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Posts tagged ‘Marriage’

Pope Opens Critical Week for Reform, Family Issues.


Image: Pope Opens Critical Week for Reform, Family IssuesPope Francis celebrates a mass during his visit to the San Tommaso Apostolo parish church on the outskirts of Rome on Feb. 16.

Pope Francis is opening the most critical week of his year-old papacy: Two commissions of inquiry on Vatican finance will report their recommendations for reform and preparations get under way for a summit on family issues that will deal with the widespread rejection by Catholics of church teaching on contraception, divorce and gay unions.

In between, Francis will preside over his first ceremony to formally welcome 19 new cardinals into the elite club of churchmen who will eventually elect his successor. In typical Francis style, the new cardinals hail from some of the poorest places on earth, including Haiti, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

The first half of Francis’ busy week will be devoted to the third meeting of his “Group of Eight” advisers, the senior cardinals representing every continent who Francis appointed to help him govern the church and overhaul the antiquated and inefficient Vatican bureaucracy. They are due to hear recommendations from two panels of experts on reforming the troubled Vatican bank and rationalizing the Holy See’s overall financial and administrative structures.

Francis was elected with a mandate to reform the Roman Curia, as the Holy See administration is known, to make it more responsive to the needs of the 21st century Catholic Church. He wants to make the curia more of a support to bishops trying to spread the faith rather than an obstacle. He has made bureaucratic reform his first-year priority, paying special attention to the scandal-marred Vatican bank, long accused by Italian authorities as being an off-shore tax haven for well-connected Italians and, more recently, a place where money could be laundered.

On the eve of the G8 meeting, the head of the Vatican bank pleaded his case to Francis’ hometown newspaper, telling Argentina’s La Nacion daily that his process of reform hadn’t yielded any “systematic violations” of the Vatican’s anti-money laundering laws but just some “black sheep.”

One of those black sheep is Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, an accountant in the Vatican’s finance ministry who is currently on trial for allegedly trying to smuggle 20,000 euro ($26,000) from Switzerland to Italy, and is also accused in another case of using his Vatican bank accounts to launder money. The bank’s top two managers resigned in July after Scarano was arrested.

“We’re in a crucial moment,” the bank president, Ernst Von Freyberg, told La Nacion. “The (bank) commission will hand in its report in the coming days, as will the commission on the economic affairs, and then the Holy Father will decide what to do.”

While Von Freyberg said he didn’t know if outright closure was an option, doing so would certainly deprive Francis of the 50 million euros a year the bank gives the pope for his works of charity.

Von Freyberg, Benedict XVI’s last major appointment before resigning, outsourced his reform to the U.S. consulting firm Promontory Group. The other commission of inquiry, tasked with advising the Holy See on more structural reforms in its overall financial and administrative sphere, also brought in outside experts, tapping McKinsey & Co. to help modernize its communications operations and KPMG to bring its accounting up to international standards.

One of Francis’ top advisers and a member of the G8, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, cautioned against any quick decisions being made by the pope after the commissions present their recommendations.

“Things of the Lord take time,” Maradiaga told private TGCom24.

On a slightly more accelerated timetable are plans for the October meeting of bishops at the Vatican on family issues. A broader group of cardinals are expected to discuss the summit, or synod, in the second half of the week and then the main planning group gets down to work early next week.

Francis called the synod late last year and took the unusual step of commissioning surveys from ordinary Catholics about how they understand and practice church teaching relating to marriage, sex and other issues related to the family.

The results, at least those reported by bishops in Europe and the United States, have been an eye-opener: The church’s core teachings on sexual morals, birth control, homosexuality, marriage and divorce were rejected as unrealistic and outdated by the vast majority of Catholics, who nevertheless said they were active in parish life and considered their faith vitally important.

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida recently summarized the results of his survey, to which some 6,800 people responded. Most were older, married Catholics and regular churchgoers. But even they found church teaching out of synch with today’s world.

“On the matter of artificial contraception the responses might be characterized by the saying, ‘that train left the station long ago,’” he recently wrote. “Catholics have made up their minds and the sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful) suggests the rejection of church teaching on this subject.”
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

4 Signs That Your Marriage is in Trouble.


 

angry woman with clock
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

A man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Mich., at 7:50 a.m., flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the wannabe robber ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The frustrated man stormed out of the restaurant.

In Tennessee, a burglar realized he’d left his Nikes at the home he’d just robbed. So he returned and asked the lady of the house if she’d seen his shoes. She called the cops, and the guy was arrested.

The mistakes criminals make could fill a book. In fact, they have. Leland Gregory’s The Stupid Crook Bookreveals dozens of real-life stories about captured criminals who are so dumb you almost feel sorry for them.

But we want to show you how to catch the most common time bandits of your day. Beware. These crooks are far smarter than the inept criminals you just read about. You may not even be aware of how much time they are stealing from your marriage.

Of course, there are literally dozens of time bandits walking off with time you could have spent on each other, but the following four are the most common and the sneakiest.

Unfinished Business
One of the greatest time bandits prowling around your relationship is the past. When you are weighed down by regret, pain or guilt over things that happened two decades ago or two hours ago, you will no longer be able to live fully in the present.

Unfinished business consumes your time like few competitors. Why? Because the brain remembers incomplete tasks or failure longer than any success or completed activity.

Once a project is complete, the brain no longer gives it priority or active working status. But regrets have no closure. The brain continues trying to come up with ways to fix the mess and move it to inactive status. But it can’t—not until you work to close it.

