Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Great Lent Week 3, Billy Graham
Volume 8 No. 464 February 23, 2018

V. General Weekly Features

Family Special: Teaching and Showing Our Kids What TRUE Romance Looks Like

By Rebecca Hagelin

Cultural Challenge of the Week: Disappearing Romance

A friend of mine was out to dinner recently and saw an endearingly awkward teenage couple arrive for dinner, ready to splurge on a casual sit-down restaurant instead of the burger joint next door. They seemed intent on giving a "real" date - with actual, face-to-face extended conversation - a try.

Alas, not really. Within minutes of being seated, both the boy and the girl pulled out their smartphones and began to tap their screens addictively. It was obvious that neither person thought there was anything wrong with focusing on screens, instead of the other person, during an obviously early-in-the-relationship date.

My friend's story sparked our own discussion about why these teens thought friendship and romance would be better fueled by technology than real life affection and attention. Certainly the ‘normalcy' of electronic communication technology nowadays is a contributing factor. Technology-assisted relationships are the new norm.

But there seems to be another factor that comes heavily into play: teens rarely see their parents or close adult relatives displaying romance or affection towards each other. Aside from images in a video, then, when do young people ever actually see romantic, endearing, long-lasting relationships?

As technology dominates communication, even within families, married couples have fewer natural opportunities to set a positive, truly romantic example for teens, young adults, and singles of all ages. Young people today simply don't get a peek at marital romance in ways that teens did in the past.

My friend's parents used to dance in the living room when her dad's favorite song came on the radio. They would show affection - a hug, caress, or brush of the hand - in little moments, before dinner, exchanging car keys, or getting ready for their own time out alone. And I remember how warmly my mom would welcome my dad home after a long day of his caring for sick children as a pediatrician. I absolutely loved to watch my parents pour love and affection on each other in their daily communications. I've heard it said that the most loving thing a father can do for his children is to show his love for their mother. I believe that with all my heart. But how often does that happen?

How to Save Your Family: Model True Romance and Healthy Marriage

I've written previously, in the wake of the Supreme Court rulings on marriage, about how important it is for us to model for our young people a healthy, attractive vision of marriage. And to commit to fostering marriage vitality in our own lives. At a minimal level, this means seeking help when a marriage relationship founders in turbulent waters. On most days, however, our marriage "work" begins in little ways.

We need to demonstrate our love, commitment, affection, and yes, romantic feelings for each other during mundane moments, when we greet or depart from one another, and in the little ways we strive to please one another or to express how much we cherish each other.

Our kids need to see this. So do our neighbor's children, and the kids sitting behind you in the movie theatre, or walking past you in the mall.

"Romance" is too often misunderstood - and perhaps that's one reason that the divorce rate among older Americans has doubled since 1980. Media stereotypes portray men as either clueless about romance or sappy and weak. Women look for strength in a man - but strength comes packaged in different ways, including moral and emotional strength. Some men wear the "strong and silent" badge, without realizing that, in a marriage relationship, "silence" may generate distance or communicate lack of interest. Other men may think of romance only as a means to an end, a prelude to sex, and fail to show affection and interest in non-sexual moments.

Women, especially those who drink in countless "romantic" novels, may confuse romance with novelty, mystery, or excitement. Others mistake sensitive listening for unselfish giving, yearning for the "great listener" in that greener pasture rather than appreciating the giving spouse who serves the family day after day. And those who bemoan their lack of a "soul mate" may be overlooking the kind soul sharing their lives.

Think about romance as tenderness, affection, and attentiveness - the hallmarks of love. Certainly it spills over into passion, but it's not defined by it. (Interestingly, devout, churchgoing married couples report the most fulfilling sexual lives.)

Enduring romance flourishes when it's grounded in the truth - when we cherish the real person with whom we share our lives. Cultivate romance by thinking about your spouse in his or her best moments, remembering not only passionate times but also loving support or unflinching sacrifice. Practice romance by looking for opportunities to please your spouse in unexpected moments or unexpected ways. Be vulnerable to each other and empathize with the other's feelings first, before sharing your own.

Parents need to model for their children the importance of putting a spouse's happiness first, investing time in them and their interests, and making efforts to please and delight them when they are not expecting it or don't "deserve" it.

Invest in each other now (instead of waiting to make up after fights) so that you become better friends and better parents. Model marriage as a kind, generous, and romantic relationship, and someday you will have the joy of watching your children grow up to become caring, loving spouses - the kind of parents you want your grandchildren to have.

First appeared on

About The Author:

Rebecca Hagelin has championed faith and family values in Washington, DC and around the nation for some 30 years. She speaks and writes to encourage and educate parents on how to combat the negative affects of the pop media culture on their children. Her weekly column, co-authored with her daughter Kristin Carey, "Faith and Family: Hope for Every Generation" appears in The Washington Times, Townhall and other national news sites and publications. ...

Copyright ©2016 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

Family Special: What it Really Means When 'Two Become One'

by Jordan Sok

In early engagement, when I first began thinking about the idea of "two becoming one," I pictured it like the process of combining chocolate chips with cookie dough. In other words, the following equation:

Something Incredible + Something Incredible =
Something Super-Duper Incredible.

Yeah Right.

Now when I think of the idea of "two becoming one," I picture it a bit more realistically – like welding two metals together. Here's the accurate equation:

Something Hard and Stubborn + Something Hard and Stubborn =
Ouch, That Hurts

By "ouch, that hurts" I mean whatever metal being welded would feel like if it had feelings. Like "Oh, dang. This burns. I'm melting. I'm dying."

