Category Archives: Women

“My Story”

The following is from an email sent to me by a precious person who also was a client of mine a while back. I wanted to share this story with you to give you a glimpse into the struggle that many Mexican immigrants have as they enter and live in the United States. I changed some details (names and such) which would identify the person, but the story is real. – @PastorJuan

Good evening Pastor Juan,

I just finished reading your post called “Open Letter to the Republican Party.”

Within the first couple of paragraphs, I could not help but cry. (You’re probably not surprised being that I cried almost every time I met with you for counseling.) I even stopped a few times and sobbed as I held my cry in so that my roommates would not hear me.

I believe that I did not read your post by coincidence, but it was sort of used to bring some healing, peace, comfort and strength into an area of my life that I had never shared with anyone so openly like I am about to do now.

When I met with you for counseling back in 2013, I briefly shared about a law that had been passed in 2012, a law that benefited people in a situation like mine. Due to the high opposing comments said from the pulpit of my former pastor, I felt that I could not accept the benefit because “it was wrong” like it was said. I mentioned it to you, and I think you said, something along the lines of “Why not?” Your words quickly encouraged me to go for it, to apply, and go through the process and eventually be granted DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

If you are not familiar with this program, it basically states that anyone who was brought by their parents to the U.S. before reaching 16 years of age, Entered Without Inspection (EIC) or Overstayed their Visas and was at least 31 years of age by August 12, 2012, could apply for Deferred Action and a work permit that is renewable every two years. Because of this, being granted DACA, the last four years of my life have changed quite a bit. As you know, I was able to save money, purchased my first car, got a new job, I got braces, I moved out, and I received an external scholarship for $29,000 that will help me finish my bachelors’ degree. The latter one was granted by millionaires who believed in people like me and decided to give us (me) a chance to study, since we are not allowed to obtain federal aid for school. But, it was not always easy to talk about who I am. Though I could talk to friends, high school mates and coworkers of where I came from, I have never actually mentioned how I got here.

Back in Mexico, sometime before 2000, I vaguely remember my parents talking about moving to “el otro lado” (the other side). They never really mentioned it to me or my sisters until a few days before we left Mexico. Though we had already visited in ’95 with our visas, it never crossed my mind that one day I would be living here. But, in July 2000, two months before my 13th birthday, I remember getting ready to go. One of the things that I clearly remember is using a shoebox that I neatly wrapped in two separate pieces to put all my belongings: posters of the Backstreet Boys, music cassettes, a tiny fairy toy doll that held glitter dust in a container under the skirt, a ring that was given to me by my parents when I started first grade, and a drawing I made of a house I dreamt to have. I also remember the morning when we left. It was early, though it was summer, there was a cool breeze my mom’s dad, who is (was) a U.S. citizen, picked us up in his long brown car. We drove up the street and I remember looking back, waving goodbye to my dad’s dad, Guelito (Grandpa), Tia (my aunt) who stayed the night to say goodbye, Tio (uncle) who lived up the street, and our neighbors, Tio (other uncle) and Tia (other aunt). I never once thought that I would never see some of them again, except through social media and one who would come visit every year.

Near the border, it was a nerve-racking and a different experience from the first time we visited the US. This time we were told “Si te preguntan a que vienes, diles que a visitar” (If they ask you why you are coming, say to visit). Though I was in my preteen years, somehow I knew I could not mess up

otherwise I would be in trouble. I also recall one of my Tias (aunts), who was also a resident in the States, taking my one-year-old sister before we crossed the border. I did not understand it then, but came to find out later that my sister did not have a visa, so she passed as if she were my Tia’s daughter with my cousin’s birth certificate. At checkpoint, I recall an officer; I would still recognize his face if I were to see him now. He looked at my passport and then looked intently at me; Nervousness pulsing through all of me as he asked me if I was the girl on the passport and I nodded. We crossed and made it to Houston, then three weeks later to Dallas to live with my dad’s sister.

From then on, I knew and grew up with a different mindset than from the kids who were born here in the States, but I did not know how difficult it was going to get, at least emotionally. The constant reminder of “fear the cops” as mom would throw herself back on the passenger seat when dad would drive by a police car. Or, hearing “joking” remarks about being “illegals” from relatives and even those in the church. Or, hearing indirect remarks of how they will not struggle in taking “us” to a trip if there are going to be checkpoints on the way. But, perhaps, the toughest one was, not being able to begin a normal teen life, such as applying for a learner’s permit or a driver’s license and apply for colleges and scholarships due to me not being a U.S Citizen.

I am not looking for pity. I have come to trust you, Pastor Juan, as the Lord has helped me in so many ways through your counsel.  I know that you receive my open heart in a very objective and helping way if I may say so, and, that is the reason why I can talk openly about this subject that had haunted me for quite a while.

I continue.

Fast-forward to this year, after DACA, and the many accomplishments I have been able to fulfill because of it, I cannot help but feel so much gratefulness toward those who believed in me. The day I received the email that congratulated me on receiving the scholarship, guess what happened? Yes, I bawled! I was in doubt; I did not think that they would want a woman of my age using their money. However, I guess they liked what I wrote on those essays, saw my accomplishments and grades, and believed in me. I truly believe the Lord fulfilled those desires I had back when I was 18: getting a driver’s license, finishing college and moving out of my parent’s home, as some of my friends did when they got out of high school.

However, again, the reason why I wrote to you is that I wanted to share my story and share the fear that was in me if ever I was to share this with anyone. I was afraid of being rejected, being called out, being an outcast, being seen as inferior. Hey, there are times when you think your own Raza (race/people) will stick up for you, but it is not always like that.  I saw it many times when my dad was underpaid (even by relatives or other Latinos), and he could not say a thing, otherwise they would threaten to stop giving him work.  I remember seeing tears of frustration. Something that he hardly does, as he is not very open with his feelings and emotions.

