THE FAITHFUL HOUSE: Building Strong Families to Affirm Life and Avoid Risk
Core Module Manual
Catholic Relief Services in collaboration with Maternal Life Uganda and Maternal Life International
George Mulcaire-Jones, M.D. and Maternal Life Uganda
Illustrated by Karen Ray Brower Copyright 2011 By
Maternal Life International All Rights Reserved. No part of the materials herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission of Catholic Relief Services, Maternal Life International or Maternal Life Uganda. For further information on this and other programs, please contact: www.crs.org
Foreword to the First Edition Marriage is the first institution that God made and is the foundation of the family. The family is both the center of God’s love and the basic unit of the Church and of the nation. God’s plan and desire is to see that all human beings are brought up in good and stable families. To neglect the family is to take away life. The neglect of family life has resulted in different problems and challenges for our communities. Many marriages are under attack in different ways. Now, more than ever, there is a need for special attention to the family in today’s society. Among those challenges and difficulties are HIV and AIDS and the great pain and suffering they bring to couples and families. The Faithful House is a clear and compelling response to these challenges. The Faithful House underscores the importance of abstinence and faithfulness in building strong and committed marriages and healthy families. In turn, these marriages and families become foundational in creating “civilizations of love,” which define authentic human progress. The Faithful House program is intended for young people and married couples. The program emphasizes chastity and faithfulness, before and during marriage, as proven ways of reducing HIV infections. Couples should attend the program together to benefit maximally from the process of The Faithful House. This program offers couples the opportunity to build their marriage for their own good and the good of their families. Further, this program will allow couples to extend help to other couples. This opportunity is especially important in the context of the challenges presented by HIV and so many other issues affecting families. This approach, along with the training manual, promises to have wide application throughout Africa, offering individuals, couples, churches and dioceses a practical and accessible means of promoting HIV risk avoidance. I therefore recommend all people to study and apply The Faithful House in order to bring about positive change in marriages, families, communities and nations.
Acknowledgments The Faithful House training manual has come about through the hard work and advocacy of Catholic Relief Services, Maternal Life Uganda and Maternal Life International. We also acknowledge the tremendous work of the Cana Marriage Ministry and the Uganda Catholic Charismatic Renewal, organizations that for many years have been working to build and support marriages in Uganda. The manual has also drawn experience and expertise from different dioceses in Uganda that are involved in family and marriage apostolate. In a special way we recognize the work of the Family Life Education Program of the Uganda Catholic Secretariat. Many dedicated Ugandans have given their time and expertise in developing and refining this training manual. The work would have been impossible to prepare without the contributions of: Fred Mawanda, Drs. Deo and Monica Kizito, Joseph and Serah Alumansi, Augustine and Catherine Ssekibuule, Charles Birungi Akiiki, Father John Kennedy Lubega and Father Semusu Larry. We are grateful for the many hours of secretarial work and documentation by Mary Hellen Akol. Recently, the program has been incorporated into the CRS-sponsored Ugandan antiretroviral therapy program and has been favorably evaluated by the Data Mart Consulting Firm (Muhwezi, M.K.). In addition to its introduction in Uganda, The Faithful House has been successfully introduced in Rwanda and Ethiopia. In Rwanda, Laura Dills and Malia Mayson have been responsible for implementing the program. In Ethiopia, Mitiku Tellila, Dr. Dehab Belay, Abba Tamrat Seyoum and Dr. Degu Mariam have teamed up to present the program. We are grateful for the hard work and commitment of all of these individuals. All of the organizations are greatly indebted to the tireless work of the executive director of Maternal Life International, Cort Freeman, and to Karen Brower for her extraordinary pictures and graphics. We are grateful to the excellent team from Catholic Relief Services, including Matt Hanley, Catholic Relief Services’ HIV and AIDS technical advisor, who has given valuable commentary on the science behind “A” and “B”; Mrs. Hiwot Tsegaye, who has managed the financial end of the project; and Mrs. Irene Naikaali, who has coordinated the development of the Affirming Life/Avoiding Risk program in Uganda. We hope that The Faithful House continues to be met with enthusiasm. Its use has now expanded to 11 African countries and it is being adapted to serve couples who are HIV discordant or both HIV positive, and to be part of programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission. May all who have worked so hard to develop The Faithful House know how much your efforts are appreciated! May The Faithful House be a means for thousands of African families to avoid HIV and AIDS and also to build their marriages on the sure foundation of God’s love!
George Mulcaire-Jones, M.D.
Dorothy Brewster-Lee, M.D., MPH
Medical Director, Maternal Life International
Senior Technical Advisor, HIV, AIDS Catholic Relief Services
Gonzaga & Paskazia Lubega (Mr. & Mrs.) Directors, Maternal Life Uganda
TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword to the First Edition ...................................................................................... i Acknowledgments...................................................................................................... iii 1
Introduction to The Faithful House .......................................................... 1 1.1
Using the Faithful House Core Module Manual ...........................................................2
Structure of the Workshop ...........................................................................................4
Module One: The Frame of The Faithful House ...................................... 9 2.1
Welcome and Introduction ...........................................................................................9
Why a Faithful House? ..............................................................................................10
The Foundation of The Faithful House.......................................................................12
The Four Pillars of The Faithful House ......................................................................14
Module Two: Completing The Faithful House....................................... 27 3.1
The Walls of The Faithful House ...............................................................................27
The Door That Opens.................................................................................................29
Windows of Light and Forgiveness............................................................................32
The Roof of Consciousness........................................................................................35
HIV Awareness .........................................................................................................38
HIV Awareness: Multiple Concurrent Partnerships ....................................................40
Why Step into a Sexual Network?..............................................................................42
HIV Testing: Using Our Consciousness .....................................................................44
Module Three: Living Within a Faithful House...................................... 47 4.1
The Marriage Bed ......................................................................................................48
The Marriage Banquet ...............................................................................................50
The Purposes of Marriage ..........................................................................................53
Two Paths from the House .........................................................................................56
Module Four: Challenges Within The Faithful House........................... 59 5.1
Room for Children.....................................................................................................59
Preparing for Pregnancy.............................................................................................61
Positive Parenting ......................................................................................................64
Protecting Your Children ...........................................................................................66
Culture and the Houses Around Us ............................................................................74
Godâ€™s House of Mercy...............................................................................................83
Closing of Module Four and The Faithful House Program .........................................84
Appendixes .............................................................................................. 87 6.1
Appendix One: Additional Topics for Facilitators and Small Groups .........................87
Appendix Two: Relevant Material from the Training of Facilitators Manual...........109
Appendix Three: Adaptation of The Faithful House for Singles ...............................119
Appendix Four: Formation of On-Going Support Groups.........................................119
Appendix Five: Posters ............................................................................................121
Appendix 6: Faithful House Questionnaires .............................................................127
Appendix Seven: Evaluation Forms .........................................................................139
1 Introduction to The Faithful House Welcome to The Faithful House Core Module Manual and workshop! We are most grateful for your presence. Through teaching The Faithful House you are making a vital contribution to the health and well-being of individuals, couples and families. The late Holy Father John Paul II said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” In saying this, he was expressing how very important it is that we build strong and intact families. Having strong and intact families is in turn dependent on having strong and healthy marriages. In fact, marriage and family are so tied together that we could say, “As marriage goes, so does society.” We know from looking around that a strong marriage can help bring health, stability and even prosperity to a family. We also know that the opposite is true; without the strength and support of a good marriage, a family is more vulnerable to sickness, to poverty and to hunger. The Faithful House is an essential step in building a strong marriage and family. It is part of an effort of “family evangelization,” a family-focused initiative for human and social development. Through the implementation of The Faithful House, we want to see thousands of families empowered with social, spiritual, moral, material and relational tools that will help them in the realization of authentic human development. Our journey to authentic human development is taking place within the context of the HIV epidemic. Historically, AIDS is the greatest plague to affect humankind since the Black Plague in Europe during the Middle Ages. In the southern region of Africa, AIDS has lowered the life expectancy in some countries by nearly 30 years—the largest known decline in human history. As frightening as these kind of statistics are, they also take place within good news coming out of Africa: AIDS can be stopped. Unlike at the beginning of the epidemic, when we did not know the cause of AIDS or how to stop it, we now know that the spread of HIV can be stopped by behavioral changes. Specifically, if young people can be taught and supported in their decision to be chaste and married couples can be taught and supported in their decision to be faithful, the HIV risk can be avoided. Abstinence and fidelity are the most critical practices to stop new HIV infections at both an individual- and population-based level. Given our knowledge of HIV transmission, people living in a time of HIV and AIDS can make choices that allow them to avoid HIV. This is the essence of building and living within a Faithful House. These choices reflect the exercise of our God-given capacity to know, to love and to act in order to protect those we love and ourselves. In promoting abstinence from sex before marriage and faithfulness within marriage, The Faithful House targets: 1. Married couples, who are challenged to be faithful and to pass on values of faithfulness, chastity and respect to their children. 2. Engaged couples, helping them to understand their sexuality and preparing them emotionally, relationally and spiritually for the sacrament of marriage. 3. Young adults and singles, reinforcing chastity and assisting them in developing the life skills and attitudes necessary for faithful and committed relationships. We are confident that this work will enable and empower young people to remain 1
chaste and married couples to remain faithful. These values will allow them to avoid HIV infection, and experience a happier and more fulfilled life. This will honor God’s plan for themselves, for their marriages and for their families. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Using the Faithful House Core Module Manual
The Faithful House Core Module Manual is to be used as a guide in presenting the Faithful House program. We want to emphasize how extremely important this manual is; it is your best friend in the facilitation process. If you know the material in the manual well, your job will be much easier. After you have accumulated a great deal of experience, perhaps you can stray from the manual. However, for now we would emphasize, “Know the manual and stick to the manual.”
Structure of the Manual The manual begins with a foreword and acknowledgment from those who have contributed to the development of the Faithful House program. The manual then outlines the five modules that form the Faithful House program. These five modules divide the program as follows: •
Module One: The Frame of The Faithful House
Module Two: Completing The Faithful House
Module Three: Living in a Faithful House
Module Four: Challenges Within a Faithful House
Module Five: The Faithful Family
Within each module there are between five and eight sessions. The sessions represent a specific topic within the module. Each session within a module begins with an outline of objectives for the facilitator. After the listing of the objectives, there is a picture of the part of the house to be discussed. The presentation and discussion of that part of the house is then presented in three steps. •
STEP ONE: Gathering views/ideas from the participants In step one, the facilitator begins by showing a picture of the part of the house to be discussed. Then, guided by the General Questions in the manual, the facilitators ask the participants for their thoughts and ideas. Using discretion, the facilitators will adapt these questions to the local context. In this way, the facilitator is gathering views and ideas from the participants about the topic at hand. As the facilitator, your task is to ensure that there is good input and discussion in regard to the picture and General Questions. Please note that although most of the sessions begin with a picture and general questions, a few sessions begin with role play. The role play is intended to help 2
stimulate questions and discussions in regard to the particular topic and should be developed to address the Session Objectives. â€˘
STEP TWO: Supplementing views and ideas In step two, the facilitator critiques and builds on the responses of the participants by using the training manual, personal experiences and other appropriate information. Facilitators should know this material well so they can comfortably present it. Initially, facilitators may prepare short notes as reminders, but with time they should be able to present it from memory.
STEP THREE: Life application In step three, participants are to discuss the Couple Time questions to prepare them for homework and further reflection. Unlike in Step One, in which the discussion is held with the whole class, the Couple Time questions in Step Three are to be reflected on and discussed by the individual couples. Thus, they need to separate themselves from the other couples to talk in private. Since some couples may be illiterate, the facilitator must read each question aloud and make sure couples hear and understand the questions. Once couples have had an opportunity to discuss the Life Application questions, the facilitator calls the class together and summarizes the session, with feedback from the couples about what they have learned, and hears the decisions they have made about behaviors they plan to adopt.
Beginning and Ending the Modules In addition to the three-step process with each session, the manual contains information about beginning and ending an entire module. Specifically, each module begins with an introduction involving a welcome, a prayer and several review questions. There are also specific questions for couples, which offer couples an opportunity to present feedback about the Life Application questions. Each module ends with an invitation for feedback from the participants about the module, asking what was good and what could be improved. The facilitator then announces the times and venue for the next module while creating a sense of anticipation for the upcoming module.
Other Information About the Manual Facilitator Information Boxes In the manual, there are boxes that contain specific information and reminders for the facilitator(s). Some of the boxes contain information that may be helpful in supplementing the discussion and other boxes contain information to help keep the sessions on track. Appendixes The last section of the manual contains several appendixes that further supplement and support the Faithful House program. Several of these appendixes will be used during the course, and facilitators will use others to follow up after couples have completed The Faithful House. 3
Structure of the Workshop
You must consider three specific challenges as you plan for The Faithful House Couple Workshop: 1. The challenge of time 2. The challenge of resources 3. The challenge of literacy. As a facilitating team, you will have to work with those involved in planning the Faithful House program to ensure that each of these challenges is addressed.
Challenge One: Time The Faithful House is ideally delivered over a five-day time frame. Five days enables couples to participate in all of the sessions and fully process the information during “couple time.” However, in some settings, it may not be possible for couples to attend for this length of time, so the program must be adapted. Our experience has been that couples generally prefer the full five-day program because they feel less rushed and don’t feel that important sessions are left out. The following are some suggestions to address the challenge of time: 1. Examine the tables below, which provide an overview of which sessions should be covered in either three-day or five-day formats. Be sure to factor this into your planning. 2. To the extent possible, preliminary items should be completed before the workshop begins. For example, if couples are taking a pretest, arrange for this to be completed ahead of time. 3. The program does not have to be given on consecutive days. Some parishes have presented the program over a series of two-hour sessions—for example, on Sundays after church services or Mass. 4. Allow for additional sessions to be completed in small groups after completion of the main body of the workshop. 5. Avoid cutting out or significantly reducing couple time, because this is key to the process of the Faithful House program. NOTE: The three-day session cuts out “The Purposes of Marriage” and “Two Paths from the House.” In the three-day format there generally would not be time for additional sessions.
FIVE-DAY COUPLE WORKSHOP TIMETABLE DAY One (morning) One (morning) One (morning) One (afternoon) One (afternoon)
ITEM Welcome and Introduction (Including Opening Ceremony) Expectations and Norms of Behavior The Foundation 1st Pillar of True Love 2nd Pillar of Faithfulness
3rd Pillar of Respect
One (afternoon) Two (morning) Two (morning) Two (morning) Two (afternoon) Two (afternoon) Two (afternoon) Three (morning) Three (morning) Three (morning) Three (morning) Three (afternoon) Three (afternoon) Three (afternoon) Three (afternoon) Four (morning) Four (morning)
Recap and Evaluation of Day One Recap and Questions 4th Pillar of Communication The Walls of Our Values The Door The Windows Recap and Evaluation of Day Two Recap and Questions The Roof of Consciousness HIV Awareness and Testing The Marriage Bed and Banquet Purposes of Marriage Two Paths from the House Room for Children Recap and Evaluation Recap and Questions Positive Parenting (Including No Touch and “A B” rule) Culture and Houses Around Us Broken Houses Catch-up or Additional Sessions (Economic Empowerment; Our Inner House) Recap and Evaluation Recap and Questions Catch-up or Additional Sessions God’s House of Mercy Post-Test and Evaluation Formation of Small Groups and Follow-up Closing Ceremony
Four (morning) Four (afternoon) Four (afternoon) Four (afternoon) Five (morning) Five (morning) Five (morning) Five (morning) Five (morning) Five (morning)
TIME 45 minutes 45 minutes 2 hours 1 and a half hours 1 and a quarter hours 1 and a quarter hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 1 and a half hours 1 and a half hours 1 and a half hours 1 and a half hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 1 hour 1 hour 2 hours 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 20 minutes 20 minutes 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 45 minutes
DAY One (morning)
One (morning) One (morning) One (morning) ) One (afternoon) One (afternoon) One (afternoon) One (afternoon)
Two (morning) Two (morning) Two (morning) Two (morning) Two (afternoon) Two (afternoon) Two (afternoon) Two (afternoon) Three (morning) Three (morning) Three (morning) Three (morning) Three (morning) Three (afternoon) Three (afternoon) Three (afternoon) Three (afternoon) Three (afternoon)
THREE-DAY COUPLE WORKSHOP TIMETABLE ITEM TIME Welcome and Introduction 30 minutes (Including Opening Ceremony) Expectations and Norms of 30 minutes Behavior The Foundation 1 and a half hours st 1 Pillar of True Love 1 and a quarter hours nd 2 Pillar of Faithfulness 1 hour rd 3 Pillar of Respect 1 hour th 4 Pillar of Communication 1 and a half hours Recap and Evaluation of 20 minutes Day One Recap and Questions The Walls of Our Values The Door The Windows The Roof of Consciousness HIV Awareness/Testing Marriage Bed and Banquet Recap and Evaluation of Day Two Recap and Questions Room for Children VITAL Positive Parenting Culture and Houses Around Us Broken Houses Godâ€™s House of Mercy Small Group Formation and Follow-up Evaluation and Post-test Closing Ceremony
20 minutes 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 1 and a half hours 20 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes 1 and a half hours 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Challenge Two: Resources To the degree possible, the Faithful House program managers have tried to ensure that facilitators have manuals and teaching aids. However, in some circumstances there will not be enough manuals or formal teaching aids. Thus, facilitators must be flexible and innovative in their presentation. Here are several ideas that have been 6
used by other facilitators: 1. Have a local artist draw out the main components of The Faithful House. 2. Be sure to have at least flip chart paper available, to illustrate the very basic components of The Faithful House. 3. Be as visual as possible: For example, when you talk about the foundation, have a shovel or pick to demonstrate digging the foundation. Have some posts or poles for the pillar; mud blocks for the walls; and thatch for the roof. Even if they are not complete, these visual cues help spark couples’ interest.
Challenge Three: Literacy Couples may vary in their literacy levels. In many situations, English will be their second language. Where there is a wide variation in literacy levels, the flow of the program can be difficult to maintain. To help negotiate the differing levels of literacy, facilitators can consider the following: 1. During preparation, see if you can have the basic concepts of The Faithful House translated into the local language. 2. Offer post-workshop or evening sessions to recap the main points in the local language. 3. Try to arrange a translator for couples who are less literate. Translators could also serve as mentors in small groups after the completion of the program. 4. If the whole program is being translated, you will have to examine your timetable and see what is realistic to cover during the actual workshop and what may need to be completed in follow-up sessions. Couple Mentors and Translators Conducting a successful Faithful House workshop requires more than just a facilitating couple. The program can be greatly enhanced by the presence of other couples who provide different forms of service. For example, experienced couples can serve as mentors and translators, sitting with participant couples during break or at meals. They can help them with questions, especially if English is not their first language. Mentor and translator couples can also support couples in small-group follow-up sessions. Other couples may assist with meal preparation, lodging and in preparing any special events or church services. The experience of the participant couples will be enriched by the active participation of couples who have already completed The Faithful House. As the adage says, “Many hands make for light work.”
2 Module One: The Frame of The Faithful House 2.1
Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to The Faithful House: Building Strong Marriages to Affirm Life and Avoid Risk. Through The Faithful House you will realize the blessings of a loving and lasting marriage and you will learn how to avoid HIV and also how to help your children receive the same blessings. As we discuss The Faithful House, we will need your input and your ideas. As we go through each component of the house, we will follow a three-step process. 1. The first step consists of Gathering Views. In this step, we will show you a picture of what we are about to discuss. We will then ask you a few questions to gather your thoughts on the picture and what it represents. 2. The second step consists of Supplementing Views. In this step, the facilitators add other ideas to the ones you have presented. In this way, we hope to complete our understanding of the picture. 3. The third step consists of Life Application. In this step, the facilitators ask you as couples to reflect on and discuss with each other one or more Couple Time questions about the topic. After the reflection, the facilitator will summarize that topic and move on to the next. Our hope is that the three-step process of Gathering Views, Supplementing Views, and Life Application will allow for a meaningful and thorough discussion of The Faithful House. By the end of the three-step process, couples should have a good understanding of the topic and how it applies to their lives and to their marriages. 9
NOTE: So the participants can gain as much as possible from the program, the facilitators should help them develop group norms and guidelines such as: 1. Commitment to attend all sessions. 2. Turning cell phones off or putting them in silent mode. 3. Respecting others’ opinions. 4. Appointing a timekeeper to enable the program to stay on track. If the facilitators think it is appropriate, he or she can suggest that the husband introduces the wife, and vice versa. Depending on the context, the facilitators can ask couples where they are from and what they hope to learn from the program (expectations).
Why a Faithful House?
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Identify the importance of a house.
List different parts of a house.
Distinguish between a physical house and a marriage house.
One of the first things you will need to do as a married couple is to build a house. This 10
house may be made of bricks, stone, cement or mud. The roof may be made of tiles, iron sheets or grass thatch. As you build this house, you will want to make it special. With time, we hope the house will become a home with children and fond memories of your shared life together. Although we often think and plan in great detail about the physical house we will live in, we may neglect something far more important—the kind of marriage house we will build. In building a marriage house, we have to prepare, plan and work together just as we have to prepare, plan and work together to build a physical house. As we build our marriage house, we have to consider very important questions: 1. What is the importance of a physical house? 2. What are the different features of a marriage house? Just as it is important that we construct our physical houses well, it is important that we construct our marriage houses well. A well-constructed marriage house will enable our marriages to be strong and our families to flourish. NOTE: The parts of the house, including the foundation, pillars, walls, windows and roof should come up in the answers. If they don’t, the facilitators should probe further—for example, by asking the class to name the different components of a house. Keeping in mind the comparison of a physical house with a marriage house, we will examine each component of the house and how it is to be constructed in accordance with God’s plan.
