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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

A Word on Marriage

In Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, Values on February 27, 2015 at 7:51 am

same sex marriage vs. constitutionGary Boyd

A Fox News article titled Judge defies Texas law to wed same-sex couple under one-time order discusses a case out of Texas, where a judge ruled in favor of a same-sex couple receiving a marriage license. The ruling was made due to health concerns that may preclude the couple from seeing final resolution on the same-sex marriage question, the answer to which is expected this spring when the question goes before the United States Supreme Court.

Many aspects of this case could be discussed, including the place of a state court in such a matter, relative to federal courts, the sickening sentimentality that carried the decision, and the possibility of a precedent having been set for same-sex couples who can show exposure to a life-threatening condition. A review of the most basic principle that is violated by the same-sex marriage issue seems in order, as additional leaks in the dam spring forth in ever-greater abundance as the time nears when the U.S. Supreme Court will either shore up those leaks, or obliterate the dam.

Perhaps in no country throughout the entire span of the Earth’s history has as much been said about the rights of humankind that in the United States of America. A denial of the right to representation when confronted with increased taxation fomented, arguably, the Revolutionary War. Our Constitution, the ultimate law of the land, would never have been adopted without the guaranty of its first several amendments, commonly called the Bill of Rights. Since then, all kinds of rights have been championed and gain for citizens generally or specific societal demographics previously deprived.

Rights, however, represent only half of a two-part, mutually-dependent system. We see the second part, rarely, if ever, showcased in public discourse: the companion principle of obligation. What is the implication of the theory of rights and obligations when applied to same-sex marriage? If one has a right to marry, another has an obligation to recognize the marriage. Though plenty of emotional, ill-reasoned rhetoric supports the supposed right of same-sex couples to marry, nothing proves an obligation upon others to recognize the marriage.

Insisting on encumbering those opposed to same-sex marriage with an obligation to recognize the repugnant institution violates the most basic, God-given right of liberty. On commercial, religious, and even social levels, citizens everywhere would be obligated to suppress their individual consciences by dealing with those whom they morally oppose, leading America on to repeat the history described by General Douglas MacArthur:

History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster. (Manchester, William. American Caesar. Annapolis, MD, Naval Institute Press.)

I am grateful for marriages where religious conscience plays a major role in the relationship, and in the rearing of children. Such a blessed institution constitutes the fabric of society, and provides for all that is good that our nation enjoys, stabilizing and moralizing both nations and individuals.

No, Mama, Money Can’t Buy My Love

In Child Development, Drug Use, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values, working mothers on February 26, 2015 at 9:19 am

dad and son playing chessElise Ellsworth

Christian preacher and theologian Peter Marshall once counseled a couple whose family was being ripped apart by excessive materialism – “What good is a beautiful house,” he asked, “filled with expensive furniture, if there isn’t any love between those who live inside the house? What good are expensive clothes and beautiful adornment if there aren’t love, contentment, and happiness in the hearts of the people wearing the clothes?” (A Man Called Peter, 143). These are questions worthy of our consideration in today’s increasingly materialistic world.

The modern quest for more and better stuff has taken a toll on the family. Studies show that materialism is harmful to happiness, to marriages and to children. Of course, a certain amount of material things are necessary to our physical and spiritual wellbeing. And there are some very good parents – my own included – who have been blessed materially. However, the addictive covetousness of “keeping up with the Joneses” has caused many adults to work longer hours and to spend more time in consumption activities. In the process, they have neglected their families. Name brand clothing, fancy cars, restaurant food, expensive furnishings and electronic gadgets are poor substitutes for eating, talking, listening, recreating, learning, laughing and playing with our children.

One example of a place where this destructive cycle of consumption has taken its toll is the country of Great Britain. In 2007, a UNICEF survey of child welfare ranked Great Britain at the bottom of industrialized countries.

The study found that British children were two times more likely to have been drunk by the age of fifteen and significantly less likely to be in two parent families than children elsewhere. They were also more likely to have tried drugs and had one of the worst diets in the developed world.

A follow up survey in 2011 found that British parents were failing in large part because of obsessive materialism. They spent long hours away from home in the quest to provide more material goods for their family. Meanwhile, their children were being raised by poor parental substitutes – including television and digital media.

The author of the 2011 study, Agnes Nairn, discovered that: “While children would prefer time with their parents to heaps of consumer goods, [their] parents seem to find themselves under tremendous pressure to purchase a surfeit of material goods for their children.” This pressure left parents “too tired” for time together with their families.

