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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rich Dad, Poor Dad; Rich Mom, Poor Mom -- A Tale of Two Couples

My style of writing is usually very personal, with names, dates, places and LOTS of photos, which at times borders on over-sharing, but for today, I will drop that intimate writing style and posting of pictures, but will just muse on things that have been boggling my mind for days now. I  shall write about them anonymously. I write this post not to JUDGE but to LEARN; not to CONDEMN but to ENLIGHTEN. May this post serve its purpose, that is, to look within ourselves to find out what in us needs changing and if we are really living our lives for Christ in our marriages...

* * *
Rich Dad and Poor Dad had many similarities.

Both were intelligent, charismatic, had many friends and were highly respected by their peers. Both were successful in their chosen fields - one as a professional, the other as a businessman. Both thought highly of themselves and would be even considered as prideful and arrogant. Both experienced great downfalls which changed their lives forever. In the end though, both were able to repent and offer their lives up to the Lord, but I am getting ahead of myself here.... 

Though they had many similarities, they too had many differences.

Rich Dad was married to an equally ambitious (if not more so) and very successful wife.
Poor Dad was married to a meek wife who let go of a promising career in education, to support him and his ventures.

Rich Dad was successful for decades, and was a great provider for those many years, only experiencing financial distress in the later years of his life, and even then, was still able to redeem himself as a provider.
Poor Dad was successful in his early years as a businessman , but after an economic downfall which made him bankrupt, he gave up on being a provider and was not able to redeem himself in that area ever again.

Rich Dad was emotionally distant from his wife, engaged in some illicit affairs, and was almost left by Rich Mom.
Poor Dad was emotionally available to his wife, but due to his gregarious nature, he philandered a lot, and that almost cost him his marriage to Poor Mom, many times.

Both were lucky though, they still had their marriages intact. Both Rich Mom and Poor Mom stayed on, for the children.

Rich Dad was focused on providing. He was actually great at it. For him, as long as he paid the bills, schooled his children, gave his family their basic necessities, he had already done his part.
Poor Dad was not as blessed with good work ethics. He stopped providing altogether after his business failed, and relied on his wife or some of his children to fend for him and their family.

Rich Dad was a good leader outside of the home, but was too detached and unplugged to lead his family. Probably, because his wife was too busy with her own life and career, to actually allow him to lead them. She was the epitome of the modern woman -- independent, self-sufficient, had no need for anybody -- but was miserable from the lack of love from her husband. Outside of the house, he was a great legal counsel, defending clients and winning many cases. But in the house, he had no voice. He even suffered from the disrespect of his eldest daughter.

Poor Dad was a "passive leader". He would share bright ideas but never acted on them. He would complain about the current miserable situation, but would offer no solution. He left his wife to do the "leading" but would never forget to find fault with her for whatever she did "wrong." But, he, by himself, after the financial downfall, did not take initiative anymore to lead the family. He was just too scared to fail again. Not doing anything would not make him fail twice. He would rather remain fallen.

Rich Dad did not have the respect of his wife.  He did not show her he loved her, and so despite all the material things that he could give to her and their family, she thought all that to be senseless. She craved for his attention and his affection, and finding none, found him disappointing and not worthy of her respect. She would even tell her family members and friends about how flawed and how unloving her husband was. She did not care if he was good at his career. To her, he was very uncaring, and she was very unhappy at home. :(

Poor Dad did not have the respect of his wife too. After the downturn of their business, he, with his thoughts of grandeur and prestige, never got over his "failure" and just stopped altogether. His wife wanted to be led, but having no leader to lead her, and no provider to provide for her, she resorted to borrowing money she could not pay; working abroad just to pay for those loans even at her old age; and eventually coming back home with all bills unpaid; because her husband was losing his mind from depression. She was also guilty of telling family members and friends about Poor Dad's flaws that she wanted God to correct, claiming that the Lord would bless them once Poor Dad "changes". No matter that Poor Dad cringed at every sharing she had of his faults and failures in front of others. What Poor Mom possessed was a great faith in God. She however had lost all faith in her husband. :(

Rich Dad lost his wife when they were in their early 40s. During her last year on earth, Rich Dad took care of her and was with her as she fought a terminal illness. Rich Mom said on her dying bed, "If God would give me another chance, I will fix my marriage. I will be a better wife." She was never given that chance, but she was able to finally see that her husband did love her because he was always serving her and was beside her on her last year, so much so that she realized on her death bed that, "He loves me after all..."

Poor Dad had many, many years with his wife although it was wrought with a great deal of hardship. During his last months on earth, his loving wife, as always took care of him, nurtured him, and loved him. On his death bed, he apologized to his wife for "abusing" her, in that he was never able to provide for her and their family anymore and just sort of followed her or  "ordered" her around. He also did not keep promises he made to her. He was able to say though that, "If there is one thing you should remember, please know that I love you very, very, very, very much."

Rich Dad still had many years to live after his wife died. He was still prideful, temperamental and detached even with her gone, but the Lord humbled him on his second to the last year on earth, when in his own words, he "lost money, stature and power." After that incident, Rich Dad turned to God and became gentler and kinder, from having been humbled by his material losses. He was often seen visiting Rich Mom's tomb in the cemetery, whenever he had problems. He was also able to reach out to his eldest daughter (who was very disrespectful in the past) and form a bond with her. They were able to patch things up and develop a special closeness before he died.