If you need to gain closure on anything from your past, the first place to begin is where it hurts. Healing your hurts is essential to feeding your time-starved marriage, not to mention your own emotional health. Why? Because healing the pain from your past protects you from repeating the pain in your present marriage.

This may sound strange, but if we never come to terms with our past pain, we use our marriage as a means to make it right. The trouble is, marriage was never designed to do that. You’ll just continue to repeat relationship problems and replay your pain again and again.

Once you identify the loose ends of pain from your past, you’ll need to work on resolving them. You may need to apologize to someone you’ve hurt or forgive someone who’s hurt you.

You may need to return something that’s not yours or regain something that rightfully belongs to you.

The goal is to deal with the unfinished business from your past. You’ll be amazed by how much time you’ll reclaim for your marriage by doing so.

Technology
Some guys are car freaks. Some are sports nuts. Me? I’m a gadget guy. I love the latest and greatest technology.

When I first heard of something called Wi-Fi, I was giddy. A wireless network in my own home! Now Leslie and I could work, pay bills or check our e-mail from any corner of the house: the kitchen, living room and patio, even the bedroom.

The wireless network was just what I needed to carve out more quality time for Leslie and me and our family. Or so I thought.

On the first day of my new wireless life, I checked the headlines of a half-dozen newspapers while sitting at the breakfast table. I scanned the television listings for my evening’s viewing. And I checked the course enrollments for my upcoming college class; I was hooked.

That night, after tucking our boys in, we were in bed—just me, Leslie and my Sony laptop. I needed one more look at my e-mail. Leslie, on the other hand, needed to talk.

“When you’re done with that, I want to tell you about my day tomorrow,” she said.

“OK, go ahead,” I said as I clicked away on my keyboard.

“Can we talk without that thing in our bed?” she said, pointing at my computer.

Uh-oh. This isn’t good, I thought. Thankfully, I screened out my first impulsive response: Why don’t you instant message me?.

“Of course,” I said out loud as I quickly powered down.

It soon became painfully obvious: The wireless network that was making it so much easier for me to be online was also making it harder for me to pay attention to Leslie.

Who’d have thought that with all the technology designed to give us more time, we’d be cramming all those extra moments we’d saved with even more time-consuming technological wizardry? With all the gadgets, we feel more harried than ever before.

We still have Wi-Fi, but I now control it more than it controls me—and it never enters the bedroom. If we aren’t careful, technology can delude us into thinking we’re saving time for our marriages when just the opposite is happening.

Impatience
Most of us want what we want now. We can’t wait. So we overextend our budgets, our credit and our calendars.

This same impatience infects our relationships, especially our marriages. We expect our spouses to do what we want when we want.

We grow weary of waiting, even for a moment, if he or she is a bit late. Impatience steals intimacy from our relationship by infusing it with intolerance, irritation and annoyance.

“Serenity now!” If you were a fan of the 1990s television phenomenon called Seinfeld, you immediately recognize that phrase.

The episode featured a subplot about Frank, the father of main character George. Whenever Frank feels tense, he is to lower his blood pressure by calmly saying, “Serenity now.” Frank, unfortunately, doesn’t get the idea that this phrase is to be said slowly with a deep breath for a soothing effect.

Instead, whenever he is frustrated, he shouts out the phrase in anger. Like a lot of us, he’s demanding to have “serenity now!” No time to cultivate it. No time to wait.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the same trap. Impatience corrodes your time like few other poisons, eating away at what could otherwise be a pleasant moment.

It’s tempting to justify impatience by telling ourselves: “This is just how I act when I’m in a hurry. The real me, though, is more loving, and my spouse knows that.” Are you sure?

Take a good look at this “temporary” trait and be sure it isn’t becoming a permanent resident. Giving impatience the boot may be one of the most important things you can do to reclaim the time you’ve been missing from your marriage.

The Clock
We have nothing against clocks. In fact, we have a huge clock in our home that nearly every guest comments on.

We’re not fanatical here. We only want to tell you a story. It’s an old tale of a village that bought a fancy clock tower. Sometime after it was installed, a visitor to the town discovered that all the people were sleeping during the day and working at night.

When he questioned them about this, they answered: “We have the most unique town in America. After we got our new clock, we began to notice that the sun kept rising earlier and earlier every morning. Finally the daytime hours were dark and the night hours were light. We are petitioning the president for special recognition as the only town in America with such a situation.”

As it turned out, the new clock had been running slower and slower because sparrows were roosting inside it. The point? The people of the village were so enamored by their clock that they allowed it to control them instead of the other way around.

And that’s the potential problem with clocks. If we aren’t careful, they can make us their slaves. We can’t extinguish our reliance on timepieces. We’d have chaos. But if we surrender completely to the clock, it spins our relationships out of control as well.

Don’t always give in to the tyranny of the clock. Linger over a latte together every once in a while. If you have a deadline to meet, don’t be irresponsible, but don’t be a time tyrant either. It’s a fine line to walk. It requires balance—something those driven solely by the clock seldom have.

LGBT Rights-God’s Laws, Nigeria’s Laws By Prince Charles Dickson.


By Prince charles Dickson

In a country contentiously split among Muslims and Christians, leaders of Nigeria’s mosques and churches are united in their condemnation of same-sex relationships.

So, too, are lawmakers, who’ve criminalized sodomy, civil unions and gay marriages, with a 14-year prison sentence as punishment. In some northern regions, flogging and the death penalty comes into play.

Since the anti-gay laws were passed, stories of people being arrested for violating them are a common occurrence. At the same time, gay rights activists are becoming more vocal. Even churches formed by the LGBT community can be found.

So what’s life like for Nigerians who are attracted to people of the same gender? Can they practice their faith in a country where religion and culture overwhelmingly condemn their sexual identities?