Back to DACA, I do not know if you are aware but there are 10 states that are being led by Texas’ Attorney General and they are pressuring the president to end the program, just as he said he would when he was campaigning. Since then, president Trump has warmed up a bit to us (immigrants) and has not decided, but the 10 states made it clear that they wanted an answer by September 5th or else they would take it to court. There are also two Senators, one from Illinois and one for South Carolina who want to introduce a bill that would give us permanent residency, given that we’ve been good citizens through DACA.

One of the many things that I learned while counseling with you and in my own experiences and times with the Lord, is that no matter what, I will be okay, because the Lord is with me. I have learned that it is appropriate to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, but I learned not to allow, “What could be,” to shake my peace and control my present decisions to the point that it brings me down to fear and doubt. If anything, I know that no matter what, the Lord will guide me and take care of what I need, just as He has in the past no matter the outcome. Nevertheless, I think deep down there were certain fears and emotions that I bottled deep down in me, which is the reason why I bawled while I read your post.

Last week, the scholarship board sent a questionnaire for us awardees to fill out. Some of the questions asked to share our story however open we wanted to be; I did not share much as I did with you just now. But, one of the questions went along the lines of “What would you say to those in office would like to stop DACA?” And, just as you described Latinos on your post, I described myself as who I am. Hard worker, wanting to give back to a country that although does not recognize me as a citizen, I consider myself as one because I have lived here longer than I have been alive.

This is all I know (more than any Mexican history), this is where I grew up and became who I am now. And, I do not feel entitled to anything as might some people who were born here, but I feel privileged to be here. It is always an honor to pledge allegiance to a flag that although is not from the country I was born in, I am prideful to recite what it stands for: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. And, like I told them on my answer, any time I am at a ball game, I cannot help but secretly shed tears and truly pray the song “God bless America” because I truly love Her, knowing that anything that happens to it, happens to people who live here who came from all parts of the world, to friends, to relatives, to me, to my family (and future family.) To people who struggled to be here, to find hope, safety and the American dream. I told them this and now that I have shared my story with you, I feel this huge weight lifted from me.

Thank you, Pastor Juan, for taking the time to read my story. All I wanted was to pour it out on someone and I know it fell on good ears.

Unconditional Love? … I’d Rather You Liked Me.

The-Flip-Side-of-LoveWe are instructed to “love” one another, but we don’t have to like anybody. In the Bible, the word used as love has three Greek meanings; Eros, Phileo, and Agape. I will not go into all the translation details in this article. You can “Google” “Greek words for love” and get plenty of information on the subject. My point, though, is to emphasize that there is no one way to “love” others, and that depending on the way you are “loving” someone else, there are conditions.

In my 30 years of counseling people, I have heard countless of times how much couples “love” each other. Men who physically and emotionally abuse their wives will argue about how much they “love” them. Wives who committed adultery will, after they get caught, cry about how much they “love” their husbands.

According to Holman’s Concise Bible Commentary, love is an “undivided allegiance and unswerving obedience” to God. This definition of love does not involve a person’s emotions as the determining factor. But, there is a clear object of this “love,” it belongs to God alone. The question I am dealing with today is not about our “love” for God, but, rather, in how we feel about one another as humans. The question is are we expected to love one another “unconditionally?” Keep in mind that I used Dictionay.Com’s definition of the word. “Conditionally – imposing, containing, subject to, or depending on a condition or conditions; not absolute; made or allowed on certain terms: conditional acceptance.” Therefore, if someone will or might benefit from something they do, then there was a condition. I searched the Bible to find any reference which would lead me to believe that I was to love someone else “unconditionally,” and I came up with zero verses.

On the other hand, I also searched the Bible for any references which would, at least, give the impression that some condition was tied to loving someone else, and came up with a bunch. For example, let’s look at, Matthew 5:43-45 (NASB), “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” I added the bolding, underline, and italics to emphasize the condition for “loving” our enemies. (See also Luke 6:32) Notice the very next verse, Matthew 5:46a (NASB) “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” Did you get that? Why mention a, “reward,” if loving our neighbor is to be done “unconditionally?” Doesn’t “unconditionally” mean you are not supposed to get, or look forward to, a reward?

God understands that humans are driving by selfishness. Even those of us who have learned to also be selfless, still deal with some selfishness. God understands that when we humans are rewarded for what we do, we are more likely to continue to repeat the behavior.

Let’s also look at Matthew 19:19 (NASB) “HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Did you notice the condition? “As yourself,” it said. Not just “love” your neighbor, but love him or her as you would show that “love” toward yourself, that is the condition in this case. It means you have to evaluate how you “love” yourself. Identify what you do which demonstrates love for yourself, and then do the same for others. That is conditional “love.” There is a principle which will help us better understand this concept, “You can’t give away what you don’t have.” If you do not “love” yourself, then you will have a difficult time trying to “love” someone else. You must first “love” yourself, and see the benefits, so that then you can give it to others.

Human “love” is almost always some emotional soup made up of distorted perspectives, selfish desires, and mixed in with self-serving manipulation and abusive control over the object of one’s affections.

Do you get it now? No? You want more proof? Okay, let’s look at Luke 7:41-42 (NASB), “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” The obvious answer is the one who owed the most money. Why? Because this “love,” which the Bible recognizes as affected by human feelings, is swayed by the condition by which it is promoted. See, the Bible understands that people’s love is likely conditional.

Confused LoveThis word “love,” in the Greek, has different connotations, for example in Luke 11:42 ((NASB), “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”), it is the Greek word: ἀγάπη. Transliterated it means: agape. The definition is: love, goodwill, and is used in the New Testament 116 times. On the other hand, the Greek NASB Number: 25 (John 8:42 (NASB) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.), used as love is: ἀγαπάω. The have the same root, from which the words come from, but this one is transliterated as the word: agapaô. Its definition is: to love, and is used 143 times in the New Testament. The first word “agape,” is used to mean, “Doing good unto others, because you want to do the good.” The second word, agapaô, is used to mean, “An emotional attraction and desire for something.” Between the two, the closest one which could be considered as unconditional is the first, “agape.” But, even then, the person is “loving” others because he or she wants to, this means that their feelings, motivation, and/or desired outcome affects their “love.” These feelings, motivation, and/or desired outcome is the condition upon which this “love” is based.

