Pat Robertson, what were you thinking???

SONY DSC

Recently, a woman called televangelist Pat Robertson looking for advice on how to forgive her husband who had cheated on her.  One of his comments to her was, “He cheated on you, well, he’s a man.” REALLY???  That’s all Mr. Robertson could come up with?  And then he went on to tell her that if women made their homes ‘wonderful,’ men wouldn’t stray.  To my dismay, he also told her not to focus on the cheating and to be thankful if the husband was a good provider.

With all due respect, Mr. Robertson, you do not understand the nature of marriage and your comments sell both men and women terribly short.

First off, no one drives anyone to break their marriage vows.  Marriage is a covenant with God.  You either take it seriously or you don’t.  Those who cheat, don’t.  When a man cheats on his wife, he does not understand the covenantal relationship he has with her.  All he is focused on is pleasure, both physical and emotional.  By narrowing his focus to the sensual, he cuts the spiritual aspect out of his life and is unable to think or live like a true Christian.  Christians are called to see others as Christ and treat them accordingly.  When we live focused only on our sensual experiences, we lose the selflessness that we are called to as Christians and become what a priest friend of mine calls ‘spiritually cross-eyed.’  We focus in on ourselves instead of out on others and derive joy only from those things that are sensual.  Men (and women) who behave this way are infants, both emotionally and spiritually.  That said, this is a reason, NOT an excuse.  Just because you say that men “have a tendency to wander,” doesn’t mean they should.  We are, after all, above the animals in the order of creation and do have a measure of self control.

Scripture says, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her, to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)SONY DSC

How does cheating on her or using pornography sanctify a wife?

Men are supposed to die for their wives, just as Christ died for His Church.  Maybe they won’t be called to die an actual physical death, but they are called to ‘die to self,’ to put their own needs aside and sacrifice for their wives.  This call, in Ephesians 5, is much bigger than merely being a good provider.  Men shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back if they are making lots of money, paying the mortgage on a big house, driving a brand new car, but cheating on their wives.  That is not upholding the covenant they made with their wives and with God.

As a spiritual leader to many, Mr. Robertson has fallen short in the advice He has given to this women and failed the men and women who have heard this advice.  It is not God’s plan for men and women to merely settle for being comfortable in a marriage in which vows are being broken.  When we read scripture, we see that Jesus called people out on their sins, sometimes harshly.  And He certainly didn’t say to the adulteress, “Well, if you make great meals and get the laundry done, but have a tendency to sleep with the neighbor once in awhile, that’s okay.” No.  He told her to stop.

I think Mr. Robertson would greatly benefit from reading Bl. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and also Love and Responsibility, both of which emphasize the sacrificial nature of the husband-wife relationship.

In Finding Rita, the novel I am currently writing, I address the issues of marital infidelity, pornography addiction and sexual abuse as it affects a marriage.  I have spoken to many women whose lives, and the lives of their children, have been impacted by their husband’s ‘tendencies.’

Men aren’t merely providers and women aren’t merely housekeepers.  God made us to be so much more, and I am saddened by the fact that Pat Robertson has failed to recognize that.

 

 

F is Still for February…

On our last date night, my husband, Joe and I came up with the idea of doing/making/giving something each month that begins with the letter of that month.

Well, I wracked my brain and tore through my bookshelves and found the book, “For Better, Forever,” by Greg Popcak. This is a book about creating an exceptional marriage.  How fitting for this month!  So, I got my highlighter out and read through most of it.  Then, one night after the kiddos were in bed, I read Joe the parts I thought were relevant to us.

This activity sparked some good conversation.  We were able to discuss some of the areas we’d like to improve upon as well as where we thought we were doing things right. The whole process took about half an hour.  Not a large investment of time for a rewarding return.

Moments like these really help solidify a marriage.  Sometimes it’s difficult to discuss your life because it’s hard to be objective.  Reading and discussing a book can bring a couple closer together and help establish the emotional intimacy that is vital to an exceptional marriage.

The Love of St. Valentine

Happy St. Valentine’s Day.  It’s HIS day, you know…not the card store or the sweet shop’s day; St. Valentine’s Day.

So, what did he do to merit his own day?  He loved God with all his heart, mind and strength, that’s what.  He laid down his life for his friends.  He recognized Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Valentine was a priest during the persecution under Claudius II.  When he was arrested and tortured in order to get him to renounce his faith, he didn’t cave.  So, they beat him and beheaded him.

 

 

Wow.  That’s love.

He loved God and his faith enough to give up his very life.  In Ephesians 5, St. Paul tells husbands that they must love their wives in this way.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her, to sanctify her… (Eph 5:25-26)

Husbands should be ready to die for their wives, in order to help them get to heaven.  Does this mean that they should look for opportunities to throw themselves in front of a bus?  Absolutely not!  There are many forms of dying…dying to self being one of them…giving up certain comforts or inclinations as a sacrifice for your wife.  For example, taking on a certain household chore you know she hates, putting your clothes in the laundry instead of dropping them on the floor, making time each day to listen to her concerns and worries about her responsibilities.

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul tells wives to be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.  I know, I know, this gets your hackles up, doesn’t it?  Well, let’s take a look at this.  First off, the word subordinate can mean dependent.  So, wives need to depend on their husbands to…what?  To die for us as Christ did for His Church.  We need to cooperate in that mission.  How do we do this?  By praying for our husbands that they will listen to God and cooperate with His will in their lives.

So, the scripture that seems extremely sexist and obnoxious, is actually not so at all, is it?

Don’t forget, though, that earlier in his letter, St. Paul instructs all of us to

…be imitators of God, as beloved children and live in love, as Christ handed Himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God… (Eph 5: 1-2)

Wives are on the hook, too.  All of us are.  We are all called to love others with a  sacrificial love.  So, the next time you’re at the grocery store and the person behind you just has a few things, let them go in front of you.  When you’re completely spent and want to get to bed, stay up for just 10 more minutes and set the breakfast table for your family or set up your spouse’s coffee for the next morning.  Make small sacrifices daily and you will build up the grace to make a big sacrifice, if you are called to, at some point in your life.

Live your life like St. Valentine, who knew that all he was and all he had was from God and he lived his life for God, for His glory.  Remember that all of us are here to serve one another.  Christ demonstrated this when He washed His disciples’ feet.

The best way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day is to be Christ to others.

Go for it.

 

F is for February

On our date Friday night, my husband, Joe and I came up with a novel idea to help keep our marriage fresh.  Each month, we will either buy or make each other a small gift, do an activity or make a new recipe that starts with the beginning letter of the month.

So, for February, we’ll be checking out recipes for Flank Steak.  And I’m secretly hoping Joe brings home flowers some night.  I can’t tell you what I’m planning for two reasons:

1. He reads my blog.

2. I haven’t thought of it yet.

But I love this idea!  It will keep us talking to each other about…each other.  And sharing in this way creates emotional intimacy.  And emotional intimacy translates into deeper intimacy in the marriage overall.

John Paul II, in his writings on Theology of the Body expounded upon how emotional intimacy is a building block of marriage. If you are interested in learning about this topic, check out the following books:

Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (JPII)

Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West

Men and Women Are From Eden by Mary Healy