Resilient Thinking

Resilient Thinking was written to inspire individuals who struggle with overcoming adversity. What this life-changing and inspiring book makes clear is that being realistic and maintaining a positive attitude are key ingredients to becoming a resilient thinker and successfully navigating through life, love and relationships.
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Resilient thinking is the cognitive ability to identify and embrace realistic and optimistic thoughts that promote growth and forward progress after facing adversity. The heart-felt thoughts that are outlined in this timeless and motivational book are personal sayings that have helped Dr. Buckingham and thousands of his clients to exchange lifestyles filled with hardship, disappointment and dread to lifestyles filled with favor, satisfaction and confidence.

After reading this empowering quote book, you will learn the importance of embracing realistic and optimistic thoughts; learn how to replace hopeless thinking with hopeful thinking; and most importantly, you will learn how to successfully navigate through life, love and relationships. As you immerse yourself into this book, remember that resilient people find solutions in problems. In contrast, troubled people find problems in every solution.

“Resilient Thinking: The Power of Embracing Realistic Thoughts about Life, Love and Relationships” is available now for just $10.80 at Amazon.com.

Click here to secure your copy today.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Buckingham

 

The #1 Reason You Should Have an Attitude of Gratitude Entering 2014

HappyNewYear

With a burning desire to establish and achieve New Year’s Resolutions, many of you set aside time to reflect on your past year’s lifestyle and overall attitude. In your quest to maintain a positive attitude entering the New Year, you express gratitude to God for giving you another year to enhance your health; improve your financial situation; to lose a few extra pounds; to restore broken and damaged relationships; and to achieve career aspirations.

Fitness, finance, career and relationship goals become priority and you dedicate your time and energy toward achieving these goals. Some of you will achieve some level of success by the end of the year and some of you will fall short. But what is most disturbing is that no matter what happens, many of you will always find something to complain about.

As an imperfect individual like you, I can relate to your struggle to maintain an attitude of gratitude. Unfortunately, the ability to maintain an attitude of gratitude is challenging because we get side-tracked by focusing on replaceable material things and lose sight of the number reason why we should have an attitude of gratitude. Life will definitely throw you curve balls, but it is important to remain grateful.

Here is the number one reason why you should have an attitude of gratitude entering 2014:

#1. You Are Still Breathing. Breathing is part of physiological respiration and is required to sustain life.  No matter what troubles you have had in the past, you should have an attitude of gratitude because you are still breathing. On a daily basis many of us take this very basic, but essential life function for granted. As you enter into and journey through 2014, please remember with gratitude those who lost their lives in 2013 at the hands of troubled and ungrateful souls.

Here is summary of six unfortunate and tragic reminders of why it is important to be grateful that you are still breathing:

Boston Marathon bombings

During the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2:49 pm EDT, killing 3 people and injuring an estimated 264 others. The bombs exploded about 13 seconds and 210 yards (190 m) apart, near the finish line on Boylston Street. At least 14 people required amputations, with some suffering traumatic amputations as a direct result of the blasts.

2013 Santa Monica shooting

On June 7, 2013, a killing spree by a lone gunman occurred in Santa Monica, California, starting with a domestic dispute and subsequent fire at a home, followed by a series of shootings near and on the campus of Santa Monica College. Six people were killed, including the suspect, and four people were injured in the incident. The gunman, 23-year-old John Zawahri, was killed by police officers when he exchanged gunfire with them at the Santa Monica College library.

Washington Navy Yard shooting

On September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis, a lone gunman armed initially with a shotgun, fatally shot twelve people and injured three others in a mass shooting at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) inside the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, D.C. The attack began around 8:20 a.m. EDT in Building 197. Alexis was killed by police around 9:20 a.m. EDT.

2013 Los Angeles International Airport shooting

On November 1, 2013, a shooting occurred at around 9:20 a.m. PDT in Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles International Airport. Paul Anthony Ciancia, aged 23, has been accused of opening fire with a rifle, killing a U.S. government Transportation Security Administration officer and injuring several other people.

Shooting of Renisha McBride

The fatal shooting of Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old African-American woman, occurred on November 2, 2013 in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. She was shot to death on a homeowner’s porch after crashing her car and trying to get home. On November 15, Theodore Wafer was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. Wafer has stated that the shooting was accidental and that he thought his home was being broken into.