You see? Love is not unconditional with humans, nor does God expect it of us. But, my goal in this article was not to argue against “unconditional” love. I have a different objective, I want to argue in favor of another word used for love in the Bible, “Phileô.” This word is Greek NASB Number: 5368, φιλέω. It is transliterated as the word: phileô. The definition is: “to love,” and is used only 25 times in the New Testament. The meaning of the word is better understood by replacing the word “love” with “like.” Yes, I mean, “Like!”

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the word like as, “to enjoy (something), to get pleasure from (something), to regard (something) in a favorable way, to feel affection for (someone): to enjoy being with (someone).” The great majority of the time, when people use the word “love,” they are actually using this definition. We use it for, “I love hamburgers,” or “I love my dog,” or “I love my wife,” or “I love writing long boring articles.” In either case, we are not really meaning “agape” or “agapaô.” We are really saying, “Phileô.”

 

I was counseling with a couple once where the wife found out her husband was having an affair. When she threatened to divorce him, he agreed to come to counseling. I asked him why his wife should even consider staying with him, he argued that he loved his wife!”

In my 30 years of counseling people, I have heard countless of times how much couples “love” each other. Men who physically and emotionally abuse their wives will argue about how much they “love” them. Wives who committed adultery will, after they get caught, cry about how much they “love” their husbands. Parents who have physically (and sometimes sexually) abused their children, will then turn around and adamantly claim “love” for the children. I will often have couples in my counseling office, who will spend an hour or two accusing each other of horrendous things, calling each other names, putting each other down, blaming each other for countless of wrongdoings, and when I ask them why they even want to be with the other person, they say the “love” them. There is no way they are saying they, “agape” or “agapaô” the other person. What they are saying is they “Phileô” the other person. In other words, they want the other person around, because they have some level of like for them. If you really “love” (“agape” or “agapaô”) someone, you don’t do things on purpose which can damaged them.

Chicho - LoveWhat is the one main factor in why marriages fail? Most people will say that it is because people stopped “loving” each other. I disagree. I believe that the real reason marriages fail is because one or both of the two stopped “liking” each other. Real “love” develops over time, or it is done intentionally, as in, by obeying God. “Love” at first sight is a lie which has deceived many couples into relationships which turned out terrible. The truth is that we can have “like” at first sight, and then get to know each other and start learning to “love” one another with time. True “love” (“agape” or “agapaô”) has a condition, and that is that the one who “loves” does so with the intention of giving the other the fullest benefit. In other words, that the “love” results not be solely selfish in actuality. For example, when a young man says he loves a young woman, is he saying, “I want to do for her all that will be in her best interest, even if that means she won’t end up with me? (“agape” or “agapaô”), or is he saying, “I want her to be with me, because it will make me happy? (“Phileô”). Everyone reading this article, will know that he really means that second kind of “love” (in other words, “like”) right?

I am a counselor, I don’t lie to, or deceive, myself as much as I am able. Just because people use certain words, it does not mean they actually mean what they say. Truthfully, most people say one thing but mean something else. In their own minds they know what they intend to say, but the will choose words which say something different. For example, I went to visit a friend, a while back, when I knocked on his door he yelled out “It’s open!” I glanced at the door and it was not open. I responded to him indicating the truth. He yelled again, “Yes, pastor, it is open!” I glanced back at the door and saw clearly that it was shut and that it was not even slightly ajar, much less actually open. I stood at the door waiting. He walked to the door and opened it, and the said, “See, it was open.” “No,” I said, “You opened it.” “No,” he said, “I meant that it was unlocked.” I smiled and said, “Why didn’t you just say that?” “I did,” he said grinning, “I said it was open.” If you look up the word “open” in the dictionary, you will see that it does not define “open” to mean “unlocked.” He was saying one thing, while he clearly meant something else.”

People who really like you will not willingly
make choices which will harm you.
Scary Love

Do You See How MUCH I Love You!!!!!!!

The word “love” is the same. People use the word, but, more often than not, they really mean “like.” When most people define the word “love,” they mean something like, “I want, I need, she or he is mine, it makes me feel good, I should not be deprived of it,” and so on. Human “love” is almost always some emotional soup made up of distorted perspectives, selfish desires, and mixed in with self-serving manipulation and abusive control over the object of one’s affections. Too many times human’s “love” is displayed by jealousy, abuse, violence, and traumatic behavior. Why? Because, they are not actually speaking of “love” (“agape” or “agapaô”), they are speaking of something which has no resemblance to real “love,” any more than a duck resembles and dog.

On the other hand, one thing I don’t see in my counseling office, is a couple who is there because they are having problems because the “like” (“Phileô”) each other. When people “like” someone they go out of their way to spend time with that person. They miss that person when they are apart. They look forward to those times they spend together. A couple who is dating (and also “like” (“Phileô”) one another), write poems to each other, buy flowers for each other, will sacrifice time with friends to be with each other, will spend lots of time talking about practically nothing, just to be with each other, they care how they dress, smell, and look to each other, and so forth.

Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Treasures are those things which we consider important to us. If your wife or husband is your treasure, your desire is for them. You want them to like you, because you like them. “Phileô” (“love” that is really “like”) is an emotional choice to desire someone or something. People who “Phileô” each other tend to stay together much better than people who just claim to “love” each other.