The Foundation of The Faithful House
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Describe the foundation for a strong and healthy marriage.
Identify God as the foundation of marriage.
Realize that many marriages may be built on the “wrong foundation.”
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the foundation NOTE: The facilitators choose and give the most appropriate questions to the participants for group discussion, followed by presentations. General Questions 1. When you want to build a good house, what would you consider important to have and why? 2. Looking at the situation in our society today, what is the foundation of most marriages? 3. What are the different types of marriages in our society and what is the foundation of each? 4. What problems would you see if a couple did not build a marriage house on a foundation of God? 5. What are the advantages of making God the foundation of our marriages?
NOTE: Depending on the responses to the General Questions, facilitators may want to bring out further ideas by asking these questions: 1. What are the benefits and risks of trial marriages? (These are also known as cohabitation or “come-we-stay” partnerships.) 2. How do Church marriages compare with trial marriages?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the foundation The strongest and most basic part of a house is its foundation. If the foundation of the house is strong, it can support the remainder of the house, while resisting the wind, the rain and forces of nature. If the foundation of the house is strong, the rest of the house can be constructed properly. Its pillars will be straight, its walls thick and its roof even. Yet if the foundation of the house is weak, eventually it will sag and crumble. A house without a strong foundation will not be safe to live in. The foundation of The Faithful House is God and His great love. It is God who ordained the sacrament of marriage, sealing the unity of husband and wife with his own divine seal. “God blessed them…” (Genesis 1:28). The sacramental nature of marriage means that we must build our houses as God intended and not how man and woman alone might intend it (Psalm 127:1). With a sacramental understanding of marriage, we realize that a husband and wife are to be co-builders of the house, working with God to build a house strong and worthy of His love. With a sacramental foundation, we realize that our married lives are not just physical lives, but spiritual lives and community lives as well. The house built on God and the sacrament of marriage is “… Like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock” (Matthew 7:24–25).
STEP THREE: Life application on the foundation Couple Time 1. What is our marriage like today in relation to God? 2. What steps will we take as a couple to make God the foundation of our marriage? NOTE: The facilitators thank the participants for their responses and insights. Prepare them for the next session and remind them to keep in mind the following: •
The image of the foundation of a Faithful House is God.
Marriage is a sacrament and husband and wife are co-builders of the marriage house.
Even if your relationship is not currently built on the foundation of God, God always awaits with his love and mercy to help you build a Faithful House.
The Four Pillars of The Faithful House
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Identify the spiritual pillars of The Faithful House.
Recognize the importance of the pillars in The Faithful House.
Examine their own marriages to see what pillars need to be strengthened.
NOTE: The facilitators lead the participants through an exercise of identifying the four pillars. General Questions that could be used: 1. After building the foundation, what is the next step in building a Faithful House? Once the participants mention pillars, the facilitator proceeds to mention the functions of pillars in the physical house, as in the picture above. 2. What are these pillars in the Faithful House? The facilitators evaluate the participants’ answers and lead them to identify the four pillars noted below.
Rising from the foundation of the house are four strong pillars. These pillars give the house strength and allow its walls to be laid and its roof connected. If these pillars are well placed, the house will be strong and long lasting. Yet, without these pillars, the house will collapse. The four pillars of The Faithful House are: 1. True love 2. Faithfulness 3. Respect for human life and dignity 4. Communication with God and with one another. With these four pillars grounded in God, a Faithful House takes shape as a house that will be sturdy, strong and lasting. Yet, without these pillars, the House will collapse. As the picture indicates, the husband and wife are co-builders and they have to work together in order to build a Faithful House. We will now look at these pillars one by one.
2.4.1 Pillar One: True Love
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: â€˘
Describe the characteristics of true love.
Distinguish true love from false love.
Understand why love and sex are not equivalent.
Commit themselves to true love in their marriages.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on true love General Questions 1. How do people understand love in our society today? 2. What is true love and how is it different from false love? 3. What are the practical ways of expressing love to each other? 4. What are the obstacles that hinder couples from experiencing true love?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on true love Pillar one of the house is true love. True love is the kind of love that Christ gave to us; it is complete, total and self-giving. It is the kind of love that Jesus shared with us in these words: “This is my commandment: Love one another as I love you” (John 15:12–13). This view of love runs throughout the Bible. For example, consider what Saint Paul said of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated. It is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury. It does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13: 4–7). The Biblical view of love is much different from many of our cultural understandings of love. Many think that love is sex and sex is love. Others think that love is simply about our feelings. At times you may feel like loving and other times you might not feel like loving. To add to this confusion, it’s important to note that true love is much greater than sex and true love is more than just a feeling. To better understand true love, we can contrast true love with false love.
NOTE: Facilitators can use the following table to help participants distinguish the characteristics of true love from false love. TRUE LOVE
Founded in God Directed to God and others Respects the other Attraction with commitment Responsible Unconditional Self-control Patient Based in the whole person Faithful Mutual sexual satisfaction
Founded in self Directed to self Uses the other Attraction without commitment Irresponsible Conditional Lacking self-control Impatient Based in lust or infatuation Adulterous Selfish sexual gratification
True love that forms the pillar of marriage is a deep, abiding commitment between a husband and wife in which there is sincere, total, self-giving love of one spouse for the other! True love seeks the other’s good; it is selfless; it welcomes happiness; and it endures suffering. NOTE: Facilitators may supplement the discussion on true love by using these Scriptural quotes: 1 John 4:7–16; John 13:34.
STEP THREE: Life applications on true love Couple Time 1. What are some practical ways of expressing true love to my partner? 2. What are the ways in which true love is currently being expressed? 3. How do I want my partner to express true love to me? 4. In our marriage, where is true love lacking and where has false love taken over? NOTE: The facilitator thanks the participants for their responses and insights and recaps how important this first pillar of true love is: Christ has given Himself completely and unselfishly to each of us. Husbands and wives, as co-builders with God, are meant to give themselves completely and unselfishly to each other as Christ did. To symbolize the pillar of true love, we have emblazoned a crucifix. The cross reminds us to “Love one another as Christ has loved us.”
2.4.2 Pillar Two: Faithfulness
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Define what faithfulness in marriage means.
Understand the consequences (physical, marital and spiritual) of unfaithfulness.
Commit themselves to establishing or re-establishing faithfulness as fundamental to their marriage.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on faithfulness General Questions 1. What are the factors that lead to unfaithfulness in marriage? 2. How does society react to unfaithfulness in marriage? 3. What factors, if practiced, would enhance faithfulness in marriage? 4. Why is it important for married couples to remain faithful to each other? 5. What are the consequences of unfaithfulness?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on faithfulness Faithfulness of a husband to his wife and vice versa reflects trust, openness and honesty in a marriage and this mirrors the faithfulness of God to His people. To be faithful in marriage is to share your bodies only with each other. Having sex outside of marriage breaks the bond of faithfulness. This break in the marriage bond not only 18
leads to the collapse of the Faithful House; it also opens our houses to HIV and AIDS. To be faithful is to realize that God made us different from animals. For example, a male goat can have sex with many female goats; a rooster may mate with many hens. But God’s will for humans is to have one wife and one husband in a monogamous relationship. “…Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matthew 19:4–6); This faithful relationship is what allows us to build a strong and healthy marriage to affirm life and avoid risks. As we work to be faithful, we have to be aware that there are many influences, actions and attitudes that can break our faithfulness. For example, friends who are engaged in sexual relationships outside of marriage, or sexually explicit images on television or on the internet may influence a person to be unfaithful. In the African context, infertility or the desire for a male child may lead to unfaithfulness if a spouse tries to fulfill these goals outside of the marriage. Finally, a person who has been unfaithful in the past may be tempted to return to old ways. Despite these influences and temptations, we must know how much God desires our faithfulness. He wants nothing more than for us to be faithful to Him and to our spouses. If we have been unfaithful, God’s love still persists and still beckons to us, “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is He, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment” (Joel 2:12–13). NOTE: There may be different cultural or local understandings of the meaning of faithfulness. To ensure a uniform understanding of faithfulness, the facilitator can ask the group to define faithfulness and to share the word or words in the local language that best express what faithfulness is. After this is done, the facilitator can share these examples to illustrate the importance of a proper understanding of faithfulness: 1. Culturally, there may be different standards of faithfulness for men and women. An unfaithful woman may be called a “whore”; an unfaithful man may be called a “player.” 2. Unfaithfulness may be excused by circumstances, such as infertility, or in extreme economic hardship, when a woman sleeps with a man in exchange for food or money. 3. Faithfulness may be falsely defined in the eye of the beholder. For example, some might attribute faithfulness to a man who gives his wife most of his time, attention and money and gives his girlfriend less time, attention and money. The group can share other examples. The facilitator should then summarize and emphasize the importance of faithfulness as “mutual, continual, consistent, lifelong monogamy.”
NOTE: Facilitators may supplement the discussion on faithfulness by referencing Proverbs 5:1–5 and Malachi 2:14–16. The desired point to be drawn by the facilitator is the warning against unfaithfulness or adultery.
STEP THREE: Life application on faithfulness Couple Time 1. What would I do if my partner were unfaithful in marriage? 2. What can I do to be a faithful partner?
2.4.3 Pillar Three: Respect for Human Life and Dignity
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Define what it means to have respect for one’s spouse.
Define what it means to have respect for human life and dignity in society.
Understand the consequences of disrespect in marriage and in society.
Commit themselves to furthering respect in their marriages and in society.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on human life and dignity General Questions 1. How do couples show respect for one another? 2. What are the consequences of disrespect in a marriage? 3. How does a person, especially a spouse, feel when his or her dignity has been violated? 4. What are ways in which our society today violates human life and dignity?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on human life and dignity Pillar Three of The Faithful House is the respect we hold for the life and dignity of our spouses and for human life. This life and dignity comes from God, who created human beings in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). What does respect mean? It means first of all that a husband or wife is a person and not a thing. In your house you may have many things: cooking pots, tables, chairs, pictures, maybe even a television. Outside of your house you may have many things: cows, goats, plants and vegetables. Yet both inside and outside, all of these objects are things—they can be bought or sold; they can be thrown away when they are no longer of use. Your spouse is different. Your spouse is a person, possessing an infinite value and dignity. You cannot treat a person the same way you treat a thing. A person is not to be abused or disposed of when he or she is no longer felt to be useful. People have an infinite spiritual value that should never be compromised. To see your husband or wife as a person is to see him or her as “the lovely one” and recognize in him/her a brilliance that shines like the sun. Your spouse is to be beloved, worthy of your deepest love and respect. Without this respect, we see serious problems in our society. What do you think of a husband who comes home drunk, wakes up his wife, and forces her to have sex with him? Is he treating her as a person or a thing? What do you think about a husband or wife who has sex with another person outside of the marriage? What do you think about domestic abuse or violence in which a person physically, psychologically and verbally assaults his or her spouse? In a time of HIV and AIDS, to respect your spouse as a beloved person is to realize that you would never risk infecting him or her by your decisions and your behavior. If you truly respect the life and dignity of your spouse then you would never risk causing him/her disease or harm. In addition to respecting the life and dignity of our spouses, we must also look at issues in our society that threaten the life and dignity of any person. Among these issues are: abortion, human sacrifice, euthanasia, artificial means of birth control, forced marriage and male superiority and dominance. •
The practice of abortion is a tragic and sad destruction of innocent human life. Abortion not only kills an unborn child, but ultimately harms the woman who has aborted. In our society we must work to build a culture of life in which there is 21
enough love for both a mother and her unborn baby. •
The practice of artificial means of birth control—pills, coils or injections—cuts us off from the life-giving impulse of God. At times, such methods of birth control work by preventing an early pregnancy from attaching to the mother’s womb. They are therefore not acting as a contraceptive, but are, in fact, causing an early abortion.
The practice of euthanasia deliberately ends the life of the terminally ill or those who are very elderly. Euthanasia is now legal in certain places in the western world and reflects a disturbing trend in which humans at the ends of their lives are viewed with little value.
STEP THREE: Life application on human life and dignity Couple Time 1. Read Genesis 1:27. Having learned that my spouse is made in the image of God, does this change my view of him or her? Why? 2. How can we show respect for each other’s dignity every day? 3. As we examine our marriages, our families and our communities, how can we better create an environment of respect for human life and dignity? NOTE: The facilitator thanks the participants for their comments and insights. In the third pillar, a husband and wife realize how important it is that they respect each other throughout their lives. Through respect, they learn to value one another as beautiful and worthy people and not as things or objects. Through respect, they avoid anything that would harm or disrespect the other, like gossiping, heavy drinking, adultery or abuse. To symbolize this respect, we have emblazoned the third pillar with an image of the sun, as a reminder to couples that they should continually see one another as people “shining like the sun.” This sun should shine not only on our spouses, but on all people: the unborn, the sick, the handicapped and the elderly, for all are made in the image of God.
2.4.4 Pillar Four: Communication
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Understand the importance of communication in marriage.
Describe the relationship between vertical and horizontal communication.
Recognize areas in marriage that are difficult to discuss.
Commit themselves to improved communication in their marriages.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on communication The session on communication is introduced by two contrasting role plays. In the first role play, a couple has good communication with each other and with their children. In the second role play, a couple has poor communication skills with each other and their children. General Questions 1. What are the qualities and benefits of good communication in marriage? 2. What are the consequences of lack of communication? 3. As a couple, what areas do we find difficult to share?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on communication The fourth pillar, communication, is very important. Communication is both verbal and nonverbal and involves two levels: vertical and horizontal. 23
Vertical: The vertical dimension is our communication with God. It is important to maintain this relationship through personal prayer, through receiving the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, through praying together as a couple and through mutual forgiveness. Horizontal: The horizontal dimension is communication between husband and wife in the course of their day-to-day lives. This horizontal communication involves empathy, attentive listening, compassion, sharing compliments, openness, transparency and spending time together. The vertical and horizontal dimensions of communication cannot be separated. One complements the other, as the following diagram illustrates.
NOTE: The more the couple draws toward God, the better their communication and growth in other aspects of life. If they move in the opposite direction (away from God), they also widen the gap between themselves. If a couple does not pray and cultivate their relationship with God, the gap between them widens. Conversely, if a couple prays and cultivates their relationship with God, they grow closer to each other. In this way, a couple that prays together strengthens their Faithful House (Mathew 18:19â€“20). In turn, the prayer life of the couple forms the basis of family prayer, giving life to the saying, â€œThe family that prays together stays togetherâ€? (Father Peter Peyton, CSC). In addition to containing a vertical and a horizontal dimension, communication is an art that involves a two-way process of prudent giving and receiving. 1. Giving: Giving refers to our willingness to share with our spouses the little and big things that are part of our day-to-day life together. Through this giving you are sharing the deepest part of yourself and not withholding information or concerns.
2. Receiving: Receiving refers to your willingness and ability to listen. This is often where communication breaks down, as one spouse says, â€œHe or she will not listen to me.â€? To love your spouse is to listen to him or her! This listening should be done respectfully and prudently. Both in giving and in receiving, couples must have honesty at the heart of their communication. Therefore a husband and wife must be truthful with each other. They should not lie or hide things from one another. In turn, honesty in marriage will lead to honesty in family life, so children can learn to be honest. Communication is an ongoing challenge. There are many areas in life that couples do not easily share: money, health, sex, time, last will and testament, children, relatives and their relationships with God. This could be because of different personalities, fear of rejection, a lack of trust and a lack of independence. Thus, we have to work hard to build this fourth pillar of communication, recognizing how decisive it is for the wellbeing of the Faithful House. NOTE: Facilitators may supplement the discussion on communication by presenting scriptural passages from Genesis 2:25 (openness and transparency) and Ephesians 4:25 (speaking the truth in love).
STEP THREE: Life application on communication Couple Time 1. What areas of my life do I find difficult to freely share with my spouse, and what am I going to do about it? 2. When my spouse is communicating with me, am I a good listener? What can I do to improve my listening abilities? 3. Are there areas in which I have not been honest with my spouse? How can I change that, in order to be completely honest in the future?
NOTE: The facilitators thank the participants for their responses and insights. The fourth pillar of communication is very important. Many marriages in our society are breaking down because of poor communication. If we have been failing in our communication in marriage, we must look to the cross to rebuild it. We see that in the cross, there are both vertical and horizontal dimensions, representing our communication with God and our communication with our spouse. Just as in the cross itself, the vertical and horizontal dimensions of communication cannot be separated. Finally, as we look to the cross emblazoned on pillar four, let us know that to love our spouses is to listen to them with the same great love and sensitivity with which Jesus listened to each of His followers. NOTE: The facilitator gives out the evaluation forms (see Appendix Five). He or she asks participant couples to set aside at least one hour when they will have time, space and privacy to talk to one another. The next meeting date, place and time are announced. During this time, the participants are encouraged to further discuss the questions they were given during the sessions. Finally, the participants should be put in a mood of anticipation for the next session.
3 Module Two: Completing The Faithful House NOTE: The facilitator begins with a welcome, a prayer and a recap of Module One. Participants are asked to briefly comment on the main themes of Module One: 1. Who is primarily responsible for the construction and maintenance of the Faithful House? 2. What is the foundation of the Faithful House? 3. What are the four pillars of the Faithful House? 4. Were you able to spend time talking about the questions we left you with? 5. What part of your Faithful House needs the most work? 6. Is there anything that you are doing differently in your relationship with each other after having learned about the frame of the Faithful House? The facilitator then notes that in Module Two, they are going to add to the framework of the Faithful House so that by the end of the module, their houses will be complete.
The Walls of The Faithful House
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to:
• Identify the current societal values for marriage • Decide to choose Christian values for their families • Understand and apply the five priorities/values to their own lives.
NOTE: The facilitators should ask the participants to imagine what the next stage of building is and lead them to mention the walls of the Faithful House and their function. STEP ONE: Gathering views on walls of the Faithful House General Questions 1. What priorities should a couple have in order to build a strong wall? 2. What do people value most in their marriages? Why? 3. What values do you think God wants us to build into the walls of the Faithful House? STEP TWO: Supplementing views on walls of the Faithful House The supplemental material is introduced by a role play in which a couple walks into the room with their clothes on backward. The woman has her bra over her blouse and her slip over her dress; the man has his shirt over his coat and his socks over his shoes. The facilitator asks the participants, “What do you notice about how the couple is dressed?” Then the facilitator draws upon the remarks to point out what happens when a couple gets their priorities mixed up. Even though none of the items the couple is wearing is wrong, when they are not applied in the right order, they are less effective. The same holds true with our priorities. Having built the foundation and the four pillars, we now want to fill in the frame of the house by adding the walls. The walls represent the values held in a marriage. Your values protect the house, keeping inside what is most important and keeping outside what is harmful or destructive. A value is a belief or a principle that you treasure. Your values reflect your priorities and guide your decisions and your behavior. If you value something—if it is a priority—then you will dedicate time and energy to it and treasure it. In a Christian marriage, there are five values that must be properly ordered in your life. These priorities are: 1. God 2. Spouse 3. Children 4. Job 5. Other people In any society, a great deal of pain emerges if these five values are out of order. For example, a person’s job becomes more important than his or her relationship with God or spouse, or “other people” become more important than one’s spouse and children. Just as you should not put your shoes on before your socks, a man should not put his friends ahead of his children. And, just as a woman can’t put her blouse on before her bra, she shouldn’t put her in-laws ahead of her marriage. It is a constant challenge for a married couple to keep these five values in the proper order! 28
STEP THREE: Life application on walls of the Faithful House Couple Time 1. As we examine our priorities, are we following the order of God, spouse, children, job and other? If not, what is out of order? 2. Are we suffering in our marriage and family life because our values are out of order? 3. What must we do differently to put our values in the proper order? NOTE: The facilitators can ask the participants if any of them would like to share with the group the values they have identified. After a brief discussion, the facilitator concludes, “It is important for a married couple and a family to name their values and to live by them. These values are to reflect the priorities of our Christian lives and Christian marriages. Taught and lived well, the values of our houses will be passed on to our children, who in turn will build houses that are pleasing to the Lord.”
The Door That Opens
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Tell the significance of the door that opens to positive influences and closes to negative influences in the Faithful House. 29
Define authority, responsibility and accountability as they relate to the door of the Faithful House.
Understand how authority, responsibility and accountability are realized and exercised in a Christian marriage.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the open door NOTE: This session, the door, is introduced by dividing the participants into four groups, with each of the groups responsible for the following: 1. Group one (composed of couples): Role-play the husband holding all of the power and authority in the house. 2. Group two (composed of couples): Role-play the wife holding all of the power and authority in the house. 3. Group three (composed of men only): Write down all of the jobs and tasks, small and large, that women are responsible for in the house. 4. Group four (composed of women only): Write down all of the jobs and tasks, small and large, that men are responsible for in the house. General Questions The facilitators help list and analyze the responses from each of the groups. The following general questions will help in enlisting commentary: 1. What problems will the first couple likely experience? 2. What problems will the second couple likely experience? 3. What does the list of the jobs and tasks tell us about roles and responsibilities in the house? 4. Who do you think is carrying the heavier load in regard to the daily jobs and tasks of the house?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the open door Note: After discussing these questions, the facilitators can provide the following information. In a house, the door allows people to enter and to leave. Through the door of your marriage house, both positive and negative influences may enter. As a couple makes decisions about opening and closing the door, they must come to agree about three key areas in their marriage: authority, responsibility and accountability (1 Timothy 5:8). •
Authority: Is it the husband or the wife who has authority to open and close the door? Or is it both?