31 American troops killed in Afghanistan

On August 6, 2013 a military helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops and seven Afghan commandos. Twenty-five of the dead were U.S. Navy SEALs.

I summarized these unfortunate tragedies to remind you that life is not guaranteed and to strongly encourage you to monitor your attitude. What you think about your circumstances and say to yourself significantly affects your attitude about life. As you navigate through 2014, please do not allow your trials and tribulations to cause or contribute to feelings of ungratefulness. As long as you are breathing you have an opportunity to turn wrong into right; to turn hate into love; to turn poverty into wealth; and to turn to despair into hope. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth”...Isaiah 43:18-19. All living things have the capacity for growth and adaptation. When you feel discouraged take a deep breath and thank God for breathing – this in and of itself is enough to be grateful for.

I have an Attitude of Gratitude because today is my birthday and I thank God that I am still breathing.

Happy New Years and Be Blessed,
Dr. Dwayne Buckingham

6 Steps to Reaching Manhood

Every young boy at some point in his life either realizes or is told that one day he will become a man and will be expected to embrace manhood. Knowledge of what manhood is provides the road map for living our lives and helps to shape our souls and relationships as men. However, reaching manhood is a very challenging task for many young boys because the meaning or definition of manhood is very subjective. According to Webster’s Dictionary, manhood is defined as the state or quality of being manly. Women and men alike typically associate manliness with being tough, athletic, unapologetic, firm, insensitive, competitive and dominant.

On my journey into manhood, I was taught that manhood is about protecting and providing for loved ones, wooing and dominating women and suppressing emotions that made me feel weak or vulnerable. With a lack of clarity or consensus about the meaning or definition of “manhood”, many young boys venture into manhood while maintaining “boy” qualities. They are groomed into believing that the possession of money and titles is what determines one’s level of manhood. This belief system is what has many young boys and men walking around with low self-esteem issues, feeling depressed, unhappy and insecure because they do not possess material things and/or titles that they believe to define their manhood. In order to prevent this unfortunate phenomenon from continuing we must successfully answer one fundamental question: What is manhood and how does one reach it?

Defining what it means to be man is very important. How can a young boy grow up to become a man who embraces his God given role as a Conqueror and Head of Household if he does not know what manhood is or how to reach it?

Here are 6 steps to reach Manhood:

1. Learn to Acknowledge and Express Sensitive Emotions

Embrace the role of a provider and protector, but do not limit your ability to express the God-given emotions you were blessed with. Learn to acknowledge and express sensitive emotions in your relationship and understand that you get what you give. Eliminate the “tough guy… I don’t care” persona because it will only distance you from the people you love. Do not allow this male dominated society to prevent you from sharing your gift of compassion. Be okay with showing affection so that you can develop a good balance of emotional and intellectual expression in your relationships.

Do not worry about what other men think about you and do not hesitate to express affection when you feel it. The expression of sensitive emotions does not convey that you are weak or feminine; it does, however, convey that you are compassionate. Understand that God created humans, both men and women, with a full range of emotions because He understood that men, like women, could not appreciate happiness without sadness, calmness without anger, laughter without crying, empathy without judgment, and love without hate. Recognize that expressing sensitive emotions is natural and doing so will enable you to share what’s in your heart.

Manhood is about being confident and secure in your identity. Demonstrate that you do not have a problem with opening up, particularly if it will bring peace into your life and relationships. Do not be afraid to seek professional guidance if your personal shortcomings are creating distress for you and/or the people you claim to love.

2. Eliminate Prideful Thinking and Unapologetic Behavior

Learn humility, give compliments and lift up others instead of tearing them down. Apologize when you are wrong and ask for forgiveness. Be mindful that stubbornness is a sign of insecurity. You should strive to address any insecurities you might have. Lead others to influence them, not to control them.

The Bible says that pride leads to disgrace (Proverbs 11:2); produces quarrels (Proverbs 13:10); leads to punishment (Proverbs 16:5); and destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Too much pride and love for yourself will distance you from God. Once you learn humility, giving compliments and apologizing to others will come easy.

Manhood is about being humble and secure. Demonstrate signs of identity security. Be secure in your identity as a husband, head of household, protector, provider, lover and compromiser. Always be willing to compromise and apologize to those who bring fulfillment into your life. A man who is committed only to himself will be by himself.