I was counseling with a couple once where the wife found out her husband was having an affair. When she threatened to divorce him, he agreed to come to counseling. I asked him why his wife should even consider staying with him, he argued that he loved his wife!” I asked him two questions, “If you had not been caught, would you have already quit seeing the other woman by now?” and “Were you loving your wife while you were having sex with the other woman?” He just sat there silently, because he knew the truth, and he didn’t want to make things worse. If that is love, I sure don’t want any part of that. On the other hand, I asked the wife why she wanted to try to save the marriage. “I love him,” she said, “I know that he was wrong, and I know that he deserves for me to divorce him, but I want to give him a chance to prove to me that he really loves me by making the necessary changes.” Now that, dear reader, is love. She was willing to make a sacrifice and take a chance he would just hurt her again, solely because if it worked, it was the best thing for the relationship.

So, what was my point to begin with? Well, it is this. I would rather that people liked me than “loved” me. People who claim to “love” you, too many times, are actually referring to a conditionally motivated, self-serving, self-satisfying, and ego-centric, emotion. On the other hand, when people truly like each other they want to spend time with each other, spend time speaking with each other, treat each other with respect, do enjoyable things with each other, and so on. Someone can “love” you and abuse you, attack you, lie to you, manipulate you, control you, be unfaithful to you, be jealous of you, fool you, and so on. People who really like you will not willingly make choices which will harm you.

There is no such thing as “unconditional love,” even God has a condition for His love (“agape” or “agapaô”), regarding us, He wants to end up with His children in eternity with Him. God does not “love” us just for the heck of it, with no intention, desire, motivation, or personal benefit from that “love.” He wants something for that “love.” He wants you.jesus_wants_you

Conflict Resolution, Before or After?

Conflict is best resolved when two persons are able to communicate their separate concerns and together are able to reach compromises which work in the favor of the relationship. The question is, “Do I want to win, or do I want us to win?”

The difference is demonstrated by the approach that a person takes, when dealing with the issue of conflict. There are two options which will produce very different results:

  1. The Fireman Approach – waiting for a fire and using various techniques of putting out the fire.
  2. The Fire Marshall Approach – identify circumstances which could lead to a fire, and take preemptive action to avoid the fire altogether.

Most people take the first option, waiting for some problem to start working at resolving it. The problem with the Fireman Approach is that you have had a fire. Fires damage things, and sometimes even to the point of total loss. And as with real fires, sometimes the only real solution is that you may have to tear down the complete structure, to be able to build a new one in its place. In human terms, concerning relationships, this means that the couple has a greater chance of ending up in divorce.

Another danger with real fires is that even if the structure itself is not complete destroyed, the loss of personal items, many which will never be replaced, can impose a major emotional trauma on people. Relationships can have the same result; the couple may resolve some traumatic event in their relationship with each other (such as an adulterous affair), and still have linger circumstances which might remain for the duration of their marriage (the loss of full confidence in each other).

Taking the Fireman Approach to a relationship, means that the couple is not willing to commit themselves to the task of learning how to identify possible problems, work out solutions in advance, and then comply with the expectations as agreed. The Fire Marshall Approach requires that type of commitment. A Fire Marshall can inspect a home or building, and identify any situation or circumstance which may possibly lead to a fire, and offer steps which may be taken to avert the possibility of a real fire.

HOW DOES THE FIRE MARSHALL APPROACH WORK?

I call it the Marital Agreement Process.

The idea here is for the couple to identify areas of conflict in the past, and establish agreements that can prevent the same behavior, on the part of both, in the future.

  1. Select an issue, problem or a topic of concern (money issues, relatives, sex, friends, people of the opposite sex, etc.).
  2. Discuss the intended outcome; what you think should happen in that circumstance or situation in the future.
  3. One of you offer a possible solution (I.e. “We could agree to do things this way at those times.”)
  4. If the other disagrees, they should offer a compromise (i.e. “What if we did this instead …?”)
  5. If the first person still is unsure, they could offer another compromise (i.e. “That’s better but I see a problem, what about this…?”)
  6. Once both agree on the intention of the agreement, it needs to be written down on paper.
  7. Once written, someone needs to read it out loud. The purpose is to listen to the words.
  8. Is there a loop-hole somewhere in there?
    1. Are there words that may have different meaning to each of you?
    2. Does the agreement bring up other questions?
    3. Do you both find the agreement acceptable?
    4. Can either of you think of any reasons (good ones) for violating that agreement?
    5. Do both of you give your word that you will comply with this agreement?
  9. If you find any loop-holes, then either change the written agreement until there is no loop-hole, or add an additional agreement that would cover the loop-hole.
  10. If there are any words that could mean different things to each of you, then write down the words and define the meaning that both of you agree upon.
  11. If the written agreement prompt other questions, then either correct the agreement to deal with them, or save them for later to deal with separately.
  12. Do not make any one agreement too long and convoluted. It is better to have several short and to the point statements.
  13. If either of you can think of any (good) reasons for violating any agreement, bring it up now. Later on you will be seen as a liar who should not be trusted.
  14. Once you have reviewed the written agreement, understand it, and agree with it, go on to the next agreement.

Each of you should have their own “copy” of the agreement. Neither of you is responsible for reminding the other of the agreements. Each person is responsible for keeping his or her own word. But, both of you are responsible for imposing consequences on the one who violates an agreement.

The issue is TRUST. The consequence needs to reflect the same. Each time trust is violated the consequence must be bigger and longer lasting than before.

8 Marital Principles That Can Work, Starting Today

Are you struggling with that hard-headed husband who seems to never grow up? Does your wife sometimes make you wish you weren’t married? Does he constantly make promises and then not keep his word? Has she been going on spending binges, when you have bills that have not been paid? Are you unhappy with the way some things are in your marriage? Today you will get answers that CAN force change in your married life, if you’re brave enough to use them.

PRINCIPLE ONE:

IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK, AND IT TAKES TWO TO DESTROY IT.

While it is true that one person can do something that is obvious to hurt their marriage, it is also true that the other person does NOT do something that they could have to keep the bad behavior from continuing.

DOING SOMETHING does NOT mean: crying, nagging, screaming, cussing, locking yourself in your room, praying and praying, wishing things were different, complaining to friends and relatives, lying about what happened,  making excuses for him, hoping things will get better,

Those things may be expressions of your feelings, but they are NOT ACTIONS.