Responsibility: Who is responsible for ensuring that what enters the Faithful House is consistent with the values of the couple and family?
Accountability: How are husband and wife to honor the authority and responsibility they invest in each other? 30
The issues of authority, responsibility and accountability are very difficult ones in our society. In traditional African society, women were often given no authority; only the man could decide to open or close the door. Yet, with Jesus, things have changed. We are to be new men and new women in the light of the Gospel. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Indeed, if the love of Christ has become the center of a couple’s marriage, both husband and wife share together in authority, responsibility and accountability. Although the Scripture tells us that the husband is the head of the house, it does so while saying that he is to “care for his wife as he would for his own body.” In telling wives “to be subject to your husbands as to the Lord,” the submission has a context; both spouses are subjecting to each other out of reverence for Christ. The submission of a wife to her husband is only true and only possible because he is offering himself to her and they are both offering themselves to Christ (Ephesians 5:21–26). In exercising authority, the couple has to exercise mutual reverence for one another and make decisions together with oneness of purpose. Both of them must open the door and hide nothing from the other. Each couple will learn how this is realized in their day-to-day lives. They might agree that the wife is responsible for the early education of their children, and the husband is responsible for the production of cash crops. They might decide how any extra money will be spent. Yet in all decisions, there is a new dynamic at work—the love of Christ that penetrates to the heart of who the husband is for the wife and who the wife is for the husband. In the dynamic of Christ’s love, couples learn how to reach consensus, to share roles and responsibilities and to be accountable to each other. This accountability extends to all areas of their lives including time usage, money and friends.
STEP THREE: Life application on the open door Couple Time 1. What influences should we say “yes” and “no” to in our Faithful Houses? 2. What are your roles and responsibilities to your partner and what do you expect from him or her? 3. Does our authority and responsibility reflect what the Gospel intends for a married couple? How? 4. How do I account for money, time and friends? NOTE: The facilitators thank the participants for their responses. In this session, we have discussed how important it is for couples to understand and exercise authority, responsibility and accountability in a Christian way. As they do so, they can make wise and loving decisions about what to let in and what to keep out of their Faithful Houses.
Windows of Light and Forgiveness
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: â€˘
Recognize the windows of the Faithful House as windows of light and forgiveness.
Experience the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation in their marriages.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the windows NOTE: The facilitator leads the participants in considering these two questions: 1. What is the role of a window in a house? 2. If there is no window in a house, what is the house like? General Questions 1. What hinders couples from exercising forgiveness? 2. What common conflicts do couples face? Demonstrate in a role play. 3. What are the consequences of not forgiving? NOTE: The facilitator leads the couple to identify the importance of forgiveness in marriage.
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the windows The windows of the house open it to the light and sun. Without windows, the house would be dark and cold and no one would want to live in it. These windows of light let in the fresh air of forgiveness and reconciliation. When these windows are put in place, the soft warm light of the sun enters and removes the darkness that has gathered in our hearts and homes. As we consider these windows, we realize that each and every one of us sins and “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Thus, each person must be willing to take to heart the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Mathew 6:12). As we look to the light and grace of the window of forgiveness, we should know that Jesus practiced, taught and commanded forgiveness many times in the New Testament. Jesus has shown us that only in forgiving others and in accepting forgiveness can the light in our houses be restored (cf. Mathew 6:14-15). In addition to the light coming from the windows of forgiveness, we must look to the light that enters through repentance. Repentance means to “turn away from sin and dedicate one’s self to a changed life.” Through our sincere repentance in prayer, any sin, including the sins of adultery and fornication, are forgiven. As we come to God in repentance, He “tosses our sins behind his back” and sets us on a new path. In the grace of forgiveness, we, like the woman caught in the act of adultery, are asked by God to “Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore” (John 8:11). In honoring God’s gift of forgiveness and reconciliation, spouses should also forgive and reconcile with each other. Once reconciled, they should not reject or nag one another, but work to be a new creation in Christ Jesus. This can happen in many ways. For example, for Catholics the grace of repentance and forgiveness is realized in a special way through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Coming before a priest to confess sins and receive absolution can bring about a profound healing. One should not be afraid or ashamed. God awaits, begging for you to come and receive the graces of His mercy!
STEP THREE: Life application on the windows NOTE: This is an appropriate time for facilitators to encourage couples to open the windows of forgiveness through repentance and seek reconciliation. The facilitator should carefully and thoughtfully lay out the following steps in the process: 1. Step One: I look deep into my own heart to see where I have sinned and where I have contributed to conflicts in my marriage. This step involves examining myself—not blaming God, or my spouse or others. 2. Step Two: I pray to God for sincerity of desire, that God may take my desire for forgiveness and healing, and open my eyes completely to my sins and failings. 3. Step Three: I ask with all of my heart for forgiveness from God and from those I have harmed, especially my spouse. 4. Step Four: I pray to God for the strength and love to forgive those who have wronged me, especially my spouse. (On a practical level, we need to reconcile with our spouses in order to restore our relationships and live in harmony.) 5. Step Five: Having sincerely searched my heart and reflected on my actions, I acknowledge and repent of my sins and pray for the strength not to sin again. Remember: “Where sin increased, graced overflowed all the more” (Romans 5:20) Couple Time 1. For what actions would I like to be forgiven by my spouse? 2. For what actions would I like to forgive my spouse? 3. Ask God to bring to mind anybody you are finding hard to forgive, including yourself, your spouse, a neighbor, relatives, in-laws, institutions, organizations, etc., and decide by God’s grace to forgive them. NOTE: The facilitator thanks the participants for their responses. Through our discussions, we realize how important it is to have windows of forgiveness and reconciliation in our houses. It is a guarantee in marriage that there will be problems and difficulties—small ones and big ones. Only the light and grace shining through the windows of forgiveness and reconciliation can allow our houses to be redeemed. Let us always keep these windows open! The facilitator concludes by giving out the evaluation forms (see Appendix Five). He or she asks participant couples to set aside at least one hour when they will have time, space and privacy to talk to one another. The next meeting date, place and time are announced. During this time, the participants are encouraged to further discuss the questions they were given during the sessions. The participants should be put in a mood of anticipation for the next session.
The Roof of Consciousness
Session Objectives By the end of this session participants should be able to: •
Understand the importance of a roof to both our physical and marriage houses.
Understand human consciousness as a deep, loving awareness of God and others.
Understand human consciousness and its importance in preventing HIV and AIDS.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the roof of consciousness NOTE: The facilitator begins with these two questions. 1. As you look at the house with its foundation, four pillars, walls, door and windows, what is missing? 2. Without a roof, what will happen to the house? With these questions the facilitator should lead the participants to an understanding that without a roof, the house is incomplete. In the same way, a person who does not use his or her mind is incomplete. The fullest use of our minds is found in our capacity for consciousness, a concept we will discuss in detail.
General Questions 1. How are human beings different from animals? 2. What factors can influence our human consciousness and subsequently our behavior? 3. As you look around, do you think most people are acting out of consciousness when it comes to their sexual behavior? NOTE: Some of the answers for question two will include: witchcraft, money, condoms, alcohol and media. The facilitator discusses how these affect our consciousness.
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the roof of consciousness The house is missing a roof! Without a roof, those living inside are unprotected. The protection offered by the roof is especially important in a time of HIV and AIDS. If HIV enters our houses, it will bring death and despair and the houses will never be the same. The roof that will complete and protect the Faithful House is our human consciousness. This consciousness is a gift to us from God. It is the roof that will shelter us from harm, including the harm that can come to us from HIV. Consciousness is our deep, loving awareness of God, of others and of things around us. When we were baptized, we “put on the mind of Jesus Christ.” The mind of Jesus has at its core this deep, loving awareness. Unlike animals that act out of instinct, we humans can act out of our consciousness. As Christians, we are to act out of the consciousness of Christ. Thus, in the fullness of our humanity, redeemed by the mind of Jesus, we can make decisions based on our deep, loving awareness of God and of others, and not just on our instincts, our lust or our desires. There is a second component to consciousness, our human capacity “to know, to love and to act.” If we compare the human person with an animal, we can say that humans are creatures of consciousness whereas animals are creatures of instinct. If a dog is hungry, it will go and eat. If a female dog is in heat it will mate with a male dog. The actions of animals are pre-programmed and directed to their needs. Humans need not act out of instinct. They can act out of consciousness. They can use their free will and their minds to ponder and make decisions that are not simply instinctual. They can use their consciousness to protect themselves and their families in this time of HIV and AIDS. NOTE: The facilitator should ask everyone to say, “Human consciousness is our capacity to know, to love and to act.” If we look carefully at the HIV and AIDS crisis, we realize that it is a crisis of consciousness. Many people are acting out of instinct or ignorance or need instead of out of a deep, loving awareness of God and others. Without this deep, loving awareness, people will continue to act in ways that put them at risk, and the HIV and AIDS crisis will continue.
In a time of HIV and AIDS, to act in deep, loving awareness of God and others is to be completely faithful to your spouse. If you stray outside of this consciousness and sleep with someone else, you may turn your Faithful House into a house of suffering. Your consciousness, in which you are completely faithful to your spouse and he or she is completely faithful to you, reflects the deep, loving awareness of God and others that protects you from HIV and AIDS. “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). How will we remember to act out of our consciousness, our deep, loving awareness of God and others? Perhaps we can learn from these few words from the Gospel of Luke. Mary carried with her memories of Jesus; they were always with her and they shaped her “knowing, acting and loving.” Can we do the same? Think about having to carry something, be it firewood on your head or pails of water in your hand. As you carry something, you are aware of it—you feel its weight and presence. We are each to “carry our consciousness.” We are to be aware that inside of our hearts we always have this capacity to know, to act and to love. Unlike a load of firewood or a pail of water, we never want to set down our consciousness in the face of temptation or want. As you “carry your consciousness” on life’s journey, you will make good decisions. Like Mary, you will be acting out of the memory and the treasure of Jesus, and his consciousness will become your own.
STEP THREE: Life application on the roof of consciousness Couple Time 1. What factors have helped to form your consciousness? 2. Can you think of a time when you wished you had acted more out of consciousness? 3. How will you better use your consciousness in order to strengthen your marriage? NOTE: The facilitators thank the participants for their responses. In this session we learned how important our consciousness is in protecting our Faithful Houses. By knowing, loving and acting in faithfulness to each other, we can always keep HIV out of our Faithful Houses. Let us always “carry our consciousness” in our hearts and let it shape our decisions and our actions.
Session Objectives By the end of this session participants should be able to: •
Understand the modes of HIV transmission.
Understand how HIV can be avoided.
NOTE: The facilitator should understand that this is a session intended to raise consciousness about HIV transmission and prevention. Depending on time and the level of knowledge of the group, the discussion can be supplemented by providing accurate information about local and global HIV statistics, modes of HIV transmission and the impact of HIV on families and society. The session should also help dispel misinformation about HIV transmission.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on HIV awareness General Questions 1. What can happen to a couple, to their family and community if one or both of them becomes infected by HIV? 2. What are the ways in which the husband or wife could become infected with HIV? What is the most common way? 3. What are the misconceptions about HIV in your community or society?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on HIV awareness To act in consciousness, in deep, loving awareness of God and of others, we also need to be aware of HIV: how it is passed and how its passage is prevented. HIV is a virus that is primarily transmitted through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When body fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal fluids contain HIV, the virus can then enter through openings in the skin of the penis and vagina. Once the virus gains entry, it begins to multiply and spread throughout a person’s body. With time, the virus destroys infection-fighting cells (white blood cells) in the person’s body and the person becomes vulnerable to serious infections. It can take up to 10 years from when a person is first infected with HIV until they develop AIDS-related symptoms. During this time, such people may appear and act perfectly healthy and may be completely unaware that they are harboring the virus. If they are having sex, they are potentially passing HIV to anyone they have sex with. The passage of HIV has nothing to do with mosquitoes, witchcraft, foreign plots, unclean water or eating utensils. Rather, the passage of HIV has everything to do with behaviors. Sexual behaviors of premarital sex, sex outside of marriage and casual sex put people into the very situations in which HIV can be passed. Conversely, behaviors such as abstinence before marriage, chastity, monogamy and faithfulness put people 38
in a situation in which HIV can be avoided. Thus, a couple that builds and enters a Faithful House, in which spouses only have sex with each other, avoids HIV infection. These HIV risk-avoiding behaviors are summarized by the English letters “A” and “B.” “A” stands for “Abstinence before marriage” and “B” stands for “Be faithful” in marriage.” “A” and “B” are the most critical factors in stopping the HIV epidemic.
STEP THREE: Life application on HIV awareness Couple Time 1. What did you learn about HIV and its transmission that you didn’t know before? 2. What will be your strategy? How will you use your consciousness to keep HIV out of your house? NOTE: In this session we have discussed how important it is that we understand the reality of HIV and how it can enter our houses. We should be empowered by knowing that our consciousness, our deep, loving awareness of God and others, can influence our behaviors. In turn, our behaviors of abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage allow us to completely avoid HIV. Let us be conscious and let us be faithful all the days of our lives!
HIV Awareness: Multiple Concurrent Partnerships
Session Objectives •
To gain an understanding of what multiple concurrent partnerships are—and how they affect HIV risk.
To understand how HIV enters and spreads through sexual networks.
To reflect on factors that can either lead to or discourage multiple sexual partners.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on multiple concurrent partnerships This section is introduced by presenting two stories. Story One: John and Mary attended The Faithful House training and decided to get HIV testing. John had previously been married for four years to Lucy, but she tragically died in childbirth from a postpartum hemorrhage. After two years, John married again, this time to Mary. John and Mary have now been married for 15 years. Neither of them had ever had other sexual partners apart from John’s first wife Lucy. Even though they felt they were not at risk, they were reassured to receive the news of being HIV negative. Story Two: Anthony and Bernadette had been married for 15 years. They also attended The Faithful House training and decided to get HIV tested. They generally felt they had a good marriage, but for three years Anthony was frequently away working in a city. During this time he had a girlfriend with whom he had sex infrequently. He had no other sexual partners, nor did Bernadette. They were both shocked to find out they were HIV positive. The group is then asked to analyze the two stories: General Questions 1. What is the difference in the pattern of sexual relationships between John and Anthony? 2. Which pattern do you think is most likely to lead to HIV transmission? 40
3. When John was having sex with his first wife Lucy, was he having sex with anybody else? 4. When Anthony was having sex with his girlfriend, was he having sex with anybody else? 5. Do you think Anthony’s girlfriend was having sex with anybody else?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on multiple concurrent partnerships The difference between John’s and Anthony’s patterns of sexual relationships is: •
John had more than one sexual partner, yet neither he nor either of his wives (Lucy and Mary) ever had a second sexual partner. We call this pattern “serial monogamy.” Serial monogamy means a person has a sexual relationship, stops that sexual relationship and then enters a different sexual relationship.
In contrast, Anthony had two or more sexual relationships at the same time. He was having sex with both his girlfriend and his wife. This pattern is referred to as one of multiple concurrent partnerships, which is defined as: relationships in which an individual has two or more sexual partners that overlap in time.
It is this pattern of multiple concurrent partnerships that leads to the spread of HIV. Why? Think back to Anthony’s pattern. His girlfriend may have had another sexual partner, and that partner could have had other partners. Thus, when Anthony had sex with his girlfriend he was inadvertently entering a sexual network in which HIV could be spread along a number of pathways. If just one person in the network had HIV, then it could spread to everyone else in the network. Even though Anthony may have thought he was having sex with just two people (his wife and his girlfriend) he was, in fact, having sex with a network, in terms of HIV transmission. Tragically, Anthony’s wife, Bernadette, was now exposed to the same network through Anthony’s behavior. The stories we have shared reflect what scientific studies of HIV transmission show: The most important thing we can do to lower our individual risk of HIV acquisition and to lower HIV prevalence on a population level is to avoid multiple concurrent partnerships—that is, to be faithful. To put it simply, you can’t drown if you don’t jump in the river. NOTE: The facilitators should also point out that the stories are not meant to encourage serial monogamy. (Serial monogamy is defined as sequential monogamous pairings.) Serial monogamy can still lead to HIV acquisition.
Why Step into a Sexual Network?
STEP ONE: Gathering views on sexual networks Many people know that entering a sexual network may be dangerous to their health and may be a violation of their marriage vows or cultural traditions, yet they still do it. In this section, we want to explore why. Ask participants to form four groups: two groups of women and two groups of men. The women are given these two questions: General Questions: 1. What do you think leads men to take on other sexual partners besides their wives? 2. What factors help a man remain faithful to his wife and not have additional sexual partners? The men are given these two questions: 1. What can lead women to become unfaithful and take on additional sexual partners? 2. What factors can help a woman remain faithful and not take on additional sexual partners?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on sexual networks The facilitator should ask the groups to share their responses. Each group should critique and supplement the other group. After the discussion is completed, the facilitator can offer additional comments. The following factors have been shown to lead to unfaithfulness: â€˘
Problems with primary relationshipsâ€”that is, unhappiness in marriage 42
Lack of sexual satisfaction (quality and quantity of sex)
Economic pressure (transactional or coercive sex)
Family pressure (to find a spouse; to bear a child)
Peer pressure (sign of sexual prowess for men; sign of attractiveness for women)
Alcohol or drugs
Main partner is unattractive/dirty/uneducated
Perceived need for “backup partner” (spare wheel or side dish)
Negative role models in the media; lack of positive role models
Studies have shown that the following factors can discourage a person from entering a sexual network: •
Happiness in one’s marriage
Shame or loss of respect from the community or from peers
Fear of HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and death
Loss of financial or material resources (including time)
Distraction from achieving life goals
STEP THREE: Life application on sexual networks Couple Time 1. Share with each other your understanding of what a sexual network is and how entering a sexual network can put you at risk of HIV acquisition. 2. What factors in your relationship as husband and wife are strong and need to be maintained so that you do not enter sexual relationships outside of marriage?” 3. What new things can you do to strengthen your marriage?
HIV Testing: Using Our Consciousness
Session Objectives By the end of this session participants should understand: •
The importance of HIV testing
Why they, as a couple, should be tested
Where HIV testing is available.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on HIV testing General Questions: 1. Why is it important for couples to have pre- and intramarital HIV counseling and testing? 2. What fears or concerns do people have about being tested? 3. What are the advantages of testing as a couple?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on HIV testing As part of HIV awareness, it is extremely important that you receive HIV testing. We realize that many people are frightened at the thought of an HIV test. They may fear the worst and believe they will be found to be HIV positive. To these fears, we must always respond, “Knowing is better than not knowing your HIV status.” Knowing your HIV status and the status of your spouse empowers you to make better decisions. Anyone found to be HIV positive can learn to take care of themselves in order to maintain their health. It may be possible to access antiretroviral medications to prevent opportunistic infections. 1. If one partner is HIV positive, the couple should make a decision about whether or not they will get married. 44
2. If someone is already married and one partner is HIV positive, the couple should examine how they will prevent HIV infection in the negative partner. 3. If one member of a couple is HIV positive, the couple should make decisions about caring for the children they have and whether they want to have more children. 4. If both members of a couple are HIV negative, they have a clear reason to always be faithful to each other. By being completely faithful to each other, they may never contract HIV.
STEP THREE: Life application on HIV testing Couple Time 1. Have we, as individuals or as couples, been tested for HIV? 2. Are we willing to go forward with an HIV test? Why or why not? 3. What are the advantages of testing as a couple?
NOTE: The facilitator gives out specific information about where HIV testing can be done and encourages participants to have an HIV test as soon as possible.
NOTE: There may be participating couples in the group who have been tested already and know they are either HIV discordant or both HIV positive. It is important for facilitators to refer these couples to trained HIV counselors or healthcare professionals for specific advice. Although such couples are encouraged to follow the general principles of The Faithful House, more detailed advice is dependent on many factors, such as the viral load and the stage of any opportunistic disease. The facilitating couple must be careful not to overstep their bounds, remembering they are facilitators and not counselors.
4 Module Three: Living Within a Faithful House
NOTE: The facilitator begins with a welcome, a prayer and a recap of Module Two. He or she briefly reviews the Faithful House components, beginning with a foundation in God and ending with the windows of light and forgiveness. The facilitator can then allow couples to share their experiences using the following questions: 1. What are the five important values and priorities that make up the walls of our houses? 2. Did anyone discuss in more detail whether their values/priorities are in the proper order? 3. Did anyone discuss the door of your Faithful House and to what it should be closed and opened? 4. Did anyone re-examine and discuss authority and responsibility in relation to the door of your house? 5. Did anyone think more about what consciousness is and how important consciousness is in a time of AIDS? 6. Did any couples talk about the need to open a window of forgiveness and reconciliation in their marriages? 7. Has anyone decided to get an HIV test? How did you make that decision? After the review of Module Two, the facilitator introduces Module Three: â€œNow that we have built the Faithful House, we want to discuss how we are to live within it.â€?