3. Set the Tempo

“You reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7). The seeds you plant (sow) will result in your harvest (reap). The quality of your harvest depends on the kind of seeds you sow. If you sow chaos, you will not reap harmony. If you expect others to do as you wish, exemplify that desired behavior. The old adage “do as I say, not as I do” is irrational. If you desire respect, then demonstrate it. If you desire to have others submit to you, then be willing to submit yourself. If you desire others to show personal integrity, then live righteously, admit your wrongs and strive to overcome them.

Manhood is about demonstrating personal integrity, fostering love and independence, providing guidance, and being accountable for your actions. To live righteously in this sinful world is not easy, but setting the example for others is important.

4. Surrender your life to God

Often we like to take matters into our own hands and rely on our own means, but God demands that we surrender to His will in all our endeavors. We must learn to walk in faith and know that God will provide as He promised. We must also remember that the battle is His and not ours. Being submissive pleases God and demonstrates faith. We were created to submit to and obey Him, and only Him.
Manhood is about surrendering and honoring God. Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to you. Learn to turn to God and He will fight and win battles for you. If you live by His Word, He will protect you. Every Word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him (Proverbs 30:5).

5. Forgive others for their Unruliness

God will deal with those who hurt, belittle, humiliate or disgrace you. Taking matters into your own hands displays a lack of confidence in God. He will judge and persecute all wrong doers. A heart of forgiveness is required of all God’s children. Forgiving others is not easy, but God requires you to do it. If you desire forgiveness, you must be willing to forgive. Refusing to forgive others is a sign of selfishness. God is not selfish.

Manhood is about removing despair, bitterness, and hatred from your heart. Jesus suffered at the hands of evil men and did not retaliate. He allowed his offenders to be judged by the One who judges fairly (1 Peter 2:23).

6. Put Away Childish Things

Stop engaging in behavior that is childish in nature. Boys throw temper tantrums – men process and act responsibility. Boys are driven by lust – men are driven by love. Boys break down when faced with adversity – men step up. Boys need guidance – men provide guidance.

Manhood is about putting away childhood things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 states, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child; I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

During my short time on this earth, I have learned that manhood is not about who you are, but how you live. Reaching manhood is possible for any young boy or man who applies the 6 steps outlined above. Remember that a REAL man does not self-destruct or harm others. A REAL man strives to improve his life and the lives of others in a healthy and productive manner. A “R.E.AL.” man embraces manhood and lives his life as a conqueror and head of his household.

Inspiration from the Heart

As I begin a new year and chapter in my life, I pray that God continues to bless and use me as a vessel to inspire and uplift others.

God’s grace and presence in my life has inspired me to reach out to individuals who are in need of a kind word and active ear. In my daily job as a psychotherapist and life skills consultant, I have been blessed with a wonderful opportunity to help others while growing emotionally and spiritually myself.

As I interact with clients, family members and friends on a daily basis, I have become more aware of individuals’ strong desire to be loved. As I listen to the struggles individuals face in their relationships and life in general, I challenge them to do some soul searching by examining what they feel in their Hearts.

The Heart is an organ that gives life to emotions and whatever a person feels toward others can be linked to the condition of his or her heart. With this in mind, I encourage individuals to strive to maintain a pure heart. According to Matthew 5: 8 Blessed are the pure in heart.

As I have grown in my spirituality, I have learned the importance of maintaining a pure heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

God created us out of love so that we can love. I have personally embraced this basic spiritual concept and hope that you will as well. Do not miss an opportunity to purify your heart and let others know how you feel about them. I am grateful that God has allowed our paths to cross.

 

Blessing Are Found in Opportunity

Does one determine his or her blessings by the amount of money he or she possess, the credentials he or she holds or the opportunities afforded by God to acquire these things.

I am blessed not because of what I have or who I am, but because God affords me opportunity.

I defended my dissertation today and I am proud to announce that I have earned the title of Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham. Blessings are found in opportunity. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to seize every opportunity that is presented to you. I also encourage you to have faith that God will make good on his promise, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope – Jeremiah 29:11

I am blessed because I have embraced God’s plan for my life and I hope that you will embrace what He has planned for you as well.  Each day that you wake up, you are given another opportunity to make good on God’s plan for your life…..please take advantage of your opportunity.

The Love of Knowledge

In my short time on this earth, I have learned that there are two types of people: those who love to learn through experience (wisdom seekers) and those who love to learn through study (knowledge seekers). I have also learned that there is a difference between knowledge seekers and wisdom seekers.