The British are not the only ones trapped by compulsive materialism. Many of us in today’s world have fallen prey to the false notion that buying more things will increase our happiness. Have all these things that we are seeking bought us anything but a hollow empty place in our souls? We cannot buy true friendship. We cannot buy love.

What are some nonmaterial things that we can give our children and families? Here are some ideas from a list compiled by veteran teacher Erin Kurt, who asked students in classrooms across the world what they appreciated about their parents: “Tuck your children in at bedtime. Sing them a song. Hug and kiss them. Tell them that you love them. Talk with them privately. Discipline your children. Leave special messages on their pillows or in their lunch bag.” Your time will mean far more to them than anything you can buy. And it won’t cost you a dollar.

Who Should Provide the Care?

In Birth Rate, Breastfeeding, Child Development, Courts, Diane Robertson, Families, Family Planning, father, Government, Health Care, Human Rights, Marriage, motherhood, Parental Rights, Parenting, Single Mothers, The Family, Values, Women's Rights, working mothers on February 25, 2015 at 7:43 am

pregnant and workingDiane Robertson

Last December the Supreme Court heard arguments about the workplace and pregnancy. A pregnant employee wanted UPS to accommodate her pregnancy by switching her to a job where she would not have to lift heavy packages. UPS refused, so the woman took unpaid leave while keeping her health insurance, and later sued in federal court stating that the UPS didn’t adhere to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

In my home state, a bill has come before the legislature asking that pregnancy and breast feeding be included in the state non-discrimination law. Again the question becomes how much should employers do to accommodate pregnancy and breast feeding.

Along the same lines as the UPS case, new science is warning about the necessity of prenatal care and the possibility that a stressful job during pregnancy could cause a lifetime of health problems for the unborn child.

As the mother of 10 children. I fully understand that pregnant and breast feeding women need care and accommodation. It takes a lot of energy and nutrition to build a person. But who should care for and accommodate women and their children?

The question comes down to this: should the government mandate the care of the mother and baby to the woman’s employer? To me this question is not one of rights and regulations, but one of families.

This week, I read a rather sobering article. It said that 54% of children will not be raised in a home with both their mother and father. Many of these are abandoned mothers left to fend for themselves and their children. The majority of families are not taking care of their own.

This question would not have been asked in the past. In the past, families took care of their own. The father stayed with the mother and worked hard enough to support his family. When a father failed, the woman’s parents, siblings, or other extended family took over this care. I think the care of mothers and children should be on the shoulders of the families.

Instead of mandating that employers provide the needed care for mothers and babies, maybe the government should look at other policies that have encouraged this adult-centric world where sexual desires trump the essential needs of vulnerable women and children. The needs are real.

What do you think? Who should provide the care?

Stress with Families

In Child Development, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, Religion, Research, The Family, Values on February 20, 2015 at 7:05 am

family holding hands 2Tashica Jacobson

Many joys come from family life. It allows us to be in a situation where we can give and receive love, feel fulfillment, and accomplish goals. But that does not mean that it is without its challenges. Having a family and even dealing with life’s daily challenges can be very difficult. Even planned events that people anticipate still bring their share of stress, such as pregnancy or weddings. While unplanned events, like unemployment and death, can be even more stressful. Whatever the cause of these stressful situations, families need to have the means to effectively cope with them.

In one of my classes my professor instructed a group of students to stand in a circle and hold hands; and then to remain holding hands throughout. He then went around the circle and moved different individuals to see how the whole group would respond. At one point he pulled a student back, at another time he pushed a student into the middle of the group. Each time everyone in the group reacted and moved to keep the circle together and to keep from falling over, sometimes stepping back other times moving inward so that they could remain intact.

This example illustrates how all members of a family are effected by change. One member may be effected by the direct pressure, but all members feels its effects. That is why all family members need to be aware and work together to overcome challenges as they arise.

Families need to develop the ability to be resilient. Family resilience is the ability of families to adapt and rebound to stressful situations. This quality is very desirable and allows individuals as well as the whole family to effectively deal with events. While resilience appears to come easier to some, it is a quality that can be developed in all families. It creates a different way of looking at life experiences, and how we view a situation has a large influence in how we respond.