To better understand, I interviewed a range of Nigerians from across the country who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight. They came from many walks of life – writers, ministers, government officials, food vendors, etc.

LGBT Spirituality

In Ikoyia, an upscale suburb of Lagos in southwest Nigeria, I caught up with a gay man who works in finance. He took me to party, where I observed gay men socializing.

“We informally gather for dinner parties, at restaurants and beaches,” the man said.

Wealthy gays in his suburb are said to live more openly than anywhere else in Nigeria. I asked: Did he consider himself both gay and Christian?

“My faith is a personnal matter,” said the man, who described himself as a Pentecostal Christian. “Besides, many people won’t understand.”

He’s right. Christians account for nearly half of Nigeria’s population and all major denominations denounce same-sex intimacy as sinful, at least in their doctrines.

Nigeria’s Anglican bishops are especially vocal. They’ve long threatened to break away from the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue, most recently at an October conference in Nairobi that drew 331 conservative bishops from across the globe.

The bishops want the U.S., Canadian and European members of the Anglican Communion to denounce stances on homosexuality contrary to their own. Canada’s Anglican Church began blessing same-sex couples in 2002, a few months before the U.S. Episcopal Church ordained an openly gay bishop.

More recently, the Church of England dropped a ban on gay clergy in civil partnerships from becoming bishops. Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, says the West is ignoring Scripture and insisting on imposing its views on other countries.

“They want to push it down everybody’s throat,” he said in March at an ordination service. “And as far as they are concerned, it is a matter of human right. But God’s right is not discussed.”

Many of the gay Nigerians I interviewed said they didn’t abandon their faith because of the sexual identity.

“I am a saved Christian and proud gay,” the man in Ikoyia told me.

A country divided

The level of openness found in Lagos wasn’t as evident just 154 miles west in Benin and elsewhere in Nigeria.  For much of the country, it seems that religion, profession, family, the laws as well as class status factor into how openly members of the LGBT community choose to live.

An architect in Kano who is straight and attends a Methodist Church told me that he has friends who are gay. He said he’d come to terms with their sexual orientations.

“I don’t see myself better than they are,” he said. “I believe that can practice their faith, even though the Bible condemns it.”

At the same time, he doesn’t want them showing public displays of affection. Nor does he believe that same-sex couple should be allowed to adopt children.

“I’m not saying being a gay is good,” he said. “I’m a Christian and I also have a culture that condemns it.”

In northern Nigeria, many people said they were aware of LGBT communities Kano and Kaduna, but rarely gave them a thought. A Muslim told me that he grew up with some of them.

“The only thing I do not like is that as Muslims, we don’t allow them pray with us,” he said. “Some of them want to, but you know we can’t allow that.”

In Abuja, Nigeria’s capitol city, I heard a slightly different view.

“I don’t care if a gay person comes to a church or mosque,” a man said. “However, for me, everything is wrong with a union between gay people being called a marriage”.

Ash-Shiekh Muhammad Sani Yahaya, the national chairman, Ulama’u Council of JIBWIS, said Islam condemns homosexuality.

“It is an abomination, it is a crime,” he said. Lesbian relationships aren’t mentioned in the Qur’an, but that’s not true of gay men, citing the following verses:

“Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.”

The global view

Britain and some other Western nations threaten to suspend aid to Nigeria and other countries where homosexuality is criminalized. They consider the laws discriminatory and grounded in bigotry and prejudice.

In November, the European Union’s top court ruled that gays and lesbians in countries that outlaw homosexual relations are eligible for asylum. Days later, the Malta Refugees Appeals Board granted asylum to an 18-year-old Nigerian teen.

“The dominant role of religion is widely seen as the root of the country’s homophobic culture,” the board said, quoting from a border agency report.

“Punishing gays is one of the few common themes that politicians can promote with equal zest in the mainly Christian south and the largely Muslim north,” the board said.

Homosexual intimacy is criminalized in 78 countries, including 38 of 54 African countries. That’s why Africa is often pointed to as the most homophobic of continents.

The death penalty is at play in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen as well as parts of Somalia.

“Same-sex marriage may be acceptable in some countries of the world, but in Nigeria, the majority of the people – by words and deeds – have shown it to be an abomination that they must stand against,” wrote Emma Madaubuch, an assistant editor, in the Daily Independent.
The same sex bill passed by the Congress in Nigeria, waiting assent provides that a marriage contract or civil union entered by persons of same sex by a virtue a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria.

The bill provides that persons that enter into such union are jointly liable to 14years imprisonment each, and those that administer, witnesses, screens, aid and abets, supports, operates gay clubs, societies, procession or organization in Nigeria commits an offense and liable on conviction to a 10 year jail term.

Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has aligned himself with the country’s majority view and the anti-gay laws adopted by the National Assembly.

While Nigeria has dug in its heels on the issue, attitudes and polices in other countries are softening and shifting toward greater acceptance. In 2001, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution supporting equal rights for all, no matter their sexual orientation

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 16 countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Uruguay, and New Zealand. In addition, gay couples can wed in England and Wales beginning in March 2014.

They can also marry in some regions of Mexico and the United States, though President Obama didn’t support legalization until May 2012.

The spiritual view

The Rev. Rumo James, a Baptist pastor in Jos, told me that homosexuality is affliction and disease for which no compassion should be extended.

“Homosexualism is a virus that degrades the family and its values, corrupts human cohabitation and offends God,” he said. “It eventually leads to social decline.”

Nigeria’s Christian population is Africa’s largest, with 80 million followers, according to the Pew Research Center in the United States. Clergy cite Bible-passages as the God-given reason for their condemnation of same-sex relationships.

