Episode #26 - Narco Mindset Podcast - How I saved my marriage
Narco Mindset Podcast
How I saved my marriage
July 29, 2020
Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Mindset Coach, Podcaster, and YouTuber
In this episode, Dr. Valdes does a tribute to his wife. Dr. Valdes shares how his wife went through depression and his lack of understanding about depression as a serious illness almost caused their divorce. After seeking two weeks of intensive counseling Dr. Valdes found the answer that saved their marriage and today celebrate twenty-four amazing years of marriage.
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INTRO: Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.
Jorge: Today on the Narco Mindset podcast: I’m going to share my heart. I’m going to share things that are important in my life, things that I see. I’m going to share my world-view, my mindset. I’ll never make no excuse about what I stand for, who I am. Love is a choice that we make every day of our lives. The world revolved around Jorge Valdes and there was no room for anybody but Jorge Valdes. There was a common denominator to all my divorces, and that common denominator was I kept bringing myself to those marriages. I’m tired of fighting. I’m going to love you no matter what. The most hardened of all hearts would be transformed by unconditional love, but until you fix yourself, man or woman, you're never going to be happy.
Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes, and I am your host. I’m very, very excited today as today is my 24th anniversary but before I start the podcast that I want to dedicate today to my wife, I need to make something clear. I read all the emails that I get and I read a lot of the comments of many of the media events that I do. I try to respond to as many as I can as long as I don’t consider them to be a knucklehead or some stupid comment but most comments, they are all legitimate even if it’s things that I like or don’t like. What I want to address is a comment that was made on the podcast ratings, and it was by someone that felt that I had turned from exciting episodes all of a sudden to evangelizing and to very religious.
I don’t know who that person is and I’m not going to say his name but at the same time, what I want to tell him is this; I said from the beginning, this is not a religious show, this is not a show where I’m trying to share my faith in a manner of trying to convert anybody. The truth of the matter and I make no beef about it, my life was transformed by the love of a Jewish carpenter named Jesus. A lot of my life is intertwined with the decision I made to one day follow Jesus. Now, I share that with you because it’s my life. It’s my story, not for you to convert, not for you to like it, not for you to dislike it, with no purpose at all but to share my life. For me to say the horrible decisions I made in the cartel etcetera, and then not to share how my life was transformed. It wasn’t transformed because one day I saw unicorns and said, “Oh my God, look at these unicorns, they're so wonderful, I’m going to be a good guy today.” No, it wasn’t, by no means.
When you hear me talk about any religious reference or when you hear me talk about my relationship with Jesus Christ, which is very, very important to me, know that it is with no intention to convert you or anyone. Now, like I always say, if the shoe fits, wear it, if not, get another shoe. At the end of the day, this is the bottom line. If you like the podcast, tune into it, if you don’t, just turn it off. There are millions of podcasts out there. I’m going to share my heart, I’m going to share things that are important in my life, things that I see. I’m going to share my world view, my mindset, and when it comes down to mention anything that impacts my life or refers to my life with my relationship with Christ, I make no beef about it.
I love you if you're Muslim, if you're an atheist, if you like unicorns, I don’t give a damn what you are. I love you because at the end of the day, the commandment I was given, love thy neighbor as thyself. I love myself a lot so it doesn’t say love thy neighbor if he’s a Christian, love thy neighbor if he’s Jewish, Muslim, God knows that for me to say love thy neighbor if he was a Christian, most of the people I have a hard time with our Christians.
Again, I wanted to admit that right from the bat because I wanted to address that publicly so that everybody knows, no, I have not changed from my original intention, which is not to evangelize. There are podcasts out there that that is their mission. That is not my mission. My mission hasn’t changed one bit to tell raw stories about my life, talk about my mindset, to give people hope.