One of the most basic models used to demonstrate family stress and coping is Hill’s ABCX model. The idea behind this theory is that the outcome of the experience is not only determined by the event itself but other factors. There are three parts to every trial A- the actual event, B- the family’s resources, and C- the perception or cognitions. All of these added together equals X- or the actual event. Thus A+B+C=X.

Some of the resources that families have are flexibility, connectedness, and social and economic support. When families view a trial in these terms it increases their resilience. Families can work on flexibility by allowing change to happen but still creating a stable environment and schedule. Equal partnership in marriage also allows for flexibility. Each spouse can play to their own strengths and still work together. When couples do this their children see them as united and the set rules that come from this unity allow for clarity even within the midst of a crisis.

Connectedness is “the emotional and structural bonding among family members.” Not surprisingly when families are close they respond better to crisis because they are aware of each members needs as well as the support of each member. Commitment also plays a role in connectedness, since members who are committed to each other are more likely to work to help one another.

Families fare better when they acknowledge and accept the resources that they have. And these resources can come in various ways. They can be community organizations that are able to lend assistance. They might also be social support in a variety of forms; friends and family are the most commonly thought of, but it could also be support groups or religious organization.

When families view their trails in terms of resources and outcomes they are more able to more effectively deal with them. This allows them to create shared meaning from the experience and grow closer together as they cope with stressors whether they are planned or unplanned.

What About the Children?

In adoption, Child Development, Families, father, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, The Family, Values on February 19, 2015 at 6:54 am

child 3Kristen Jan Cannon

I recently came across a letter written by a woman who was raised by lesbian parents. In this letter, her thoughts are directed to a Supreme Court justice, and she goes onto explain to him that redefining marriage in society will ultimately fail to protect the rights of a very important population in our society:

Children.

You can read her letter here. And I recommend that you do.

While it is absolutely justified that gay couples should receive equal treatment in regards to taxes, housing, and employment opportunities, changing the definition of marriage in society should not be treated as an adult only issue.

Because it is not an adult only issue.

And isn’t it the government’s duty to protect everyone, including the most vulnerable among us? Shouldn’t the government strive to promote equality for every citizen?

Are children not counted as citizens, too?

The largest scientific study so far on the effects of same-sex parenting outcomes was just published this month, in February 2015. The results? Children fare best developmentally when raised by a mom and a dad. Of course, this ideal is often not available in many homes for various reasons. However, one interesting point of this study was that even among homes where a single parent was the caregiver or stepparents were present, those families without both the biological mom and dad, still showed better results than the children of same-sex parents.

So if this whole issue is truly a fight for equality, what about the children who have no choice but to be involved? Don’t they deserve equal rights, too?

While there are no easy answers for this debate and so many tender feelings on all sides, let’s not sweep the children aside just because they are children. Because in this conquest for fairness, that isn’t fair at all. Don’t you think?

 

Who cares more: Government or Parents?

In adoption, Birth Rate, Child Development, Diane Robertson, Education, Families, father, Government, Health Care, Marriage, motherhood, Parental Rights, Parenting, Schools, The Family, Values on February 18, 2015 at 8:09 am

mom with sick childDiane Robertson

Parental rights come naturally from the conceiving, birthing and rearing of children. It’s not just a natural right, but a biological right. Children are tied to their parents through care and through genetics. Parents not only have the right to their children because they created them, but because better than anyone else, parents, and this includes adoptive parents, know their children.

Parents have an intimate knowledge of their children in a way that no other adult could possibly have. Some of that knowledge comes naturally through biology and genetics and much more from living with their children and associating closely with their children from the moment they are born.

Better than anyone, parents know:

  • Their children’s sleep habits
  • What they will and won’t eat
  • The typical contents of their diapers
  • How they pronounce or mispronounce their words
  • What makes them happy
  • What makes them sad
  • What makes them laugh
  • What makes the cry
  • If they are clumsy or coordinated
  • How they react to strangers
  • What they like to read
  • What they like to watch
  • How they act when they are tired, or angry, or hungry, or wet, or cold
  • What they think about the world
  • How they will react to different school assignments

The list could be infinite.

More than any other person in a child’s life, parents are at the cross roads. Parents are there when:

  • The child is born (duh)
  • Every or almost every medical procedure
  • When the child is ill
  • When the child starts school
  • When the child has a first date
  • When the child graduates
  • When the child gets married
  • When the child has their first child

Again, the list could be infinite… and not applicable to any other adult. In fact, no other adult on the planet cares about being there and knowing about anyone else’s child in even a one thousandth of the detail that the parents do.