The Marriage Bed
Session Objectives By the end of this session the participants should be able to: •
Tell the significance of the marriage bed in the Faithful House.
Recognize the sacredness of sex in marriage.
Tell the importance of a couple being open and willing to share their sexual lives and concerns with each other.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the marriage bed The session is introduced by asking the group two questions: 1. What does the marriage bed symbolize? 2. What are the purposes of the marriage bed in the life of the couple? The facilitator then divides the participants into groups of men and women. The men are given this question: •
“What do we, as men, do that hinders or minimizes satisfaction for our wives in the marriage bed?”
The women are given this question: •
“What do we, as women, do that hinders or minimizes satisfaction for our husbands in the marriage bed?”
The facilitator then asks the groups to share and discuss their responses. The discussion can be supplemented by asking a final follow-up question: •
How are men and women different in their attitudes, responses and behaviors in regard to sex? 48
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the marriage bed The marriage bed is where you will sleep together and make love with each other. Although we may be comfortable talking about building our houses, we may not be as comfortable talking with each other about our marriage beds and sexual lives. Yet, especially in a time of AIDS, we must be willing to do so. If you have constructed your house well, the marriage bed will be a special place for you. However, if you have not constructed your house well—if it lacks a foundation in God, if it lacks pillars of love or respect or if there is not a deep, loving awareness of God and each other—then your marriage bed will be troubled. The marriage bed holds a special place in your house. In fact, it is so special that we say it is placed on “holy ground.” It is placed on holy ground because when a couple makes love with each other, their union—their becoming one flesh—is holy. What do we mean by this? •
Sexual union is holy because a couple opens their bodies to create a child with God. They become co-creators with God.
Sexual union is holy because a husband and wife affirm with their bodies the goodness of their spouses. They renew a deep, loving awareness of God and of each other.
Sexual union is holy because it is part of God’s divine and sacramental plan for a husband and wife.
The holiness of sexual union should make us pause. Many in our culture think of sex in casual, “exterior” terms, as if they could have sex with different people without any problems. This attitude betrays the marriage bed and undervalues the “interior” dimension of sex that is to be holy and to be shared only between husband and wife, “until death do you part.” A couple who enters the marriage bed with respect for each other’s dignity and with an understanding of the goodness of their bodies and the sacramental nature of marriage should be open to discussing their sexual lives. They should not hide what may be troubling them. For example, a wife may find that she is too tired for sex because she gets little help or support from her husband in caring for the children. She should discuss this with him. Perhaps a woman or man may find that she or he is not sexually satisfied. The man may say he cannot keep an erection or a woman may say she cannot have an orgasm (a climax). Other problem areas include poor communication, high expectations from the spouse or comparisons with previous partners. Although it may be difficult to talk about these things, a couple—knowing that their bodies are good and their union together is good—should discuss such issues if they arise.
The Marriage Banquet
The practical dimension of making love can be further appreciated through an understanding of the â€œmarriage banquet,â€? in which making love is compared with a banquet and involves the same steps of invitation, preparation, feasting and gratitude. If a couple can understand these steps, their sexual lives can be more satisfying. At the outset, we must note that often men and women view the banquet differently. Men are looking immediately at the food and the feasting whereas women are much more sensitive to the preparation of the meal and ensuring that there is a proper invitation and expression of thanks!
Invitation A couple must learn to communicate about inviting one another to the marriage banquet. How will either the husband or wife learn to convey in a loving way that he or she would like to make love? What factors make the invitation desirable and what factors make the invitation undesirable? For example, at a given time, there may be fatigue or fear of pregnancy. A woman may be menstruating and not be comfortable with intercourse. Or there may be concern about the door being open or the presence of children. All of this must be considered as the husband invites the wife or the wife invites the husband. The invitation should be mutual. Both husband and wife should learn to communicate their intentions in kind, affectionate and sensitive ways.
Preparation A couple must learn to prepare for the banquet in a manner pleasing for both spouses. 50
Preparation involves bodily cleanliness; you need to clean up thoroughly, brush your mouth and teeth, wash your nose, earlobes, breasts, genital areas, vagina/penis, cut your nails, shave unwanted hair or whiskers.
Preparation involves preparing your soul. Look at what conflicts need to be resolved and if a window of forgiveness must be opened, ask for God’s grace to be pleasing and satisfying to one another.
Preparation involves the right time and place. Be in a clean environment. Create a space where you can walk together or sit together or even bathe together. Talk about your partner’s needs and desires. Let there be emotional intimacy before genital intimacy.
NOTE: The facilitator can supplement the presentation by turning to the Old Testament Song of Songs, 5:10–16, 7:1–9. If there is a couple, the first part (Song of Songs, 5:10–16) is read by the wife and the last part by the husband.
Feasting The act of sexual intercourse should be done with deep awareness of each other. The couple should be attentive to signs of excitement and arousal. They should focus not just on pleasing themselves, but also on pleasing the other. They should be attentive to the signs of orgasm. Most of the time, the husband will reach the climax before his wife. Then, he must do his best to ensure she is also satisfied. As at a banquet, one should observe good manners; one should not simply gorge oneself and forget about how others are faring. With time and with deep awareness of God and the body of your spouse, you will learn from each other what is pleasing and satisfying.
Gratitude and Evaluation The sexual act and climaxing do not represent the end of the banquet. Can you imagine if, at a banquet, everyone ran out of the room as they finished eating, not stopping to thank the hosts? Rather, there should be time for gratitude in which a husband and wife thank each other for this special time together and for having shared with one another the deepest part of themselves. The couple can clean each other if needed, and discuss in a kind and sensitive way any problems with the sexual act. Finally, with deep, loving awareness of God and each other, they should offer a prayer of thanksgiving. NOTE: The illustration below shows how differently men and women often feel before the sexual act.
STEP THREE: Life application on the marriage bed Couple Time 1. Is anything lacking in our marriage bed? What can we do about it? 2. How can we make our sexual lives as a couple better? What should we do differently in regard to: •
Inviting one another
3. What turns you on/off sexually? Have you communicated to your spouse the parts that arouse you sexually? If not, why not? NOTE: We realize that talking about the marriage bed and our sexual lives is not easy. Yet sex is a gift from God to us and is very much a part of who we are as people. Our challenge is to see sex as God intended it: as beautiful, as sacramental, as an image of His life-giving union. As we go forward, we ask God to help us see our sexual lives in a new light. We ask God to redeem what is broken in our marriage beds, so that it may be pleasing to Him.
The Purposes of Marriage
Session Objectives By the end of this session participants should: •
Identify the three fundamental purposes of marriage
Respect the cultural, family and religious influences on the purposes of marriage
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the purpose of marriage General Questions 1. What is the purpose of marriage in traditional culture? 2. What is the purpose of Christian marriage? 3. If a couple cannot have children, is their marriage still valid?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the purpose of marriage As a man and woman prepare to enter into marriage, they must consider the fundamental purposes of marriage. Are they coming together to build a house for children, for companionship, for continuation of their clan or family life or for economic reasons? What about having sex? Is it just for children? Or is it just for pleasure and intimacy? There may be many different answers to these questions. In many traditional African cultures, the primary purpose of marriage and sex is to beget children so that the clan or family will continue. That is why it has been said that, “A man is a father before he is a husband and a woman a mother before she is a wife.” In the West, the opposite is happening in many places. Men and women cohabitate or get married primarily for companionship, including sexual intimacy, and children 53
are often secondary. Many couples choose not to have any children, or only one or two children. What is correct? Should marriage and sex in marriage primarily be for life-giving through having children? Or should marriage and sex be primarily for lovemaking? In fact, there are three purposes of marriage: 1. Procreation and education of children 2. The unity of the spouses 3. The right ordering of sexual desire. A couple that truly loves and truly is open to life is an image of God’s being, for God is at once a love maker and a life-giver. Even if no children come, a couple that truly loves, and is open to life, reflects God’s own being. Marriage also serves to rightly order our sexual desires. The sexual urge God gave to us is very good, yet the sexual urge cannot run wild, with men and women having sex with whomever they want. Rather, in and through marriage, a couple’s sexual urge fits into God’s plan—a plan where sex leads to the right ordering of sexual desire through the unity of the spouses and the procreation of children.
NOTE: If available, the facilitators can show a picture of people’s behavior from the appendix that illustrates the kind of things that result when there is not a right ordering of sexual desire.
It well may be that there are other valid reasons for marriage, including economic security and ensuring that the life of the community, both living and dead, continues in the life of the couple and their children. However, we cannot let these reasons supersede the three primary purposes of marriage.
STEP THREE: Life application on the purpose of marriage Couple Time 1. As a couple, how do we see our marriage? Is it primarily for children, for companionship or both? 2. What other purposes does our marriage have? 3. What parts of our marriage may have lost their purposes and need to be improved? 4. In our marriage, are we open to the gift of children? Have we worked to raise our children well so that they have a strong faith and good character? 5. Have we rightly ordered our sexual desires so that we respect each other and find joy and meaning in our sexual lives?
In conclusion, the facilitator notes that the problem of infertility is raised in this session. The facilitator should add, â€œMany couples bear the pain and suffering of infertility. A marriage without children is just as valid as a marriage blessed by children. In a future session we will talk more about the challenges of The Faithful House when a couple experiences infertility.â€?
Two Paths from the House
Session Objectives •
To understand the sexual urge that comes naturally to men and women
To understand the differences between the male and female sexual urge
To understand the importance of chastity to human development
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the two paths General Questions 1. Where do the two paths from The Faithful House lead? 2. In general, is a man or woman more likely to take the path to unfaithfulness? 3. What word or words describe the power that allows a man or woman to control their sexual drive and stay faithful? 4. Is it a cultural value for men to control their sexual drives? 5. How are men taught to control their sexual drives? 6. How are women expected to control their sexual drives? 7. What does Christianity have to say about the control of our sexual drives?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the two paths As we discussed in the previous session, God gave man and woman a strong sexual urge. This sexual urge is part of God’s plan that allows human beings to participate with God in the act of creation. The sexual urge is good, as indicated in Genesis, “Male and female He created them and saw that it was good.” Yet the sexual urge must be brought under control. It must be directed to love and life and not directed to promiscuity, unfaithfulness and the extremes of rape and abuse. Men generally have a stronger sexual drive than women. They are more easily aroused by visual stimulation. In many cultures, the sexual promiscuity of men is accepted and tolerated. Yet this tolerance must be challenged. In a time of AIDS, men who cannot control their sexual drive and have multiple sexual partners are most responsible for fueling the AIDS epidemic. The power of the sexual urge is strong. It can easily lead husband or wife down the wrong path, especially if they are having troubles in their marriage. We use the word “lust” to describe the sexual urge that is only concerned with its satisfaction and release. This power of lust must be overcome—but how? The word in the New Testament that expresses the capacity for men and women to control their sexual desires is chastity. Chastity is both a power and a grace. It is defined in the New Testament as “controlling our bodies in holiness and honor.” “This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality, that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5). Chastity is a virtue, a noble way of being, a habit of doing good. Chastity is a measure of human excellence. This excellence is to be part of our Christian discipleship; we are to exceed the ways of the world through our relationship with Jesus Christ. In and through Jesus, the power of chastity is greater than the power of lust: •
A chaste young person directs the energy of his or her sexuality to loving others without being sexually intimate.
A chaste priest or religious sister directs his or her sexual energy to the service of God and the Church. Their sexuality is to be consecrated (not negated) so that it can serve many people in and through their sacramental relationship to Jesus Christ.
A married couple is to be chaste in their faithfulness to each other.
Practicing chastity is a difficult and lifelong task. Yet the alternative, to be “unchaste,” inevitably leads to trouble—from broken marriage, to diseases like AIDS. Let us acknowledge the truth and goodness of our sexual desire. Yet, let us also acknowledge that in Christ our sexual desire is capable of being under the control of our higher powers. We, the disciples of Jesus, are capable of controlling our sexual urge so that it is directed to life, love and faithfulness! 57
STEP THREE: Life application on chastity Couple Time 1. How do we practice chastity in our marriage? 2. How do we model chastity to our children? 3. What cultural practices or values can help teach and support chastity? NOTE: Here is a principle for life: Chastity equals happiness. Through chastity, we take the passion of our sexual energy and direct it to the good of others. Chastity is a way of excellence, a habit and a virtue in which we walk the right path, directing our sexual urge to true love, to excellence and to sexual self-control.
NOTE: The facilitator gives out the evaluation forms (see Appendix Five). He or she asks participant couples to set aside at least one hour when they will have time, space and privacy to talk to one another. The next meeting date, place and time are announced. During this time, the participants are encouraged to discuss further the questions they were given during the sessions. The participants should be put in a mood of anticipation for the next session.
5 Module Four: Challenges Within The Faithful House NOTE: The facilitator begins with a welcome and a prayer. He or she briefly reviews the information from Module Three by asking the couples the following questions: 1. Did you find it easier to talk about sex after our last session? 2. What do we mean by the marriage bed? Did anyone discuss it further? 3. What are the four steps of the marriage banquet? 4. What do you think the purposes of marriage are? 5. Why is it important to have sexual self-control? 6. What are cultural values and practices that help with sexual self-control? 7. What do we mean by the idea of chastity? After the review of Module Three, the facilitator then introduces Module Four, as noted below.
Room for Children
Session Objectives By the end of the session, the participants should be able to: â€˘
Discuss with each other their plans for a family 59
Discuss with each other the importance of HIV testing in planning their family
Understand how fertility awareness can help them know, act and love in regard to family planning
STEP ONE: Gathering views on room for children General Questions 1. What is the difference between the two houses? 2. What is the couple pondering as they look at these two houses? 3. Have you thought about how many children you would like to have in your family? 4. What factors do couples consider when deciding on the number of children to have?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on room for children When we build our house, we have to plan how big it is going to be and how many rooms it will have. Thus, we must ask, “Will our house be a large house in which we hope to welcome many children, or will it be a small house in which there will be fewer children?” In considering the size of our houses and how many children we will have, we must think about God’s plan for our houses, and not just our own. As we discussed in the four pillars, God wants us to have respect and dignity for human life. Whereas God is the ultimate creator, a man and woman are co-creators; it is their sexual union that God uses to call forth life. As married couples, God is asking us to be open to the gift of life. He desires our sexual unions as husband and wife not only to sustain love but also to create life. He wants us to have room in our houses for children. However, there are problems that can emerge: •
Despite a couple’s openness to a child, they may bear the pain of infertility and not be able to conceive a child. Their Faithful House seems empty.
A couple may feel that they are having too many children, that they cannot afford to feed them, clothe them or provide them with school fees. Their Faithful House seems too full.
Either the father or the mother is not involved with the care and upbringing of the children. Thus, one parent may feel completely overwhelmed and tired, working all the time, while the other is off doing other things. Their Faithful House is unfair.
One way a couple can begin to plan for their family is through fertility awareness. Fertility awareness helps a couple know, act and love by providing education about the basics of human fertility. For example, through fertility awareness a couple learns that a woman cannot become pregnant every day of the cycle. In fact, 60
scientific studies show that there is only a six-day time frame each cycle when a woman can become pregnant. By learning how to recognize this fertility potential, a couple can learn to space their children. Fertility awareness also teaches very important information about breastfeeding. Finally, when practicing fertility awareness, a couple should know their HIV status. This information will help them make good decisions about whether or not they want to have children. If they do want to have children and the mother is HIV positive, they can learn what they must to do to help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. NOTE: Where available, the facilitator can provide information for couples interested in further instruction in fertility awareness.
Preparing for Pregnancy
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: â€˘
Recognize that women can die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
Recognize the importance of good care during pregnancy, labor and delivery.
Understand how the letters in the word VITAL can help them prepare for pregnancy.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on preparing for pregnancy General Questions 1. What factors lead to the death of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth in our society? 2. How do couples prepare themselves for pregnancy and childbirth? 3. Where is the safest place and where is the most dangerous place for mothers to have their babies?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on preparing for pregnancy In preparing your house for a new baby, you must think about certain things and make certain preparations. Just as you prepare your physical house to receive a child, a wife, with the help of her husband, should prepare her own body for conception, pregnancy and delivery. This preparation helps ensure that a woman will be healthy during pregnancy and avoid risking her life during her labor. A couple can prepare this part of their house through understanding the word VITAL. The word “vital” has two meanings. The first meaning of vital is “with life” and the second meaning of vital is “very important.” In medicine, we talk of a person’s vital signs (the breathing, the heartbeat and the blood pressure). Vital signs signify life in a person. The word vital applies very well to women. Women play a vital role in giving birth and seeing that children are raised with love and with care. Whereas we hope that everything goes well during pregnancy, we know that the opposite can happen—that a woman may have serious complications during the course of pregnancy, labor and delivery that may threaten her life or the life of her baby. In its extreme, a serious, untreated complication, such as heavy bleeding after the birth of the baby, may lead to the death of the mother. Her vitality—her life—may be lost in giving life to her child. This should not happen. Couples can prevent this tragedy by following the recommendations in the letters contained in the word V-I-T-A-L. V = Vitamins: Good nutrition is essential for good pregnancy outcomes. Women who are of reproductive age and could become pregnant should be eating a wellbalanced diet with enough protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. Whereas a well-balanced diet is important, women should also be taking vitamins that have folic acid and Vitamin A. Folic acid helps prevent certain birth defects and anemia. Vitamins containing folic acid should be taken on an ongoing basis—before, during and after pregnancy. In food, folic acid is found in greens and citrus fruits like oranges. I = Iron: The majority of pregnant women in Africa are low or deficient in iron. Low iron leads to anemia (lack of enough blood). Anemic women do not have enough red 62
blood and they may feel weak, tired or dizzy. Anemic women may not tolerate the normal blood loss associated with delivering a baby and therefore may be at a higher risk of death. Women who are pregnant should ideally take iron as a supplement throughout pregnancy. Natural sources of iron are millet, liver, red meat, chicken and fish. T = Testing: As previously discussed, couples planning for pregnancy should have an HIV test. This will help a couple decide if the woman should become pregnant and, if they are HIV positive, and they decide to have a child, what they should do to prevent mother-to-child transmission. In addition to an HIV test, the couple should ideally be tested for other diseases such as syphilis or malaria. Testing before pregnancy will allow them to be treated before the woman becomes pregnant. A = Attendant: Women who are contemplating becoming pregnant must decide in advance who will attend their births. In so doing they must decide whether to go to a skilled birth attendant (nurse-midwife, nurse or doctor) or a traditional birth attendant (TBA). If they have risk factors, they should not go to a TBA. If they do choose to deliver with a TBA, they should be confident that the TBA will be able to refer them quickly and efficiently to a midwife or doctor if any problems arise. L = Location: Couples who are contemplating becoming pregnant must decide where they will have their babies. It is best if they give birth at a health center or hospital where good emergency obstetrical care can be given should they develop complications. If they are delivering their babies at a location that is remote from a health center or hospital, they must have a plan for getting to such a location if complications arise.
STEP THREE: Life application on preparing for pregnancy Couple Time 1. If you have had a child, talk about your birth preparation and birth experience. Were there any complications or difficulties? What would you do differently in future pregnancies and deliveries? 2. If you are preparing for marriage or do not yet have a child, how will you best prepare for pregnancy and childbirth? 3. Re-examine the word VITAL, recalling what each letter stands for. Are you following the recommendations represented by VITAL? NOTE: The facilitator thanks the participants for their responses and insights. A very important part of maintaining our Faithful House is the physical and emotional care a woman receives in preparing for pregnancy, in carrying the child and in giving birth. This VITAL preparation and care help ensure that the Faithful House will be a house of life. When this preparation results in the blessing of a child, it is important that the parents bring up this child according to Godâ€™s plan.
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to: •
Recognize that parents are the most important positive forces in their children’s lives.
Describe the principles of positive parenting.
Understand the importance of the “No Touch Rule” and the “A B” Rule.
NOTE: Facilitators introduce the session on positive parenting by presenting a role play in which a 6-year-old boy tries to talk to his mother and father, but they are too busy to talk and play with him. The role play goes forward 10 years and the boy is being wild, getting drunk and misbehaving. Now the parents can’t communicate with him. Facilitators ask participants to share about lessons learned in the role play.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on positive parenting General Questions 1. Who are the most important people in a child’s life? Why are they so important? 2. What are the challenges of parenting today? 3. What is the role of parents in teaching their children about sexuality and HIV and AIDS?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on positive parenting NOTE: Facilitators can supplement this discussion by quoting Scriptural passages such as Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 19:18. As a mother or a father, you are the most important teacher for your children. They will learn more from each of you than from any other person in the world. From you, they will learn lessons that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. Thus, it is extremely important that you teach your children well and be a role model for them. Although we do not have time to give a complete session on positive parenting, we will present to you seven principles. These principles are from the first seven letters of the alphabet and they help remind us of how we can be positive parents. •
A is for Attitude: We should have a positive attitude toward our children and continually strive to see the good inside them. Attitude is part of consciousness, and we should cultivate a deep, loving awareness that our children are a gift. Many children are treated with a negative attitude and are seen as a problem and not as a gift.
B is for Being Present: To love your child is to spend time with your child. Many children are raised without their parents present and involved in their lives. Parents should spend quality time with their children and celebrate important events like birthdays and holidays.
C is for Communication: Just as you learned about communicating with your spouse, you must learn to communicate well with your child. This first involves willingness to listen closely to them and understand their concerns.