Two of the most frequent verses cited are from Leviticus. One states: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (18:22).

The other says: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (20:13).

Christians supportive of same-sex couples say those Old Testament Bible verses are misinterpreted, made obsolete by the New Testament or simply out of touch with modern life.

They also argue that all people, gay and straight, are made in the image of God. Besides, they point out, Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.

‘I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel laureate from South Africa, said this year in response to Russia’s anti-gay laws.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuals are intrinsically disordered and should live celibate lives. But Pope Francis also made headlines when he offered a softened tone on homosexuality than that heard from the Vatican in decades.

“Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” the pope told reporters. Many Catholic bishops, priests and church members take a harsher view.

Bishop Hassan Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese in northwestern Nigeria isn’t one of them. Like the pope, he strikes a conciliatory tone.

Would the bishop welcome gays and lesbians in church? “

“The church is a place for everyone,” he said. “I would not chase one out. I would not report that person either.”

It should be noted that people who help conceal same-sex couples can be punished by up to 10 years in prison under Nigerian law. Some consider those who choose not to report defiant and others see them as courageous.
Conclusion

As in all repressively homophobic cultures, LGBT people continue to find ways to express and to live out their authentic selves.

They are part of Nigerian society at all levels. Some hold prominent jobs in government, businesses, the military and even as religious leaders.

But it’s not a leap to suggest that the majority keep their sexuality a secret for fear of losing their families, friends, jobs, freedom or even their lives.

Despite Nigeria’s strict laws, the debate over LGBT rights and same-sex relationships is nowhere near resolution. My reporting reveals Nigeria’s gay culture, though largely silent, isn’t going away.

On this vexatious issue, I believe in windows of possibility. Nigerians and other Africans need to strike a balance.

Might the day come when Nigerians respect the rights of its LGBT community and the LGBT community be respectful to those who uphold heterosexual relationships exclusively?

Learning to live in peace doesn’t mean we will agree with one another on all matters. Nor does being civil toward one another mean we endorse one another’s behavior or beliefs.

Change is a part of life and throughout life we change and accommodate new understandings of behavior and circumstances.

As a journalist and writer, I strongly believe there’s need for understanding and that understanding is key to Nigeria’s path forward on this issue.

Should the LGBT community be discriminated against? Should their human rights be abused?

Should they face imprisonment? Should they be flogged?

Should they be put to death?

My answer is NO!

Prince Charles Dickson is a Nigerian Journalist.
LGBT Rights– God’s Laws, Nigeria’s Laws is a reportorial for the ICFJ/Henry Luce Reporting Fellowship

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Why Marriages Should Have Expiration Date By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.


 

My marriage is in trouble.

And so is yours. And so will the marriage of everyone who signs that dotted line that says, ‘till death do us part.’

That marriage is under attack is an understatement. Some attacks are external- like men opting to marry trees in Argentina. Some attacks are internal- like the inability of any institution to ban the Kardashians from going into marriage of any kind. But the most damaging attack on marriages is the self-inflicted blows.

Man first conceptualized marriage just to claim ownership of women. Those days when women were simply properties of men have long gone. But the fraud called marriage continues to be perpetuated without any update. Before the advent of gay marriage, the last update was the transition from polygamy into monogamy. Despite centuries of practice and forced immersion, that transition has not gone well. In today’s world of me-me-me, of doing what feels good for me and me alone, marriages are burdened from East to West and from North to South.

In the Western world, statistics show that almost one in every two marriages will end in divorce. It is like saying that one in every two flights that left Lagos for London will end in Khartoum or Baghdad or Warsaw. How many of us will take such a flight? And knowing that reality, will you call up a friend to wait for you at Heathrow airport? But that is what thousands sign on to every day across the globe.

In most third world countries the divorce figure is still less than one in four. But from Mexico to Morocco, divorce rate is only growing. It’s following the trend in the West for the same reasons.

With women’s empowerment, advancement and the universal acceptance of the core principles of feminism, the shackles holding women back will keep breaking all over the world. With each chain break comes the erosion of unfair privileges that men have enjoyed for ages. It instantly demands role redefinition. In this unsettled transition period the ancient parameter of marriage is shaking. No society can wish it away or stuff back the genie that has left the box. Even the Republic of Ireland had to bow years ago to the reality that some marriages must end in divorce. Prayers could not cure that ailment.

The reasons why marriages fail vary and depend on the environment where the couple lives. A study of what happens in African communities in the West is a good indication of what is coming to Okitipupa, Eldoret, Soweto or any other small town near you. Culture shock is the primary cause of African marriage failure in the West. The distortion and in some cases, reversal of the lifestyle that Africans grew up with requires readjustments in the West. The skills needed to adjust and maneuver are often missing in these Africans. The pressure of role distortion, often brings out the worst in people. Simply put, not all men who grew up seeing women serve men food while knelling down can be expected to feed their babies with pumped-out breast milk stored in a feeding bottle.

Nothing prepares the African for the challenges of the new environment. For example, so many African marriages abroad have failed because of something unthinkable in Africa: what to do with the woman’s income. For the most part, it has never been a matter of concern to the African man in Africa. But in America or other parts of the West, it is a new front in the battle of the sexes.

Beyond the mundane matter of finance and role play, the primary challenge marriages continue to face is the original one: are man and woman chemically and physiologically composed to be together ’till death do them part’? It is an age-long question that men and women of every race face. Statistics of infidelity show that it is not just a man’s problem. It’s also a problem for women, though theirs is not as pronounced and publicized as those of men.

