A husband’s gambling problem

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Sunday, April 20, 2014


Dear Cindy,

My problem concerns my husband who has a gambling problem. We have been married six years, have two kids and live comfortably. We keep separate bank accounts and contribute to our household expenses. Except for some occasional quarrels, everything went fine until lately when he resorted to pawning my jewelry.

Every time I have cash in the house he always knows where to find it (and uses it). He always says he’s sorry and promises never to do it again. But because of the many times it has happened, his words have lost their meaning. I’m getting tired of
hearing the same line. I’m not sure if there is still a reason to stay.

The thought of leaving him and having our marriage become part of the statistics makes me sad, but I feel that I have to do something for my sanity.

I believe that my kids and I can make it on our own, financially at least, but emotionally, I’m not so sure.

Annie

Dear Annie,

Gambling, like other vices, starts out as a harmless pastime. This must have been the case for your husband because apparently everything was fine at the start of your marriage. Try to recall and play back events of these past six years.

If it has come to the point where he is pawning your jewels and may have been responsible for “loss” of cash and household items, then you are correct in seeking outside advice. By outside, I refer here to his
parents or an older sibling or any person in the family for whom he holds a high regard.

You say, you’re “tired of hearing the same lines.” Perhaps it’s because his apologies and promises have become hollow and meaningless due to his lack of motivation. It could be that he needs a third party as witness to make him stick to his words. I really don’t know but it’s worth a try. It may help.

You think you’ve “done everything” already but perhaps it’s still not enough yet. You may need to convince him some more. Have you asked him what it would take to keep his words and promises? Ask him if it would need your including your two children even if they’re only kids.

Sometimes, children have a way of touching the heart that has hardened. Their mere presence or the sight of the children can trigger a person to be guilt-stricken.

By the way, who are his gambling buddies? Perhaps if he stayed away from bad infl uence it would be easier for him to stop gambling. Are there friends who can sway him to start a new hobby? Please pray for more patience as I most sincerely pray for you and your husband. Let this season of death and resurrection be an inspiration for you.

God bless,
Cindy

Life outside the seminary

Dear Dr. Dana,

My parents sent me to the seminary for my high school education. All through my grade school, I kept on hearing from my mother about her deep
desire for me to become a priest someday.

She even shared with me that I was a sickly baby and toddler. This is why she made a vow to her patron saint, praying that if I got well and became
healthy, she would make me take up the priesthood when I grew up.

I cannot remember when, how or what exactly happened. After my third year in the seminary, I felt that I may not have a vocation. The only
reason I went back to the seminary on my fourth year was my desire to please my parents, particularly my mother. I knew I would break her heart if I told her the truth.

My problem now is how to tell my mother that I would like to transfer to an ordinary school for college. I just want to see how it is outside the
seminary. It’s not really as if I’m totally giving up priesthood. It’s just that I want to be absolutely sure this is what I really want. That is, if I must go back to take up priesthood, it is because I want to become a priest, that I want it myself. Do you think my mother
can see it that way?

Oliver

Dear Oliver,

You are the kind of man who would make a fine priest, but only if that is what you really, truly, personally want to be.

Really, when are we parents ever going to learn to accept the fact that we do not own our children? Ours is to love them and support them all and
never to stand on their way in becoming their own persons. This would have been ideal.

However, I’m glad you don’t think harshly ofthem and rightly so because every parent has only the best intention for their brood. It just happens
we parents are not infallible. So try to reason with your mother, preferably get your father to make her see the wisdom of your desire to take a breather from the seminary. Also, you may get the school guidance
counselor or your father confessor to explain the matter to your very
religious mother.

It was actually not fair of her to make a vow to her patron saint to make you a priest in exchange of your good health. Nevertheless, I’m glad you’ve been a good son, so far, by trying to humor her as long as possible.

It’s about time she realizes that being “good” does not equate with blind obedience. After all, by sending you to the seminary for your secondary education was a stroke of genius. You’ll be the fi rst to agree with me
that the discipline and training you have learned in the seminary were invaluable and priceless.

Oliver, assure your parents and relatives that those four years were formative ones, which have equipped you with tools that will make you a better person. For what I gleaned, you are not totally abandoning the idea of becoming a man of God.

It’s just that you want to make sure that it’s really what you want. With this kind of reasoning, I’m sure your parents will be more proud of you.
The Church of today needs men with conviction and direction. God willing, you may still be the ideal priest that the faithful daily pray for—the fi share aplenty but the good fi shermen are few.

Remember: many are called but few are chosen. My prayers will be that you will be one of the chosen few. Happy Easter!

Very truly yours,
Dr. Dana R. Sesante

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 20, 2014.

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