Dove with Branch
May 12, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk


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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, My husband has informed he has been having an affair and is in love with another woman. I have decided to divorce him and get a new life for myself. Now my husband tells me that he has come to his senses and is pleading for me and the children to take him back. The children want him back and I don't hate him, but I don't want to go through the pain again. For the children's, sake should I consider taking him back? - Anne in WA

Dear Anne, You can consider it, but it's not a step I would take easily. If you simply take him back without getting to the root of the problem there is a good chance that the behavior might be repeated. Make it clear to him that the problem that resulted in this behavior must be corrected. Start by having him go to counseling for at least three months. After that the two of you go to couples counseling until you and the counselor agree that you are ready to experience a loving, trusting relationship. Don't take the risk of getting together until you come to this point. Learn to communicate honestly and trust each other before you resume the relationship. If you resume the relationship make regular status checks and resolve problems as they arise. This is much more work to do than simply forgiving, but he must learn a new way of thinking and good intentions are not enough. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband thinks it's important what kind of clothing we wear when we are working in an office and representing our family. He often thinks what I am wearing isn't appropriate. He says he knows what is best for me and that I must follow his advice. I am sure he has good reasons, but I don't agree with them. Should I follow his advice for the sake of the marriage? - Karma in CO

Dear Karma, You get to be the decider of what you wear. Your husband may want to maintain a certain appearance or social status but apparently you have a different vision. You should consider his concerns for the sake of the relationship but you are not required to follow his advice unless you find value in that. Different choices create different results. We should be aware and make the best choice for ourselves. What our mate wishes should be a part of our consideration, but not necessarily the deciding factor. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

In order to live together in peace we require some sort of rules governing our conduct so we know what is expected of ourselves, and others. We do this when we pass the laws of our city, county, state and national governments. Without those laws and our acceptance of them we would have anarchy. Those laws are based on the will of the majority, and the rights of the individual.

A problem often arises because we don't fully accept this system. If we don't like a particular law we resist, or ignore it. When new enforcement measures are instituted we support them if we like the law, and resist them if we don't. When we like the law we support the search for new ways to enforce them and when we don't like the law, we resist the idea of using new technology to catch violators.

For example we supported the use of DNA testing because it caught murderers and rapists. We all agreed that they were bad. Another example: They are now introducing new laser technology to measure the distance between cars to enforce the tailgating laws. Tailgating is a serious problem. It causes unnecessary death on the highway. Preventing tailgating saves lives! Just because we have a bad habit of violating the law doesn't mean we should resist its enforcement. When we determine the law has value let's support its enforcement. If you don't care about your own protection that is one thing, but this law is there for the protection of your neighbors and friends. Obey it and you have no reason to resist enforcement.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We feel upset when we don't deal with unfinished business from the past. As we continue to hold onto our anger, our unforgiving thoughts become the cause of our suffering, and we continue to hurt. The only remedy for this pain and resentment is forgiveness. We can be free of suffering by letting go of the past. Becoming a happy person is really not possible until you free yourself from your anger and forgive.

If you find yourself fearful that what has happened in the past will happen in the future, try taking the opposite attitude - that things will be better now that you have learned the lesson inspired by the negative experience. Which attitude is the most productive - holding onto anger and being miserable, or practicing forgiveness and learning from the experience? Why not consider the person who "wronged you" as a teacher? If you look upon them as a teacher of one of life's lessons, it will be much easier to forgive them. Be thankful for the lesson.

To decide not to forgive is to decide to suffer. By shifting your perspective and refusing to blame others, or to carry any resentment, you open yourself to a happier existence. Forgiveness is letting go of all hope that we can somehow fix the past. We have all been hurt by the actions of others. It is always easy to justify your anger, but even with the strongest of justifications, you will never be happy if you hold onto the anger. The anger will have won out, and you will have lost, no matter how strong your "case." It will help you to forgive if you take the position that, in your life, no anger is justified.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I realize that how I feel about events in the past create my suffering.

Tuesday: Today I resolve to release the past so that I might enjoy the present.

Wednesday: Today I think about the people in my past that I still have not forgiven.

Thursday: Today I decide to accept them with love.

Friday: Today I think about the events in my past that I still have not forgiven.

Saturday: Today I decide to accept all of my past with love.

Sunday: Today I rejoice in the realization that I am now free of past resentments and can enjoy my life.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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