Every establishment in any society has somehow gotten involved in the business of marriage- the state, religious organizations and cultural formations. They each have embraced marriage as originally conceived by man for relevance and self-preservation. The failure to revise and update the concept of marriage is becoming a source of its doom.  And when marriage goes down, it will drag with it, the institutions that administer it. That quagmire has been the source of resistance to changes within the institution. But as it is with most things, the only way for marriage to remain the same is to change.

In light of this never-ending and ever-expanding challenge, I dare propose a radical alternative. Instead of entering into marriage with the understanding that it is ‘till death do us part’, maybe we should make marriage license renewable every few years- just like other licenses.

The idea of renewing licenses does several things at once. It states in clear terms the privileges that come with receiving a license while outlining the expectations. When the expectations are not met, the license is not renewed. When it expires and it is time for renewal, that privilege could be denied. On the part of the license holder, those who want to retain their licenses will do everything to earn a renewal.

Using an example of driving license in most parts of the world, one could have his or her license suspended or revoked depending on the infraction. Tickets are also issued for driving violations. But for the most part, the state that issues the license gets the chance once every ten years, as is the case in America, to decide whether to renew a license or not. On the expiration date, license holder is expected to appear before the state and renew the license. It entails sometimes re-doing eye examination, paying outstanding fees and getting updates on driving regulations. Those who fall short of the requirements end up not having their license renewed.

A similar process goes for professional licenses like medical license, business license and others. There are several ways that renewal of license keeps people in line. A dead beat dad, for example, risks losing his license to practice law. A lawyer who wants to continue practicing law will therefore make sure he pays his child support. The same way a nurse convicted of malpractice won’t have her nursing license renewed when the time comes. The threat of non-renewal of license keeps a lot of professionals in line.

If the same protocol is in place for marriages, couples will be aware that every few years the marriage will be reviewed and if it is not working out for everyone it won’t be renewed. That will make each of them to sit up. Just like the driving license process, ‘fees’ incurred from infractions will be settled before renewal. Those who let their guards down because marriage is supposed to be “till death do us part” will always strive to get their acts together. Instead of accumulating infractions until it morphs into “irreconcilable differences,” there is an opportunity to empty the cup every five or ten years and start all over again.

This could be helpful in matters low and high. Roles in relationships could be renegotiated at renewal time to account for changes in time and space. A woman who married a man because he was promising only to discover a few years down the road that the man was a lazy bum who could not keep his eyes off her income would have an opportunity to renegotiate.

On matters small, men who let themselves go, like those who allow their bellies to protrude, may worry that it may be a deal breaker at renewal time. The same with women who cooked before marriage but soon after become allergic to the kitchen. They will know that it may be a matter of discussion at renewal time.

Marriage license that does not expire is like Lagos driving license that people obtain without a driving test. It makes mockery of the responsibilities associated with holding the license. And without consequences, all that is left, as possible corrective action is an accident. The manner of driving one sees in Lagos is as a result of that reality.

It has been said that when you marry one person, you are actually marrying three persons at once- the person you think they are; the person they really are and; the person they will become because you married them. With expiration date and a renewal process the difference between the three will be minimized. And so will the pressure that has been crushing marriage all over the world.

Most importantly, for those who decide not to renew their marriage license, they will do so without feeling guilty or harboring any resentment.  In the process it will smoothen the most devastating aspect of marriage – the scourge of the after marriage.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

How to Have an Affair (And Ruin Everything).


Wedding vows
(Lightstock)

It’s late at night and my phone rings. An old friend is on the line, and the first thing I hear is, “I think I’ve ruined everything. I’ve had an affair.”

In a culture gone crazy for sex, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I always am.

You would be hard pressed to find a television sitcom without sex. Primetime is bombarded with casual sex and illicit affairs. From dramas like Desperate Housewives to Scandal, it seems the new normal is to cheat on your spouse who then cheats on you for revenge.

Estimates of American men involved in extramarital affairs at least once in their lives range from 22 percent to 75 percent; estimates for women range from 14 percent to 60 percent. Add to that the statistic that 74 percent of men and 68 percent of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would never be caught, and it’s obvious this is a big problem in our society!

So let’s take a brief look at the anatomy of an affair and how to have one (if you want to ruin everything).

First, ignore all reasonable and wise boundaries with the opposite sex. Go out for coffee or better yet for lunch or dinner with a co-worker of the opposite sex under the guise of a “working meal.” Spend as much time as you can with this new “friend.”

Second, flirt because it’s fun. It’s best to use lots of flattery as well, and on a regular basis be sure to throw in a well-placed sexual innuendo or joke. With the advent of social media, this is easier than ever to do.

If you’re a woman, show as much skin as you can get away with without appearing to be a loose woman. The low-cut top and the very short skirt work well. Oh, and don’t forget to bend over as much as possible to give the guys a good look at your … well, you know.

Guys, make sure you compliment the gal on a regular basis regarding how good she looks, smells, or smiles. Women like to be noticed and crave personal attention (especially if she’s not getting enough kudos from her husband; he’s probably a jerk).

When the accidental physical contact happens or you have the chance for a lingering and full-body hug, take advantage of it, and make sure it’s mutual. Get those pheromones flowing!

Next, as often as possible, share your deepest fears, thoughts, or feelings with the opposite sex. He or she will probably understand you better than your spouse. It is imperative that you create an emotional bond. Counseling women alone is a great idea. Most women won’t let any guy into her pants until he’s entered into her heart.