Knowledge seekers go through life with a passion to acquire knowledge, which is information, awareness, or understanding gained through experience and study. Knowledge seekers hold themselves in high-esteem because they have acquired information through their experiences and studies.

Wisdom seekers on the other hand, go through life with a passion to acquire wisdom, which is the ability to to use knowledge and experience with common sense and insight. Wisdom seekers hold themselves in high-esteem because they have experienced good and bad things and have acquired information through their experiences. 

While both types of seekers are learning, wisdom seekers are at a disadvantage. One of the key components of being wise is to apply knowledge and experience with good common sense and insight. Common sense refers to what is common to you, which means people will typically engage in behavior that is common to them (good or bad). Therefore, insight which is the experience of grasping or understanding the inner nature of things intuitively, is the most important element associated with being wise.

How does one gain insight? I am glad you asked. I have learned that life experiences alone does not make a person wise or give them insight. Individuals can go through life and experience things repeatedly, but do not develop insight into how to address or resolve their problems.

In the Black community, many of us believe that we have to go through something in order to learn or gain insight, so we fail to establish a sound knowledge base first. We often hear, “Until you go through something, you can’t tell me anything”.  This is unfortunate, but continues to occur because many African Americans believe that experience is the best teacher.

Many of us learn life lessons after we take the test. Vernon Law, a famous baseball player, once stated that, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson awards.” One of my friends recently made the following comment: “Going through my divorce has taught me how to communicate and express my appreciation”. How backwards is this? There are books and people who can help improve communication skills.

How many of you would be okay with individuals learning how to drive and getting their driver’s license without studying the driving guide? Many of you would not accept this because those individuals would put their safety as well as yours at risk. Therefore, in order to get a driver’s license we must study because there are things we cannot and do not want to learn through experience. With this in mind, I believe that knowledge should be acquired through study and experience. One without the other can prove to be very unhealthy.

I have learned that a wise man or woman learns from his or her mistakes, but a wiser man or woman learns from the mistakes of others. As I grow as a person, my love for knowledge grows as well and I strive to equip myself with proper knowledge by studying (reading the bible, educational and self-help books, etc.).

Now I ask you again, “How does one gain Insight?” The answer is simple: Study!

I take studying seriously because I have acquired knowledge that I could not have acquired through my personal life experiences. Also, I taking studying seriously because Matthew 15:14 tells us that if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

In closing, I ask: “What good is it to have lived and not have learned?” Do not live your life without acquiring proper knowledge that can help you live peacefully. Embrace every opportunity you have to acquire information or knowledge about yourself and others. If you develop nothing else in your life, I encourage you to develop a love for knowledge. The benefits are priceless. Be Blessed!

The Divine Gift of Listening

As a seasoned clinical psychotherapist, I am blessed with a wonderful opportunity to listen to people share their joy, sorrow, pain and happiness. Over the past two years alone, I have had 1,980 client encounters and have spent over 300 hours listening to family and friends bear their hearts and souls. Within the past fifteen years, I have listened to over 20,000 people from various parts of the world.

On a regular basis I am asked, “Why do you believe that you are blessed because you listen to others complain about their relationships, personal issues and life challenges?” After many years of engaging in self-reflection and prayer, I have come to realize that I am blessed because God has bestowed upon me one of the most rewarding, but challenging gifts known to mankindthe divine gift of listening. In my personal opinion, I believe that time spent listening to others is time well spent. Through active listening, I assist God in blessing others by promoting and contributing to their happiness, well-being and prosperity. In sum, I am blessed because I am using my divine gift of listening to advance His kingdom. Listening is not only a personal blessing, but it is an essential communication skill that has many benefits. From my professional assessment, I have found that listening provides the following five benefits:

  1. Listening Promotes On-going Communication. Listening opens up the door for on-going dialogue. Throughout the years, I have learned that individuals are more likely to engage in on-going dialogue if they feel that they will be afforded equal opportunity to be heard and understood. I have also learned that the quickest way to end a conversation is to talk more than I listen.
  2. Listening Promotes Acceptance. Individuals feel loved and accepted when others listen to them. Listening demonstrates genuine concern and interest. In the midst of life challenges, everyone needs someone who will listen to them. Feeling accepted is a by-product of being listened to and understood, not chastised or judged.
  3. Listening Promotes Obedience. According to the book of James 1:19-20, we are instructed to be quick to listen with our two ears and slow to speak with our one mouth. God instructs us to listen to others so that we can carefully assess their need and direct them in the right direction for help. God listens to us and instructs us to do the same so that we can be hearing aids for others. There is nothing more comforting to a person in distress than a person with a listening and nurturing heart.
  4. Listening Promotes Harmony. Listening to others sets the platform for developing mutual respect, trust and understanding, which are essential ingredients for creating harmonious relationships. Also, listening enables both individuals to be heard, thus contributing to increased opportunities for successful conflict resolution.
  5. Listening Promotes Personal Growth. Prior to understanding and embracing the power of listening, I was a selfish individual who expected to be heard, respected and understood, but put forth very little effort to hear, respect and understand others. Like most individuals, I often put my needs before the needs of others. However, through active listening, I have developed the ability to hear and relate to others. This in return has led me to become a more compassionate individual. And as a result of listening to thousands of people, I have grown in ways that I would have never imaged. I now know how to hear different viewpoints and I have found balance in speaking my mind and listening with my heart.

Listening is a fundamental part of my life and should be a part of yours as well. Remember that healthy relationships are developed and sustained based on individuals’ ability to hear others. I highly recommend that you listen to others with a desire to understand them and not criticize them. Listen more and talk less and see how your relationships change for the better. Listening breaths life into people and relationships.

How to Become a Positive Thinker

During my short time on this earth, I have experienced many things, and have been in and out of all kinds of relationships. Through those relationships, I have learned that there are two kinds of people: negative thinkers and positive thinkers. Positive thinkers often search for the good in people and situations. They are caring, confident, and respectful of others, as well as themselves. On the other hand, negative thinkers often search for the bad in people and situations. They are insensitive, unsure, and disrespectful. From the relationships in which I have engaged, I have learned that it is best to be a positive thinker.

My life experiences have taught me that I cannot always control what happens to me, but I can control my attitude. It is easy to be negative when we are hurting, discouraged and angry. Our inner critic makes it easy to criticize ourselves, as well as others, especially when our desires or expectations are not met. It is only natural to want to attack those who hurt us, devalue us, belittle us or disrespect us. However, fighting fire with fire has never proven to be effective. The attitude and behavior we exhibit today will shape our future. Therefore, it is imperative that we learn to replace negative thinking with positive thinking.

Maintaining a positive attitude is achievable and can help us view ourselves and others optimistically. To successfully become a positive thinker, we must adjust our attitude and behavior. If you desire to become a positive thinker who lives a joyful and victorious life, I highly recommend that you apply the five steps listed below:

  1. Accept Yourself and Trust In God. Accepting yourself and trusting in God is the first and most important step toward becoming a positive thinker. Do not fall victim to thinking negative because bad things have happened to you. Love and accept yourself regardless of your appearance, background, economic, social or financial status. Challenge yourself to objectively eliminate emotions and expectations that contribute to negative thinking. Remember that God did not create perfect people because He wants you to trust in Him. Meditating on His word can help you become a positive thinker: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – Philippians 4:13; “With God in my life, all things are possible” – Matthew 19:26; If God be for us, who can be against us”- Romans 8:31; and “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” – Isaiah 40:29.
  2. Identify Distortions in Your Thinking. Faulty thinking is unhealthy for you. Examples: “I cannot make it, my life will always be bad, I am not worthy of being loved and all people are bad”. What you feel and tell yourself is not always accurate. Therefore, identifying and eliminating negative attitudes is the second step toward becoming a positive thinker.
  3. Identify Your Strengths. Identify your strengths and establish an accurate list of them and your resources is the third step toward becoming a positive thinker. Do this to empower yourself so that you can take control of yourself and life. Review your list daily to remind yourself of your strengths. Knowing what your strengths are can propel you to use them in situations that can build your self-esteem which in return can foster positive thinking.
  4. Hangout with Positive People. The fourth step to becoming a positive thinker is very important. Surround yourself with positive individuals who breathe life into you. The quickest way to develop and maintain a negative attitude is to hang around negative people. Remember that negativity begets negativity. If possible, avoid negative people at all cost. Their negative energy can and will deplete you. Identify positive thinking people and ask them to support you in changing your negative thinking.
  5. Reinforce Healthy Self-talk. If you want to become a positive thinker you must comply with the fifth and final step which is to learn to use positive affirmations to reinforce healthy self-talk. Examples: “I can do whatever I put my mind to; Life is a chess game and I am the King; and I will not give up until I achieve the result I desire.” Do not totally depend on others to build you up or change your thinking. Become a positive thinker by feeding your soul with healthy self-talk and learning to be your own enforcer.