Poor Dad was humbled when the Lord took away his health. After that incident, Poor Dad turned to God and repented for his worldly attitudes. Actually, he was quite active in religious activities prior to his health crisis, but was still tied in bondages of desiring grandeur and prestige - remnants of an era gone by. Poor Dad, bereft of money, stature, and now, health, turned to God  for real, and became gentler and kinder, from having been humbled by the loss of his able body. What Poor Dad always had though was a close-knit relationship with his children. This was manifested even more, when he was hospitalized for a long time, all the way to his death.

What extremely bothered me, upon my recollection of these two great but flawed men, was this common factor: 

Both Rich Dad and Poor Dad were starving and craving for respect from their wives. 

As I have learned in this respect journey, MEN value RESPECT because that is their language of love.  We can "LOVE" them all we want till our hearts bleed dry, but if we do not "RESPECT" them, they still will feel "unloved". And contrary to popular and modern opinion, RESPECT within marriage is not earned, but freely and sincerely given to one's husband; the same way that LOVE does not have to be earned within marriage, but freely and sincerely given to one's wife.

But due to reasons mentioned and unmentioned, both Rich Mom and Poor Mom could no longer give it (RESPECT) to their husbands. They did not have it in their hearts to do so anymore. They were already too hurt or "burnt". In the end though, Rich Mom said she wanted to fix their marriage by being there for Rich Dad, but God did not give her that chance. :(

Poor Mom though very loving towards Poor Dad (to the point of treating him like a baby and not as an equal, and surely, not as an authority), admitted, she had indeed "lost all respect" for him, but had only agape love to keep her going. So much so, that even while extremely ill, Poor Dad still felt insecure of her love for him, despite her over-the-top, martyr-like, "unconditional love". :(

So many regrets. So many broken hearts. :(

I wonder what could have happened if both couples followed God's Order of Marriage. Would it have saved them from those man-made tribulations?

What would have happened if both Rich Dad and Poor Dad loved their wives the way Christ loved the Church? That aside from providing for his family, Rich Dad also showed love and affection to his wife? Or that, instead of being inactive due to an extreme fear of failure, Poor Dad stepped up the plate, protected and led his family again, regardless of the possible outcome?

What would have happened if both Rich Mom and Poor Mom respected and submitted to their husbands the way the Church submitted to Christ? That instead of competing with Rich Dad, Rich Mom acquiesced to his leadership, since he was really quite capable? Or that instead of going ahead of Poor Dad and ultimately, of God, Poor Mom, just STOPPED and waited on her husband to let God move him, instead of aimlessly tugging him along?

The husbands' roles are that of the PROVIDER, PROTECTOR and LEADER.
The wives' roles are that of the NURTURER, SUPPORTER and HELPER.

Interchange those roles, just like in the Garden of Eden and you'd have so much strife, heartache and discontentment in marriage; over and above the strife, heartache and discontentment one encounters outside of the home.

Fulfill those roles with all humility and with all eyes directed towards Jesus Christ and on His Fine Example of submitting to God the Father, Who was EQUAL to Him in every way, and one would experience freedom and liberation. It does not guarantee a Cross-free life, (for embracing one's cross or suffering is the only way to salvation) but at least the yoke is "easy" and the burden is "light", because they are God-given, not man-made.

Rich Dad's lack of affection for Rich Mom made her resentful of him, even if he was a great provider.

Poor Dad's lack of leadership for Poor Mom made her disappointed in him, even if he was more affectionate, compared to Rich Dad.

Nobody is perfect and nobody ever will be, but the Bible clearly tells us that in this already fallen world, with flawed people, we could make our burdens lighter in marriage, by following Christ's Commandment for husbands and wives, and by as much as humanely possible, not reversing the God-ordained roles.

Ephesians 5:22-33

New International Version (NIV)
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ultimately, it is really about focusing on one's own walk with Christ - a complete submission by both husband and wife -- to the Lord, while doing one's best to fulfill one's God-ordained role/s.

I have been mulling over this for quite some time, and my heart grieves for the regrets that everyone had on their death beds. :( 

There is really no ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL Marriage. We are all diverse individuals with highly diverse backgrounds and personalities, and we just make the most of what we have, but I really, honestly feel, that much of the regrets people have on their death beds, are due to not being able to fulfill their God-given roles or from not exhibiting Christ-like attitudes towards their spouses.

Husbands should LOVE their wives, and should be even willing to die for them, like Christ loved the Church...


Wives should RESPECT their husbands, and be willing to step aside to allow them to lead...

Because ultimately, each person is accountable to God for whatever role He had given us to do.

I am heartened though by the Parable of the Vineyard, that no matter at what time one is called to work in God's Kingdom (whether early in life or on one's last days in this world) when Jesus calls you and you offer your life to Him, you will still get your ample reward -- salvation. I am comforted by the fact that despite the many downfalls and regrets, both Rich Dad and Poor Dad experienced, both gave up their lives to the Lord. And in the end, isn't that what truly matters? 

It is true that : "...all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are then called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Learning though from the tale of the two couples, I pray that starting NOW, we will live lives that are based on God's Purposes for us, on how the Lord wants us to live. That, RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT, we will follow only His Will, and not our own selfish, worldly wills. That we be conformed to Christ as we learn and follow His Teachings, based on His Word. That we, like Jesus before His Death on the Cross, be able to say on our death beds: 

"I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. " (John 17:4)  and not be filled with

                                    "If only's".... :(

Life is too short! My fellow wives in Christ, let us decide to LIVE for GOD now... starting in our own homes. 

2 Corinthians 7:8-10

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

May we all be richly blessed!

* R.I.P. to Rich Dad, Rich Mom, Poor Dad. May you all rest in peace.


Feel free to comment. I would love to discuss things with you. :)