Don’t forget to let your mind go crazy. Fantasize a lot. Imagine what it would be like to be with someone else … someone who is fun, exciting, and a little wild. Play with sexual thoughts as much as possible. Our bodies have a way of doing what we allow our minds to be saturated with. And for heaven’s sake, don’t tell anybody! Bringing something like this to the light will make you horribly uncomfortable. You don’t need anyone’s advice; they’ll just try to change your mind or hold you accountable. That’s stupid, right?

Last of all, and this is critical, complain about your spouse to your new friend and compare his or her amazing strengths and qualities to your spouse’s weaknesses as much as possible. That being said, be careful about seeming to be too negative or whining (nobody likes a killjoy).

By the way, when you’re finally ready to practice the wild onion together, rationalize it as true love. You can even spiritualize the experience by telling your new lover how you married the wrong person and how God has now given you the man or woman of your dreams. Pull the God-card to shut up your critics.

If you religiously follow the above suggestions, I can guarantee you “success”; you’ll have an affair in no time. Of course, it will probably cost you your marriage, your ministry, a lot of money, your peace, your true joy, lots of holidays and priceless moments with your kids, possibly your faith and quite probably the respect and admiration of your family, co-workers, and friends. Be sure to count the cost.

One more fringe benefit, if you stay together with your new “best spouse ever” it’s highly likely that you’ll live in fear of him or her cheating on you someday. After all, they did it once; what’s to keep them from doing it again?

Crazy? Yup. But maybe there’s a better way to live.

Invest in your marriage with diligence. Stay true to your wedding vows. Delight in the spouse of your youth. Get help early when marital problems arise. Remember that love is a choice more than an emotion.

And if by chance you’ve failed along the way, run to God’s mercy and grace. It’s never too late to be forgiven and restored.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Kurt W. Bubna published his first book, Epic Grace—Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot, with Tyndale Momentum in 2013. He is an active blogger, itinerant speaker, regular radio and television personality, and the Sr. Pastor of a large and community-focused church in Spokane Valley, Wash.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

How to Have an Affair (And Ruin Everything).


Wedding vows

(Lightstock)

It’s late at night and my phone rings. An old friend is on the line, and the first thing I hear is, “I think I’ve ruined everything. I’ve had an affair.”

In a culture gone crazy for sex, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I always am.

You would be hard pressed to find a television sitcom without sex. Primetime is bombarded with casual sex and illicit affairs. From dramas like Desperate Housewives to Scandal, it seems the new normal is to cheat on your spouse who then cheats on you for revenge.

Estimates of American men involved in extramarital affairs at least once in their lives range from 22 percent to 75 percent; estimates for women range from 14 percent to 60 percent. Add to that the statistic that 74 percent of men and 68 percent of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would never be caught, and it’s obvious this is a big problem in our society!

So let’s take a brief look at the anatomy of an affair and how to have one (if you want to ruin everything).

First, ignore all reasonable and wise boundaries with the opposite sex. Go out for coffee or better yet for lunch or dinner with a co-worker of the opposite sex under the guise of a “working meal.” Spend as much time as you can with this new “friend.”

Second, flirt because it’s fun. It’s best to use lots of flattery as well, and on a regular basis be sure to throw in a well-placed sexual innuendo or joke. With the advent of social media, this is easier than ever to do.

If you’re a woman, show as much skin as you can get away with without appearing to be a loose woman. The low-cut top and the very short skirt work well. Oh, and don’t forget to bend over as much as possible to give the guys a good look at your … well, you know.

Guys, make sure you compliment the gal on a regular basis regarding how good she looks, smells, or smiles. Women like to be noticed and crave personal attention (especially if she’s not getting enough kudos from her husband; he’s probably a jerk).

When the accidental physical contact happens or you have the chance for a lingering and full-body hug, take advantage of it, and make sure it’s mutual. Get those pheromones flowing!

Next, as often as possible, share your deepest fears, thoughts, or feelings with the opposite sex. He or she will probably understand you better than your spouse. It is imperative that you create an emotional bond. Counseling women alone is a great idea. Most women won’t let any guy into her pants until he’s entered into her heart.

Don’t forget to let your mind go crazy. Fantasize a lot. Imagine what it would be like to be with someone else … someone who is fun, exciting, and a little wild. Play with sexual thoughts as much as possible. Our bodies have a way of doing what we allow our minds to be saturated with. And for heaven’s sake, don’t tell anybody! Bringing something like this to the light will make you horribly uncomfortable. You don’t need anyone’s advice; they’ll just try to change your mind or hold you accountable. That’s stupid, right?

Last of all, and this is critical, complain about your spouse to your new friend and compare his or her amazing strengths and qualities to your spouse’s weaknesses as much as possible. That being said, be careful about seeming to be too negative or whining (nobody likes a killjoy).

By the way, when you’re finally ready to practice the wild onion together, rationalize it as true love. You can even spiritualize the experience by telling your new lover how you married the wrong person and how God has now given you the man or woman of your dreams. Pull the God-card to shut up your critics.

If you religiously follow the above suggestions, I can guarantee you “success”; you’ll have an affair in no time. Of course, it will probably cost you your marriage, your ministry, a lot of money, your peace, your true joy, lots of holidays and priceless moments with your kids, possibly your faith and quite probably the respect and admiration of your family, co-workers, and friends. Be sure to count the cost.

One more fringe benefit, if you stay together with your new “best spouse ever” it’s highly likely that you’ll live in fear of him or her cheating on you someday. After all, they did it once; what’s to keep them from doing it again?

Crazy? Yup. But maybe there’s a better way to live.

Invest in your marriage with diligence. Stay true to your wedding vows. Delight in the spouse of your youth. Get help early when marital problems arise. Remember that love is a choice more than an emotion.