D is for Development: As a positive parent, you should have an awareness of a child’s developmental stage. We cannot expect a 3-year-old to behave like a 10-year-old. We must be attentive to developmental stages such as puberty, when children have special needs and issues.
E is for Expectations: A positive parent sets clear and high expectations for a child—for their behavior, for their school performance and for their generosity toward others. Parents must first discuss expectations with each other and then communicate them to the child. Parents should reward or affirm their children when they do well. Parents should have a clear plan of discipline for when expectations are not met. If discipline is needed, it should be consistent from one parent to the other.
F is for Failure and Forgiveness: There will always be times when we disappoint and fail our children and when our children disappoint and fail us. We must be willing to forgive and be forgiven. If a child fails we cannot burden them with guilt, but must forgive them and love them with unconditional love.
G is for God and Grace: Our greatest hope for our children is that their lives will be centered in God and that they will know the faith, hope and love that is our baptismal promise. Daily, parents should help children cultivate their 65
relationships with God through their example and through their priorities. In doing this, they will model the fruits that flow from those relationships.
STEP THREE: Life application on positive parenting Couple Time 1. What positive parenting did I experience as a child? 2. What negative parenting did I experience as a child? 3. What can we do to become more positive parents? NOTE: The facilitator thanks the participants for their responses and insights. In this session, we have outlined the importance of positive parenting, beginning with a positive, loving attitude toward your child and ending with an emphasis on helping your child understand his or her own life in God. We have many models of positive parenting: those we may have experienced in our own lives, the models of Mary and Joseph and most importantly, the model of God Our Father, who always loves us completely and unconditionally.
Protecting Your Children
Session Objectives By the end of this session participants should be able to: •
Understand that any child could be at risk for sexual abuse.
Teach young children to protect themselves from abuse by using the “No Touch Rule.”
Teach older children the meaning and importance of chastity.
5.4.1 The “No Touch Rule” STEP ONE: Gathering views on the “No Touch Rule” NOTE: Facilitators introduce this session by asking participants to role-play a mother and father teaching their 5-year-old son about HIV and AIDS, and the “No Touch Rule.” General Questions 1. What positive parenting skills did you see in this role play? 2. What dangers exist for little children in our society today? How should we protect them from these dangers? 3. Who should be primarily responsible for teaching children about HIV and AIDS?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the “No Touch Rule” One of the most basic and important lessons you will teach your children is how to be safe and protect themselves from sexual abuse. This is especially true in a time of HIV and AIDS, when we want to do everything possible to ensure that our children do not become infected with HIV. Although we may feel comfortable talking with our children about some dangers—for example, the danger of running out into the road if a car is approaching—we may not feel comfortable talking with them about sexual issues. Furthermore, we may not know the best time to teach them and what words and expressions to use. One way of speaking with smaller children about the dangers of HIV and AIDS and how to avoid them is by teaching them the “No Touch Rule.” •
The “No Touch Rule” is based on the developmental stage of a child. At an early age, children cannot reason and think as well as they can when they are older. Thus, they must be taught with clear and simple directions. Because a small child’s level of reasoning is not yet well-developed, the explanation of the reasoning behind the rule does not have to be as thorough as it would be for a rule given to an older child.
All children, by 5 years of age, should be taught the “No Touch Rule,” which says, “No person should ever touch my private body parts.”
If anyone—a stranger or even a family member—tries to touch my private body parts, I must do three things: 1. Shout “No!” 2. Run away from the person. 67
3. Tell an adult. •
The only exception to the “No Touch Rule” is when your parent is helping you wash your private parts or helping you after using the toilet.
STEP THREE: Life application for the “No Touch Rule” Couple Time 1. Imagine that one of you is the parent and the other the child. Explain the “No Touch Rule” to the child. 2. How can you protect young children from abuse? NOTE: The facilitator can summarize this rule by helping the child remember three steps: “No!,” Run, Tell. The facilitator asks the participants to present a role play practicing how a parent should ask the child, “What would you do if a stranger came and gave you a toy or sweets and asked if he or she could hold your private parts?” Or ask the child, “What would you do if a cousin came and told you he was supposed to put his finger in your private parts?”
5.4.2 The “A B” Rule
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the “A B” Rule NOTE: Facilitators introduce this session by presenting a role play in which a 14year-old girl is approached by an 18-year-old boy. He befriends her, and then later tries to coax her into having sex. The girl responds firmly and directly with the “A B” Rule. 68
General Questions 1. What do you imagine the boy is thinking as he makes friends with the girl? 2. What do you imagine the girl is thinking as the boy makes friends with her? 3. What changes do boys and girls experience at the time of puberty? 4. What should we be doing, as parents, to protect our children from HIV infection as they approach and then enter puberty?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the “A B” Rule The “A B” Rule is very essential for young people. “A B” means “Always Be Chaste.” To understand the importance of chastity, we must first understand what is happening at the time of puberty when boys and girls have an awakening of their sexuality. Their bodies awaken in the following ways: •
Both boys and girls become taller.
A girl begins to develop breasts and pubic hair.
A girl begins to menstruate.
A boy’s voice grows deeper and he develops pubic hair.
A boy’s penis and testicles begin to enlarge.
A boy can discharge semen-containing fluid from his penis.
These physical changes are accompanied by emotional changes: •
Boys become attracted to girls.
Girls become attracted to boys.
Both boys and girls may withdraw from their parents and want to spend more time with their peers.
Some boys and girls may occasionally be tired or irritable or moody.
At the time of puberty, a girl becomes a woman, capable of conceiving and bearing a child. And a boy becomes a man, capable of impregnating a woman. The time of puberty is a critical time for young people. It can be a time when they make decisions about having sex. Although their bodies may be capable of sex, young boys and girls do not have the emotional or spiritual maturity to be parents. Young girls may also be vulnerable to sexual exploitation. An older boy or man may encourage them to have sex, offering them cash or gifts or some other kind of favor. Thus, at puberty young boys and girls need education and supervision to protect them from sexual activity and HIV infection. At the time of puberty, it is very important that parents talk with their children about chastity. Chastity is purity of a person’s sexual life in thought, word and deed. A
chaste person has sexual self-control because he or she desires to love God and desires to truly love others.
The Chastity Golden Coin Now that we have defined chastity, our challenge is to convey its meaning to children. To do this, we can use the parable of “The Chastity Golden Coin.” (Remember that Jesus occasionally used coins to illustrate a point.) NOTE: Facilitators may identify the most valuable thing in that particular community and relate it to the gift of chastity. Golden coins have value that allows you to purchase things. Think for a minute of your body, including your sexual parts, as a golden coin. The golden coin represents your body, including your sexuality, and has infinite value. It has such a high value that God himself, Jesus Christ, came and died for your body! If you imagine your body and your sexuality as this precious, valuable, beautiful golden coin, what would you do with this coin? Would you throw it away? Would you spend it on something that is cheap and does not last? Or, would you hold onto the coin and treasure it, so that it increases in value and can be spent to purchase something of great value that will last for eternity? As a girl becomes a woman and as a boy becomes a man, each becomes much more aware of the coin that is her or his body and sexuality. They each realize that there is a great energy and attraction that exists in their bodies. Young men want to be with young women and young women want to be with young men. The great energy and interest in sex make it very tempting to “spend the coin” and begin having sex. Yet that is not God’s plans for our bodies. •
If you have sex before marriage, you are throwing away your coin. You are not valuing the precious body that God gave to you.
If you have sex before marriage, you are taking someone’s coin from them and using it for yourself. You are stealing from them and, because you are stealing from them, you are stealing from God.
If you have sex before marriage, not only may you lose the coin, you may lose your life by becoming infected with HIV.
God desires that we use the coin of our bodies in one of two ways: 1. If you desire to become married, you hold onto the coin until the day of your wedding. If you do this, the coin will hold its infinite and everlasting value.
2. If you are called to a religious vocation, to become a priest or part of a religious order, or to be a committed single layperson, then you commit yourself to a life of celibacy in which your coin is offered fully and completely to Jesus. The celibate person is not negating his or her sexuality, but rather they are consecrating their sexuality, offering it to Jesus and to the whole body of the Church. As a young person discerning your path in life, you need to remain chaste so that when the time comes to enter married life or religious life or to remain a committed layperson, you have self-control of your sexual energy and use it for the good of God and others.
Secondary Virginity: “Picking Up the Coin Again” NOTE: The facilitator begins this exercise by dropping a coin and then picking it up. The facilitator then asks the participants the following questions: •
What does the coin represent?
What do you think is symbolized by the dropping of the coin and then picking it up?
“Picking up the coin again” symbolizes secondary virginity. Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This is true of sexual sin. For many reasons—peer pressure, poverty, curiosity or even coercion—young people may be sexually active. In so doing, they have “dropped their coin” and are not living out God’s plan for their sexuality. Yet they can “pick up their coin again.” Instead of leaving the coin on the ground where it can be trampled and ruined, they can pick up the coin and reclaim the precious gift of their sexuality. In the life of Jesus we have a very clear example of a person “picking up the coin again.” Jesus encountered a woman caught in the act of adultery who was about to be stoned. He asked those gathered around the woman, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). No one did. They dropped their stones and walked away. Jesus turned to the woman and said, “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go [and] from now on do not sin anymore.’” Here we see Jesus telling the woman to “pick up your coin again.” Do not sin, do not commit adultery. Do not cheapen your body and sexuality. Jesus does so by 71
forgiving the woman and by recognizing her dignity as a person. In the same way, people who are committing sexual sin through premarital sex or through adultery can begin their lives again. They can become “secondary virgins,” committing themselves to chastity even if they have been unchaste before. As they do, they must see that God has forgiven them and that they indeed can practice “A B”: “Always Be Chaste, Always By Christ.”
“The Coin Has Two Sides” There is a second story to be told about the golden coin of chastity. When you examine a coin, you will see that it has two sides; the two sides of the coin represent the two parts of chastity: 1. Thou shall always love: On one side of the coin, we see that God created us for love and to do good for another. As a chaste person, you want to continue loving people. To love people means that you value them as people, recognizing that they too hold a precious coin. Because you love them, you would never want to harm them, stealing away their coin. 2. Thou shall not use: On the other side of the coin God tells us that we should never use another person. By using we mean taking something—like sex—from another person for our own ends. Using is the opposite of loving. When we use someone rather than giving of ourselves, we are taking; we are stealing from another person, a person who has just as much value as do we. Each of us holds in our hand this precious coin, the gift of our bodies and our sexuality. As we clutch it, we are reminded of its two sides, “Thou shall always love” and “Thou shall not use.” The time will come when you will gladly share your coin with someone: •
If you become married, your coin is shared with your spouse and only your spouse.
If you become a priest, part of a religious order, or a committed layperson, this coin is offered fully and completely to Jesus.
Remember this about your body and your sexuality: Your body is precious beyond any measure. Your body should always be directed toward truly loving other persons and never toward using them. Chastity teaches us that through the grace of God we can live our lives by “always loving and never using others!” NOTE: The facilitator can further supplement the discussion by reading and handing out the message on chastity outlined below.
“A B” Means “Always Be Chaste.” “Chaste” is a word that is very important for you to understand. •
Chaste means to honor your body by not having sex before marriage.
Chaste means to be strong and honorable by having sexual self-control. If you are a boy, you should not try to have sex with girls. If you are a girl, you should not allow boys or men to lead you into having sex.
Chaste means that whether you are a boy or a girl, you are proud that you are a virgin.
Chaste means to honor God by respecting your own body and the bodies of others.
A chaste person is practicing what God has intended: to refrain from sex until you are married. In a time of AIDS, to be chaste is the best way to avoid HIV. If you are unchaste—that is, if you have sex with someone outside of marriage—then you are opening up your body to HIV. Please do not open your body to HIV. Keep it safe by “A B”: Always Be Chaste. Know that it is not easy to be chaste. Your body may be telling you it wants to have sex. Boys may tempt girls to have sex by promising things. Older boys or men may offer money or gifts to girls for having sex with them. You must be strong and insist to “Always Be Chaste.” Do not let a cunning person trick you into giving up your chastity. Boys and men have a special responsibility to fully respect women. They may want to trick or even force a girl to have sex so they can experience the thrill of having sex. To do so—to trick or force a girl to have sex—is a grave sin because it hurts the body of a girl that God has made and robs both individuals of their golden coins. You must understand that in a time of AIDS, living by the “A B” Rule is often the difference between life and death. If you do not live by this rule and begin to have sex, you are opening your body to HIV. If you have sex with someone, you don’t know if that person has AIDS or not. A person with HIV can look perfectly strong and healthy. They can lie and tell you that they have been tested; but have they really? If you can live by the “A B” Rule, you will be happier. You will not be distracted by playing sex. You will be able to avoid HIV. You will be able to pursue your life goals. You will be honoring your own body and you will be honoring the bodies of others. Finally, you will be following God’s plan; He wants each of us to experience “life in its abundance.” Please follow the “A B” Rule: Always Be Chaste! Always By Christ. Finally, chastity is a gift we can desire and ask from God for our children and ourselves. NOTE: Read 1 Corinthians 6:12–20.
STEP THREE: Life application of the “A B” Rule Couple Time 1. Imagine that one of you is the parent and the other is a child entering puberty. Tell the child as clearly as you can what chastity is. 2. How can you help your children learn and practice chastity? NOTE: Children are very vulnerable to becoming sexually active at the time of puberty and afterward. Parents can help protect them by teaching them about chastity and by supporting their decision to be chaste. They should help them become serious and committed to the “No Touch Rule” and the “A B” Rule. Finally, we must work with our communities and society at large so chastity becomes a lifestyle and not an exception for our young people.
Culture and the Houses Around Us
Session Objectives By the end of this session participants should be able to: •
Realize the influence of culture on their Faithful Houses.
Identify cultural and modern influences that pose a risk to the Faithful House.
Identify cultural and modern influences that affirm life and avoid risk to the Faithful House.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on culture and the houses around us General Questions 1. What are the cultural and modern influences (knowledge, attitudes, practices and behaviors) around you that will decrease the risk of acquiring HIV and AIDS? 2. What are the cultural and modern influences (knowledge, attitudes, practices and behaviors) around you that will increase the risk of acquiring HIV and AIDS? 3. If time allows, role-play an example of a cultural or modern influence.
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on culture and the houses around us Our houses don’t stand alone. They are influenced by the houses around them. One of the deepest influences on our houses comes from the culture around us. The role of culture is especially important in a time of HIV and AIDS. There may be cultural practices and traditions that put our house at risk of acquiring HIV infection and there may be values and traditions within our culture that can help protect us against HIV and AIDS. Therefore, cultures must be carefully examined to discover their influence on the values, behaviors and the lifestyles of The Faithful House. These are some of the specific cultural influences that relate to AIDS:
Houses in which cultural or modern values or practices increase HIV risk: •
Widow inheritance and purification
Women proving their fertility before marriage by having a child
Men proving their manhood by having sex before marriage
Seeing women as property or objects instead of people
Pornography on the internet or on TV
Houses in which cultural values or practices decrease HIV risk: •
Teaching and supporting chastity in young men and women
Emphasizing respect for the dignity of women
Fathers involved with teaching their children to be chaste
Associating with other couples and families that share your values 75
Seeking spiritual support
STEP THREE: Life application on culture and the houses around us Couple Time 1. If there were one thing that you could change in your culture to decrease the risk of HIV, what would that be? What are you going to do about it as an individual? 2. What positive, cultural and modern influences can you encourage in your marriage, family and community that will help decrease the spread of HIV? NOTE: The facilitator thanks participants for their contributions. In summary, as we work to ensure that our houses are safe, we must be aware of how our culture can either negatively or positively influence our own houses. In order to counteract the negative influence of certain cultural values and practices, we must be sure that our own values and beliefs are strong and not broken down. We must also realize that through our example and through our faith we can positively influence culture so that it helps promote the life and dignity of all people as well as reducing HIV risk.
Session Objectives By the end of this session, participants should be able to:
â€˘ Understand factors that may lead to the breakdown of our Faithful Houses 76
â€˘ Understand how breakdown of our Faithful Houses increases our risk of HIV transmission both in and outside of our family. STEP ONE: Gathering views on broken houses General Questions 1. What do you see that is different about this house? 2. What factors can lead to the breakdown of our houses? 3. What are the consequences of our houses breaking down? What can happen to the husband or wife? What can happen to the children? 4. In our society, what do you think are the three most common causes of houses breaking down? STEP TWO: Supplementing views on broken houses As much as possible, we would want our Faithful Houses to be perfect. Yet because of the reality of sin, all of our houses are broken to some degree. Our challenge is to identify where such breaks occur and ask ourselves how we can repair them. Some of the causes of breakage in our Faithful Houses may be excessive alcohol use, relatives, house helpers, friends, in-laws, bad company, poverty and poor stewardship. The excessive use of alcohol is a very big threat to our Faithful Houses because it makes it more likely that the man or woman may sleep with others outside of the marriage, increasing the chances for HIV infection.
STEP THREE: Life application on broken houses Couple Time 1. What is the difference between this house and the Faithful House you have built? 2. What things are threatening to break down our Faithful Houses? What are we going to do about it? NOTE: After hearing the responses, the facilitator can summarize what leads to broken houses. Some of the causes that will be noted include excessive alcohol use, relatives, house helpers, abuse, in-laws, bad company, poverty and poor stewardship. At this time the facilitator will have to make a decision about how to proceed. The facilitator can continue to the next session (Godâ€™s House of Mercy), or there may be a need for more detailed discussion of either alcohol use or domestic abuse, and the facilitator would present these sessions in their entirety.
5.6.1 Broken Houses: Alcohol
STEP ONE: Gathering views on alcohol and broken houses 1. What do you see happening in the picture? 2. Is alcohol a problem in your society? 3. Is there any relationship between alcohol use and HIV? NOTE: If the facilitator feels alcohol use is a significant problem in the community, this topic can be explored further by a small-group discussion. The women are asked to list the effects of alcohol on their marriages and families. The men are asked to list why men drink in their community.
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on alcohol and broken houses As we can see, the consequences of alcohol use are many. They range from promiscuity to setting a bad example for children. Alcoholism can lead to poverty, to abuse and to family breakdown. With alcoholism, “the drink” becomes the first priority, more important than God, than one’s spouse, one’s children and one’s job. 78
With alcohol use, there is a greater chance of unfaithfulness and a person may be less likely to adhere to antiretroviral therapy and health-care treatment recommendations. Excessive alcohol use can be a means of denial in which a person does not want to confront the reality that he or she is HIV positive. We donâ€™t want alcohol to control you. Rather, we want you to be your own person and be free of the burden of excessive alcohol use. As part of this, we hope that rebuilding your house through programs such as The Faithful House will create a home environment where couples enjoy each other and there is less desire to seek outside company. For those who struggle with excessive alcohol use, we urge you to seek the help of a spiritual or professional counselor. There are support groups and treatment approaches that emphasize the importance of a higher power in freeing oneself from alcoholism.
STEP THREE: Life application on alcohol and broken houses Couple Time 1. Do either of us have a problem with excessive alcohol use? 2. If one of us does, what factors lead to heavy drinking? 3. What have been the consequences of excessive alcohol use on our marriage and family? 4. Do we want to work together to fix the part of our house broken by alcohol? 5. Who should we ask to help us in this decision to seek treatment and stop alcohol use?
5.6.2 Broken Houses: Domestic Abuse
â€˘ To bring to light the reality of domestic abuse or violence â€˘ To bring healing to situations in which abuse or violence is occurring. STEP ONE: Gathering views on domestic abuse and broken houses General Questions 1. What do you see happening in the picture? 2. What do we mean by domestic abuse? 3. What kinds of domestic abuse exist in society? 4. Who commits abuse: men to women, women to men? 5. What factors lead to husbands abusing their wives? 6. What factors lead to wives abusing their husbands?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on domestic abuse and broken houses
As you have described, there are many kinds of abuse: domestic violence, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and abuse by neglect. All of these are great wrongs in our societies. We know from studies that approximately 85 percent of the time, violence is perpetuated on women by men. There is absolutely no justification for this in Christianity or other faithsâ€™ traditions. Beginning with Genesis, Scripture teaches that women and men are created in God's image. Jesus himself always respected the human dignity of women. Sadly, some men may have learned that abuse is acceptable based on their own upbringing or cultural belief system. In some circumstances, their fathers may have abused their mothers. For some men, deep frustrations may arise from the sense that they have failed as providers. We also know that there is a great overlap between alcohol and drug use and domestic violence. Similarly, a woman may take her own frustrations out on her husband. She may feel he has failed her as a spouse, as a father or as a provider. Abuse can take the form of any violent, coercive, forceful, neglectful, insulting or threatening act, or word, inflicted by one member of a family or household on another. Violence is not only a physical act. It can be verbal or psychological as well. Finally, abuse can be sexual, such as when sex is forced or coerced. 81
How do we fix this broken house? How do we get beyond the pain of being abused by our spouse or the violent behaviors of inflicting abuse on our spouse and move toward a new way of being with each other?
• Forgiveness: Forgiveness is to be understood by both the perpetuator of the abuse and the victim of the abuse. The person who is the abuser must be truly repentant and committed to never abuse again. He or she may likely need further counseling and spiritual guidance in order to handle anger and frustration. Victims of abuse must realize that forgiveness is not forgetting the abuse or pretending that it did not happen. Neither is possible for the victim. Forgiveness is NOT permission to repeat the abuse. Rather, forgiveness means that the victim chooses to continue to work toward healing in the relationship and at the same time resolves not to tolerate further abuse.
