October 14, 2015 | By a Minghui correspondent in Germany
(Minghui.org) She was a carefree and bright German woman in her 20’s. He was a lonely young Muslim refugee from Kosovo. As soon as they met they knew they were meant to be together. Silvia and Rifad married two years later, but neither of them expected the wedding would be the beginning of a “mutually torturous” family life.
Repeated domestic violence and a suspicious, jealous and rude husband drove the young family to the edge of the cliff. But when Silvia began to understand what “cultivation practice” is, and learned to look at herself using the principles of Falun Dafa, their family harmonized and her husband eventually also became a practitioner.
Rifad and Silvia
Rifad was born and raised in a small village in Kosovo. His father died when he was only 6 years old. At the age of 21, he and 30 other people left their war torn hometown, were smuggled into Europe in a boat, and finally settled down in Hanover, Germany.
Western lifestyle, cultural differences, the language barrier and poverty troubled the young lad. When his mother passed away, it severed the last connection to his past.
He fell into deep loneliness and depression until Silvia appeared in his life.
“Mutually torturous life”
“After we married, I realized he was suspicious, jealous, rude and had a strong desire to control,” Silvia said of their relationship.
Rifad became upset if a passerby glanced at Silvia. In his culture, women were not to be noticed, and it is always a woman’s fault if she caught the attention of a stranger.
He began picking on her, and they argued a lot. Their difficult marriage nearly drove Silvia insane. Whenever she mentioned leaving him, Rifad cried like a helpless child, softening her heart.
They consulted family relations experts and tried many therapies but nothing helped.
“We didn’t want to continue arguing but we also didn’t want to leave each other,” Silvia explained of their dilemma.
Reconnecting to Falun Dafa
One day, Silvia remembered a spiritual practice “Falun Dafa” that her mother showed her many years ago.
Her mother had also taken her to group study in Goettingen. She found a lot of answers to her questions in Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa. However everyday life is filled with many other appealing things. She gradually put the book down and only read it occasionally.
When their relationship was falling apart, the young couple found jobs in Bielefeld, so they moved there. Silvia was happy about the relocation because she knew there was a Falun Dafa study group in the city.
Joining the group exercise practice and reading Zhuan Falun with the group didn’t immediately improve her relationship. Rifad objected when she went to group study because he believed a woman should only stay at home, not appear in public and especially not have any contact with men.
Once, he followed her to the group practice site and watched from afar. When she returned home, he angrily slapped her.
Their discord continued. When she persisted and continued practicing, he became the one to threaten her with leaving the family.
Silvia quietly persisted in practicing. She refused to fight back when he attacked her. Sometimes, she explained the exercises to him and demonstrated some movements. Other times, she would read a few paragraphs from Zhuan Falun. It could calm him down for a short period of time.
Compassion Dissolved Violence
The arguments and domestic violence continued because Rifad could not accept a wife who put Falun Dafa above him. He attempted to set a rule for her. “You are only allowed to attend the group study four times a year,” he ordered.
Silvia calmly refused and Rifad immediately slapped her face.
Rifad angrily slammed the door as he stalked out of the house. He called her on the phone and threatened to “put a bullet in her head.”
She believed he would do what he threatened, so she called police. He was indicted.
This kept him quiet for a while but the fundamentals didn’t change. In order to stop her from going to group study, he cursed her, beat her, cut the phone wire, threw her cellphone to the wall, hid her laptop computer, locked her email account, and smashed the printer.
When all of the above couldn’t change her mind, he pointed a gun at her head and threatened to take away their son.
“Sometimes I thought if he pulled the trigger, it would be the end of this torturous life. No one can avoid death. But I immediately told myself that I can’t think in this direction. If he did that to me, it would be bad for him. And I told myself it was not his true nature. It was not the real Rifad,” Silvia said.
The tribulations helped Silvia look inward at herself as taught by Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, in Zhuan Falun.
Silvia had read the book many times by then. She took it as an opportunity to let go of fear. Also, looking at herself, she realized that she had been pursuing self-improvement that was not to be interfered with by her husband, and she did not care about his feelings.
“To some degree, I strengthened his attachment by talking to him like his superior without the tenderness and kindness of a woman,” Silvia added.
As for the domestic violence, she also had a different understanding and began to treat it as paying back karma.
“They were karmic paybacks,” said Silvia, “He did this to me because I had done the same to him in another lifetime. Besides, I didn’t have any illness or pain in my life other than this, so how could I pay back the karma in a comfortable life?”
When she changed her attitude, the battles quickly ceased.
One day, her husband, her son and Silvia argued about a trivial thing. All of them raised their voices and blamed each other. In her anger, Silvia locked her son in his room. The boy kicked the door and yelled.
She sat down and tried to calm herself. “When this is happening to me, there must be something wrong with me.” She thought. “We can’t push bad karma among us back and forth like this. I must stop the cycle now.”
She opened the door and apologized to her husband, “I should not argue with you. I am sorry.”
Rifad immediately calmed down and her son played with his toys like nothing had happened.
Rifad changed too. He became more friendly and easy-going. Their family life became harmonious. Later, he became interested in Falun Dafa and joined the Fa-study.
It has been 14 years since Silvia first heard of Falun Dafa. She reads the books and has watched videos but has not seen Teacher Li Hongzhi in person yet.
“I wish I could go to the United States to see Teacher, even if it is just a glance from afar…” said Silvia. I would say, “Thank you Teacher, you saved my family!”
Category: Journeys of Cultivation