Wisdom Wednesday: Domestic Violence with a Twist

In light of the Ray and Janay Rice debacle, once again, the issue of domestic violence has recently earned the title of  “breaking news” in the media.  It’s unfortunate that such a sensitive part of people’s lives can be so readily accessible and publicly splayed for all to dissect.  What’s even more unfortunate is  the average person does not have sufficient knowledge or experience to appropriately discern and distill the totality of truth from the situation. 

Domestic violence is real, and it deserves to be in the spotlight of awareness much more than it has been. 

According to a well-known survey by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives

1.3 women are assaulted by their partner every year

85% of domestic violence reported is against women (key word: reported)

 

These statistics are commonplace among feminists and domestic violence activists and can often be quoted verbatim, but there is an important statistic that rarely surfaces.  According to a survey taken by the CDC in 2010:

40% of the victims of severe, physical, domestic violence are men.

Of course there are many factors that influence this statistic, as with all statistics, but it is worth mentioning.  Often, the focus is on violence against women for various reasons.  Politics, marketing, and ratings often muddy the waters, thus creating a huge disparity between the sexes, in terms of the cases of violence that are actually reported.  Many times, details such as provocation, self-defense, and mental illness surface that later shed more light on domestic violence cases.  As a male, I can most assuredly say that I have never (and will never) hit a woman, although there have been situations where I would have felt totally justified in doing so for the purposes of self-defense (disclaimer: In no way am I referring to my current marriage relationship). 

Am I condoning violence against women in any way?  Of course not.  I reiterate, I have never hit a woman.  In my opinion, there are many alternative measures, other than striking, that men have to defend themselves against violence inflicted by women (which does happen) .  However, I think we all know that some women can be very volatile, and often take advantage of the laws of the land that are in effect (Violence Against Women Act of 1994) where women can easily fill the role of victim, even though many times they are the aggressors.   Of course we can witness this type of behavior whenever we look at reality television.  Although one may argue that all these shows are “scripted,” it doesn’t negate the fact that many of the behaviors seen by these reality stars seep into the psyche of many faithful viewers; and as the old adage goes: Life imitates art far more than art imitates life (Oscar Wilde-The Decay of Lying)

So let’s talk about this:

Is it ever OK for a woman to hit, scratch, bite, spit on, or physically harm a man?

Does a man have the right to defend himself against violence even if it’s by the hands of a woman?

 Editor: Jaime Evans

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

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The Chronicles of Marriage Part 3: 20/20 LOVE

Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill.  This is the final installment of my series The Chronicles of Marriage.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Feel free to share your wisdom with us in the comments section below.  See you next week.

I will never forget the moment I realized I needed eye glasses.  I was sitting in my college orientation class copying notes from the blackboard when all of a sudden, everything on the board was a blurred mess.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring anything into focus. 

When I went to the optometrist, he told me that I had Astigmatism.  In other words, the shape of my eyes had changed, and this caused light to be misdirected onto my retina, causing blurred images.  He gave me a prescription for my first complete pair of eye glasses, which consisted of two lenses in a frame.  When I tried on my brand new glasses, it was like I was seeing the world for the first time.  Everything was clear, sharp, and beautiful.  It’s amazing how acuity affects how we perceive beauty, and in much the same fashion, when it comes to love and marriage, we must have a certain level of clarity. 

 

The Lenses of Love

In no way will I even attempt to articulate the meaning of this vast and convoluted thing we call love.  Nor will I try to deceive you into thinking that I have attained a certain apprehension of the laws of love.  One need only pick up the treatise by C. S. Lewis called The Four Loves, to really understand how deep the rabbit hole of love goes.

I would, however, like to submit to you an unusual consideration.  It occurred to me, while contemplating love and marriage, that my eye glasses and my marriage have quite a bit in common.  You may be wondering how.  Well, they both have a frame and two lenses.  The frame of my marriage is love, and the lenses of love are compassion and calibration.  Compassion and calibration work together to provide the perfect image of love in marriage. 

