By Dr. Kim Logan-Nowlin & Arthur E. Nowlin, LMSW, CAADC
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Belinda and John met at a neighborhood party store. John noticed Belinda and was attracted to her, but Belinda was not attracted to him at all. John walked out of the store but waited patiently for Belinda to come out. When she saw John waiting for her, he approached and offered her his cell phone number. They talked, became friends, dated and later she moved into his home. Three months later Belinda discovered that John was a drug dealer. This frightened her and she wanted no part of his lifestyle.
Belinda wanted out of the relationship but John pleaded with her to stay and promised Belinda he would leave this illegal profession alone. Six months later, John was still selling drugs and Belinda was now expecting their first child. She did not want to separate the family and had no means to provide for herself and their son. Therefore, she remained in the relationship.
This is Not How I Was Raised
Belinda began to feel guilty because she was not raised to live in sin, but to live as man and wife. When speaking to John about her feelings, he expressed that he had not given any thought to marrying, but if that is want she wanted he would marry her. “But,” he said, “I am a man who cannot be faithful. ” Though she was certain at that point that she should have left, she stayed because of her child. She feared she had no resources of her own, so she married John.
Belinda knew that John had extra marital relationships over the years, but never confronted him because he provided for her and their son. John, finally after many years, left the drug life behind and secured a job working for the post office. One afternoon he left his cell phone at home and Belinda discovered several women that he was having an affair with. When she confronted him, he told her “ You knew the type of man that I was then and I had several women in my life.”
“We are man and wife,” Belinda countered. “Does that mean anything to you?”
“ No,” John replied.
No Options on the Table
Belinda sat in the room alone and cried. At the moment she bowed down on her knees and prayed to the Lord for help. A few days later Belinda was referred to me for assistance. We met and discussed her options.
Belinda stated her husband refused to seek counseling and would continue to have sex with other women because she no longer satisfies him. John wanted a wife to cater to his every whim and Belinda said she would not do this. She is now preparing to divorce John, at the age of 45. She has to start her life over again, still with no resources. The house, car and her real estate business all belong to him. John told Belinda she will leave the way she came into his home, with nothing.
After her first therapy session Belinda willingly returned to church, and is not afraid to start again. “ I never signed up for this type of life and I deserve better”.
During the therapy session I shared several scriptures and suggestions to assist Belinda on her new journey.
Scriptures and Suggestions for Guidance
“He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” Proverbs 6:32.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners,” 1 Corinthians 15:33.
When an individual decides to become involved with another person who is openly living a life of lies and corruption, you must be strong enough to separate yourself and dissolve the relationship, immediately.
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Tyrone and Lydia* have been dating for two years. He is a steel worker in a blue collar town and Lydia is a physician. The couple met through mutual friends and their relationship has blossomed. They both are Christians and are very active in their respective churches. The couple contacted me to assist them with premarital counseling. They want to fine tune any concerns regarding their upcoming engagement.
Tyrone and Lydia both feel that money is a concern and that it is factor in the relationship. Tyrone makes under six figures per year and Lydia makes well over seven figures per year. The couple has been arguing about who will pay for the new home, and also provisions for Tyrone’s two sons. Lydia thinks that it is not her responsibility to pay for them to have the lifestyle that she is accustomed to having. Tyrone thinks that in marriage the two become one in every aspect, including finances. Tyrone feels that Lydia is looking for a partner and not a husband. Lydia has no children and is very independent.
Should They Invest in This Relationship?
Lydia admitted she is afraid to trust because of her last relationship and that her last boyfriend was only interested in what she could provide for him. She admitted she is stuck in the past and is holding Tyrone hostage with her insecurities and feelings. Lydia requested counseling to find help with her feelings and her relationship with Tyrone.
Tyrone stated he seeks God’s counsel daily and does not want to have another failed marriage. His first wife was unfaithful and he was scarred deeply by her indiscretion. With Christian counseling for the past three years he is in a better emotional place in his life. He continues to pray and fast for wisdom. He relies heavily on his faith in God and his total desire is to please God. They have both made a commitment not to be sexually active and to remain celibate until marriage. He stated he would rather stop investing his time and heart in Lydia rather than continue to invest in her if their relationship is hopeless.
First, Lydia must decided what she wants from herself and from the relationship. Secondly, she must reconcile whether the finances are the real concern, or whether her fears and insecurities from her previous relationship are. Thirdly, I believe the question of whether she can approach the financial situation as a joint effort, not a separate effort, is a real concern. Tyrone and Lydia realize that they cannot move forward if these issues are not resolved.