And if by chance you’ve failed along the way, run to God’s mercy and grace. It’s never too late to be forgiven and restored.

Written by Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna published his first book, Epic Grace—Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot, with Tyndale Momentum in 2013. He is an active blogger, itinerant speaker, regular radio and television personality, and the Sr. Pastor of a large and community-focused church in Spokane Valley, Wash.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

 

Every Man Ministries: Dealing with Divorce.


Woman comforting another

Are you a comforting friend, or do you point fingers when it comes to divorce? (IStock photo)

We all know God hates divorce—mainly because of the pain that ripples out of it. Still, because of human nature, it happens.

People cheat, steal, hurt others, treat spouses unfairly or just walk away (with half of everything). Even the most amicable divorce is never good. Divorce stains, leaving a lasting impression on the spouses, children, families, friends and co-workers.

Regardless of the reason, divorce is common. It’s become a cultural norm, despite its nasty repercussions. In some ways, divorce is harder to deal with than a death in the family. At least the death provides closure. Divorce, on the other hand, never goes away. It is the end of a marriage, but the relationship with the spouse and children never ends.

And divorce doesn’t discriminate among faiths. One study, albeit 10 years ago, showed divorce is actually more common among “Bible-believingChristians. Statistics are sometimes fishy, because they typically involve a sample size “representing” a population. But nevertheless, divorce is a cloud overhead just waiting for someone to rain on. If you know someone in the rain, do you leave him alone all wet or do you bring an umbrella and stand in the rain with him?

Unfortunately, friends divorce friends over divorce. Men in the church going through divorce often find themselves isolated, partly because God’s men don’t know what to do. It’s a shame. So I wanted to give my top tips for dealing with men going through divorce.

1. Embrace, don’t disgrace. Nobody expects to be in this position. Even in the case of infidelity, divorce rivals any crisis. This is not the time to pile on. Being a friend doesn’t mean taking sides, it just means to be a friend in a time of need. Be available to help the hurt and pray together. Consider this verse from Matthew 7:1 from The Message:

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”

2. Don’t Bible thump. Instead speak with love, grace and truth. Friends going through divorce may need Jesus more than ever, and God can work in this situation. But don’t condemn or judge your friend like you’ve been deputized in the “Holy Spirit Police Force.” Do the loving thing, and love. While navigating this relationship, God may teach you something about yourself, vulnerabilities and character.

3. Do what the Samaritan did. In Luke 10, Jesus tells us exactly how to act towards a “neighbor.” While other men walked around the beaten man stripped of his clothes, money and dignity, the random Samaritan interrupted his travel plans to do what? He took pity for the man. He went to him. Bandaged his wounds. Then he took him to safety. Put him up in a hotel and took time to care for him. In other words, don’t ignore your friend and don’t wait to help. Pray. Bring a meal. Provide a helping hand. Get the kids, help with the garbage … whatever the need, give your friend a glimpse of Jesus working through you.

If Jesus tells us to be like the Samaritan and serve neighbors with this kind of attention, how much more should we serve a friend? Helping a friend in need is a friend indeed. Divorce provides an opportunity to carry out God’s love, and you will have a friend for life.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

EVERY MAN MINISTRIES

For the original article, visit everymanministries.com.

6 Ways Your Marriage Can Thrive in a Busy Season.


Man and wife
Does busyness pull you and your spouse apart or make you closer?

I’ve come to the conclusion that more often than not, we find ourselves in a busy season of life. There is always a new assignment at work, another child’s dance recital to attend, another book to read, a new trip to take, another practice to drive the kids to, another meal to cook, another day of yard work, and now Christmas. The list goes on and on.

So how can our marriages not only survive but thrive in these seasons? Here are six ways your marriage can thrive even through the busiest times of life:

1. Set aside a little time throughout the day. Our days often have a couple minute-long breaks here and there. So instead of checking your Twitter feed, posting on Facebook or staring off into space, make those moments count. Send a quick email or text, or make a phone call to your spouse just to let them know you are thinking about them. It’s a simple way to interact frequently and consistently without taking too much time out of your schedule.

2. Be busy together. If you find that your wife has committed to serving at school next week, serve with her. If your husband is coaching your daughter’s soccer team, volunteer to help coach with him. You may not be able to get rid of the obligations in your life, but you can certainly thrive in the busyness if you go through it together. This may even turn out to be a sweet opportunity for you to grow as a couple as you learn to interact in a new way and in a new place.

3. Leave notes around the house. You may not have hours to spend with your spouse each day, but you can take a few minutes in the morning or at night to jot down a quick love note and stick it somewhere you know your spouse will see it—on the bathroom mirror, on the kitchen counter or even on the steering wheel in the car. This will be a creative reminder of your love in the midst of the craziness of life.

4. Plan dates in advance. Planning ahead will always help you spend time wisely in your marriage. If you know you have a date set for next Saturday, you each will work to get things done for that special night. So sit down with your spouse in advance and pick a night you know will work for both of you. Then calendar it as a very important appointment.

5. Say “no” more. It’s sometimes easier to say yes when someone asks you to do something with or for them than it is to say no. It’s OK to say no more often, even to good things, so that you can focus your energy and attention on your spouse.

6. Leave more margin on your calendar. If you don’t block out time on your calendar each day where you don’t schedule anything, it will fill up by default. Leave room for the unexpected—the child who needs to be picked up, the call to get the A/C repaired, the friend who needs help—so that your focus can be fully on your spouse when you’re together.

