How can I help my marriage?

 

Good Afternoon Dr. Rainford,

I finally feel moved to share with you my experience in marriage now that I have gotten some personal insights through a lot of quiet time of meditation. My husband is currently in the process of finding a new apartment so that he can literally escape from me. We have three children …(W and Y are seven and P is 7 months old), who are the subject of the divorce. He believes that I keep neglecting them in terms of the timing and nature of their meals and that I have placed too much spiritual pressure by asking him to give up his pleasure in watching violent shows (Marvel and DC). He does not spend enough time with us as a family in devotions. We use to pray but not anymore because of various conflicts. I admit I have contributed to the breakdown because of my sexual experience. I did not release and I was deliberately pushing away by the way I dress, my hair and care for nails because I did not want to have sex with him. I still need to get past the experience of being sexually molested… when I was about 8 years old. There is a lot more I could share because he and I grew up in a traumatic home situation. We have been separated before … He asked for the divorce in June 2018. The question is how do I get pass this desire for him to be more spiritual in terms of what I see in the bible pertaining to his role as a husband and father?

 

Dear “ Desiring a Spiritual Husband”,

I would never ask or expect you to get past your desire for your spouse to be more spiritual and I do not believe you should ask or expect that of yourself.  That being said, what you can consider focusing on is how you treat your husband despite your desire for him to be more spiritual.  Do you love him unconditionally in the way I am sure you love your children?   Do you accept him for who he is even if he is not exactly who you want him to be? Do you show him that love and affection? Do you treat him in the way that you are called to biblically?  One example is written in Corinthians. “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.” (1 Cor 7: 3-5, NIV)   Based on some of what you revealed I suspect that the answer would be no for some of these questions. While I suspect that many other married women would answer no to some of these questions as well, I encourage you to act towards your husband as if all were a resounding yes. However given that you are on the verge of divorce I believe your marriage needs much more than my advice.  I suggest you seek professional help as soon as possible to help you recover from the trauma of your childhood sexual abuse and to restore your marriage.   I believe this is possible because “with God all things are possible ”(Matt 19; 26, NIV). It is my sincere hope that your marriage will be restored to a happy one.

 

Disclaimer: This advice is based on my opinion and is not a substitute for professional advice. 

Should I wait for him?

Dear Dr. Rainford,

I was in a relationship with only one person for the last 7 years. In those seven year he left me alone twice without telling me anything, but he came back and we started dating again. We were living happily with each other until January 2017.   He went to Canada and upon his return he became irritable towards me. After that he left me again in May 2018.  Now, I am waiting for him. I trust God and I believe that he will come back one day. Please guide me on what to do?

 

Dear  “Lady in waiting”,

 I am sorry that you are in this difficult situation but I believe it is time for you to let him go.  Any man, who despite your long-term relationship feels it is okay to leave you without notice, is not the man you want. Yes you can be grateful and appreciate the happy times you had together but freeing yourself from him will liberate you from the anxiety that you likely experience when you are hoping for someone to return to your life but not sure if he ever will.  It also allows you the opportunity to be open to new relationships.   He may return again if it suits him but it seems that he is putting his needs above yours and that is unlikely to leave you feeling happy in the long run.  My hope for you is that you remain open and allow in your life a man who loves and values you, not less than, but as much as he values himself.

Disclaimer: This advice is based on my opinion and is not a substitute for professional advice. 

 

Doing the Right Thing - What the movies "Concussion", "Spotlight" and "Spanglish" have to teach us.

Watching movies is one of my favorite hobbies, recently I have been able to watch them more frequently by combining this hobby with a no less important but decisively less enjoyable activity for me, exercise.   So all in all I would say the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Last month I had the pleasure of watching three movies (yes not new releases but I catch them when I can) Concussion, Spotlight and Spanglish.   These movies in their own way reinforced a powerful take home message.  Doing the right thing is hard and sometimes can come at great personal cost but is absolutely necessary.

In Concussion, Dr. Bennet Omalu, brilliantly portrayed by Will Smith (one of my favorite actors) discovered the condition, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and at great personal risk exposed it.   It allows us to realize that our football players keep America entertained at potentially great peril to themselves; it allows parents to make informed decisions before allowing their children in the sport and at least as importantly it allows our athletes to be personally informed of the risk they are taking.  Certain careers and life choices are dangerous, the tragedy was that the players, before the discovery, did not know the risk; they only experienced the consequences with often tragic results.  This discovery also shed some well-needed light on the tragic fall and suicide of Aaron Hernandez who was just recently discovered to have had an advanced form of this condition. Dr. Bennet Omalu continues to shed light on the condition and fortunately for him, while the stress of the situation may have cost him and his wife their first baby, they are now the proud parents of two beautiful children.  He also appears to have a successful career in California.

In Spotlight, intrepid reporters from the Boston Globe put their careers on the line to expose the terrible scandal of childhood sexual abuse that had been consuming the Catholic Church for years.  The result, it allowed hundreds if not thousands of victims to finally be heard and led to a public apology from the Church and hopefully, a stronger Catholic Church, which will never again allow perpetrators to go unchecked. And those courageous reporters live with the proud honor of having made a real difference in the world and perhaps a life changing difference in the lives of many of the victims.