Therefore, as I said before, if you enjoy the podcast, share it. If you don’t enjoy it, turn it off. I’ll never make any excuse about what I stand for, who I am. At the end of the day, my only mission in life is to let people know that, listen, your past does not define your future, that there’s love, that love transforms the most hardened of all hearts, to tell people that there’s hope and that there is redemption. When I say what has happened in my life, it is my life, it is my story. With that said, I want to get into today’s subject.
Today, I want to dedicate this podcast not only to my wife but to all wives and to all husbands out there. You know, I celebrate 24 years of marriage to the most amazing woman in the world, and it was not easy. It’s been 24 years journey of making a daily decision. What do I mean by that? The daily decision that I hear all these cases, well, I fell out of love. We fell out of interest. We don’t share anything in common. To me, it’s so hard to understand because ... and to be honest, I did the same thing. Today, it’s so hard to understand because I realize that love is not an emotion, that love is not whether you are in heat or not in heat. Love is a choice that we make every day of our lives. You know that old movie, Love Story, love means never having to say sorry is bullshit. The biggest success of a marriage is always having to say you're sorry.
I thank God that when I met my wife, she looked at me and she said, “Look, I’m poor. I have nothing to offer a man but what God has given me. If that’s the woman you're looking for, we can try a relationship. If not, find somebody else.” I wasn’t even looking for nobody else. Honestly, I thought I was going to become a monk. I came out of prison, I was just so gung-ho to learn everything I could about God.
I looked at my life and I’m like, I have three failed marriages. I’m not good at marriage, so I check that box. I already have four kids. I didn’t want any. I adore all four of them. I don’t need any more. Check that box. I don’t like to be second in anything. As I always say, second is the first loser. Therefore, I wanted to be the greatest theologian in the world. I had found this monastic order called the Oblates, and that’s what I was going to do. I went to Wheaton College. My idea was to go to Wheaton College. I had one and a half-semester to do, and just go through that. Nobody would know who I am.
Remember, back in 1995, there was no great snitch, which I call Google. Just go there, take my classes and leave before anyone even knew who I was. But then, an event happened and a young man was distraught, and he felt like he had been lied to. He had been raised to be a preacher all his life, and he says, “You know, I’m about to graduate, and I don’t even believe whether God’s real or not.”
Something happened in my heart where I had to share with him. Well, the worm came out of the box, and it just exploded from there. Then I met this amazing young woman, and we decided to do it the way that it’s supposed to be done in my eyes. We’re not going to have no pre-marital sex and that’s very rare for me because I used to say, “Hey, you don’t buy a car unless you try it.” But I had never done that before. I had never been with a woman where our relationship was totally intellectually or it was totally pure. But being the extremist that I was, that’s how I felt that I wanted to do it. That’s how the woman that God put in my life.
We did, and we had a relationship totally pure. We never were alone at our house. We made sure there was always somebody when she came over to study. We ended up creating a relationship based on so much more than one night of wild sex. When other people tell me, “I fell out of love.” I said, “No, you fell out of the heat.” For two years, my prayer was, can I have sex with just one woman? I had become so depraved that if I didn’t go to bed every night with two women, I could not be satisfied.
Here I’m about to meet a girl that has no sexual experience and I’d been going out with all these porn actresses and movie stars and just wild, wild women. Can it work? I prayed for two years, and I’m here to tell you today, it’s the most amazing intimacy I have ever had in my life because our relationship was not based on one night stand, it was not based on one night of wild sex, one night where everything is just perfect, where whatever the person does, you’ll like because you're just getting to know each other.
What happened along all those years? I left Wheaton College because I wanted to be a fulltime dad to my kids, moved to Georgia. I’m going to tell you, the temptations were out there. It’s crazy because I started speaking publicly, and I started doing large events. I remember, some events, my wife going with me and girls coming up and giving me their phone numbers right in front of my wife. I made a decision, and the decision was that, yeah, I can say, “Look, I’m never going to fail. I’m never going to put myself in a position where I’m going to slip and be unfaithful.” The truth of the matter is I couldn’t guarantee that. The only way that I could guarantee that was I would never travel by myself. I would never stay in a hotel room by myself. That’s how I was able to overcome whatever came my way.