Your way of thinking affects every phase of your life, including your relationships. Therefore, looking for the good in yourself and others should become a habit. A habit is a point where desire, knowledge, and skill meet. Take time to learn about other people by being active, looking for common ground, assuming differences in meaning, and looking for individuals, not group representatives. Doing the latter will enable you to maintain a positive attitude. If you take nothing else from this newsletter, please remember that happiness in life begins with your attitude. So I ask that you do not allow negative thinking to rob you of the happiness you deserve! Become a positive thinker and see how your life changes for the best.

Ask Dr. Buckingham – My Husband Impregnated a Hood Rat: Can Our Marriage Survive?

Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I have been married for 20 years. We have two daughters. My husband cheated on me with someone that I believe has low standards. (Hood Rat) I found out 4 years ago because she sent me a nasty letter giving me details of their sexual encounters. I was crushed! Who I thought was my best friend had become my enemy, not my husband. He apologized and assured me it was over… I wasn’t trusting. I didn’t sleep in same bed with him. I felt like he was back at it within the year.

Just this past Wednesday I opened a letter to him from DSS. He has paid child support for the past 4 years. I am broken. He says all he does is pay support… I don’t know what to believe anymore. I am not a dumb person but I really feel dumb today. I haven’t talked to anyone about this (not a friend or family member) only you after searching the web. I wanted a black males view on this situation, after viewing your feedback to others I was persuaded!

His word means nothing to me. I feel he can tell me anything and if it’s not her again it can be someone else as soon as I give in. He’s only sorry because he was caught. He told me he didn’t want his family bothered with the situation and was handling things on his own. Now he is acting like a family man by hanging around me wanting to go out to dinner just the two of us. (Never do, etc.).

I am a good mom and wife and I don’t deserve this.

My Husband Impregnated a Hood Rat: Can Our Marriage Survive?

Broken Wife

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Dear Broken Wife,

You are correct…you do not deserve this. In fact, no one does. I truly empathize with you and your dilemma. I can only image what you are thinking: Do you walk away from 20 years of marriage, separate your daughters from their father and try to start over. As a Christian, “I am not an advocate of divorce”. However, I am also not advocate of infidelity, deception and distrustful behavior. Let me offer two perspectives that might answer your question.

Perspective #1: God Can Fix All Things

My Christian and spiritual heart says that your marriage can survive because God can fix all things. My whole life I have heard people say that God can take the impossible and make it possible. I have seen marriages that not only survived infidelity, but thrived afterward. When this happens I believe that God had his hands in these marriages. He can rebuild and restore because he is a God of mercy and forgiveness.

If you look at your husband through your troubled and heart-broken eyes, you will see a man who is deceptive, untrustworthy, broken and unworthy. However if you look at your husband the way God does, you will see a man who is imperfect and capable of sinning and inflicting pain. Your perspective will determine how you cope. Sin is sin, but we look at infidelity as a death sentence as it relates to marriage. As human beings walking in the flesh we strive to be God like, but often come up short.

When I speak of God I speak from my heart and spirit. Be mindful that God is merciful. If your marriage is to survive, you have to treat your husband gracefully as God would treat you if you sinned. Pray for forgiveness and compassion so that you can heal and have clarity about your marriage. Turning to God is not about loving blindly, but it is about seeking discernment. Pray about the infidelity so that you can know what to do about it. Stay prayed up so that you can stay lifted up.

Perspective #2: Do not Obsess and Fight Over the Infidelity  

What is done is done. Allow yourself time to grieve in a healthy manner, but do not obsess and fight over the infidelity. Express how you feel to your husband and have a thorough conversation about how to move forward. This behavior will allow peace to be present in your home. When you have the urge to attack your husband, reach out to someone who you can help you process your anger. A professional therapist like myself can help you work through your emotions. Be mindful that if you constantly obsess and fight over the infidelity, your marriage will probably not survive. If you want your marriage to survive focus on things that can help you sustain it. Learn from your pain so that you do not become a victim of it. Take care of yourself so that your goodness does not turn into bitterness. What you harbor in your heart will shape your destiny.