• True Understanding: An abused woman or man may see his or her suffering as just punishment for a past deed for which he or she feels guilty. He or she may try to explain suffering by saying that it is "God's will" or "God's way of teaching me a lesson." This image of a harsh, cruel God who allows such abuse is wrong. God is mercy! Jesus consistently helped suffering men and women. When we consider the woman with the hemorrhage (Mark 5:25–34) or the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1–11), God’s love for us and desire for our well-being is obvious. God wants an end to the abuse and healing from any abuse that has occurred. Abuse also must be brought out into the light. Although we may feel ashamed or embarrassed about sharing these ugly facts about our private lives, it is important to tell a spiritual shepherd, a priest, a trusted friend or a family life counselor. You are not the only person in your church in this situation, so for your sake as well as the sake of others, bring an abusive relationship to light.
• Transformation: Our journey as disciples of Christ is one of on-going transformation. We change and grow so that, over time, we conform ourselves closer to the mind and heart of Jesus. Thus, with the grace of God, we can move from abuse to respect, from violence to nonviolence, from neglect of one another to deep and abiding care for each other. In this transformation, we confront ourselves and ask God to give us the strength to end any behaviors and attitudes that lead to abuse: anger, alcohol, impatience or jealousy. What may seem impossible for us is possible with God. Please know that the broken house of abuse can be repaired. It may require outside help, even professional assistance or counseling. However, as the house is repaired, you will realize a great peace and happiness!
STEP THREE: Life application on domestic abuse and broken houses Couple Time 1. Has there been abuse in our marriage? 2. How can we end any abuse and restore the well-being of our house? 3. How can we help others in our family and community confront, heal and end domestic abuse?
God’s House of Mercy
Session Objectives By the end of this session, the participants should be able to: •
Understand and appreciate God’s House of Mercy, which is open to all.
Realize our own need for God’s mercy.
Recognize how our Faithful Houses will be part of God’s House of Mercy.
NOTE: In this session, the facilitator should lead the participants to a mood of prayer, allowing time for reflection and reconciliation between couples. If possible, the Sacrament of Reconciliation should be available. The facilitator may light a candle or have a crucifix to symbolize the presence of God. Read aloud: Luke 15:20–24; Isaiah 1:18.The facilitator emphasizes that there is no sin that God cannot forgive and forget. 83
As we close our final session, we ask you to imagine one more house, a house bigger and more beautiful than any house you have ever seen. This house has room for every single person in the universe! This house welcomes with an open door a married couple working each day to be faithful to each other. This house welcomes a couple that has been bearing pain of different kinds in their marriage. And this house welcomes those who are HIV positive and those who are sick and dying of AIDS. As you enter this glorious house, the host will greet you. He will kiss your hand and give you a new robe. As you enter further, he will lead you to a banquet room where guests are feasting on very fine food. On entering this house, any pain or guilt or suffering you are carrying is lifted from you and you are warm, free and loved. My people, you have entered God’s House of Mercy. You have been greeted and welcomed and escorted by Jesus the Son. No matter what your sin and what your circumstance, God stands waiting, begging for you to enter His House of Mercy. All of us need to enter this House of Mercy. We enter this house through our prayers and through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. No sin is bigger than God’s House of Mercy. If we accept his gift of mercy, He can redeem our lives; we change our sinful ways and we can again live as God intended, one with Him and one in Him. As we think back to our meetings, we have come a long way in building our Faithful Houses. We end in the very place where we began—in God’s love and mercy. Our challenge is to become more and more aware of this love and mercy, which may enter and infuse our own houses. This is what God truly intended when he said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Build your houses with the same great love with which I have built my own. Let us close with a prayer, calling to mind God’s infinite mercy: “Lord, as we build our own Faithful Houses, we turn to the house you have shared with us, your house of love and divine mercy. In your house, we are always granted refuge. In your house, we find the strength to follow your son, Jesus. He who was most chaste, he who was most good, he who bore all things for love of us. As we have found love and mercy in you, may we be loving and merciful with one another so that in all ways your house may shine in our very own.” In Jesus’ name we pray.” Amen.
Closing of Module Four and The Faithful House Program
Once the physical house has been built, it is not the end of our work. We must continually care for the house to ensure it is clean and maintained. The same is true with our Faithful House. It requires ongoing work and maintenance. Thus, while we are formally concluding the sessions on The Faithful House, we want you to keep working to maintain and strengthen your houses. All of us must take the basics of what we have learned and build on them. Let us be changed by the knowledge we have accumulated in building a Faithful House and 84
make an about turn. If we did not pray before, let us pray now. If we did not respect our spouses before, let us begin to respect them now. If we were not faithful before, let us be faithful now. In these ways and others we may take into our hearts the words of Saint Paul: â€œI am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesusâ€? (Philippians 1:6). NOTE: Facilitators should introduce the idea of support groups (see Appendix Two) and urge participants to form such groups in this manner. Some of you may be interested in forming small groups or associations that can support one another in living a faithful married life. These groups and associations can help ensure that couples surround themselves with families and houses that share the same values. These associations can also be a source of support and wisdom in addressing the problems and challenges of married and family life. NOTE: The facilitator must evaluate the program. (See the Evaluation Form in Appendix Five.) The program should be concluded with a simple celebration. The Faithful House celebration could take the form of a Mass, sharing a meal, lighting candles and renewal of marriage vows. The couples can also be invited to honor each other before other couples and share how they have benefited from the program.
6 Appendices 6.1
Appendix One: Additional Topics for Facilitators and Small Groups
6.1.1 The House That Is Poor
Session Objectives •
To understand the reality of poverty and its impact on marriage and family life
To challenge couples to use their togetherness to minimize the effects of poverty
To challenge the community to care for and support those who are poor
STEP ONE: Gathering views on the house that is poor General Questions 1. What do you notice about this house? 2. Do you think it is easy to live in this house? 3. What would happen to the family if the mother or father were to get AIDS?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on the house that is poor Poverty within our families and communities is a profound problem. Poverty can lead to disease and to despair. Those who are poor suffer disproportionately compared with those who are well off. John Paul II, the late Holy Father, said this about poverty: “We must see another’s poverty as our own and be convinced that the poor can wait no longer.” The root causes of poverty are varied and complex. Poverty may come from economic circumstances, from lack of jobs and lack of education. Poverty may come about from diseases such as AIDS, in which people lose their health and vitality. Or poverty may come from a breakdown in relationships—for example if a wife is widowed and has children to care for. As we examine the reality of poverty, we see that a couple living in a Faithful House is much less likely to experience worsening poverty than a couple that abandons their Faithful House. For example, if a poor man becomes so discouraged that he begins drinking heavily, the family’s poverty will worsen. If, out of desperation, a woman turns to prostitution for money, and gets AIDS, the family’s poverty will worsen. Thus, a couple must stay together and support each other, even in the midst of extreme poverty. If they don’t, their situation may well worsen even further. Living in a poor house, a couple must look to their roof—to their consciousness—to see what they may be able to do to improve their situation. It may be something simple like getting a chicken for eggs, planting a garden or looking elsewhere for a job. The Christian community must look carefully at these couples and their families to see how they can be of help and support to them. As John Paul II said, the “poverty of one is the poverty of us all.” NOTE: At this point, the facilitator should initiate a discussion asking couples how they deal with poverty in their own lives, what stresses it creates and what suggestions they have for others who are struggling with poverty.
STEP THREE: Life application on the house that is poor Couple Time 1. How do we deal with poverty in our own house? 2. Are there things that we can do to improve our situation? 3. Who is poor in our own community and how can we reach out to them?
6.1.2 A Closer Look at Our Values
Session Objectives •
To identify specific values for our marriages and families
To examine the origin of our values
To create a vision and plan for implementing our values
STEP ONE: Gathering views on our values In the session on the Walls of the House we discussed five priorities for our marriages and families: God, spouse, children, job and other. Keeping these five priorities in their proper order is the key to a strong Faithful House. We want to take the discussion on the walls a step further by identifying more specific values that should be part of our family life. We want to discuss how these values are part of a vision a couple should develop for their lives. A value is a principle or ideal of great worth and merit. If you value something, it is close to your heart; it is something you desire greatly. Keeping this definition in mind, divide into three groups and consider these questions: •
Group One: You have five bricks to build the walls of your house. What value will constitute each of your five bricks? The note-taker for the group should draw each of the five bricks and write down the value inside each of the bricks.
Group Two: Role-play a twin boy and girl who are graduating from college. Two of their uncles come to their party and speak to them. One of the uncles 89
gives them advice about putting the welfare of their family above all else, at all costs. The other uncle tells them how important it is to be honest and to be true to the values of their faith. Which uncle do you want them to listen to? •
Group Three: Keeping in mind the definition of a value, decide where the bricks should come from. Should people just decide for themselves what their values are? Write down where people should find their values.
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on values The groups should then present their discussions and the role play. •
The discussion from Group One should help identify important values for marriage and family life.
The discussion from Group Two should bring up the reality that there may be conflicting values, or priorities that are at odds with the values we desire for our family and community. We are to be wary of values that have no basis in God and encourage immoral ways of behavior.
The discussion from Group Three should help identify the origin of our values. Do they come from our faith, our culture, our education? Where should we find our values?
Listed below are a number of values that have been identified in previous Faithful House training sessions. They can be supplemented by the values identified by the group. •
The Value of Faith: If we value our faith it will be part of our daily lives. As a couple and as a family we will pray together and we will participate in the sacraments. “The family that prays together stays together.”
The Value of Family: Many times we fail to fully value the well-being of each other and the well-being of our children. Instead of spending time with our family members, we spend time elsewhere—drinking, socializing or in clubs. In the Western world, many people spend time with their computers and televisions, ignoring the people in their houses. People may be so preoccupied with businesses, housework or meetings that they neglect their marriages and families. If we value our marriages, we will spend time with our spouses. If we value our families, we will spend time with our spouses and with our children.
The Value of Honesty: In a marriage, a husband and wife must be truthful to each other, not lying about things or hiding things from one another. In family life, we want our children to be honest with their parents and with all others.
The Value of Gentleness: Just as men and women should be strong (in Godly convictions), they should also be gentle. In their gentleness, they should be kind, patient and respectful toward each other and not treat one another harshly or unfairly. If a couple values gentleness, there should never
be physical or verbal abuse in the house. Children, although they need rules and discipline, should also be treated gently. •
The Value of Inner Strength: As people and as married couples, you should be strong and consistent in your convictions about what is right and wrong and what is just and unjust. Men and women should be strong in their selfcontrol and mastery of their passions. A woman should have a healthy selfrespect and inner strength that allow her to be treated with dignity. Both men and women should be strong and courageous in the face of injustice or difficulties.
The Value of Hard Work Over Laziness: We want to be hard-working and use the gifts and talents God has given to us for the purpose of improving the well-being of our families and society. As society becomes more modernized there are many things that can distract us from hard work—television, radio, computer and internet. As parents, we want to be sure our children are not being seduced into using these things. We must also be aware of improper and immoral values and behaviors that can be presented through the media.
The Value of Rest and Recreation: Many times we are so busy with our work and our day-to-day activities that we do not pause to rest. If we think of the word recreation, we see that it means to re-create; that is, to create anew our energy and our enthusiasm for God and for each other. Couples and families must take time for this rest and recreation. In addition, we should value the life we experience in our villages and communities, especially within the Church, where we participate in the celebrations, the feasts, the processions and the rituals that mark the year and mark the seasons of our lives. (The facilitator can further emphasize this value by asking the group, “Why did the Lord give us the Sabbath day?”)
STEP THREE: Life application on values Couple Time 1. What are the five most important values we want to build into the walls of our Faithful House? 2. What do we want to do differently to better realize the values we have chosen for our house?
Note: Naming our values leads to another important exercise—developing a vision for our families. In the Old Testament we read the following: “Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision; Make it plain upon tablets, so that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late” (Habukkak 2:2–3). In examining our values as a couple and as a family, we should also take another step and write down a vision, asking, “Where do we want our lives to be in the future?” (For example, where do we want to be in one year, five years and 15 years?) Looking to this vision helps us plan and prepare now. Couples can then spend some time with these questions: 1. What goals do we want to realize in our family in the next 5 years? 2. What do we want to do now in order to realize our vision 15 years from now? 3. What will assist us to realize this vision for our family? 4. What will prevent us from realizing the vision for our marriage and family?
6.1.3 Our Inner Houses This session is being introduced to facilitators so that they have a framework for considering how problems within a person’s inner life may affect a couple’s married life. To draw a comparison, The Faithful House has a session on “Culture and the Houses Around Us,” in which we examine the impact of culture and external influences on a couple’s practice of the Faithful House program. Just as there can be external influences that have a positive or negative impact on one’s ability to adhere to the Faithful House program, there can also be internal influences that negatively or positively influence a person’s practice of the Faithful House program.
• To reflect on the experiences of facilitators in providing counsel to married couples
• To understand the human person existing as an “I” and within a “We” • To understand how intrapersonal dynamics can affect interpersonal relationships
• To apply the principle of “know thyself” to the Faithful House program. 92
STEP ONE: Gathering views on our inner houses The session is introduced by role play in which a couple attends a Faithful House workshop. After the workshop, they continue to work hard on their marriage, yet the wife remains very unhappy. A particularly difficult area is the marriage bed. The wife is not interested in having sex and is even fearful of sexual intimacy. After a period of time during which the husband has remained supportive and understanding, the wife confided to a close friend that she had been sexually abused as a young girl and still carries the wounds of being abused. Eventually she is able to share her pain with her husband and their marital life improves. General Questions 1. Why was the wife still unhappy even though the couple attended a Faithful House workshop and the husband was a good and committed spouse? 2. Where was the problem? (With the history of the wife being abused? With the couple? With the culture?) 3. How can “internal” problems affect a couple’s relationship?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on our inner houses In this role play, the wife’s unhappiness, particularly in the marriage bed, was coming from inside: from a deep wound in her past. Thus, even though the couple was trying to follow the Faithful House program, they were struggling. It was only when the wife was able to trust enough to share her trauma of abuse that things could improve. There are other examples in which internal problems can affect a couple’s practice of the Faithful House. Consider the example of a man who had been emotionally neglected as a child and suffered depression as a result. After entering marriage, he continues to be depressed and despondent at times and begins to drink as a way of dealing with his depression. Using these examples, we can see that there is not just a “faithful house,” which a couple builds together; there is also an “inner house,” which they each carry inside themselves. Understanding this inner house can help us as people and as facilitators. Taking this one step further, we can say that “I,” as a person, exist in two dimensions: 1. I exist as an “I”: I am a unique, never to be duplicated human being with a unique life experience. As an “I” person, I have an “interior life” made of desires, dreams, fears, longings and pain. Within my interior life, I have a relationship with God, who “knit me within my mother’s womb.” This “I” existence is what we have called “our inner house.”
2. I exist within a “We”: Human beings exist in relationship to other human beings. Thus, even though I exist as an “I,” I also exist as a “We” in how I am connected to other people. Going back to the very act of conception, my life as an “I” is only possible because of the existence of a “We” relationship between my father and mother. In theological terms, we describe this “We” relationship with the phrase a “communion of persons.” The Faithful House program has focused on developing the “We” dimension of the human person in its most foundational expression: the “communion of persons” between a husband and wife. This communion is so deep that it is described by Jesus in these words, “For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and wife and he and his wife shall become one flesh.” A husband and wife are not just two separate “I”s, they are a “We” in the very flesh of their being! However, as important as the “We” dimension of human personhood is, we also want you to be aware of the “I” dimension, your “inner house,” because it can have a profound impact on your practice of the Faithful House program. For example, we know that a given person may suffer from a history of abuse or neglect, or he or she may suffer from depression or a mental illness that has a genetic, inherited basis. This person needs help and support for the “I” dimension of their personhood. Without being recognized, a neglected “I” can have serious ramifications for the “We” of the Faithful House. For example, a person who is depressed is more likely to abuse alcohol, and a person who is depressed is less likely to take medications regularly, including antiretroviral therapy.
6.1.4 The Broken Inner House STEP ONE: Gathering views on broken inner houses General Questions 1. What things could lead to a person being “broken” or “wounded” within their “inner house”? 2. Would a person who was abused (physically, mentally, sexually) or neglected as a child necessarily talk about this? Why or why not? 3. How does a person who has suffered or is suffering from a distant or near trauma to their “inner house” find healing?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on broken inner houses In reality, there are vast numbers of people who suffer as a “broken I” within their “inner house.” We know that many children have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused. Many adults entering marriage were neglected physically or emotionally as children. Other people have suffered trauma from being victims of violence or witnessing acts of violence. Others have trauma from illnesses such as AIDS, from living in poverty or from being discriminated against. The list goes on.
We can visualize within this “inner house” something called “the pain body.” Each of us carries within our person a “body of pain,” an accumulation of the wounds and trauma of our existence. For many, this “pain body” is huge, and they stagger under its great weight. Unconsciously, many people see the world and respond to it through their “pain body.” To them, the “We” of other people may not necessarily be trusted or relied on. Unconsciously, they may blame themselves for the “pain body” within their inner house, never realizing it was thrust upon them by a force beyond their control. We must realize that couples may bring the pain bodies of their inner house with them into their practice of the Faithful House. Left unrecognized or unattended, the pain body has the potential to disrupt every part of the house. For example, a wife who has been sexually abused as a child or adolescent may experience a great deal of anxiety and fear in the marriage bed. A husband who was neglected as a child may not bond with and nurture his own children.
The Healing “We”
Imagine yourself digging the foundation of your house. You encounter a large rock, which must be removed. Try as you might, you cannot dislodge and lift the rock out of the way; it is simply too heavy. The rock is your pain body and it cannot be lifted alone. To dislodge and lift the rock you need the help of others. The weight of the rock—the burden of your pain body—must be shared. Here again we see the two dimensions of human personhood: 1. As an “I” person you must be willing to look at the rock, its weight and dimensions. You did not put it there, but you must help remove it for your own 95
well-being. As an “I” person you ask, “How can I do my part—through reflection, through seeking counsel, through prayer, through appropriate medications—to lift the rock?” 2. As a “We,” the rock must be lifted. The “we” may be your spouse, the “we” may be a trusted family member or friend, the “we” may be a spiritual counselor or guide. The “we” can use help, use the levers of understanding, acceptance and even forgiveness to lift from your being any guilt, any selfhatred, any shame, any fear. 3. The “We” of God can help lift the rock. Remember that God is at the very site of the rock, both in our inner house and in our practice of the Faithful House. For Christians, God exists as the person of Jesus. The “Body of Christ” can bring healing to the “pain body.” God is not indifferent to our pain body, but rather He himself has entered our pain body to take it from us. If we look to our role play at the beginning, we can see how the woman who had been sexually abused was able to use the “I” and the “We” to find a degree of healing.
• As an “I,” she decided to share her history of being abused with a close friend. She was able to reflect and move beyond denial or shame to seek help.
• As a “We,” she reached out first to her friend and then to her husband to “lift the rock” of her pain body. Their listening, their understanding and their unconditional love helped move her toward healing.
• As a “We,” she turned to her faith and to the person of Jesus to encounter God’s healing presence. There is no pain body so large that it cannot be shared by the perfect love of God.
The Relevance of the Pain Body As a facilitator of The Faithful House, you may wonder why it may be important to understand these notions of personhood and pain body. We are not expecting, nor is it appropriate, that you be considered to be a marriage, pastoral or mental health counselor (unless of course you are one of those by profession). However, the reality is such that you are working with married couples who bring to you their problems and their stories of a “broken house.” As you offer attentive and compassionate listening to these couples, an awareness of the “pain body” may help you direct a couple toward the help they need.
STEP THREE: Life Application on broken inner houses Couple Time NOTE: Below are questions that can be used if this session is part of a Faithful House training program. 1. Am I carrying a heavy “pain body” from any trauma? 2. If I am carrying a heavy “pain body,” who can I talk to about it? 3. What fears do I have about sharing my “pain body?” 4. How can my faith and spirituality be a part of healing my pain body?
Differentiation and Projection Two terms are helpful for describing the interplay between our inner house and our relationships:
• Differentiation is a healthy psychological mechanism whereby a person can make a distinction between what is happening in the “I” of their human person and what is affecting them externally. For example, differentiation is a part of self-insight that allows a person to say to themselves, “Yes, I feel angry because of _____,” or to say, “I am experiencing fear because of a certain event.” Through differentiation, they identify the source of the problem or emotion within the correct sphere.
• Projection is an unhealthy psychological mechanism that occurs when a person does not have sufficient self-awareness or insight to properly locate the source of their emotions. Instead of examining themselves, they project or blame the problem or emotion on something outside of themselves. Consider this example: A man has a problem with alcohol. He drinks too much and his family suffers because of it. When asked, “Why do you drink so much? Can’t you see it is hurting your family?” the man replies, “I drink because of the stress caused by my wife.” The man fails to differentiate what is an internal problem and projects it onto his wife. Although there may be “stress” related to issues with his wife, the man can only face and resolve the issue of alcoholism by looking at his inner house and the pain body inside of it. Helping couples develop differentiation and avoid projection can be a part of resolving problems within the Faithful House program.
6.1.5 Temperament and Mood At times there are “structural” problems in a couple’s Faithful House. For example, the foundation may not be in God or one of the pillars may need work. In other situations, a couple’s Faithful House may be challenged by differing temperaments 97
and moods within a person’s “inner house.” Helping couples understand and respect differences in mood and temperament can make for a happier Faithful House.
• To understand the importance of “know thyself,” as part of being a whole person
• To understand the differences in temperament, moods and personalities in spouses
• To help couples appreciate and respect differences in each other. STEP ONE: Gathering views on temperment and mood This exercise is introduced by a role play in which five people are on a walk from one village to another. They take a different route than usual and encounter a rapidly flowing river with no bridge to cross. What do they do? General Questions 1. The first person wants to jump into the river and swim across. He encourages others to follow and stresses how important it is that they reach their destination. 2. The second person is concerned about the danger of crossing the river. She fears for everyone’s safety and urges that they turn around, not cross the river and head back to the village they left. 3. The third person thinks carefully and decides it would be best to build a bridge. He urges the others to gather logs and get rope to begin the building process. 4. The fourth person is captivated by the beauty of the river and the trees and foliage around it. She admires the scene and begins to paint a picture of it. 5. The fifth person notices a large, slow-moving pool of water farther down the river. He thinks it would be a great place to swim and relax and urges others to join him for a refreshing swim in the pool. In this example, we can get a glimpse of the different personalities of human beings. 1. The first person is more of an aggressive risk taker. 2. The second person is more cautious and does not want to take chances. 3. The third person is a practical problem solver. 4. The fourth person is artistic and focused on the present moment. 5. The fifth person is looking for what pleasure might be present in the situation. None of these temperaments are right or wrong. Yet, as you might imagine, if people didn’t recognize and respect different temperaments, then problems could well emerge. The first person would argue with the second person about whether they 98
would continue. The third person, who is intent on building a bridge, would be upset at the fourth person for wanting to paint rather than build; perhaps all of them would be unhappy with the fifth person who wants to just swim and play in the river. Oftentimes people may not be aware of their natural temperaments. They do not consciously “know themselves.” Many times people are also not aware of the temperaments of their spouses, which can lead to difficulties in marriage. For example, men by nature are often “risk takers” and thus want to make decisions, such as leaving a job or moving, based on the perceived benefits of the change. The wife by nature may be more interested in being cautious and not risking the current well-being of the family. She would rather “stay put” and not risk the family’s security. Unless a couple recognizes and has respectful communication around these different temperaments, the house will be strained. One of our unconscious human tendencies is to think our spouses should have a temperament just like our own. Without appreciating differences in temperament, a couple may clash over decision making. On the other hand, knowing and respecting your spouse’s temperament can help you have better communication and make better decisions.
STEP THREE: Life application on temperment and mood Couple Time 1. Pretend you and your spouse were at the river’s edge. What would you do? (What person in the role play would you be like?) 2. How would you describe to each other your basic temperaments? 3. Have you had a situation in your marriage in which your different temperaments clashed?
Moods STEP ONE: Gathering views on moods General Questions 1. What do we mean by the word “mood?” 2. How is a person’s “mood” different from their temperament? 3. Do all people have the same mood? 4. How do people deal with “bad moods”? 5. What are healthy ways to deal with one’s moods? One of the challenges of living together as husband and wife is to understand and work with our moods. Just as people have different temperaments, they are prone to different moods. Moods are temporary changes in feelings and emotions. Moods are part of our “inner house,” though they can also be influenced by external factors.
As you have noted, there are differences in mood from person to person. Some people have wide variations in moods, whereas others’ moods are more steady. Just as it is important for one to be aware of temperament, it is critical to be aware of one’s mood—one’s current emotional state. Without an awareness of moods, several problems may emerge: 1. Husband and wife may avoid each other if they suspect one is in a bad mood. (What is needed is not avoidance but communication.) 2. A person who is dealing with depressed mood (or depressed temperament) may deal with the mood in unhealthy ways: striking out at others, projection, alcohol, drugs, nicotine or excessive distraction with television or internet. (What is needed is not distraction or “covering up” the mood, but rather selfinsight and communication about one’s moods.) 3. Moods may affect adherence with medication and care guidelines. A person who is habitually in a depressed or negative mood may not care about taking medications. If they have an underlying disease such as HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes or high blood pressure, this lack of adherence can have serious health consequences. (What is needed is not apathy or indifference but selfinsight and communication.) It is important to know that our moods don’t “have the last word.” As humans, we have a will. In our “will” we can make decisions and take actions. Although our will can be influenced by our temperament and mood, our will is also informed by our intellect and our soul. We don’t have to act out of our feelings alone; as humans we have the capacity for decision making based on the integration of our temperament, mood, intellect and soul. As a final exercise, the facilitator can build on the participant’s responses to question five and generate a list of things that can help improve a person’s mood. These things would include: 1. Adequate sleep and rest 2. Regular exercise (Exercise generates chemicals in the brain that elevate a person’s mood.) 3. Sharing your feelings and stresses 4. Time for prayer, meditation and self-reflection 5. Healthy recreational activities 6. Avoiding bad habits (For example, alcohol may temporarily improve a person’s mood but over the long term it is a mood depressant.)
STEP THREE: Life application on mood Couple Time 1. Name three words that describe your moods and share them with your spouse. What is your usual mood? 2. What are three things that can upset your mood? Share them with your spouse. 3. Do you feel your spouse understands your moods? 4. What are three things each of you can practically do to improve your moods?
6.1.6 Economic Empowerment
Session Objectives •
To examine our ideas about what it means to be rich or poor
To reflect on choices we make that can harm our family’s economic security
To reflect on choices we make as a couple that can improve our family’s economic security
To examine how we may be programmed to fail economically
To agree as a couple on our future economic plan, including a plan for savings
STEP ONE: Gathering views on economic empowerment The participants are divided into four groups. Each group is asked to respond to the following questions. General Questions 1. What are the rich like? 2. What are the poor like? 3. What factors hinder a couple’s economic security? 4. What factors, if promoted, improve a couple’s economic security?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on economic empowerment The facilitating couple asks a representative from each group to present the group’s points. Participants are asked to hold their comments until the rich and poor sides are presented. While acknowledging the reality of structural poverty, the facilitators should help couples realize that they can exert some control over their economic circumstances. Specifically, couples who work together, and who share finances and resources, are much more likely to be secure economically than couples who are not working together, and who squander their resources. Couples should examine the reality of how their attitudes toward security and prosperity may be programmed. By way of illustration, the facilitators can show how two numbers can be programmed differently: 9–5=4
9 ÷ 5 = 1.5
9 + 5 = 14
9 x 5 = 45
Our attitude toward money and resources may determine how things are programmed. If we share and save we can add and even multiply our savings and resources (just as 9 + 5 = 14 or 9 x 5 = 45). If we subtract or if we are “divided,” our resources and security will be much less (just as 9 – 5 = 4 and 9 ÷ 5 = 1.5). Finally, couples should be challenged to examine “10 Commandments” for financial and time management. These commandments can be a good beginning for couples who want to work together to manage their resources better:
“10 Commandments” for Financial and Time Management 1. Avoid wasting time. (The facilitators can ask for examples from the local community where able-bodied people are wasting time on lifestyle choices.) 2. Never carry more money than you need. (Ask why.) 3. Don’t buy items, especially expensive items, on impulse. 4. Do not spend more money than you earn. (Ask for any stories or illustrations that validate this point.) 5. Do not buy just because others are buying. 6. Never borrow money for luxuries. 7. Do not buy or use alcohol or drugs. (Ask for any stories or illustrations.) 8. Save at least 10 percent of what you earn. (Ask if this is realistic and how a family could actually do it.) 9. Do not give out loans. (Why or why not?) 10. Be “mean” with your finances. (What does “be mean” with your finances reflect? Why is it important?)
NOTE: If the facilitating couple has had an experience with changing their habits in regard to one or more of these “10 Commandments,” they may want to share that experience with the group. As a further exercise, the group or individual couples can be asked to pick out which three commandments are most relevant to their lives or the life in their community. They can also be asked to add one or two commandments that may be important to them or to others.
STEP THREE: Life application on economic empowerment Couple Time 1. Do you feel we are working together in the management of our money and assets? 2. Examine each of the commandments. Are you, individually or as a couple, breaking any of these commandments? 3. Discuss and then write down five things you as a couple can do to better program your economic future. 103
Summary Economic empowerment is not a goal in itself. Rather, economic empowerment is a way of achieving success for the well-being of your family and your community. Success can never be achieved in a way that is dishonest or unfair, but must always be done with integrity. Let us strive then to be economically empowered and to use the gifts of time, knowledge and life that God has shared with us.
6.1.7 An Empty House
Session Objectives •
To understand the situation of infertile couples in Africa
To understand how difficult infertility is for couples emotionally, relationally and spiritually
To better understand how to respond to infertility in a way that is life-giving
STEP ONE: Gathering views on empty houses NOTE: The facilitators can begin this session with a role play of an empty house in which a couple has been struggling with infertility for four years. The facilitator then asks, “Is it possible to keep the faith and maintain a good marriage under this condition, or has God given us a situation too difficult to bear?” Based on the responses, the facilitator can discuss with the participants the emotions, challenges and dynamics that arise in the situation of an “Empty House.” General Questions 1. What do you notice about this house? 2. What do you think the house represents? 3. How do you think a couple in this house feels?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on empty houses Infertility is a common and difficult situation. Depending on the specific country and area, between 7 and 30 percent of couples may experience infertility. There are many negative emotions and behaviors that may arise from infertility. A wife may become deeply depressed. The couple may blame each other. The empty house may become an angry house or a sad and silent one. A husband may leave his wife and take others, hoping to find one who will bear his child. In this way, he may acquire and then transmit HIV. How are we to respond to infertility? As hard as it may seem, the only way to respond to infertility is to look to the cross, to the person of Jesus, and to see how His love and wisdom can bring some kind of acceptance and peace. Both Jesus and the writings of the Church clearly teach us that marriage is still valid and life-giving even if no child comes from the union. NOTE: The group can be divided into three to discuss these questions: 1. What are positive things a couple can do to when they are faced with infertility? 2. What are negative things that may occur in the context of infertility? 3. How can the Church and community support couples who are infertile? The facilitator should then process the responses with the group. Further comments may include the following: •
A couple is still to give life to each other and still to give life to the community around them. If it is possible, a couple can consider adoption. A couple without children can see how they can be involved in reaching out to others within their extended family, to nieces, to nephews and even to orphans or disadvantaged children. Such a couple is truly looking to the cross. They are 105
taking the pain of their infertility and turning it around and using it to love one another and to love others. •
Such loving responses are difficult, yet they are what lead to life. Other responses—unfaithfulness or seeking other partners—may lead to death through HIV. Berating each other, fighting with each other and isolating each other are responses that also lead to a kind of death; the death of marriage as a life-giving, lovemaking union.
In addition, couples who are struggling with infertility should be sure that they understand basic fertility awareness and should try to seek medical attention from a qualified health professional. Their situation should call forth our understanding, compassion and support.
STEP THREE: Life application on empty houses Couple Time 1. Are we bearing the pain and suffering of infertility? 2. How do we handle this situation? Are we able to look to the cross, and find responses that are life-giving? 3. Do we know couples who are struggling with infertility? How can we better understand and support them? NOTE: The facilitator can refer those who are interested for training in fertility awareness.
6.1.8 A Star for the Family
Session Objectives •
To discuss important themes that lead to happy and successful family life.
To identify areas that a couple can have control of within their family life.
To arrive at a plan for improving the health and well-being of the family.
STEP ONE: Gathering views on a star for the family NOTE: To introduce this session, use a role play about two families. In family one, there is arguing and fighting. The father goes out drinking and the children are left to care for themselves. The family must struggle to get food and one of the children comes down sick with malaria, yet they don’t take him for treatment. In family two, the husband and wife are consciously trying to work together and care for the children. They eat together and pray together. The couple ensures there is local food available so the children don’t go hungry. General Questions 1. Which family would you like to be part of? 2. Which family is more likely to be poor? 3. If each of these families is poor, which family is most likely to improve their well-being? 4. What do you think are the secrets to good family life?
STEP TWO: Supplementing views on a star for the family We believe that within the family, there are five things that are very important. If a couple can consciously make these things a priority, their family life will be much better. •
Family Spirituality: How does your family pray together? How does your family participate in the sacramental life of your church? Remember, the family that prays together, stays together.
Family Togetherness: To be a family is not always easy. There may be different needs and expectations. There may be stress related to poverty, hunger or sickness. The family may have had to take in relatives and so forth. As a family, you must have a plan for how you will solve and reconcile such problems. In this context, we want the words of Jesus, “Peace be with you, my own peace I give you,” to be real within your house.
Family Food Security: In many circumstances there is a shortage of food because of drought or poor harvest. How will you as a family plan in order to avoid hunger and malnutrition? Are you able to plant your crops for food before cash crops? Is there a way you can make the land you farm more productive and more sustainable? 107
Family Health: What factors can you control to improve the health of your family? We have talked about HIV and avoiding its risk through abstinence, chastity and secondary virginity. What other areas can you take control of? Do you live where there is malaria? Can you prevent malaria through draining any nearby pools of water or using insecticide-treated nets? Can you be sure your child receives his or her immunizations? Can you recognize common illnesses such as diarrhea, dehydration or pneumonia?
Family Education/Life Skills: Can your children attend school? Can you help them do well in school by supporting them and setting appropriate expectations? Are there other skills or trades besides formal schooling that they can develop in order to have economic livelihood?
STEP THREE: Life application on a star for the family Couple Time 1. Which one of the points on the star is the hardest to put into place? 2. Have you known a family that was really working to put these five points in place? What was different about them? 3. Do you think it is possible to act out of consciousness and influence these five points of the star for the better? 4. What will you do differently in your family to better realize these five points? NOTE: The facilitator may know someone who can present a supplemental section on generating small income. This may be one way of assisting families who are struggling and a way of helping them with food security and education.
Appendix Two: Relevant Material from the Training of Facilitators Manual
6.2.1 Faithful House Personnel
At every level of program development and implementation, it is important that we know our roles and responsibilities. Consider that prior to the development of the Faithful House program, the majority of parishes, churches and dioceses did not have a specific program for support of â€œbeing faithfulâ€? as a means of HIV prevention. In addition, in comparison with the formation of those entering the priesthood or religious life, there is relatively little time and programmatic support for couples preparing for marriage or for married couples. Within this context, The Faithful House is filling a much needed void as a grassroots program for assisting couples with the vocation of marriage. To fill this void and to respond to the requests for the Faithful House program, it is necessary to rapidly increase the number of facilitators. This is a challenge, given the relative newness of the program. For example, in the initial stages of the program, there was only one African-based lead training couple. As more couples have accumulated experience in both the practice and facilitation of The Faithful House, it is at once necessary and possible to outline a process for increasing the number of couples who can provide outreach for the program. The current workshop is a reflection of this need.
The process of participation and facilitation in the Faithful House program is as follows: PARTICIPANT COUPLE
TRAINING of FACILITATORS COUPLE
A couple is first a participating couple. A participating couple attends training in the Faithful House program as part of a three- to five-day workshop or as part of training spread over weeks and months. (For example, a parish may conduct participating couple workshops for two hours each Sunday over a series of Sundays.) Participating couples receive a Faithful House Couple Handbook, which is a picture-based summary of the core concepts of The Faithful House.
Some participant couples may become facilitating couples. A facilitating couple is a couple that has embraced the Faithful House program and is chosen to be trained as a facilitator couple. The criteria for becoming a facilitating couple include modeling the values and principles of The Faithful House, possessing communication and presentation skills and having the desire, time and commitment to become a facilitating couple. Facilitating couples participate in a facilitator preparation workshop. They receive The Faithful House Core Module Manual. After a period of supervision with an experienced facilitating couple, they are able to organize and conduct participant couple training sessions.
Some facilitating couples may be chosen to be trainers of facilitators. Trainers of facilitators are experienced facilitating couples chosen to present Facilitator Preparation workshops in which they train facilitator couples. Trainers of facilitators participate in a Training of Facilitators workshop in which they develop further skills to help them in the work of preparing facilitator couples. Trainers of facilitators receive a Training of Facilitators Manual.
Because these various levels can initially be confusing, the analogy of fishing and fisherman has been used to clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of participant couples, facilitating couples and trainers of facilitators: •
The “fish” we are trying to catch are participant couples: These are the couples in our parishes and communities who can benefit from the Faithful House program.
The “fishermen” are the facilitating couple: These are the couples presenting the Faithful House program to participating couples. Facilitating couples strive to make the program attractive to the participant couples, just as a fisherman must make bait attractive to the fish. Thus, the facilitating couple must know their local community and what times, venues and approaches will be most successful in “catching” the couples. 110
The trainers of facilitators help instruct and support the “fishermen,” the facilitating couples. Though they are not directly working with the participant couples, they must know the fish just as well as the facilitating couples. As trainers of facilitators, they are helping facilitating couples develop the tools necessary to become the best fishermen possible.
In addition to these three levels, there are various other roles that are necessary for conducting the Faithful House program:
• Lead trainers are experienced facilitators who assist in conducting Training of Facilitators workshops. Lead trainers may also play a role in the administration, monitoring, evaluation and ongoing development of all aspects of the Faithful House program.
• Program coordinators are individuals or couples who work in the administration, outreach, and monitoring and evaluation of the Faithful House program. Although program coordinators may participate in and contribute to training programs, the role of facilitation is generally assumed by couples. Program coordinators and support staff at all levels are encouraged to go through formal participant couple training in order to fully appreciate the program. •
Program collaborators are individuals or couples who support or participate in the Faithful House program in various ways. For example, a priest or religious person may be asked to present certain topics in The Faithful House. Other collaborators may play a role in financial support of the program, in monitoring and evaluation and in other advocacy roles.
Qualities of a Good Facilitator In the initial Training of Facilitators workshop held in Uganda in 2009, participants identified the following characteristics of a good facilitator. This list can be compared with the one generated at your workshop. A good facilitator is: 1. Loud and clear 2. Friendly 3. Social 4. Well-prepared 5. Punctual and time-conscious 6. Confident 7. Creative 8. Knowledgeable 9. Observant 10. A good role model 11. Adaptable and flexible
12. Presentable and decent 13. Humble 14. Lively 15. Respectful 16. Kind 17. Motivating 18. Acquainted with the participants 19. Accepting of feedback 20. Positive 21. A person of integrity
As a way of summarizing the qualities of a good facilitating couple, we use the image of a star with five points. We feel that the qualities identified on the points of the star must be emphasized for all couples.
How do we recognize a good facilitating couple? 1. They are prepared. 2. They are united. 3. They are participatory. 4. They are humble. 5. They are confident. They are a star couple! To further elaborate, we can contrast the descriptions of the five good characteristics with their opposites. Prepared
6.2.2 Checklist for Facilitators of a Faithful House Couples Training
Ready and Set For Faithful House Couple Training Before The Workshop Are we ready and set? ☐
We have studied the core modules and know the material well.
We can present the core modules comfortably in front of an audience.
We are prepared to answer commonly asked questions.
Is the Faithful House workshop ready and set? ☐
We have scheduled in advance specific dates and times for the workshop.
These dates and times will be suitable for us, participants and key people.
We have arranged for key people to assist us (a priest, if the Sacrament of Reconciliation is to be available, or local leaders to open the workshop).
We have a venue arranged for the Faithful House workshop (see below).
We have invited participants in adequate time.
We have not forgotten to invite participants who should be invited.
We have notified other stakeholders and organizations (such as other parish/church groups).
We have been in communication with the Faithful House administration for necessary support and assistance.
Is the venue ready and set? ☐
The venue is accessible to the participants.
It has adequate security.
It has adequate space.
It has adequate lighting.
If PowerPoint is to be used, the venue has electricity.
It has working toilets.
It has water for drinking.
It has food available.
It has fans or air conditioning.
The cost can be covered by the budget.
If couples are coming from out of town, lodging is available and arranged. 113
Are the necessary materials ready and set? ☐
Our own training manual
Certification forms for participants
Writing tablets for participants (unless we instructed them to supply their own)
Writing pens for flip charts
Bible, any song sheets or prayer sheets
Computer and data projector (if using PowerPoint)
Extension cord and adapters (if using PowerPoint)
Additional teaching aids (items for role playing, etc.)
Starting the workshop Do we have the opening ready and set? ☐
We have time for participants to arrive, be greeted and sign in.
We have a workshop opening planned (a welcome or a brief ceremony).
We have a timeline to which we will adhere (the timeline must include the sessions you expect to cover).
We have appointed a timekeeper and an animator.
We have outlined the schedule for the day (breaks, lunch, etc.).
We have discussed the ground rules (norms of behavior).
We have time at the end to evaluate our workshop.
Conducting the workshop Is it going well? ☐
Are the participants engaged and enthusiastic or are they bored?
Is there a good balance of participation/discussion with the presentations?
Are the physical accommodations (heat, light, food, etc.) satisfactory?
Evaluate at the end of each day. (Ask for three things that were good; three things that can be improved.) Are we adhering to the timeline or getting behind?
Did you feel the discussions were healthy and vigorous, yet also not out of control?
Is there any individual or couple who seemed troubled, withdrawn or angry, to whom you should reach out?