What are some ways in which you and your spouse have worked to keep your marriage thriving in the busy seasons of life? I’d love to hear your suggestions in a comment below.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

MARK MERRILL/FAMILY FIRST

Mark Merrill is the president of Family FirstFor the original article, visit markmerrill.com.

Hope for a Second Marriage: Lessons for the Marital ‘Tweener’.


God indeed blesses second marriages.

God indeed blesses second marriages. (Ambro/Free Digital Photos)

We’re big fans of marriage, even second marriages. Why? Although God despises divorce, He loves family and is more concerned about our character.

He uses tests, trials and, yes, even divorce. Why? It’s because He likes to redeem life from death.

If you’re married, keep it that way. Love your spouse like Christ loved the church, sacrificing everything for her. However, should the divorce bug bite, there is still hope for a second go around.

If you’re single, keep it that way until you are ready. When is that? Hopefully soon. But keep reading; you have something to gain from this lesson as well.

Although the statistics are discouraging for second marriages—and even worse for third marriages—marital bliss is possible if done God’s way. The time before or between marriages can provide opportunity to rediscover yourself, heal from the past and prepare for your true love of your life.

For divorced God’s men—or “marital ‘tweeners”—I want to encourage you to use this time wisely and prepare for the next phase in life, because if you remarry, you are in for an even wilder ride than the first.

So, why are second marriage statistics so discouraging? Because too often guys rebound, towing their character issues right into the next relationship. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you repeat the problem, and when you hit the first iceberg, you sink like the Titanic. Unfortunately, most men fear facing themselves in a mirror, admitting mistakes and growing in maturity as godly men. Pride gets in the way.

In Proverbs 16:18, the Bible succinctly explains the danger of pride: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Here are some practical steps to prepare marital ‘tweeners for marriage rebirth, as well as single men who desire to be yoked.

1. Focus on Jesus. He is your friend and He promises to never stop loving you or leave you. The more you grow close to God, the greater man you will be. Besides, women are attracted to godly men who are solid as a rock. If you’re not already in a small group, get in one now! Go to Bible studies. Get involved in church. Journal your journey with Christ. Surround yourself with safe men and family. Don’t become idle. Pray about everything without ceasing.

2. Focus on your kids. If you have children from the previous marriage, divorce is one of the biggest life-changing events in their lives. I recommend you and your spouse agree to putting the children’s well-being as a top value. Avoid putting them in “he said, she said” situations, and agree to communicate to the kids as one. One message; two messengers. Then show respect to their mother in all situations. Your children are watching, and this isn’t the time for you to act like one.

3. Keep it in your pants. For most men, particularly ‘tweeners, sexual temptation can lure you into relationships too early, open the porn gate from hell or get you into trouble. This is not the time to experiment with your sex life. God’s way is to save sex for marriage, and He has good reason for it.

4. Be patient. Don’t rush into another relationship. Instead, give yourself some time to sort things out and let the divorce repercussions settle. Clearly identify what you are looking for in a mate so you can rule out any posers.

5. Work on your character. Traits like integrity, trust, communication, overcoming adversity, parenting, keeping priorities and keeping your word are essential to successful marriages.

6. Work on your health. Establish a goal, and go for it. Lose weight. Hike a mountain. Get stronger. You will end up looking and feeling great! And consider working on your mental health. There’s no shame in getting counseling or therapy for any links missing in your chain. And shore up your financial health. Divorce can devastate credit, cash, assets and retirement savings. So use this time to get your feet back firmly on the ground.

A loving marriage is something to aspire to. It’s one of the most incredible gifts God has given to us. But you have to be ready.

For the original article, visit everymanministries.com.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

EVERY MAN MINISTRIES

10 More Things Wives Want to Hear From Their Husbands.


Are you saying the right things to your wife?
Are you saying the right things to your wife? (Stock Free Images)

A while back, I wrote “10 Things Wives Want to Hear from their Husbands.” I was surprised at the incredible reaction to the post as thousands shared, tweeted, pinned, posted and “liked” it.

So I thought I’d go to the well again and share these 10 more things wives want to hear from their husbands.

1. “I’m your biggest fan.” Everyone wants someone to celebrate their wins and encourage them in their struggles. Be sure your wife knows that you will always be there to cheer her on.

2. “I’m thankful for the little things you do.” If your wife makes you coffee every morning, appreciate this small act of kindness with thankfulness. Don’t fail to notice the small ways she shows her love to you each day.

3. “Let’s take a walk together.” Show your wife that she’s important by prioritizing your day to set aside time to be with her.

4. “I miss you when we’re apart.” Remind your wife that she is constantly on your mind whether you are at work, in the car or anywhere else. Never take her presence for granted.

5. “I’m here for you.” You won’t always understand everything that your wife is going through. But youcan listen and sympathize with her by letting her cry on your shoulder when life gets tough.

6. “You’ll always have me by your side.” No matter what life throws at you— parenting challenges, hard financial decisions or family tragedies—let your wife know that you’re walking with her and will carry her if you need to.

7. “I want to be the man you deserve.” Realize that there will be times when you fail your wife. When you do, apologize, learn from those mistakes, and let her know that you want to be a better husband.

8. “You love others so well.” Be sure she knows that you see the way she interacts with her friends and family. Then be a voice of encouragement to her in these relationships.

9. “I love you more every day.” Never let your wife forget that she is lovely, beautiful and breathtaking. Show her that you will continue to romance her for the rest of your life.

10. “How can I serve you today?” Your wife needs to know that you want to support and serve her in everything she does. Just asking this question will convey to her how much you care.

What are some other things wives want to hear from their husbands? Please share with me below.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

Mark Merrill is the president of Family FirstFor the original article, visit markmerill.com.

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