Friday, April 6, 2018

The Rules of Families

I thought the reading from this week on family rules was really interesting. I have noticed since getting married that both my husband and I have implicit and intuitive family rules.
For example, in my husband's family, when the family comes into town, if they make plans and his mother doesn't want to go, then no one goes. It is weird to me, but they are all too worried about offending their mom. 
It was harder to tell this in my family, what our implicit rules are. But after talking to my family, I realized that most of the rules involve me. For example, I am the oldest, and when I talk, I am listened to, no one interrupts me. 
These are some examples of rules that we grew up living with without really knowing. Luckily, my husband and I have received some really good advice when we were getting married, which is just to talk through everything. To voice things, and express clearly what we are feeling. This has allowed us to discuss these things.
In the book, Poduska says, "Many erroneously assume that the state of being happy is static rather than dynamic, or changing. But life is change, and happiness is not fully appreciated in the absence of sorrow and hardship. Two people who go through life's ups and downs together grow in ways neither may foresee".
This really stood out to me, I got married when I was 24, and I think this allowed me to experience life and know that there are ups and downs, it also taught me many skills I feel have been useful in marriage, for example communicating. This helped me to realize that marriage wasn't going to be a walk in the park. It also helped my husband as well. