Believing 'Love Bears All'

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Going to an occasional jazz concert with your partner when you would much rather be listening to classical music is one key to marital success, according to Priscille Wylie.

"There's a lot of things my husband and I both like. I want to see him happy. It's important to me to see the smile on his face," she said of George, her husband of 28 years in April.

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"Bear ye one another's burdens," Galatians 6:2, is a scripture Priscille Wylie thinks on often.

Wylie is a counseling pastor.

Raised in a Catholic household where French was the only language spoken, Wylie said she felt abandoned by her faith as well as her first husband when he deserted her and their children.

"It was a long, long time before I could get rid of the big D over my head. I know how it was. Being alone is a horrible feeling.

"I'm sure if someone had told me years ago I'd be a counselor I would have laughed. I was a systems analyst for Digital Equipment Corporation and I was transferred to Phoenix. I just knew that that wasn't what I was born for.... My kids are all grown. I want to learn something."

Later she heard of Anchor Theological Seminary in Arkansas from an African American friend who telephoned her and said, "Classes are starting tonight."

Wylie called the dean, who warned her, "We talk funny."

"I laughed and said, ‘So do I,' because, of course, I have an accent. I was their first white graduate," said the woman, who at age 50 earned her bachelor's degree in religious education.

Christian counseling's focus is on biblical psychology, yet still being aware of clinical disorders, according to Wylie.

The government does not license her. Her master's degree in marriage and family counseling was obtained at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona in 1999.

"My goal is to provide life application classes for the Rim Country community," Wylie said.

She currently sees clients for marriage and family, children, anger, depression and sexual abuse and other issues out of her office at Crossroads Foursquare Church. She also counsels clergy and church boards.

In the Christian faith, "The man should be the protector of the home and his wife and family, but if he doesn't (protect her), then she can't be passive," Wylie said.

"(But) he's human, and as humans we all make mistakes. It doesn't mean we are not being submissive to that male authority," she said, likening marriages to legal partnerships in which one party has 49 percent of the clout and the other 51 percent.

She uses a book titled, "Boundaries in Marriage" counseling married couples, and "substantiates with scripture."

One of the boundaries is: I am responsible to you, not for you.

"Throughout the Bible, we do have lots of examples of boundaries," she said. "We are supposed to be protecting ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally, and that takes some thought.

"Whenever we are setting a boundary, because that is the opposite of control, because we can't control another person, but we can protect ourselves."

She said another "boundary" is: men and women are responsible for speaking truth in love.

It means use tact, but it also means find the right time to talk to your spouse when you will have favor with them, she said.

Wylie said finding balance is important too. It means scheduling time for family, business, spirituality, personal activities, socializing, marriage and date time.

Certain churches have a requirement that they will not marry a couple unless they have had some counseling first.

Wylie's couples take an assessment titled "Prepare and Enrich," which explores 13 areas of life and assesses the responses for compatibility.

"It (the assessment) is not going to tell someone, ‘you'll have a successful marriage,' because that would be a foolish statement, it shows them areas of disagreement that need to be addressed before marriage."

Personal time, finances and raising children in an interfaith marriage are issues that come up.

She said her greatest success story was a couple who started out with many areas of incompatibility.

"The man had been in prison for many years. He had been part of the Aryan Brotherhood."

Wylie is an advocate of "covenant marriage" licenses.

In order to obtain one, a couple must go through premarital counseling. When they sign the license, they state that they will seek counseling if there are problems. They will not seek, nor will the state grant, a divorce unless they have no contact at all with each other for two years. "This is the latest on the law that I know," said Wylie.

"I've only had one couple I've counseled not want that," she said.

Profile

Name: Priscille Wylie

Occupation: counseling pastor/substitute teacher

Age: 62

Birthplace: Manchester, N.H.

Family: husband, three adult daughters, two grandsons, three granddaughters

Personal motto: I'll do the caring and let God do the curing.

Inspiration: Two female friends who successfully embraced new careers after retirement.

Greatest feat: 1. Rebuilding a wooden sailboat with my family.

2. Returning to college at age 50, completing graduate school by age 56.

Three words that describe me: loyal, dedicated and resourceful.

The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Jesus Christ.

Luxury defined: High tea in a quiet Victorian tearoom.

Why Payson? We moved here for a healthier and less stressful way of life.

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