But really, that is basically what both Brandon and I secretly screamed in the beginning months of marriage. And honestly… sometimes we still do.

I think most married people probably started out like me in the beginning – we picture something amazing and then the pain catches us by surprise.

Before I go any further with this buzz-kill blog, let me reveal that there is a second part of the equation. It goes like this:

Ouch, That Hurts + Time + Turning it to God =
Something Even More Super-Duper Incredible

And guess what?

Something Even More Super-Duper Incredible >
Something (just) Super Duper Incredible

So fellow young married couples, and maybe even more seasoned couples, let's drop the panic. The end result of our union can actually be more awesome than maybe what weoriginally envisioned marriage to be.

It just takes a longer route to get there. And it definitely isn't painless.

What do I mean by "ouch, that hurts"?

I mean that just like metal that is being melted to fit with another metal, marriage breaks down areas of your life that have never been broken down before. And that process is painful.

It hurts when you realize that you can't spend your time the way you used to and compromises have to be made.

It's hurts when you are at the end of a bad day at work, but you are expected to come home and love someone else when you just want to be left alone.

It hurts when your spouse has done something to offend you, and you are expected to forgive them.

It hurts when you see things in your spouse that scare you, but you remember you made a promise to be committed to them for the rest of your life.

It hurts when you want love and attention from your spouse that he/she isn't able to give you in that moment or chooses not to.

It hurts when you have to admit you are wrong.

Two becoming one is not chocolate chips and cookie dough.

It hurts.

So is marriage even worth it?

That is, if your definition of "worth it" is to end your life more holy than it started. If that's true, then while there is definitely pain ahead, there is also growth and A LOT of joy.

Not a "he gives me butterflies" joy. That's not real joy- that's just happy feelings.

And butterflies go away pretty soon after the honeymoon when you fall in the toilet in the middle of the night because your sweet husband forgets to put the toilet seat down. Or you find his gym socks on the kitchen table. Or he keeps trying to scratch the "itch" inside his nostril…

Oops, I think I'm ranting…

Anyway, that's not joy.

I'm talking about the "becoming less selfish, more giving, and more like Christ" kind of joy.

And THAT is a fulfilling joy.

But you don't get there overnight. In fact, the ironic thing is you never get there completely. But when you follow the entire second equation, remembering the process takes time and involves turning your pain to God, you constantly get closer.

You learn what it means to love your spouse when he leaves the toilet seat up or she clogs the shower drain with her hair.

You learn how to show grace when your spouse says something hurtful.

You learn how to serve your spouse when you're tired.

You learn how to be fulfilled in the love of Christ despite the amount of attention he/she gives you.

And despite the hard, painful moments, it's one joyful, fulfilling life.

So pick your head up, young married couples. Just like metals, you have to be melted before you are completely fused together.

But after the heat cools, the finished product is unbreakable.
Chocolate chip cookies taste good, but as time passes they get stale.
A marriage submitted to God can only get better.
Give it time, give it to God, and embrace the melting process.

About The Author:

Jordan Sok is a 20-something writer, Christian and newlywed. Her personal blog encourages her readers to "embrace the awkward," because the way she sees it, a lot of "awkwardness" is simply feeling uncomfortable because something is out of the norm. ...

Source: Daily Update

Definiteness of Purpose

by Judy Williamson

In finding our Definiteness of Purpose in life, many people believe that at conception we were sent to this planet with a mission or contract to fulfill. The selection of this life contract evolved while we were still in spirit and was not simply handed out on an assembly line of humans. Napoleon Hill calls it our Burning Desire. Caroline Myss calls it our Sacred Contract. Storyteller and healer, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes refers to it in her story Seal Skin Soul Skin. The idea amounts to the concept that we are brought into this world in order to make a contribution that no one else can deliver. This contribution is part of who we are and why we are here, and we will never achieve long lasting satisfaction in life until we identify and fulfill this personalized mission. If left undone it will remain a hurt in our internal/spiritual selves and we will feel disassociated with the world around us.

In Jack Kornfield's A Path with Heart, he writes:

In the stress and complexity of our lives, we may forget our deepest intentions. But when people come to the end of their life and look back, the questions that they most often ask are seldom, "How much is in my bank account?" Or "How many books did I write" or What did I build?" or the like. If you have the privilege of being with a person who is aware at the time of his or her death, you find the questions such a person asks are very simple: "Did I love well?" "Did I live fully?" "Did I learn to let go?"

Each of us needs to find the treasure chest that resides inside of us and open it to discover what we are placed here to accomplish. As people evolve, the world evolves. By raising our single level of consciousness within ourselves, we encourage others to do the same. By activating our heart's desire we impact ourselves, our family, our neighbourhood, our community, our nation and eventually the world. These ripples we initiate align with others and eventually create the waves needed to change the world.

With all this said, you can now begin to imagine the significance of our path and how we do make a profound difference -- when we accept our life's mission and agree to fulfill it. Today is a good day to begin to explore the work in defining your definiteness of purpose that Dr. Hill calls each of us to do. Years ago, he understood that without a purpose and a plan to achieve it, 98% of us would be floundering in life. Dr. Hill has created the system called the Science of Success, and his remarkable work over decades is his contribution in making our journey less of a shipwreck and more of a profound exploration of inner space.

Be Your Very Best Always,
Judy Williamson


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