 

The Lens of Compassion 

1 John 4:8 reads, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  We are all familiar with the side of God that loves.  We are constantly recipients of that love daily, even when we’re unaware of it.  As a result of that love, compassion is not a foreign concept to us.  When the average person thinks of Jesus Christ, and how he loves, the most salient aspect of his personality is compassion.  It is the overwhelming sense of wanting to help others.  Compassion is a sympathetic response to someone else’s needs.  When we say “I love you,” at some point it must love must validate itself by action.  In the frequented script of St. John 3:16, God so loved, and the corresponding action was…He gave. 

Our motive in marriage should always be to give to each other.  If each person in the marriage is primarily concerned with meeting the other person’s needs, then it creates an atmosphere of security in the home.  We should be able to detect when something is wrong with our spouses.  The lens of compassion helps us to perceive the void and then move into action.

 

The Lens of Calibration

The second lens of love is that of calibration or correction.  We all need recalibration at some point in our lives.  Correction can be a sensitive topic among husbands and wives.  Methods of correction can vary from external consequences, to internal resolution.  In the sphere of marriage, correction should be approached from the standpoint of calibration.  As a mature adult, we should consistently aspire to improve in all areas of life.  Growth must be intentional.  Relationships have an uncanny way of sparking growth in areas of our lives that would otherwise be inaccessible.  Sometimes, the only way we would know if a personal trait or habit was undesirable is if someone we were in relationship with brought it to light.  Certain traits may be harmless to you, but to others they can be afflictive. 

Marriage facilitates a certain level of correction or calibration, because it forces us to consider another person in all that we do.  Life is no longer all about you.  You now have someone in the passenger seat. 

My wife and I have a “No Judgement Zone” type marriage.  We are so serious about that until we made it part of our marriage vision.  We promised each other that we would always allow room for honesty (in love).  We talk about everything from what made us laugh that day, to what made us angry.  We talk about the things that we adore about each other, and the things that need correction or “recalibration.”  Since the correction always comes from a place of love, we both internally resolve to modify those behaviors within ourselves.  My wife is literally my best friend.

 

Perfect Love

Love is like a complete pair of eye glasses.  The two lenses are compassion and calibration, and love is the frame that holds it all together.  Correction without compassion makes the heart obstinate.  Conversely, compassion without correction spoils the heart.  When we put on complete and perfect love, we are able to see our spouses the way God intended for us to see them, as Christ sees us.  This is perfect love, and perfect love removes all fear. 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

BE

The Chronicles of Marriage Part 2: What Penguins Taught Me About Love

Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill.  This is the second post in the series called: The Chronicles of Marriage.  Please come back next week for part 3. 

Love ever gives,

Forgives

Outlives

And ever stands

With open hands.

And while it lives

It gives,

For this is love’s prerogative

O give, and give, and give.    by: John Oxenham

The concept of love is multi-faceted in expression and experience.  If you were to poll 100 people for a definition of love, undoubtedly you would likely receive 100 different answers.  Why?  Because we all give and receive love differently.

The salient differences become even more pronounced when discussing how men and women express love.  As men, we tend to get a bum rap when it comes to understanding and expressing our love.  As I pondered why this was, and began to search out reasons for this paradigm, I came across an astounding model of love.  There is a fascinating species of the bird family we’re all familiar with called the penguin, which changed my perspective about a man’s responsibility to exhibit love.

 

Searching For A Soul-Mate

Is there a such thing as a soul-mate?  This question is definitely a hot topic of discussion, especially during this season.  I don’t really subscribe to the vox populi as it relates to soul-mates.  Most people believe that a soul-mate is a singular person that is meant for you, and no one else, and if you don’t find that one person in the whole, wide world, then you’ll never really know true love.  I do believe, in many cases, God gives us the ability to choose who we love, and based on that decision, we grow in love with that special someone for the rest of our lives. 