Financial Concerns Cause Relationship Stress
Many couples spend hours arguing about what they feel matters, but at the end the day, it all points back to the lack of trust, respect and open communication. Family finance is one of the major causes of divorce. Disagreement over finances can tear apart the lining of of the relationship when one spouse may not be employed, or not contributing enough. Or one spouse may believe “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours,” an unrealistic and selfish way of thinking. The Bible states upon marriage, the two become one, Genesis 2:24.
Finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a survey of people in a relationship or partnership released by SunTrust Bank. Some 35 percent of all respondents experiencing relationship stress said money was the primary cause of friction. (Annoying habits came in second, at 25 percent.) Among respondents with relationship stress aged 44 to 54, 44 percent said money was the primary cause.
“Money really touches everything. It impacts people’s lives,” said Emmet Burns, brand marketing director for SunTrust.
Prenuptial Agreement Covers More Than Money
Lydia feared that if the marriage fails, Tyrone would be legally entitled to portions of her property. “I do not want her money but only her love and respect,” he said to me during their session.
“I may not bring seven figures to the marriage, but I bring something you can’t put a price on: friendship, advice, companionship, spiritual leadership and love,” Tyrone said. “How ridiculous does it sound for me to hold back on friendship, protection, love, and companionship and when we get married I’ll hold back sex? Do we sign a prenup on those concerns because it may not work?”
“I may not bring seven figures to the marriage but I bring something you can’t put a price on: friendship, advice, companionship, spiritual leadership and love,” Tyrone said.Tyrone told Lydia that she is only looking at the tangible things and that she is not ready for marriage. She said she never looked at the situation through those lenses and she apologized to Tyrone. She told him she values what he brings to the table, acknowledging that it is priceless.
Work it Out
Lydia and Tyrone both stated that they want to marry one another and they love each other. They will continue counseling to help resolve the concerns and Lydia will receive individual counseling for her fears about sharing her finances in her future marriage.
*All names and locations have been changed to protect privacy.
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Eighteen year-old Jenna came from a loving environment. She grew up in a Christian home and attended some of the best schools in her city. Her parents always provided all the advantages that life could afford.
When the time came for Jenna to attend college her parents wanted her to follow them and attend their alma mater where they met. When her parents drove her to school and attended the parent orientation, everything fell in place. It was difficult for Jenna’s mother to leave her only child, but they embraced one another and said good bye.
Soon after classes began Jenna settled in with her schedule. She began to meet new people and enjoyed the routine of campus life. One afternoon she was studying in the library when Richard greeted her and started a conversation. She liked him instantly. The pair began to spend a lot of time together and soon became very close.
The Day That Everything ChangedOne afternoon two men brutally assaulted Jenna as she walked to her dorm. They almost beat her to death and she was unrecognizable. The campus police found her behind a building on campus. She was rushed to the hospital and then lingered in a coma for almost six months. Richard and her parents would visit her everyday with hopes of her regaining consciousness.
Late one evening, and after much prayer, Jenna awakened and recognized her parents. It all came back to her–Richard, her close friends, and the devastating attack. She had always been an action-oriented person who set the bar high for herself, and this awful situation created in her a vulnerable state of mind, understandably.
Jenna felt helpless and hopeless. Her parents sought Christian counseling because they recognized she needed intervention as soon as possible. She was depressed and very angry that she had been a target of such a terrible crime.
What Ray of Hope?I hoped to help Jenna focus on the fact that she was alive, though she had to acknowledge her brokenness. She was mentally and physically broken, exhausted. Jenna recognized that she could have died, and, or could have been raped. She blamed herself for trying to defend herself to prevent the attackers from hurting her more than they did.
Jenna’s parents continue to care for her as she made every attempt to return to her school routine. She and Richard are still together and he has been very patient and supportive with her during the whole process. The counseling treatment provided
information to help Jenna understand that she is not alone.
Sexual violence on campus is pervasive.
* 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).
* Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
* Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
* 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.
After many months of counseling, and the police apprehending the two men as they tried to attack another woman, Jenna is healing from her own brokenness and was able to bring closure to her past.
What Closure Looks LikeJenna testified against both men and they were sentenced to ten years in prison. She is now an advocate against campus violence. As a volunteer to support other victims, and speak out against the violence, she is thankful that God spared her life.