What do you think can be improved for the next session?
Concluding the workshop or session Are we ready and set? ☐ ☐
Do we have the necessary evaluation forms ready? Have we allowed time for feedback from participants (both oral and written)?
Do we have a specific time and venue for the next session?
Do we have everyone’s contact information?
Is there a plan for couples to meet on their own as “couple support groups?”
Evaluating the workshop Are we ready and set? ☐
Do we need to write a report? (What does it need to contain; when should it be completed; to whom do we send it?)
Can we have a meeting with key people (including any participants) to evaluate “lessons learned” and plans for improving the next workshop?
Did we identify any couples who may become good facilitators in the future?
6.2.3 Facilitator Feedback Form FACILITATOR FEEDBACK FORM 1. What are three positive things the facilitating couple did?
2. What are three things the facilitating couple could improve on?
3. Did the couple seem well-prepared? 4. What parts of the presentation made you think the couple was not well-prepared?
5. Did the couple seem united? 6. Did both husband and wife contribute to the presentation and discussion? 7. Did the couple seem humble and approachable? 8. Did the couple invite participation from the group? 9. Did the couple seem to listen well to the group and to each other? 10. Did the couple seem confident in presenting the material? 11. What part of the presentation was not presented with confidence?
12. All in all, was the session participatory? 13. Do you have any further comments or suggestions for the facilitating couple?
6.2.4 Dealing with Typical Troublemakers •
Late arrivals: Establish and reinforce norms of behavior emphasizing starting on time; be sure you, as facilitators, are on time!
• Cell phones: Reinforce turning phones off or to silent mode in the norms of behavior.
• Heat: Check ahead of time to be sure fans or air conditioning are in working order. Schedule the program to allow for a siesta at the hottest times of day.
• Loud, disruptive, argumentative situations: Have the animator bring the group together with a song, prayer or exercise. Remind the group of their common purpose.
• Fatigue and low energy: Use your animator. Check with the group to see if sessions are too long or if more breaks are needed. Look at how you can use physical activity such as exercises, throwing a ball or going for a walk to energize the group.
• Tea breaks: Inform couples ahead of time about what will and will not be available. If budget allows, try to provide something for break.
• Food for meals: Inform couples in the invitation stage about what will be offered. If budget allows, couples will be very appreciative of a good meal. If a meal is not provided, try to arrange for local vendors to be available for food purchase.
• Running behind schedule: Each day, and between morning and afternoon sessions, you must check the schedule. As facilitators, you must be in control and not let discussions go so long that you fall far behind in the program.
• Disruptive person: Occasionally a person may be continually questioning or criticizing the information you are presenting. If this becomes disruptive, ask to meet with the person in private. Do not meet alone, but include the animator and timekeeper. Remind him or her of the common purpose. If the problem continues, privately ask the person if he or she feels that this is really the right group for him or her. Remember to use your animator and timekeeper. They are representative of the community of participants and can assist you in dealing with “typical troublemakers.” Finally, there are two common challenges that you must be ready to address: •
How to deal with the very active/dominant participant: Call him or her aside; be aware of calling on other participants; give assignments that all members can participate in; ensure there is input from both males and females. In some instances it may also be helpful to give the dominant person a specific task.
How to deal with a passive/reserved participant: Use polite, inviting language; call him or her aside; utilize group work; assign him or her a responsibility; call him or her by name; affirm him or her when he or she participates; assign him or her to a role play.
Appendix Three: Adaptation of The Faithful House for Singles
The facilitators should be creative in adjusting the questions, where necessary, to fit the audience, without altering the message. Module 1 General Questions 1. Because you want to build a strong house, what will you consider important to have and why? 2. What qualities do you look for in a future partner and how would you choose a partner with similar values to yours and a foundation in God? 3. As singles, what are the practical ways of expressing love to each other? 4. What are the factors that may lead to unfaithfulness in a relationship or marriage? 5. What do people value most in relationships/marriage? Module 2 General Questions 1. As a single, what kinds of things do you find difficult to share with others? 2. What hinders young people from exercising forgiveness? 3. How does your relationship with Jesus influence the choices you make? Module 3 General Questions 1. Why is chastity important for singles? 2. What makes chastity hard to practice? 3. How can singles support one another in a chaste lifestyle? NOTE: The facilitator follows up on these questions by emphasizing the AB Rule and the importance of “waiting until the wedding night.” After the workshop, singles are encouraged to form positive peer support groups that help them make choices and adapt behaviors that avoid risk and affirm life.
Appendix Four: Formation of On-Going Support Groups
These are small groups of three to five couples who have completed The Faithful House program. This small number of couples allows each member to have adequate time to share. It is better to divide these people by geographical location—that is, by parish, subparish or village. The members of the small groups should meet at least once a month for two hours. They should meet in one another’s homes on a rotating basis. Activities should include: 119
1. Praying together 2. Sharing how they have been living after the Faithful House program (the joys and challenges) 3. Mutual support and encouragement 4. Expanding on the talks given in the Faithful House program (Different speakers can be invited to address these topics.) 5. Sharing on other issues related to marriage and family life (nutrition, hygiene, development, etc.) NOTE: Care should be taken to observe time, and couples should understand that strict confidentiality must be observed. Meals Big feasts should be avoided because some members may fear having the group in their homes. In general, it is better to avoid eating because: •
Some members may spend most of the time preparing meals instead of sharing with the group.
Some members of the group might be reluctant to accept guests because they wouldn’t know what to feed the group.
However, once in a while the group can eat together, with each couple bringing a dish (packed food). In this way, no burden is placed on the host couple.
Appendix Five: Posters
1. Poster on “Unfaithfulness.”
2. Poster on “Roof of Unconsciousness.”
3.Poster on “Culture and Houses Around Us.”
4. Poster A on “Broken Houses.”
Poster B on “Broken Houses.”
6. “The Desired Family.”
Appendix 6: Faithful House Questionnaires THE FAITHFUL HOUSE PRETEST QUESTIONNAIRE (Revised April 2009)
Couple Identification Number…………………………………………. [with designations: (A) for male, (B) for female] Note: Facilitators should number the pre- and post-test surveys and keep a copy of the couple identification number in a confidentially placed workshop notebook.
Name of the Diocese…………………………………….…………………………………
Name of the Parish………………………………………….………………………………
I will now read some demographic questions. Please circle the correct response. 101
What is your gender?
1. Male 2. Female
How old are you?
How long have you been in this marriage?
Type of marriage?
1. Cohabitating 2. Church marriage 3. Civil marriage 4. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response
Place of residence?
1. Urban 2. Peri-urban 3. Rural 88. Don’t know 99. No response
What is the highest level of education you have attained?
What is your religion?
Do you attend religious services/activities?
How frequently do you attend religious services/activities?
1. No formal education 2. Primary 3. Vocational 4. Secondary 5. University 6. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response 1. Catholic 2. Protestant 3. Muslim 4. Traditional religion 5. Other religion 6. None 99. No response 1. Yes (Go to question 109) 2. No (Go to question 110) 1. Daily 2. Weekly 3. 2–3 times a month 4. Monthly 5. Yearly 6. Don't attend religious services 88. Don’t know 99. No response
I will now read some statements about your family life. Please circle the correct response. 110 111
1. Yes (Go to question 111) 2. No (Go to question 112) Are all your children from the partner you are 1. Yes now living with? 2. No 2. 1. Yes; for more than one year for external requirements such as job or education. Do you have children?
3. 2. Yes; for more than one month for external requirements such as job or education.
4. 3. Frequent short separations 112
Have you ever been separated as a couple?
due to trips for external requirements such as job or education.
5. 4. Yes; personal decision unrelated to external requirements.
6. 5. Other reasons for separations 7. 6. Infrequent separations
8. 7. Never separate 9. 99. No response
Have you ever suspected that your partner has been unfaithful?
Who has the greatest control over financial resources, you or your spouse?
Apart from the Faithful House training, have you ever attended any other training about faithfulness in marriage/family life?
1. Yes 2. No 99. No response 1. Self—husband 2. Self—wife 3. Spouse—husband 4. Spouse—wife 5. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response 1. Yes 2. No 88. Don’t know 99. No response
I will now read some statements about your family life. Please circle the correct response. Do you consider yourself to have adequate 1. Yes knowledge, values and skills to be faithful to 2. No your partner? 88. Don’t know
99. No response
Can you discuss sexual issues with your partner freely?
1. Yes 2. No 88. Don’t know
99. No response
Can you discuss freely with your children about sexual matters or issues?
1. Yes 2. No 99. No response
Can you discuss family financial issues (income, expenditure, borrowing, etc.) with your partner?
1. Yes 2. No 99. No response
Who should have more responsibility in looking after the children in your family?
1. Husband 2. Wife 3. Both 88. Don’t know
99. No response
1. Husbands In married couples, who should decide when 2. Wives 3. Both to have sex? 88. Don’t know
99. No response
1. Faithfulness 2. Abstinence 3. Condoms 4. Other 88. Don’t know
99. No response
In your opinion, what is the most effective way of preventing HIV among couples like you?
1. Yes 2. No 88. Don’t know 99. No response 1. Yes (Go to question 210 ) 209 Have you ever been tested for HIV? 2. No (Go to question 211 ) 99. No response 1. Yes Have you ever shared the results of your test 210 2. No with your current spouse? 99. No response 1. Yes 2. No, he/she was tested before we Would you like your spouse to go for HIV married. 211 testing? 3, No, he/she has recently tested. 4. No, for other reasons. 88. Don’t know 99. No response I will now read some statements. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each one or if you can’t decide. 208
Would you like to be tested for HIV?
Is it possible for a boy to abstain from sex until marriage nowadays?
Is it possible for a girl to abstain from sex until marriage nowadays?
Using condoms is another sure means of protecting someone from contracting HIV/AIDS.
1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 88. Don’t know
99. No response
A man should be allowed to produce children with another partner if his wife is infertile.
1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide
99. No response
A woman should be allowed to produce children with another partner if her husband is infertile.
1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide
99. No response
Is it possible for a man to be faithful to one partner in life? Is it possible for a woman to be faithful to one partner in life?
99. No response
99. No response
99. No response
99. No response
THE FAITHFUL HOUSE POST-TEST QUESTIONNAIRE Couple Identification Number (Use the same number as for the pretest): ………………………… Date:………………………… Gender of the respondent
1. Male 2. Female Age in years………………
How old are you?
Please rate the following items by circling your answer: 301.
How would you rate the workshop as a whole? Poor
Course Content: Poor
Quality of Instruction: Poor
How appropriate were the training methods? Please circle your answer:
Small Group Work/ Exercises:
16. 307. Please rate the usefulness (extent it has inspired you to change or to introduce new ideas in your marriage) of The Faithful House exercises by circling your answer: Not Useful
Very Useful 1
well did we treat you?
Very Well 1
How well did we help you with your couple communication? Not Well 1
Very Well 2
I will now read some statements about your family life. Please circle the correct response. 401 Do you now consider yourself to have adequate 1. Yes knowledge, values and skills to be faithful to your 2. No partner? 88. Don’t know 99. No response 402 Can you now discuss sexual issues with your 1. Yes partner freely? 2. No 3. Better now than before the workshop 88. Don’t know 99. No response 403 When you return home will you be able to discuss 1. Yes freely with your children about sexual matters or 2. No issues? 88. Don’t know 99. No response 404 When you return home, will you be able to discuss 1. Yes family financial issues (income, expenditure, 2. No borrowing, etc.) with your partner? 88. Don’t know 99. No response 405 Who should have more responsibility in looking 1. Husband after children in your family? 2. Wife 3. Both 88. Don’t know 99. No response 406 As a married couple, who do you now believe 1. Husbands should decide when to have sex? 2. Wives 3. Both 88. Don’t know 99. No response 407 What do you think is the most effective way of 1. Faithfulness preventing HIV among couples like you? 2. Abstinence 3. Condoms 4. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response
Would you want to be tested for HIV?
1. Yes (Go to question 409) 2. No (Go to question 410) 3. I was recently tested (Go to question 409) 88. Don’t know 99. No response 409 Will you share the results of your test with your 1. Yes current spouse? 2. No 88. Don’t know 99. No response 410 Would you want your spouse to be tested for HIV? 1. Yes 2. No 3. My spouse was recently tested 4. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response I will now read some statements. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each one, or if you can’t decide. 411
It is possible for a boy to abstain from sex until marriage nowadays.
It is possible for a girl to abstain from sex until marriage nowadays.
It is possible for a man to be faithful to one partner in life.
It is possible for a woman to be faithful to one partner in life.
Using condoms is another sure means of protecting someone from contracting HIV/AIDS.
A man should be allowed to produce children with another partner if his wife is infertile.
A woman should be allowed to produce children with another partner if her husband is infertile.
1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 88. Don’t know 99. No response 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response 1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response
Thank you! Your comments are valuable for future workshops.
THE FAITHFUL HOUSE 6 MONTH POST TEST QUESTIONNAIRE
Couple Identification Number (Use pretest ID #) ………..……….. Date:………..………..………….. Parish ………..………..………..……………..….. Diocese………..………..………..………..……….. I will now read some statements about your family life. Please circle the correct response.
What is your gender?
How old are you?
How long have you been in this marriage? ………..Years
Type of marriage?
1. Male 2. Female ………..Years
1. Cohabitating 2. Church marriage 3. Civil marriage 4. Church and civil 5. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response Place of residence? 1. Urban 2. Peri-urban 3. Rural 88. Don’t know 99. No response What is the highest level of education you 1. No formal education have attained? 2. Primary 3. Vocational 4. Secondary 5. University 6. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response What is your religion? 1. Catholic 2. Protestant 3. Muslim 4. Traditional religion 5. Other religion 6. None 99. No response Do you attend religious services/activities? 1. Yes (Go to question 109) 2. No (Go to question 110)
Over the past 6 months, how frequently 1. Daily did you attend religious services/activities? 2. Weekly 3. 2–3 times a month 4. Monthly 5. Yearly 6. Don't attend religious services 88. Don’t know 99. No response I will now read some statements about your family life. Please circle the correct response. 110
Do you have children?
1. Yes (Go to question 111) 2. No (Go to question 112) 1. Yes 2. No
Are all your children from the partner you are now living with?
Over the past 6 months,have you ever been separated as a couple?
1. Yes, for more than one year for external requirements such as job or education. 2. Yes, for more than one month for external requirements such as job or education. 3. Frequent short separations due to trips for external requirements such as job or education. 4. Yes, personal decision unrelated to external requirements. 5. Other reasons for separations. 6. Infrequent separations. 7. Never separate. 99. No response
In the past 6 months, have you suspected that your partner has been unfaithful?
1. Yes 2. No 99. No response
Over the past 6 months, apart from the Faithful House training, have you attended any other training about faithfulness in marriage/family life?
1. Yes 2. No 88. Don’t know 99. No response
116/201 Do you consider yourself to have 1.Yes adequate knowledge, values and skills to 2. No be faithful to your partner? 88. Don’t know 99. No response 403 In the past 3 months, have you discussed 1. No freely with your children about sexual 2. Yes matters or issues? 3. I don’t have a child over 10 years old. 88. Don’t know 99. No response
In the past 3 months, have you discussed 1. Yes family financial issues (income, 2. No expenditure, borrowing, etc.) with your 88. Don’t know partner? 99. No response
Who has more responsibility in looking after the children in your family?
In a married couple, who do you believe should decide when to have sex?
Have you ever been tested for HIV?
1. Husband 2. Wife 3. Both 88. Don’t know 99. No response 1. Husbands 2. Wives 3. Both 88. Don’t know 99. No response 1. Yes (Go to question 407B)
Have you ever shared the results of your test with your current spouse?
Would you want to be tested for HIV?
2. No (Go to question 408) 88. Don’t know 99. No response 1. Yes 2. No 88. Don’t know 99. No response
1. Yes 2. No 3. I was recently tested 4. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response Would you want your spouse to be tested 1. Yes for HIV? 2. No 3. My spouse was recently tested 4. Other 88. Don’t know 99. No response
I will now read some statements. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each one or if you can’t decide. 410
It is possible for a boy to abstain from sex until marriage nowadays.
1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response
It is possible for a girl to abstain from sex until marriage nowadays.
It is possible for a man to be faithful to one partner in life.
1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response
1. Agree 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response It is possible for a woman to be faithful to 1. Agree one partner in life. 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response Using condoms is another sure means of 1. Agree protecting someone from contracting 2. Disagree HIV/AIDS. 3. Can’t decide 88. Don’t know 99. No response A man can produce children elsewhere if his 1. Agree wife is infertile. 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response A woman can produce children elsewhere if 1. Agree her husband is infertile. 2. Disagree 3. Can’t decide 99. No response
We now want to ask you some questions about your experiences after exposure to the Faithful House workshop. 501 Have you shared the information you 1.Yes (Go to question 503) received about building a Faithful House? 2. No (Go to question 506) 88. Don’t know 99. No response
In the past 3 months, with how many people 1. 1–5 did you share the information? 2. 6–10 3. 10–20 4. More than 20 99. No response
With whom did you share the information? (Circle all the correct answers.)
With which group did you mainly share the information?
1. My neighbors 2. People in my church 3. My family members 4. My friends at work 5. Others (list) 88. Don’t know 99. No response
1. Women 2. Men 3. Couples 88. Don’t know 99. No response With how many people having problems in 1. None their marriage did you share the information 2. 1–5 from the Faithful House workshop? 3. 6–10 4. 10–20 5. More than 20 88. Don’t know 99. No response
Is the information from the Faithful House 1.Yes (Go to question 507) program currently influencing you to change 2. No (Go to question 508) your attitude(s) regarding your family life? 88. Don’t know 99. No response
If yes, attitudes on what? Please elaborate. 1. Life coping attitudes 2. Deeper appreciation and love for my spouse/partner 3. Greater appreciation of HIV and AIDS threat 4. Marital/partner communication 5. Morals in society 6. Parental communication 7. Others (Please specify) 99. No response
Is the information from The Faithful House currently influencing you to change your behavior(s) regarding your family life?
1.Yes (Go to question 509) 2. No (Go to question 510) 88. Don’t know 99. No response
If yes, what behavior(s) did you change? (Circle correct responses.)
Have you noticed any changes in other 1. Yes (Please elaborate) family members as a result of participating in _____________________________________ the project? 2. No (Please elaborate) _____________________________________ 88. Donâ€™t Know 99. No Response Please describe your confidence level in your ability to maintain a strong union with your spouse/partner before you participated in the Faithful House workshop.
1. Became more careful and reduced risky behaviors 2. Became faithful 3. Went for HIV test 4. Shared HIV test results with my spouse 5. Completely changed 6. Spent more time at home with the family 7. Improved parental communication 8. Improved partner communication 9. Better life coping skills 10. Resisted peer pressure 11. Stopped alcohol 12. Taught others about how to build a strong marriage 13. Developed a family budget and/or financial plan 14. Others (Please specify) ____________________________________ 99. No response
Little / no confidence
10. Please describe your confidence level in your ability to maintain a strong union with your spouse/partner after you participated in the Faithful House workshop. Little / no confidence 1
Highly confident 2
Thank you! Your comments are valuable for future workshops.
Appendix Seven: Evaluation Forms
Daily evaluation is done at the end of each day. In the morning, a review of the previous day is done and feedback is given before a new session is introduced.
Daily Faithful House Session Evaluation 1. What went well in the last sessions?
2. Comment on the facilitator’s presentation: The sessions were taught at a level appropriate for participants. Agree
3. Content relevance: The content of the module was relevant to the local situation. Agree
4. Methodology (participatory exercises): The training methods were useful. Comment:
5. The training methods were well-suited to the content. Comment:
6. Other comments: Please tell us what you think would have made this module more useful, clear or relevant.
7. What did not go well in the last sessions?
8. What needs improvement in the next sessions?
Final Faithful House Program Evaluation As part of The Faithful House program evaluation, we would like to see how you assess yourself after participating in the workshop. There are areas in which you have gained experience or skills, and therefore feel comfortable, and other areas that you find less familiar or more difficult, and in which you may feel less comfortable. We are asking you to complete this evaluation form to see if this training program has helped you become more confident in building, completing and maintaining a Faithful House. Please complete this form to give us your evaluation of the workshop session. The focus is on the content of the session and the methods used to present it. Please answer the questions below as honestly as possible. You do not have to write your name on the sheet
Final Faithful House Program Evaluation 1. What one thing about the program did you like?
2. What one thing about the program were you not happy with?
3. What new knowledge did you learn through this program?
4. How are you going to use this knowledge/information?
5. What new skills did you learn through this workshop and how are you going to use these skills?
6. How does what you have learned in this workshop influence you to change your behavior?
7. What one thing would you want to change in your behavior in order to avoid risk?
8. What new behavior would you like to adopt in your behavior in order to affirm life?
9. Is there anything you think the facilitator could have done better or differently? Give suggestions.
FAITHFUL HOUSE ACTIVITY TRACKING-FORM Date Location
Name of the group Activity conducted Attendance Males
Length of program Remarks about activity Planned follow-up ATTENDANCE REGISTRY (Use additional sheets if necessary) Name
Preferred Means of Contact
Person Completing Form Name
Program Administrator or Director Name
Preferred Means of Contact
ATTENDANCE REGISTRY (Copy as necessary) Name
Preferred Means of Contact
This manual contains five modules with eight sessions for use in training couples how to strengthen their marriage.