For example, school teachers, who spend some significant time with children, actually know very little of these details of each of their students, and they will not be there at most if any of the cross roads of the child’s life. Think about this: unless the class is very vocal, it isn’t very likely that a teacher would be able to recall the favorite color or favorite food of each student. But the parents can without pause.

Scotland, however, has decided that parents are not good enough. They have passed a law in which each child in the nation will have a “named person” assigned to them from birth until 18 years of age.

This “named person” will be a health worker from birth until school age and a teacher there after. This means that not only does the “named person” have very little internal knowledge of the child they are named to, but the “named person” could change yearly. Oh and these “named persons” that will have some significant authority over the children will be over a lot more children than even the most fertile of couples in Scotland.

The government cannot do a better job at raising children than parents. God has already named two people to raise and care for children. They are called mother and father. Sure when that fails, it is nice to have an institution in place to care for children. But ask a child who loves them the most and you are guaranteed not to hear, “the government”.

 

Make Your Man Your Hero

In Education, Families, Gender, Marriage on February 17, 2015 at 7:38 am

Superman

Ladies, are you paying attention?

Nathalie Bowman

There is “one thing your husband needs, and it’s not what you think”, says Dino Watt of www.bizofmarriage.com. Dino is a relationship expert who coaches entrepreneurs in improving their marriage as well as their business. I’ve learned some great things from Dino, and when I read this article, I had to share it with you:

“The One Thing Your Husband Needs (and it’s not what you think)

by Dino Watt

Men Only Like Two Things, Right?

In most marriage and relationship blogs, when it comes to what men want, the writer usually says something like:

“Ladies, you need to understand something. In order to make a man happy, he only needs one of two things. So, if he isn’t horny, make him a sandwich.”

To an extent, this might be true. However, men are even easier to understand than that. A real man only wants to be one thing to his wife, and only asks for one thing in return.

This one thing is why wars have been fought over women.

This one thing will make men turn off the television (not just mute it) when you talk to them.

This one thing is so valuable to a man he will just about kill, either himself or someone else, for it.

Are you listening ladies? I mean it. Listen close. Lean into the screen a little more. This is all you need to know for the REST OF YOUR LIFE and you will have the man of your dreams.

All we ever want to be is your ……… “SUPER”MAN!

I’ll Do Anything… I Swear!

If we know we are your hero, your knight in shining armor, we will do whatever you ask. We will wear the Christmas sweater to the office party. We will browse Pottery Barn magazines with you. We will sleep in a bedroom that’s painted lavender with overly ruffled comforters. We will plant gardens, visit home decorating shows, wear matching clothes in a family photo,  and get up in the middle of the night when you hear something, even though we know it was the wind. We will be glad to miss the play-offs because your mother is coming over, and we will even talk to her when she does.

We will literally do anything and everything you ask us to do as long as we know we are your hero.

You’re probably thinking it can’t be this easy. Oh, but it is. Here’s the hard part for you. This is where you have all the power and yet, you sometimes fail to recognize it.

Why do you fail? I will tell you in a moment. For now, I want you to know how easy it is for you to let us know that we are your Super Man. It’s something small, really.

This one small thing will cement our place in “SUPER”MAN-DOM, and all I mentioned before will be yours…..”

click here to continue the article and find out how to do that ‘one small thing’ that will make a huge difference in your marriage.

 

 

Childproofing your marriage

In Birth Rate, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Polls, Research, The Family, Values on February 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm

marriage happiness with newborn

What to do to keep that marital spark alive and well…

Erika Walker

Most people believe that after marriage, the next natural step in a couple’s life is parenthood, but after I got married, the thought of becoming a parent terrified me. Not because I didn’t want kids or because I didn’t think I’d be a good mom, but because I was afraid of what having children would do to my marriage. Based on what I had heard and read it seemed that the transition to parenthood was marked by an inevitable decline in marital satisfaction. This scared me because I had a strong loving relationship with my husband; one we had worked hard to build together; one that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice to become a mom. So before taking the plunge of parenthood, I set out to learn what I could about the transition to parenthood so that I could more effectively childproof my marriage against my future children.