I am definitely an advocate for monogamy, and this is where penguins shine.  Generally speaking, penguins are monogamous.  Once they choose a partner, they stick with them.  Some species (i.e. the Adelie Penguin) even keep the same partner for life.  It appears that there are certain laws of attraction in play when it comes to choosing a potential mate.  We all have different things that we are attracted to, but there are certain common threads of attraction among the sexes.  Woodrow Wyatt once stated,

“A man falls in love through his eyes, a woman through her ears.” 

When it comes to finding a suitable partner, I believe it boils down two things:

  1. Prayer
  2. Attraction

These two things together act as a compass for finding “the one.”  Don’t make it exclusively about one or the other.  Utilize both prayer and attraction to guide you to that right someone.  I remember the first time I laid eyes on my wife. I sensed an amazing initial attraction to her that I couldn’t articulate.  It was like when I saw her, I just knew I had to meet her.  Our first conversation reaffirmed that attraction and the rest is history.  Thinking back to those moments, I ask myself, when did I know I loved my wife?  Was it a feeling?  Was it butterflies?  No.  Although these feelings were (and still are) present, feelings are fleeting; they come and go.  I knew I loved my wife when I chose to love her.  I believe when we mutually chose to love each other, we became soul-mates at that moment.  I chose to surrender to love’s work within me when I first saw my wife, and later realized that it was love in its infant stages.  One day my wife asked me “How do you know you love me?”  My answer:  Because I choose to love you.  I don’t believe in love at first sight in the traditional sense, but I do believe in love at the point of decision, which can take place “at first sight.”  When you choose to love someone, that is the most powerful aphrodisiac there is.  Choosing to love a person, just because you want to, is like Super Glue; it holds you together forever.

 

Submitted To Sacrifice

The penguin shows us a powerful picture of paternal piety.  Once the female penguin lays the egg (usually 1-2), she hands it over to the male penguin, and departs in search for food.  The male penguin incubates the egg carefully by balancing the egg on the top of his feet in a body pouch for up to 70 days. 

During this time, all of the male penguins gather together in a huge huddle and brace themselves for some of the harshest conditions on Earth while incubating the delicate eggs.  Temperatures drop as low as -40 degrees with shearing winds.  Huddling in a group is the only means of survival during this period.  While the female penguins are absent in search of food, the male penguins patiently await their return, which can take up to 2-3 months.  By the time female penguin returns, the male penguins will have gone a full four months without food, and lost roughly half of their body weight.  How about that for sacrifice?  This brings true perspective to sacrificial love. 

Sacrifice requires love, and love is an investment.  When we, as husbands and fathers, invest our love into our families, we reap love compounded, and this is one of the greatest returns on an investment.  Love always softens the blow of sacrifice.

 

Sensitivity To My Spouse

As a husband, I am realizing daily the importance of knowing my wife’s voice.  By voice, I don’t mean the tone of her voice, but rather the heart of her voice.  Can you hear what your spouse is really saying when they communicate certain things to you?  I encourage you to invest some time learning your partners love language. (Recommended reading: The Five Love Languages by: Gary Chapman) 

The 5 languages are as follows:

1.  Words of Affirmation

2.  Quality Time

3.  Receiving Gifts

4.  Acts of Service

5.  Physical Touch

When the group of female penguins return from feeding, they call out to their mates in the huddle.  Amazingly, each male penguin recognizes the voice of his partner when she calls.  He is so sensitive to his partner, that he knows the sound of her voice among the hundreds of other female penguins.  When we learn this type of remarkable sensitivity, I believe we will fulfill our roles as husbands, and become amazing lovers.

In conclusion, whether you want to admit it or not, your partner is a reflection of you.  You chose your partner based on your value system, because what you value is what you seek.  When you come into contact with that special someone who speaks to your value system, they become irresistible. 

Love is a choice, so let’s take a lesson from the penguin and choose to love for life. 