When a wrong is committed, ACTION means you allow the violator to suffer a consequence; see the second principle for more explanation.

THE WRONGDOING OF ONE SPOUSE THE LACK OF ACTION BY THE OTHER
If there has been violence in the marriage for some time That means that the one being violated has NOT called the police, separated and possibly considered divorce
Most of the time when she does call the police She will also be the one who bails him out of jail the next day, and then won’t press charges
If one commits adultery The other will tend to forgive without the violator suffering any real consequence
If one deceives the other (lying, keeping harmful secrets from, doing something that can harm without telling, etc.) The other usually gets mad for a little while and then acts as though nothing happened.
When other people find out that one spouse has been abusive The other will defend the violator, lie to the people, and hide the truth of the abuse.
One of the spouses does not do their part in the care of the home and marriage The other tends to just get angry and nag.
PRINCIPLE TWO:

WHERE THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES, THERE IS PERMISSION

Every time that your spouse does something that is not acceptable, they must suffer a consequence. This will teach them not to repeat the unacceptable behavior.

What is NOT a consequence? What IS a consequence?
Nagging is NOT a consequence. The possibility of really losing something they do not want to lose.
Telling them off is NOT a consequence. If you stop doing something they want you to do (i.e. sex, massaging, paying attention to them).
Crying is NOT a consequence. If you make them do for themselves things you have been doing for them.
Complaining is NOT a consequence. If you separate for a day or two.
Showing them the error of their ways is NOT a consequence. If you separate for a long period of time.
Reminding them is NOT a consequence. A consequence is when someone is about to lose something they do not want to lose if they keep up their unacceptable behavior.
Pouting is NOT a consequence.
Screaming is NOT a consequence. A real consequence has REAL results.
Yelling at them is NOT a consequence. IN OTHER WORDS, A CONSEQUENCE HURTS.
Threatening is NOT a consequence.
PRINCIPLE THREE

PERSONAL BOUNDARIES IN YOUR LIFE WILL PROTECT YOU, AND HELP YOU HAVE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS.

A personal boundary is like a rule you give yourself that you will follow if a particular thing happens. Below are examples of personal boundaries:

Personal Boundary The Action I Will Take
If someone cusses in my presence I will leave the area or end the conversation
If my spouse commits adultery I will separate from them until they get counseling and make character changes in themselves
If my spouse physically assaults me (hits) I will call the police and press charges, and will separate from my spouse until they get counseling and make character changes in themselves
If my spouse make fun of my food I will stop cooking until they promise not to do that again
If my spouse promises something and does not keep his or her word I will choose not to trust them again until they prove they will stop lying, and I will stop being intimate with them until then
If someone take advantage of me I will cut off the relationship until they prove (not just say) that they will not repeat their actions
If someone lies to me I will not believe anything that say again, until I see a change in them
If my spouse repeatedly (more than once) hurts my feelings on purpose I may choose to leave home for a day or two, or until he or she apologizes and promises not to do it again.
If I find that my spouse has a friend of the opposite sex that I am not aware of I will consider it the same as adultery and follow the same steps
If I learn that my spouse has committed crimes I will separate from them until they resolve the legal matters.
If my spouse does not want to go to church I will go without them, in obedience to my Lord
IF THIS HAPPENS … I WILL DO THIS …

BOUNDARIES THAT HAVE NO CONSEQUENCES ARE JUST A LOT OF HOT AIR.

PRINCIPLE FOUR

WHERE THERE IS NO VISION (rules, laws etc.), THE PEOPLE ARE UNRESTRAINED

Have clear and written rules for your marriage, home, and children.

Proverbs 29:18 (NASB) “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.”

Everyone and everything that wants to succeed has rules they live by.

WHO ARE THEY? RULES THEY LIVE BY?
Businesses Policies and procedures; employee handbooks; job descriptions
United States of America Constitution of the United States, and Articles of Independence
Society State laws; county regulations; city ordinances
Gangs Gang rules that members have to follow
God His Word; the Bible
Married couples Little to none
Homes rules Little to none
  • Most of society’s problems come from persons who were brought up in homes without clear and fair rules.
  • Most marriages in the United States end up in divorce within two years, due to the lack of clear and understood goals and objectives. Example: If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know how to get there.
  • True Marriage and Home rules are written down on paper.

Only a fool argues that you don’t have to write down rules.

  • Businesses do, The USA does, Society does, many gangs do, and especially God did.
  • Everyone and everything that wants to succeed writes down their rules and follows them.
PRINCIPLE FIVE

FOR THE HUSBANDS:

SUBMISSION WORKS BOTH WAYS, BUT THE HUSBAND IS THE EXAMPLE

Ephesians 5:21 (NASB) “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Your wife has the RIGHT to do Anything You Do.

  • If you check out other women, they should be able to check out other men.
  • If you daydream about other women, they should be able to daydream about other men.
  • If you flirt with other women, they should be able to flirt with other men.
  • And so on. Right?

Ephesians 5:23 (NASB) “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

Ephesians 5:25-28 (NASB) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.”

What does it mean to be the Head of the wife?

  1. You are to serve as her example in everything; 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB) “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

You should be able to say to your wife:

“You have the right to behave like I do, mess up like I do, lie to me if I lie to you, don’t do things for me if I won’t do things for you, don’t give me attention if I don’t give you attention, and don’t show me love if I don’t show you love. Imitate me in the same way that I imitate Christ. If I am just fooling like I’m imitating Christ, then you also have the right to fool me.”

The way in which a husband is subject to his wife is that he makes himself accountable to her to judge his actions, and then for her to make decisions based on those actions.

PRINCIPLE SIX

FOR THE WIVES

TRUE SUBMISSION IS A SPIRITUAL PROTECTION FROM GOD TO YOU

What is submission?

  • Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that a wife is supposed to obey her husband.
  • True submission is when a person already knows what is expected of him or her and goes about doing it without having to be instructed to do so.
  • Waiting until someone tells you to do something is called obedience.
  • While submission is part of obedience, obedience is not part of submission.

Submission is always done to an authority.

  • Submit to your pastor
  • Submit to your leaders.
  • Submit to the elected officials and laws of the United States.
  • Submit to Christ.

If the person violates his authority, he has no authority to which to submit.

  • If a police officer commits a crime, he or she loses their authority as a Peace Officer. We do not have to submit to them.
  • If the husband is fulfilling his authority in Christ by living according to His word, then the wife must submit to her own husband in obedience to God.
  • If the husband violates his authority, then the wife is to obey God and wait until her husband starts to fulfill his authority again.

The mistreatment of the wife.

Malachi 2:13-16 (NASB) “This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

God hates the mistreatment of the wife.

A woman is never expected to submit to a man who is violating and mistreating her. But she is instructed to submit (willingly follow and support) her husband who is loving her and caring for her (Ephesians 5:25-28 [NASB]).

PRINCIPLE SEVEN

CHANGE IS NOT CHANGE UNTIL THERE HAS BEEN CHANGE

Women say and men do.

Women tend to express their feelings by verbalizing their emotions concerning things that bother them.

Men tend to express the feelings by acting out and behaving in one manner or another.

  • If a woman tells you that she will change and that she will behave differently, she most likely means it, but she will convince herself that just saying it is the same as doing it.
  • If a man tells you that he will change and that he will behave differently, he most likely knows it is not really the truth, but he wants you to believe it is just because he said so.

The truth is that WORDS CAN BE LIES, BUT THE ACTIONS ARE ALWAYS THE TRUTH.

The truth is in the actions

  • Stop listening to what they say, or what they tell you is true.
  • Pay attention to what they do, and the results of their actions.
  • If your spouse does something new just one time, or a few times, there has still been no change.
  • If your spouse has been doing the new thing for 3 to 6 months consistently, MAYBE then it might mean he or she really is changing. Notice I said changing, not changed.
PRINCIPLE EIGHT

WORDS CAN BE LIES, BUT THEIR ACTIONS ARE ALWAYS TRUE.

Actually, it is the result of their actions that are true.

  • If they promise something and don’t keep their word, they are lying.
  • They say they believe something, but they do the opposite, they are lying.
  • If they say they’ll TRY to keep their word, they are lying.
  • If they actually keep their word, they’re telling the truth.
  • If they actually do what they say they were going to do, they are telling the truth.
  • If they say they believe something and actually live according to that, they are telling the truth.

Don’t get distracted by your spouse’s sincerity. Don’t listen to their words. Watch their actions, that’s where the truth will be found and obvious.

Married Women Dealing With Abuse

By Marisol Lucio

Marisol LucioWhy did I choose this topic?

Though I am not currently married, nor have I ever been, I felt drawn to write on this subject considering that it hits very close to home – with my mom. Also, I was told once that I was starting to take after her,when it came to choosing the guys I would date. The thought of that frightened me. Not because I could end up with an abusive, manipulative, controlling man, but because I could probably become a woman who does not love herself enough to walk away. Since then, the Lord, through professional counseling, has helped me realize and accept who I am in Him and to love myself. Still, it is not an easy subject to write about because I wish mom would stop putting up with what she goes through at times; but she has to make that decision. I cannot do it for her. I want to research and study a bit more on this issue that I may gain knowledge on why many women go through this and why it continues to happen.

The problem

On The Power Of Two website, the author lists 5 types of abuse in marriage along with a description of each. With what I understood from the article, I have listed the types of abuse in 4, with one of them including 2 sub points. The order they are listed in it is also important (to me at least) as the very first one is the most common and obvious in a relationship, but the last 3 are the types of abuse that, with lies, cover ups, and thought-out explanations, can be hidden very well.

Physical Abuse – This type of abuse is the one that is obvious as most of its results are visible. A woman could lie that she fell down the stairs and so forth, but in reality, it could be the many beatings she receives from her husband. This is sometimes also called, domestic violence. Physical abuse also includes, abandoning you in dangerous places, driving at high speeds or toying with dangerous situations to intimidate you, refusing to help you when sick or withholding aid when sick, injured or pregnant.

Verbal Abuse – This type of abuse is one that in my opinion, many women condone. Why do I think that? Because for them the lie could be “Well, at least he did not hit me; he just cursed at me?” or “Even though he calls me names, he has never hit me before.” Demands, insults, humiliating comments in public or private, hurtful jokes, name calling, belittling, swearing, questioning your sanity, or ridiculing your opinions or desires are still forms of abuse even if they do not lay a finger on you.

Psychological Abuse – I have chosen this one as a third type of abuse even though it includes a bit of verbal abuse as well. Let me explain. As with verbal abuse, psychological abuse uses words but, in my opinion, these serve a specific purpose for the man. that of controlling the woman’s emotions and behavior.

Controlling Emotions – the man may use guilt, criticism, anger or manipulation in order to degrade the victim, even constant cheating (adultery). Why? He does so to hurt her and makes her comply with what he wants.

Controlling Behavior – the man makes demands on her regarding her friends, their finances and activities; he will keep her isolated, to lower her self-esteem, and in this way he becomes the only person in her world. He will succeed in controlling her behavior by threats, anger and criticism.

Sexual Abuse – A woman, who probably already suffers from any of the types of abuse listed above, may be unaware that sexual abuse is possible in her marriage. I say that she is probably unaware, because if her husband manipulates her with words, then he could probably come to the point where he manipulates her to have sex, forcing her, even if she does not want it. Unwanted or forced sex, withholding sex, forced engagement in any sexual activity that hurts or frightens the woman, refusing to practice safe sex, preventing her from taking birth control, or making decisions about pregnancy and abortion, are forms of sexual abuse.

What is the problem actually?