Decline in Martial Satisfaction

My first question was: Is a decline in marital satisfaction inevitable in parenthood? What I discovered was that not all couples experience a decline in marital satisfaction with the birth of a child (Lauer). A study of 250 new parents during their first “postbaby year” found that:

  • 13% of the couples marital satisfaction declined severely
  • 38% experienced a moderate decline
  • 30% reported no change in their marital satisfaction
  • 19% experienced an improvement

Notice that based on these statistics, nearly 50% reported either no change or an improvement in their marital satisfaction, which goes to show that decline is not inevitable.

However, the results of this study didn’t satisfy me until I realized that a decline in marital satisfaction doesn’t mean dissatisfaction, it just means less satisfaction (Lauer). And whether we want to admit it or not, satisfaction tends to decline whether or not you have children. Think about it, when a couple first gets married they are typically at the peak of satisfaction in their marital relationship which is why it is referred to as the “Honeymoon Phase”. Therefore, if the relationship changes at all, it is likely to go down. Studies have shown that the sharpest decline in satisfying marital functioning typically occurs just after the birth of a child (Lauer). But the average decline in satisfaction is modest and does not go down to the point of dissatisfaction for most couples.

Factors that Contribute to Dissatisfaction

Next I wanted to know: What is the difference between the couples who experienced little to no change in their marital satisfaction and those whose satisfaction declined severely? And how do I make sure that my marriage is the former and not the latter?

One factor that I found contributed to dissatisfaction in parenthood was the quality of the relationship before pregnancy and parenthood. Some couples who experienced a decline in satisfaction were already having serious problems before the baby came and believed that having a child would fix their rocky relationship (Lauer). The truth, however, is quite the opposite. Because parenthood requires both parents working together, parenthood has the ability to make a good marriage better or worse, but it rarely makes a bad marriage better.

Another factor among those whose satisfaction dropped was gender differences (Kluwer). It seems that the ‘postbaby’ decline in marital satisfaction is greater among women than men. This discrepancy has been thought to be due to mothers’ perceptions of a lack of support both from the father and social network, creating feelings of stress and isolation for the mother (Ahlborg).

The final major factor was lack of leisure time together. As with any relationship, a lack in couple togetherness, impairs the intimate relationship and makes the individuals feel disconnected as a couple. This lack of time and energy also contributes to a loss of sensual and sexual affection (Ahlborg).

How Can I Minimize the Negative Effects of the Transition to Parenthood?

  1. Preparation- Maintaining marital satisfaction in parenthood begins during pregnancy. Use the time before baby comes to strengthen your marital relationship and learn key parenting skills. The more competent both parents feel about their parenting abilities and satisfied they are with their marriage during pregnancy, the more satisfied they will feel about their role as parents and their marital relationship postnantally (Wallace).
  2. Father Inclusion- It is typical the mother and baby to build a close bond even before birth. However this bond can sometimes make fathers feel left out of the picture. “Both marital and parental satisfaction are likely to be higher when the father is more involved with the baby” (Lauer). Thus, it is important to find ways to include the father both before and after the birth of the child.
  3. Coping Mechanisms in Parenthood- Maintain a sense of continuity by continuing to do some of the activities you and your spouse did together before the birth of the child (Miller).Take time away from the baby (Miller). Make a conscious effort to express appreciation for each other, express concerns, and listen to one another’s feelings (Miller). Rely on friends and family for help, emotional support, and advice (Miller).

 

References

Ahlborg, Tone, and Margareth Strandmarka. “Factors Influencing The Quality Of Intimate Relationships Six Months After Delivery” First-Time Parents’ Own Views And Coping Strategies.” Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology 27.3 (2006): 163-172. Informa UK Ltd. Web. 7 July 2012.

Kluwer, Esther S.. “From Partnership to Parenthood: A Review of Marital Change Across the Transition to Parenthood.” Journal of Family Theory & Review 2.2 (2010): 105-125. Print.

Lauer, Robert H., and Jeanette C. Lauer. “Becoming a Parent.” Marriage & family: the quest for intimacy. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 257-281. Print.

Miller, Brent C. , and Donna L. Sollie. “Normal Stresses during the Transition to Parenthood.” Family Relations 29.4 (1980): 459-465. JSTOR. Web. 29 June 2012.

Wallace, Pamela M, and Ian H. Gotlib. “Marital Adjustment during the Transition to Parenthood: Stability and Predictors of Change .” Journal of Marriage and Family 52.1 (1990): 21-29.