Feel free to leave comments in the comments section, and as always…

Thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Reference websites:

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/wildlife/animals/penguins/emperor-penguins/breeding-cycle

http://blog.farwestclimatecontrol.com/2012/02/21/the-romantic-life-of-penguins/

BE

The Chronicles of Marriage: Mastering the Art of Aloneness

Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill.  For the month of February, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I will be focusing on love and relationships in a series of posts called: The Chronicles of Marriage.   Please enjoy this first post, and please stop by next week for part 2.

So, it’s Valentine’s Day and you’re single…How are you handling that?

Your answer to this question can determine the time you have left in your single-state.  If you view being single as a negative condition, it creates an aura around you that attracts negativity into your life.  Instead of sulking in your singleness, desperately searching for Mr. or Ms. Right to show up and magically sweep you off of your feet, why not try your hand at mastering the art of aloneness? 

Yes…singleness is an art which, as it turns out, can be very sexy.  You have the power to be magnetic in all areas of your life, from your appearance to your personality all by focusing on, and developing the one person that you can actually control…YOU. 

Interested?  Fabulous…keep reading.

 

The Purpose of Singleness

Being alone affords you a powerful opportunity to learn all about yourself without the liability of another person along for the ride.  What do you like?  What are your pet peeves?  What are your strengths?  How about your weaknesses?  If you don’t know the answers to these questions, how can someone else truly get to know you on an intimate level?  When I say intimate, I’m not talking about sexually.  Rather, it’s about going beyond the surface of who you are.  You should have layers that make up the “whole you.”  Layers make you interesting, and those layers should reveal different aspects of who you are as a whole person.  These parts should intrigue and affect people every time they discover a new layer.  Ever peel back the layers of an onion without being affected? 

 

Alone, Not Lonely

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.   Loneliness is a negative emotion experienced as a result of a perceived void.  It’s an emotional flag that something or someone is missing.  Sometimes, this is a natural response when you lose family members, employment, or anything else of great value.  In essence, it’s a phase of the grieving process. 

Loneliness is different.  According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “alone” actually originates from two words: “all one.”  It simply means “all in one” or “unaccompanied.”  Think about it this way, when you’ve mastered being alone, you become self-sufficient, and everyone that God brings into your life will benefit from the wholeness that you bring to the table.  You have everything that you need already within you.  Spend your singleness developing yourself.  Just because you’re alone right now doesn’t mean you have to be lonely.  Get out and get involved in new activities as an exercise in self-discovery.  Take on new responsibilities and learn new hobbies.  Responsibility increases your attractiveness immensely.  Who knows, you may even bump right into your future mate while you’re out there living life and having fun doing so.

 

Adam, The Garden of Eden, and Aloneness

Food for thought: 

God initially created Adam alone.  Adam never asked God for a wife.  It was God’s idea to bless him with Eve, a mate suitable for him (Genesis 2).  Before Eve came along, Adam was just hanging out in Eden (which, by the way, means “delight”) doing a little farming, naming the animals, and just delighting in his work, when all of a sudden…BAMThere was Eve.  Aren’t you happy that God knows what we need even before we do.  I believe when we spend our singleness discovering and delighting in those things that we are passionate about, it brings life to us and others who are around us.  That’s why I love going to concerts and experiencing the arts.  There’s nothing like observing people in their element who are passionate about their art. 

Your Garden of Eden is within you when you learn how to delight in being yourself.   

 

Love Thyself

Just to clarify, in no way am I saying that if you are single now, you should spend the rest of your life alone.  That’s totally unrealistic.  On a certain level, interaction with others is vital for you to learn certain facets about yourself.  I believe that it’s the plan of God for you to ultimately share your life with that special someone if you desire to be married.  The greatest expression of love, is to love yourself enough to allow God’s love to flow through you to others.   

Remember:

“The secret of attraction is to love yourself.  Attractive people judge neither themselves or others.  They are open to gestures of love.  They think about love, and express their love in every action.”–Deepak Chopra

Let’s talk.  In the comments section, list some interesting things that you have recently learned about yourself.  What were you doing when you discovered those new things?  How has it affected you?  Looking forward to hearing from you…and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

BE