We worked hard, and we moved to Georgia, started our company. I was out there preaching, I was out there speaking. My wife was running the small business we had started in the basement of our house. She got pregnant, we had our first son, Estevan. It was very difficult for her. My wife is the type of person who keeps everything inside, so she never said anything to me. Therefore, for example, things like, it was Mother’s Day, honey, I got you the best Mother’s Day gift in the world. What is it? A barbeque. Why? Because I wanted a barbeque. I couldn’t care less about what she wanted. I didn’t feel like that but I’m going to tell you now, after many years of counseling and many years of reading a lot of material, I realized that that’s what it was. The world revolved around Jorge Valdes and there was no room for anybody but Jorge Valdes. Isn’t that the way that it is for a lot of people?
Therefore, we went through it and the seventh year, I’m home one day, and my wife says, “I want a divorce.” Now, my wife is the holiest woman you’ve ever met in your life. I looked at her, and I thought it was crazy, it was a joke. My wife knows the Bible. The first thing I did is do what we all do with the Bible. I said, “You know what the Bible says about divorce.” My wife said, “I know, but I have two children that need me, and if I don’t leave you, I’m going to die.” See, I didn’t even realize for seven years because the world revolved around me, that my wife was suffering from clinical depression.
The truth of the matter was the world revolved around me. There was no room for her. She looked at it in the way that, “Hey, here you are saving the world. You’ve abandoned me and your kids. I’m a nobody, and I don’t want to be a nobody.” It wasn’t until the moment one time that she got so depressed. I remember going to my very, very dear friend, Dr. Jeff Curtis, who now went to be with the Lord. He said, “Look, let me explain how your wife feels.” I didn’t understand anything about depression. Being a Cuban, I felt, “Hey, you're depressed? Just get busy. Get your ass out of bed and go to work. You see, you won’t have time to get depressed.” But it’s not true. It’s a real illness, and my wife had a really severe case of it.
He looked at me and said, “Look, your wife is in a black box looking for a shred of light to get out of the box. She can’t find it, she’s going to lose it.” Immediately, I contacted a very dear friend of mine, Max Paul, and I rang, he told me about this counseling center in Colorado Springs. She refused to go but I went anyway. I started to learn a lot of things about myself. It was really interesting because the funny thing about it was, at the beginning, I wanted to go to save our marriage. When she said she wasn’t going to go I’m, “Well, what’s the reason for me to go?”
I thank God that somehow, there was something inside of me that said, “You know what? I’m going to go because I want to be a better father.” Because I realized one thing. There was a common denominator to all my divorces, and that common denominator was, I kept bringing myself to those marriages. It wasn’t about my ex-wives. It wasn’t that one was American, one was Dominican, one was pretty, one was ugly or they were both pretty or they were both sexy. No, it was none of that.
The problem was with me. I was tired, tired. Not failing, but I was tired of not being, for me, what I felt God wanted me to be. The funny thing about it, during this period, is when I began to get the most amount of attacks. It’s when women start throwing themselves at me. When women that I’d known forever came out of nowhere. It was crazy. It was crazy. I went the first week, came back. Nothing happened. When she saw that I was not going to accept the divorce, she filed for it.
Eventually, I had no choice to sign an 82-page divorce settlement but I told her, I refuse to go to court. Lock me up. I don’t care but I’m not in. I refused to leave my house. We moved into separate rooms, and then I went back to Colorado Springs again. She went with me at the beginning and then halfway through the meeting, she was in a horrific mental condition, and she left. I stayed, and just when I thought that it was all over, there was just nothing that can be can be done, something miraculously happened.