 

The Future of Marriage

In Civil Unions, Cohabitation, Domestic Violence, Families, Free Speech, Marriage, Media, Pornography, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values, Violence on February 12, 2015 at 6:42 am

loving coupleValentine’s Day… Love or lust? 

Mekelle Tenney
On February 14th we will celebrate Valentines, a day known traditionally as a time to express love for significant others. The day is marked by school children passing out Valentine cards with their favorite Disney princess or super hero sharing a cheesy expression of admiration.

Older individuals will celebrate the day with flowers, candies, cards (most likely without princesses and super heroes) and other gifts of admiration and love. This year Valentine’s Day is also marked as the day that the widely debated motion picture “Fifty Shade of Grey” will be released. Fifty Shades of Grey (based on a popular book by E.L. James) has been rated R for “Strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language”. In short the story is labeled as an “erotic romance” a.k.a. obscene and pornographic. Ironically these events are both taking place during national marriage week.

Currently we are engaged in a nationwide debate on the definition of marriage. Surrounding the debate are many pressing and difficult questions.

What is the purpose of marriage?
What makes a marriage different from other relationships?
Why does marriage matter?
What constitutes a marriage?
Is marriage necessary in society?

In his article, The Evolution of Marriage, Ryan T. Anderson addresses some of these questions. He states:
“At its most basic level, marriage is about attaching a man and a woman to each other as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their sexual union produces……Marriage, rightly understood, brings together the two halves of humanity (male and female) in a monogamous relationship. Husband and wife pledge to each other to be faithful by vows of permanence and exclusivity. Marriage provides children with a relationship with the man and the woman who made them.”

Anderson’s belief of permanence and exclusivity are seen by many as outdated. I recently read an article by Andrew Koppelman, a law professor, expressing his views on what marriage is. In short he stated “marriage is merely a social and legal construction—the pure product of conventions.” Koppelmans definition of marriage allows the masses to turn marriage into any kind of union.

Koppelman takes his interpretation of marriage a step further and declares “that there are no principled reasons for would-be spouses to pledge or observe permanence, sexual exclusivity, or monogamy.” These beliefs, which create not a union but merely an easy and convenient way to walk away from morality, are based on selfish desires and have fueled the currently popular self-centered view on life.

Koppelman denies the existence of principles. The lack of principles in marriage allows us to entertain the idea that marriage is not about your spouse it’s about you. You are not obligated in any way to your spouse, thus you are free to do as you please. This is convenient, easy, and wrong.

Yet our society now embraces the self-centered life style where relationships are take, take, take. We have even idolized such relationships. 50 Shades of Grey made the top selling list in both the United States and the United Kingdom and has sold over 100 million copies. And that is a very extreme, dark, disturbing, and disgusting example of a self-centered relationship.

In the debate on marriage it is imperative that we recognize marriage as a union between a man and woman who have dedicated themselves solely and exclusively to one another. This means that both spouses have the same goal, to make their spouse happy. Unfortunately returning to this view on marriage will be difficult. Being self-less and exercising self-control are not things that come naturally. They require work, effort, sacrifice, and dedication. Everything that a marriage needs if it is going to last.

Ryan Anderson posed the question “Will we honor the most noble aspect of human nature — one that doesn’t come “naturally” but requires work and rules to make us flourish?” I believe that that will decide the future of marriage. Unfortunately this Valentines many Americans will choose to embrace the ideals of self-centered relationships portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey. The easiness and instant gratification associated with such relationships appeals to the natural lazy and selfish human. As Ryan Anderson pointed out, marriages create permanency for both husband and wife and any children that come as a result of that union. Families cannot co-exist with self-centeredness.

Achieving the American Dream

In adoption, Child Development, Constitution, Democracy, Education, Families, father, Government, Human Rights, Marriage, Schools, Sovereignty, The Family, Values, Violence on February 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

Submitted by Rebecca Mallory

vietnames manMy name is Dzung Tran. (John Tran Myers)

I was born in 1965.

Family of seven; Mom, Dad, three boys, and two girls. I am the second child in the family.

Before 1975 life in Vietnam was fairly good.

We live in a city called Da lat (South Vietnam)

We owned our own house. It small but its our home.

Mom and Dad had to work hard, but there always food on the table.

4/30/1975 was the day that changed our and all the people’s life in South Vietnam.

It was the day the Americans pulled out and the communists took control over Vietnam.

I was 10 years old, we abandoned our house and move further south to the countryside.