Jenna is also attending church and Bible class that has allowed her to trust God in everything. And, she believes that God has empowered her to speak out to help save others. She is very thankful for her Christian counseling and being able to acknowledge her brokenness to become whole once again.
As she grows stronger, Jenna shares this scripture everywhere she speaks:
Phil. 3:13-14: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
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This article was written by Dr. Kim Logan-Nowlin for Message Magazine : Drama Files
Anthony and Tina were expecting their first child and had been married for seven years. They made all the preparations for their daughter’s soon arrival. One evening Anthony had to work late during a terrible storm. He was employed with a local electrical wiring company. Tina was home alone and was not due to delivery for six more weeks. The couple felt comfortable and Anthony remained at work.
While Tina was preparing dinner the storm knocked out the lighting for their entire home. Three trees had fallen near the house and one in the driveway blocking her car. Eventually, the temperature chilled to 35 degrees, and she realized she had forgotten to charge the landline phone. And, of course, she could not get a signal on her cell phone.
Tina began to get nervous and was becoming very cold. She knew that stress could cause the baby to arrive sooner then expected. Therefore, she tried to remain calm and prayerful. As she was lighting candles throughout the house, God reminded her of her favorite scripture Daniel 6:16. “Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” Tina knew without a doubt that God would protect her through this storm.
All Went WrongWhen Anthony could not reach Tina, he knew his home had been impacted by the storm. He left his job and requested that an electrical crew be sent to his home immediately. However, it would take several hours for the team to arrive.
Tina still did not know what was going on outside of her home and continued to trust God. Before Anthony could arrive the roof caved in and some of the roof fell on Tina causing a terrible impact on her and the baby. Tina could not move and she felt an excruciating pain all over her body.
Tina tried to move her body to remove some of the lumber off her abdomen. However, the more she moved the worse she felt. She felt herself losing all her physical abilities due to the cold and the debris that confined her to the floor. She soon felt herself having contractions and was screaming for help. She called on the name of Jesus and recited scripture to help put her mind at ease, but subsequently lost all consciousness.
Power in the Name of JesusShortly, after Anthony and the electrical team arrived, they began to assist with saving Tina and the baby. Anthony knew that they didn’t have enough time to get Tina to the hospital and he remembered that their neighbor was an OB/GYN. He ran next door and knocked on the door and providentially, Dr. Winston was home. He told Anthony that although was scheduled to be on duty at the hospital that night, he was unable to get get there due to the storm. The same trees were blocking his driveway.
Anthony told Winston the situation and they ran to assist Tina. They worked to revive her, and were happy when she rallied because she was in labor and needed to assist in the birthing process.
Winston directed them to call an ambulance because Tina would need to be transported to the hospital right after she delivered the baby. Inviting the electrical team to join hands, Anthony prayed with Dr. Winston, and for God’s healing power and deliverance in this situation.
Trust That Speaks VolumesWinston coached Tina while Anthony stood by her side encouraging her. She soon gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. By the time Tina delivered the ambulance had arrived and transported them to the hospital. The electrical team had removed all the trees so that Winston could also get to the hospital. Within thirty minutes followed up with Tina and her doctor.
Anthony, Tina, and baby Danielle were all doing well. Several days later Tina and Danielle were able to leave the hospital and during this situation they have become good friends with the Winston family and have been witnessing to them about Christ. Winston was so moved by Tina and Anthony’s trust in God and the circle of prayer that he wanted to know more about their God. And, what was behind the name, Danielle? he wanted to know. They wanted to name the baby after Daniel in the Bible, the couple explained. Just as he did for Daniel, Tina stated, “I knew my God would rescue me.”
Tina’s Faith StrengthenedOver the next couple of weeks Tina realized she was experiencing anxiety and contacted me for Christian counseling. She shared two points in her counseling session with me because of her experience and the affects of the storm. First, God has a plan already in place as He did with Dr. Winston’s inability to get to the hospital that night. God had him available to assist. Second, she noted, nothing catches God by surprise.
While we are worrying we must learn to trust and lean on God totally. Tina thanked God for showing her a new path of trust and faith. She and her family are all well and truly thank God for her life and the life of Danielle.
Tina wants to remain in counseling to help overcome her concerns and learn new skills and tools to develop her walk and faith in God. She now clings to a new scripture of hope in Psalms 91:15: “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.”