I called a counselor, and he says to me, and I say, “Look, things are just going terrible. I don’t see how we’re going to survive this. I’ve been trying everything that I can.” He says to me, “Do you want to save your marriage?” I felt like saying, “You idiot, of course. You know how busy I am, and I’ve taken two weeks off of work, and I’ve gone to Colorado Springs to deal with this. I’ve been in this intensive counseling, five days away from my kids and my family. I don’t know what’s going on in my house.”
He says, “If you want to save your marriage, there are some things you need to ask God.” I said, “Really?” He said, “Yeah, don’t you have a cabin in the mountain?” I said, “Yes, I do.” He said, “Why don’t you go out there and just fast? Don’t eat for three days, and ask the following questions. Ask God to show you what your wife’s pain looks like, not yours. Ask your God how you have failed God, and then ask your God how his love looks like.”
Well, I thought it was interesting. It was a challenge and I went up there with a very, very dear friend of mine, [Tai 00:15:55]. We stayed there in that cabin, and it was about November, and it was freezing cold at night. I remember being in the jacuzzi. The first day, nothing. The second day, nothing. Still fasting and just praying and believing that somehow God was going to do a miracle. All of a sudden, it was about 12.30 at night, and I’m sitting in this Jacuzzi one night. I’ve been sitting there for about three and a half hours in this freezing cold weather, and I get like this feeling, this vision.
I did my masters on the gospel of John. I must have read it 100, 200, 300 times. All of a sudden, this verse came by. It says, “I loved you when you were a sinner,” and I just broke down because everything, all the wrong I had done in my life, just went right through my head. All the horrific things that I’d been involved with, all the people I had hurt, and I’m like, “That’s how you love me? Impossible.” I can understand you love me now that I’m out there doing events and reaching thousands of people. I’m trying to live a decent life and be a decent person. I can understand that, but how could you then?
I went back, I looked at my wife and I said, “You know what? I’m tired of fighting. I’m going to love you no matter what. No matter what you do.” She said, “I’m going to leave.” I said, “Well, you're going to leave in style. What car do you want?” Originally, she didn’t want a big car but I wanted a Land Cruiser, so I told her when we eventually were able to buy a car six years into our company when we drove an old pick-up truck forever and ever, I went and got her a Land Cruiser because that’s what I wanted but it was going to be her car. She said she doesn’t drive big cars. Then, of course, I got her a big Hummer when she had the baby because I wanted my kids to be protected. I wanted the Hummer. Everything I did, I did like that. Subconsciously. But again, when the world revolves around you, there’s no room for anybody else in that world.
I said, “I’ll buy you the car that you want, and let’s go find a house. According to the divorce settlement, I’ve got to buy you a house, so let’s go find a house. She said, “I don’t want none of your money, I don’t want the company money even though, rightfully so, half of it or more of it belonged to her because she was there from day one working her ass off. Even when I was out there speaking and being a celebrity, she was doing water damages by herself carrying 40-50 pound equipment in the middle of the night in horrible neighborhoods, risking her life, only so that we could eat. We went and looked at a house. I remember telling that realtor, he knew that every house we went to look at, I would go in the bathroom and I would cry. I just couldn’t see myself. You know what, little by little, my mind started to change, and I started to see what unconditional love was no matter what she said, no matter what she did. She really didn’t say or did nothing.
To me, it was just that I was being betrayed but actually, I’m the one that I had betrayed many, many years ago. I never betrayed her or cheated on her, never cheated on my wife one day of my entire life, and I’m proud of that. But I cheated on her in many other ways. One of the things I tell people, I don’t pick up the phone after six. I used to come home and stay on the phone till late at night talking to people. I went to the ball games by myself after work, so I spent a lot of time away from her. In reality, I was being unfaithful because there are many ways of being unfaithful, many ways of cheating on your wife. You can cheat on your wife by playing golf all the time. You can cheat on your wife by hanging out with your friends, by being involved in pornography, by drinking alcohol, in many, many, many ways.