We became homeless and my father had pass away in 1978 due to over working and malnutrition.

The school system back then, all that they would teach was about communism and how great they were. They taught us that the Americans were the most notorious enemies and English and French languages are forbidden in school.

As for toys, we had to make our own toys from scraps, woods or mud.

The communists took away everything we owned and tried to make everyone equal. People and citizens didn’t own anything. The Government owned your house, your land, livestocks, even your furniture. The Government will come and take them whenever they are needed. You must obtain a permit before you can slaughter your own pig or cow and you must give the leader the best cut and a large potion of what you butchered.

Communists tell you who to believe and what to worship.

Vietnam is beautiful country, and the Vietnamese people are friendly and smart, we have lots of natural resources, but the communist doesn’t know how to use them.

Communists turned Vietnam into a poorest country in the world.

Nov. 1980, with 21 other people, my older brother, and I got into a small riverboat and left Vietnam in the middle of the night in search for freedom, a better life, and an opportunity.

Chance for survival was very slim. We could have been shot and kill by the Police or coast guard and our boat could sink or we could get lost at sea.

First night and day at sea I had no memory at all due to sea sick and passed out.

Second day Thailand’s pirates raided us. They raped women, beated up children and tossed men over board. They destroyed our engine, took our gasoline, food and water supply.

Drifting hopelessly at sea with no food and water. By the end of day four, a Malaysian fishing boat show up and offer to pull us to shore.

Day five we arrived to Malaysia shore. Next day they transferred us to a small island to joint with 10 thousand or more of other Vietnamese refugees. This place we call home for the next 17 months. Here we wait for the USA and other countries come to interview us. What countries were applying for will interview and lets us know if we are accepted or rejected by that country. Back then to me any country is better than Vietnam as long as it’s not communist country. Life here in the refugee camp was very tough, but we know its only temporary. For all this months I owned only one pair of pant and one shirt. I wash my clothes once a week at night. Food supplies was scares. (Very thankful to the RED CROSS) Once a week per person we were blessed with 5 gallons of fresh water, 7 bags of Ramen noodle, one lbs of rice, a can of canned chicken (the size of tuna can), a spoon full of salt, a spoon full of sugar, a hand full of soy beans, and a cup of cooking oil.

We live on an island but we were not allowed to go fishing. Finally, USA accepted us. Once we were accepted, we transferred to another camp in the main land. We were at this camp for 7 months.

Here we had to go through the health screening, getting all the required shots and processing paper work to enter USA.

From here we were transferred to another camp in Philippines. We stayed here for 9 months to learn American culture, American History, and Basic English.

July 1983 we arrived in Phoenix, AZ. The Government gave us a loan to pay for the airfare to fly to America. Once have jobs we pay back the loan. The Government gave us housing and food stamps for the first three months. With the help of the volunteer social workers, they helped us to look for jobs, school, churches, and foster families. My brother and I were very blessed. Both of us were adopted into the Myers family and that is how I have an American name and became an American citizen.

First year in school in the USA was quite an experienced. With a very limited English, in classroom teachers teach and classmate talk I didn’t know what they were talking about. For years, instead of enjoying life, playing games and having fun like all the kids that were born here in the US. For us, weekends and after school we had to take ESL to improve our English and the rest of the time busy looking up English-Vietnamese dictionary tried to translate my school works so I can (maybe) somewhat understand my school works and text books.

Five years later my younger brother escaped Vietnam and arrived here in AZ he too got adopted into the Myers family.

A few years later my younger sister also tried to escape Vietnam but unfortunately she did not make it to freedom. She lost her life at sea.

My mom and a younger sister still live in Vietnam.

I am very thankful and appreciate what America and American people do for us. America is a heaven on earth and you can make dream come true. You can’t ask for a better place than America.

With the freedom and opportunity you can own or become what ever you want to be. If you work hard for it you can fulfill your dreams. To me American system had been more than fair for me. I am so glad that I live in America.

I don’t believe that America is a selfish country. I felt that some time we got involved into too many things in the world. We sacrificed our people our money to fight for other countries turmoil.

We should put more resources and focus into our country to make America to become stronger, healthier, and safer for our children and grandchildren. We should focus more on better, higher education system and make it more affordable. Strong education equals a stronger country.

I am now married to a beautiful wife and had two beautiful children one boy and one girl. I have a nice house, nice car, and owned my own HVAC business.

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

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