Mr. Roy Gomez, from his lesson on Love, Trust and Respect quoted: “You don’t put up with their disrespect because you love them, you put up with it because you don’t love yourself enough to leave.” I believe that this is one of the reasons, if not the core reason, why many women find themselves in an abusive marriage.

Because she has not yet seen herself as a valuable person, the woman may stay tolerating the abuse by believing some lies in her head:

-If I confront him or report him, I will be alone because he will leave.
-How will I make it by myself and with the children (if any are involved)?
-I cannot leave him, who will do this or that for him.
-This is my fault, I deserve the abuse.
-What will people say if they find out?
-This is normal, it happened to my parents.
-He is all I have.
-I love him, I believe he will change.
-If I report him, everything will change.

The Love Is Respect website says that people who have never encountered abuse in marriage often wonder why the person just does not leave. Again, because of the lies that the woman may believe and her not loving herself enough to leave, it is more complicated than it seems.

Why it happens

The article Fatherless Women: What happens to the adult woman who was raised without her father? says, “Optimally, a little girl needs to see herself reflected in the love she sees for herself in her father’s eyes. This is how she develops self confidence and self esteem. This is how she develops a healthy familiarity with what a positive expression of love feels like. This is how she develops an appreciation for her own looks, her own body. This is how she develops what Jungians would call her ‘animus,’ her counter-sexual self; her masculine self, which will help her be proactive, productive, and creative in the outer world as she grows into adulthood.”

I found it necessary to quote verbatim from the article due to how it pinpoints exactly what I see happening in my mother’s life. I could have not put it into better words, but she grew up away from her dad since the age of 5, and was raised by her grandmother. I can now see that her married life is the perfect imagery to the above quote.

A woman who did not have a father (for whatever reason) to show her what love really is (which is an action), and with that same love to help her build her confidence,  this will push her to find her worth in a man. Her perception of a loving relationship may become so distorted, to the point that she could potentially be attracted to the type of man that is controlling and abusive. This could be directly due to the fact that her father was not there to guide her. She may not know how a man is supposed to treat a woman, so in her mind this is all she knows to expect of a husband (abusive, control, “he is the head of the house.”). She does not have enough self-confidence, nor loves herself, so therefore she does not have the will power to walk away.

To whom it happens

Though the paragraphs above describe abuse regarding married women in general, I want to focus this portion on one specific group: Hispanic married women.

Based on what I have seen in my parents’ marriage, I can attest that it is not only in their relationship that abuse happens, but in many other Hispanic marriages I know of or have known. It is almost like a tradition, or a type of generational curse (for lack of a better word), that abuse in Hispanic married women happens.

The notion is that the Hispanic (especially the Mexican) man is the “Macho man.” According to Wikipedia, a macho man or machismo, in this culture, is a concept that is associated with men and their masculine pride, with the supreme valuation of characteristics associated to the men and a denigration of characteristics associated to the women.

The Hispanic women, whom I have met, or am related to, seem to have this idea. Even though they might not grasp the actual concept of what a macho man is, their idea is this: He is the head of the house, it goes as he says, and/or I cannot do anything without him. This type of woman will be under his control. Because of this concept (or lie), the abuse continues from generation to generation. It stays within the family; the great-grand mother, who became the other woman, and had 8 children put up with abuse, until the man left her. One of her daughters married, then later was cheated on by her husband who left with one of her own sisters. Those two had children but the man sexually molested one daughter and impregnated her.

Another one of the grand-mother’s daughters also married, and was left alone with child. One of the sons, of the great-grandmother, married and had 3 children of his own, his wife died 4 years into the marriage and he remarried leaving his children with his mom. Because he was hardly ever there for his children, the eldest became pregnant out of wed-lock, in hopes that her soon-to-be-husband would continue a loving man, as he was when they were dating. She now suffers verbal abuse (to my knowledge), and does not seem to have the willingness to get out. One of her daughters seems to be suffering some of the same type of abuse from her husband.

These people from the example above are all relatives of mine, and this is only on my mother’s side of the family (not counting my father’s side). It has become a tradition, or a generational curse, to put up with abuse, whichever type it has been.

Why it continues in someone’s life

Abuse continues in a married woman’s life because of the lies she believes, or the truth she has never heard, seen or even gotten the courage to accept.

Quoting from Pastor Juan Perez’s Counseling Principles:

“People do what they do, because they believe what they believe.”  A woman who puts up with abuse from her husband believes the lies listed above (and sometimes many more), therefore the abuse continues.

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten”  The problem continues because she makes no changes, and if nothing changes the abuse will continue to get worse.

“Change is not change until there has been change” The woman can tell herself that she intends to leave, that she intends to put a stop to it; that she is tired and fed up, but until she acts on it, the abuse will continue.

“Where there is no consequence, there is permission” The woman’s inaction will prompt the man to continue the abuse; making it more difficult for her to get out, and easier for him to control.

And, just as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, married women deal with abuse and it continues in their lives because “they do not love themselves enough to leave.”

Works Cited

(n.a) Should I leave him? How to identify abusive relationships. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2015, from http://www.poweroftwomarriage.com/info/abusive-relationships/

(n.a.) Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships? – www.loveisrespect.org. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/why-do-people-stay/

(n.a.) Fatherless Women: What Happens to the Adult Woman who was Raised Without her Father?

(n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from http://www.trans4mind.com/ counterpoint/index-happiness-wellbeing/kortsch4.shtml

Marisol Lucio is a counselor-in-training, She is two months away from completing her training and requirements to be certified as a Faith-Based Christian Counselor. 

Women Need to Learn to Love and Respect Themselves

By Linda Martinez

Linda Martinez - photoWomen with no self-respect and no self-love, see themselves as unworthy of anything good in their lives. They accept mistreatment, abuse, and rejection as a normality. They are accustomed to being treated as worthless, therefore many believe they don’t deserve more. They become lazy and don’t strive for greater things. Their relationships become detrimental. They wind up hurting others and themselves. They do not love themselves and do not know how.