Whatever you do, do not allow anyone to make the decision for you. Also, be mindful of who you receive advice from. As you may have noticed, I did not comment much about your husband’s inappropriate behavior. This is intentional because I believe that your ability to make a sound decision will come from within. Your husband can say and do all the right things, but it will not matter unless you are ready and can move forward.

Be firm with your husband about what you expect and observe his behavior. If you cannot forgive him then you might need to consider walking away. Also you might have to learn to trust yourself again. When we are betrayed it is natural to question our judgment and ourselves. If you would like to receive coaching, please visit my website: www.drbuckingham.com or send me an email to Dwayne@realhorizonsdlb.com. Also, I will be conducting a webinar entitled, Unconditional Love: How to Make Your Marriage Last Forever on Thursday November 19 at 9:00 pm. Click here to register.
Best regards,
Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

Ask Dr. Buckingham – Can God Change the Heart of an Abusive Husband?

Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I’ve just read your article about restoring trust. I am currently separated from my husband for the second time we’ve been married for 3 years and in January of 2014 he almost killed me by strangulation. In July of 2014 we attempted to reconcile. However, truthfully there are no boundaries set prior to him coming back home. The weekend leading up to our 2nd anniversary I actually felt really intimidated by something that he did. He raised his voice at me in front of others at my church and telling me to find a way home after he was apparently frustrated that I wasn’t moving fast enough to leave church. That in return brought back memories or feelings that left me feeling really uneasy. I asked him to leave again (the initial separation had to be done by law enforcement and through an order of protection). We are still separated, but just recently begin communicating more. I have never stopped praying, but it concerns me that my feelings, trust, and respect for him are still very minimal.

He speaks of us getting back together often. I am NOT totally against it however I don’t have peace about it. My faith has me holding on with the understanding that God can restore. So I’m pretty much just praying and waiting it out. Any advice or suggestions would be very helpful. In all honesty I don’t see how it can be restored after everything that I’ve experienced with him. There is so much more other then the physical violence: there is dishonesty, sneakiness and a host of other things that I have experienced with him. I don’t want to disclose all of them here because I still possess great concern and my life is involved in this.

Can God Change the Heart of an Abusive Husband?

I certainly look forward to your reply. Thank you and God bless

Mrs. Faithful

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Dear Mrs. Faithful,

There are a lot of people who would praise you for sticking with your husband and trying to work things out because of your marriage vows. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who would tell you to leave immediately and never look back.
Before I provide insight about your marriage and husband, I am going to start off by encouraging you to seek professional counseling immediately. James 2:14-26 reminds us that Faith Without Works is Dead. There are many ways of interpreting the scripture and my thoughts are this: your faith in God is noteworthy, but unfortunately a damaged mind, heart and soul cannot be healed through prayer alone. I believe that we are justified by our work, not by our faith alone. God created Psychotherapists like myself to help people work through their psychological troubles.

I hear a lot of Christians talk about praying and waiting on signs from God. The problem with this thinking is that most do not know how to discern the right kinds of signs from the wrong kinds of signs. Which signs should you pay attention to: the signs that indicates that your marriage can be saved because your husband wants to get back together or the signs that indicates a troubled heart because you still have minimal trust and respect for your husband.

I believe that we focus on the signs that our family and friends encourage to focus on. Your church family is probably encouraging you to pray for your marriage and your husband and God will work things out.  However, they may not be equipped or trained to help you understand or cope with the long-term psychological implications of the abuse that you have already experienced and will probably continue to experience at the hands of your husband. This is why you need to do more than pray. Please seek professional help for safety guidance and psychological support.

Now to answer your question! God gave every man the gift of free will. Given this, I believe that God provides us with what we need, but allows us to make our own decisions. Your husband’s heart can be changed only if decides that he wants to do the work. This work involves getting professional counseling, establishing a “serious and genuine” relationship with God and learning how to love himself. He cannot love you until he learns how to love himself. I believe that people who abuse others are projecting internalized hate and trouble outwardly. Do not believe or convince yourself that you can change your husband. His heart has to be transformed from within. He has to want it and work for it. Change is a personal journey.

Best regards,
Dr. Buckingham

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Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.