In the fictitious Spanglish it was a relatively simple decision by the character Flor played the actress, Paz Vega. Her decision was to walk away from the temptation of having a relationship with her boss’s husband played by one of my favorite comedic actors, Adam Sandler. Some might contend that she should have or he should have, having just discovered that his wife had an affair but it reminded us that two wrongs never make a right.  There is never a good excuse for doing the wrong thing and no matter how small it may seem we should always strive to do the right thing. Flor’s reward was that she raised a bright confident woman who was invited to attend one of the most prestigious schools in the United States.

So what should we do?  In life, I believe we are at a moment now, more than ever before, where we have multiple opportunities to do the right thing.  I encourage us all to act in any small or for some of us big ways to embrace these opportunities despite the risks because the sad reality is although our life may not depend on it, someone else’s might.

 

 

 

It's OK to Want to Get Married!

It's OK to Want to Get Married!

I distinctly remember during my single years my need for companionship was not always met with support.  I would sometimes be encountered with statements like “what if you don’t get married” or “you have to learn to be happy on your own.” While on the surface and certainly to those making these statements no harm might have been intended, I assure you they were not encouraging.

Why #RachelLindsay the #Bachelorette had to let #Peter go and why you should let the Peter in your life go too

It was almost painful to watch when Peter was unable to give Rachel the commitment she wanted.  I was disappointed too because I must confess I liked Peter and he was perhaps my favorite in this process.  In prior episodes, I thought his caution showed sincerity and that it would resolve in time.  While I do appreciate his honesty, I have to agree with my husband who said, when we were discussing the show the day after, (he was forced to watch parts with me since he was in bed trying to sleep),  “he wants to have his cake and eat it too” and “he would never have married her”.

Although I had my doubts about Brian, Brian never had any doubts about Rachel and as I wrote in Love lessons from #RachelLindsay, #TheBachelorette , I fully believe and know that love can happen as fast as it appeared to happen for Brian. In looking at how the entire series unfolded I wouldn't be surprised if Rachel had stronger feelings for Peter throughout most of the process but she chose to give her heart to the man whom she believed was sure of the woman he wanted to marry and that was definitely her. So my advice to single women who want to be married, if you are dating a Peter you have to let him go.  When do you let him go? As soon as you find yourself continually wondering why he isn't ready whether or not you have the courage to ask.  Whenever he starts telling you he never wants to let you go but he isn't willing to commit to marriage. Because he won't let you go, at least not in a time that suits you.  He won't let you go until he has wasted months or even years of your life or not until he meets the real "one." The woman who he is willing to propose to, sometimes within weeks of meeting her, leaving you heartbroken and confused; sometimes shell-shocked and afraid to take a chance on love for months or even years. But if you let him go, maybe he will wake up and realize his mistake but even if he doesn't, you will be free.  Free to allow another man in your life; free to allow the right man into your life. The one who has no doubt that he wants to make you his wife. Yes, you may not be as fortunate as Rachel to have the proposal the next day but then again who knows.  

 

 

What's the Color of Love?

What's the Color of Love?

I recently read a popular article commenting on Serena’s selection of the man she has chosen to be the father of her first child and to be her husband.   The writer was disappointed in the selection based on race and the potential appearance of the child.  She was coming from a real place given the history of the exploitation of black women by white slave owners and concern that perhaps some of these celebrities who make such choices may have issues with self love or love of their own race.  

If Healthcare for Women is Compromised...

If Healthcare for Women is Compromised...

Last year, because of the Affordable Care Act I was able to provide essential preventative office healthcare for women. Some of the women had not had a pap smear for several years, and others never, due to lack of health insurance.  A few women required further intervention due to abnormalities diagnosed by screening but I knew they would be okay because it was discovered in time. If we hadn’t, it would be another story, a story I know too well.

Five Easy Ways to Lose or Maintain Your Weight Without Exercise

Five Easy Ways to Lose or Maintain Your Weight Without Exercise

If there is one topic of discussion that most women have in common it is the issue of weight and certainly for my generation, generation X, that conversation almost always centers around weight loss and weight loss goals. Today I am within 2 lbs of the weight that I was in my last year of college, more than twenty years ago, despite gaining thirty pounds in each of my two pregnancies. ...

What have I done to keep my weight off?

What Job Hunting Can Teach Us About Dating or Vice Versa

What Job Hunting Can Teach Us About Dating or Vice Versa

I have a number of people close to me who are actively job hunting so I am privy to some of the frustrations of the search, the multiple applications, the multiple interviews, the long wait for return calls, the uncertainty and the anxiety.  Given my interest in giving dating advice to women and my own personal journey to finally meeting my husband, I could not help but notice the similarities.

Multiple dates to find the right person, anxiety and uncertainty about when or if you would meet him, wondering if or when he will call again or if you should call again.

These are three lessons I learned from the dating game and job hunting and frankly you can use the advice interchangeably.

What Does Mother's Day Mean To You?

What Does Mother's Day Mean To You?

When I was leaving the hospital this mother’s day after a busy overnight shift I came across one of the hospital employees.  I see her regularly but have never interacted other than a polite greeting   I asked her if she was a mother and she said no.  She asked me the same I said I was and she wished me happy mother’s day.   Shortly after I asked the question though, I regretted the folly of it. It brought to mind the difficult day mother’s day is for many. 

Women, your stress may be killing you

I lost one of my favorite aunts in 2005. She was a beautiful 63-year-old woman who many would say looked younger than her years. She was slender, exercised regularly, never smoked, paid attention to healthy eating and was in a happy marriage for 40 years at the time of her death. She died from cancer, and although she was able to fight it for just under a year, it won the battle. ...