SYMPTOMS IN THESE WOMEN

These women often lack self-respect which turns into depression. They tend toward self-destructive behaviors such as lack of personal hygiene, lack of boundaries, and they allow others to be rude and disrespectful to them. They don’t acknowledge their good qualities, they see mostly the bad ones and have difficulty correcting them. They personally do not care for, nor love, themselves. Most have not received love and acceptance, and in turn feel they don’t deserve to be treated that way. By hating and loathing themselves, they lack the confidence to succeed in a better outcome for their lives. They stifle any progress they hope to make. They compare themselves to others, and are not happy with who they are.

TYPES OF CHOICES THEY MAKE

In a relationship they will believe they are not good enough. They will test or set-up a relationship that may have potential, or settle for relationships that make them feel like they are used to being treated; badly, abused, and/or rejected. They will fantasize that a “knight-in-shining-armor” will come to rescue them and make everything better for them. So they will set the bar high and expect the partner to fulfill their needs, and when the partner fails they will disqualify their efforts and sabotage the relationship. They will be guarded and not trust anyone. They will hesitate and be afraid of loving someone, so they will abandon the relationship before they are abandoned by the partner.

THE IMPACT THESE WOMEN HAVE ON THEIR HUSBANDS, CHILDREN AND OTHER RELATIVES.

These women will be insecure they are used to being abandoned and cheated on. They will gravitate toward a relationship in which they will feel insecure. They will not trust their husbands, and will resent the position the husband has in the household. Even though they may accept the treatment of the husband, however bad it may be, they will resent it and feel they deserve it. Their children will cause her to feel the same way, if they see their father treating her badly. She will want to love and care for her children, but will find herself treating them as she has been treated all her life. She will become distant and shut down sexually towards her husband. Others relatives become accustomed to her being a certain way, so they too will treat her rudely, and with no respect. And, if a family member would like to help her and treat her well, she will not accept it as such, but believe that she does not deserve the positive treatment or reinforcement. She will not be close to her relatives, due to lack of trust and not allowing herself to receive love nor respect from them.

IN THEIR BUSINESS LIFE

They have difficulty accepting themselves. They are not comfortable in their own skin. They feel they don’t measure up with the rest of their co-workers. Self-respect and self-love is foreign to them. They lack confidence, lack maintaining a positive body language and good posture. If they receive a compliment they will not accept it. They won’t maintain a positive attitude about themselves. They are overly negative about themselves, and only imagine the worst scenarios for their lives. They are not happy; they can’t smile. They want what others have, they envy others wishing they had the nice things too, but feel they do not deserve such good things.

Most of us understand what it means to love another person. The feelings of intense desire, admiration and emotional investment in another person are familiar. We go out of our way to nurture our love towards others but loving and respecting ourselves is not so easy. Self-love is a combination of self-acceptance and self-possession, self-awareness, kindness and respect for ourselves. Self-love is positive self-regard in action.

THEY NEED TO LEARN TO LOVE AND RESPECT

Women with no self-love and no self-respect for themselves need to get to know themselves. The more they understand about themselves the more they can see and appreciate how unique they really are. By discovering their principles, personalities and talents which may take a while, but will give them great insights about who they actually are, they can begin to see their good qualities. By listening to their inner voice, they will start to recognize the negative thoughts they have of themselves. These negative thoughts often come from the outside; from people whose opinion they value, and from whom they seek love and acceptance.

To change the low opinion of themselves, they would need to come to realize that they have many good things to offer others as well as themselves. Making a list of things, people, activities that are important to them will help identify what they really should have and need in their lives. They would begin to see that they can take a control over their lives, and allow themselves to enjoy it. Journaling is one way which can help pinpoint an actual event that took place in their lives; where the loss of self-love and self-respect began. They may start to understand how their reaction to that/those event(s) have caused them havoc most of their lives. With these revelations, they can face up to emotions and begin to forgive those which caused the events, as well as to forgive themselves for their own choices and decisions. Even if they may have been children (at the time of the trauma), with no control over the situations, they can still move forward with the process of forgiveness and healing.

The healing process would begin by helping themselves understand that their reactions (to the trauma) were, and are, defense mechanisms to protect themselves from being hurt and abused again. As they step back and look at the circumstances in detail, realize that they had no power to stop the event, they can now as adults can take control and choose, and behave, differently. This control would begin with accepting responsibility for their own action/reactions. Forgiving those that caused them so much pain and suffering. Training their memory muscles that they have forgiven those that hurt them, and using those memory muscles for present or future situations that may arise by choosing to react in a positive way, instead of the negative manner they have all their lives.

As well, they need to understand that some relationships, even those that are forgiven, may need to be severed, due to the fact that the “forgiven” person is not willing to respond in a positive manner to the relationship. Manipulation and deceit is still present in the attempt to control the healing process, but, by choosing freedom through the healing process one can improve he lifestyle and live with joy and happiness. These are not overnight fixes, they take work and attention to detail, determination and intent desire to improve ones life.

REFERENCES:

  • elitedaily.com/life/motivation/yourselfworth-is-everything
  • Psychologytoday.com/blog/me-we
  • wikihow.com/Respect-yourself
  • wikihow.com/Love-yourself
  • wikiHow/ ways to respect yourself.
  • wikiHow/ways to love yourself
  • Process of healing by Rev. Juan M. Pérez
  • Holy Bible Scriptures:Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:13, Joshua 24:15, Psalms 24:12, Ecclesiastes 10:2, Romans 6:16

Linda Martinez is a counselor-in-training. She will have completed the required training and preparation process in two months, to become a fully certified Faith-Based Christian Counselor. Ms. Martinez writes, not only using well researched conclusions, but also as a successul survivor of similar events in her own life. Linda is an example of when a woman chooses to take control of her life she can make what she desires of it. PracticalCounseling.Com is happy to include material from Ms. Martinez on this site.