The interesting thing is that she started to come out of the depression and then we started to rebuild our marriage, and it was about still two years before, our marriage was amazing. What I did learn that day from there on is that the world did not revolve around me anymore. I started speaking because I realized that the more I share my story and the more I talked about things I’d done, I started to enjoy it again. I started to vicariously live my whole life through my speeches. Of course, I was doing all this in the name of God, so it’s all justifiable, right? No, bullshit. It’s not justifiable. What we’ll most do, the most in the name of God, is to love our spouse and to love our children and to love our neighbor no matter what color, race, gender, religious affiliation they are because the most hardened of all hearts will be transformed by unconditional love.
Well, we’ve been married now, after that event, 17 years, and it’s been a glorious 17 years. Even when my wife now leaves, when I know that she’s got to go to a doctor’s appointment or anywhere she goes, I get edgy. When I look at her at night, I love her. When she wakes up in the morning, I love her. Whatever she does, I love her. That’s the message that I bring to you today. Children being raised by a single mum because of the selfishness of a man or the selfishness of a woman not wanting to be in the marriage again is devastating this country.
It is devastating the African-American community, the Latino community, and the American community. The truth of the matter is so simple, to love our spouse. I mean, think about it. There was one day in your life unless you were drunk in Vegas and fell in love with a prostitute or something, there was one day in life you looked at that person and you thought it was the greatest person in the world. What happened? Ask yourself that.
There are many things that could have happened but I’m going to tell you the main thing that happened was that you refused to love. This is a choice. We either decide we’re going to love someone or we decide we’re just not going to love them anymore. Sometimes we see another relationship, another woman and sometimes we think that the grass is much greener on the other side of the fence but I’m promising you something, all you're trading is the same problems you encounter in your marriage for a different set of problems probably with a different color of hair or nationality. But until you fix yourself, man or woman, you're never going to be happy, no matter in what relationship you are. You're going to go from one broken home to another broken home, and there’s going to be victims left behind.
I left four children, and they're amazing kids today, but I screwed their lives up because I was selfish. I was horrific, and I used to say that I adored them but how could I if I was cheating on their mum. I used to tell people in the cartel, no one dies for telling the truth. No one dies for being honest. No one dies for being faithful. I had a code where faithfulness to the people that were sometimes horrific people was the most important thing in my life but yet what should have been the most important thing in my life, my wives, I was unfaithful to them.
I’ve apologized to three of them. I’m going to tell you something, every time I’m wake up in the morning, I ask God to allow me to be just a little better husband. Can’t be the best husband in the world but I can be a little better every day. If I can be a little better every day, one day, I’m going to be a whole lot better.
My dear friends, choose today to love your spouse, a gift from God. Love is a learned behavior, it’s not an emotion. You can learn if you feel that you’ve fallen out of love with your wife, make that decision to honor your vows, to be a man or woman of honor, and to choose to love your spouse. If you’ve already been divorced, well, fine. We all make mistakes. Just learn that we need to change ourselves because if not, we’ll make the same mistake again. We need to learn. We need to realize that if we choose to love and if we choose to love unconditionally ... I don’t love my wife because she satisfies me in bed or does not. I don’t love my wife because she’s a great cook or not. I love my wife because I make a choice to love her, and I love her more than my life.
Today, in this message, I say, choose whether you will love or not. I tell you, I promise you, this life is short. We just can’t go on destroying homes, destroying marriages because we’re selfish. Today, by choosing to love your spouse, could be the beginning of a road to being unselfish. At the end of the day, remember, your children will be the byproduct of your decisions, of your action.
My dear friends, as I go out to one of my favorite restaurants today, and as I drink a bottle of my favorite wine, Caymus special selection, celebrate 24 years of marriage to the most beautiful woman God ever created, I thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast, subscribe, share it with your friends, tell everybody about it. Hopefully, together, we can make a difference. Together, we can change the world, one child at a time, one marriage at a time. God bless you, and Godspeed. We’ll see you again next week on the Narco Mindset podcast.
OUTRO: We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.