you’re on the phone in the evenings, pray together before you go to bed. Frame your relationship in prayer until it’s the most natural thing to do in the world.

 

 

  1. Develop non-physical ways of showing affection, love (if appropriate), and contrition. Guard against the temptation to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” physically.

 

  1. Location! Avoid anything that’s a near occasion of sin. Avoid any situation that could quickly take a turn. One of the best ways to do this is to remain within eyesight and earshot of others at all times.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to leave a situation, if that’s what virtue demands. Sometimes, girls (especially, but also guys) won’t want to end the night early because they’re afraid of being rude… even when they recognize that sticking around longer will only lead to trouble.

 

  1. The purpose of dating is to find the person you wish to marry, the one who will become the father or mother of your children. Keep that always in mind and terminate the relationship if and as soon as you realize this is not the person.

 

  1. Never allow yourself to be alone in a closed room or parked car with your date.

 

  1. Always plan to be active on a date. Have activities lined up (backup plans too) so you don’t find yourself in a position or situation of idleness. Offense is good defense. Think of activities that will provide opportunities for growth in knowledge of God, each other, and self. Make a regular practice of worshipping and praying together.

 

  1. Dress appropriately for the occasion but always modestly.

 

  1. Regardless of who “pays” for the date no one “owes” anybody anything.

 

  1. Any actions that cause sexual arousal (need I define them?) are to be avoided, including forms of dancing that are designed to cause it. Help each other to say no.

 

  1. A peck, a quick kiss (mouths closed), a brief hug or holding hands are permissible, they are non-sexual expressions of affection.

 

  1. Don’t kid yourself. You are no different from anyone else. Don’t count on your self-control. You are weak! You just can’t go “so far.”

 

  1. Your soul is at stake and perhaps a happy marriage and a possible vocation.

 

  1. The road to keeping ones virginity till marriage is paved with prayer, the Eucharist, and reading of the New Testament. If you fail, have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance as soon as possible and begin again.

 

33. Follow these rules and make sure your date or companion does also and the search for a spouse and courtship can be a joy. Otherwise you may become accomplices in deadly sin and guilty of objectifying another person for sexual pleasure. Keep these rules and you will be able to look at your children right in the eyes when you have to guide them on their





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





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.





Uzoma and Omi conquers Warri: Igbankwu 29th Dec 2017

31 12 2017





So What Did God do? O’Reilly’s Sex allegations

27 10 2017

Bill O’Reilly of Fox news says he is ‘Mad at God’. It appears that his anger over a number of sex harassment allegations against him has unhinged him at last.
Fox arch rival, The New York Times coordinates these allegations. It reported Saturday that O’Reilly paid $32 million to Lis Wiehl, a Fox News legal analyst who made regular appearances on O’Reilly’s show for 15 years, in a settlement related to sexual harassment allegations. Wiehl accused O’Reilly of “repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her,” the Times reported, citing two people briefed on the matter.
So what did God do?
Why is O’Reilly mad at God?
Does God work for the NYT?
We live in a society that is nice to everyone, except God!
We blame him for anything, insult him and nothing happen. No libels, no courtrooms. Main street tells lies about God and his Church all the time and go scot free

One can be mad at someone for an injury suffered for two reasons. Either he blames him for his troubles or he feels that he could stop it but failed to do so. Perhaps, O’Reilly is mad for the second reason.
Then I am surprised. Bill O’Reilly is perhaps the most prominent Catholic conservative on American television. And he doesn’t know his Catholic faith?
God created the world but has left man free. The Catholic Church teaches that God created man in his own image and likeness, and gave him the gift of freewill to enjoy and direct himself through his intelligence, in other words, to act on his own. Thus of all creatures, only man can choose good or evil. If he chooses evil, God does not retract his freedom, for that wouldn’t be true freedom. Thus man may merit heaven or hell when he dies. Heaven if he chooses well, hell if he chooses badly

The men working at the NYT are free, they can choose to publish falsehood, and God will not retract their freedom even to please Bill O’Reilly.
I think O’Reilly should accept that even a good man can suffer injustice. He should read the bible and find plenty of stories of innocent people suffering injustice; he will find the story of Jesus Christ whose enemies devised a vicious plan to kill him by nailing him to the cross. And it worked.

I do sympathize with O’Reilly; there is nothing as unjust and painful as the loss of a good name. As they say, money can’t buy a good name even though it can buy a lot of stuff.
Yes, there is the issue of the children as O’Reilly explained.
“The pain it brings to my children is indescribable,” O’Reilly told the Times when it interviewed him about the reported $32 million settlement. “I would give up my life to protect my children, but I find myself unable to protect them because of things that are being said about me, their father.”
But the children will get over it, as long as they trust Dad’s words more than they trust the NYT. That’s where O’Reilly job is. His kids should trust him more, and if that is a problem , then he has some parenting homework to do.

Let’s assume that O’Reilly is innocent (at least until proven guilty even though he does wish to avoid litigation, to protect his children and his family from being taken to the grinders), instead of raging against God, he should act like other innocent men did when they found themselves persecuted unjustly. They accepted their trials as purification for their sins to better prepare for eternal life when the time came
The just man lives by faith, faith that all things work for good for those who love God. The vicarious atonement of the just man who accepts injustice without grumbling can merit the forgiveness of his own sin and that of others.
He should listen to what St. Josemaria Escriva, a man who suffered great injustice from many people for many years tells us: Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offence that you can suffer from them is as nothing compared with what God has pardoned you.”








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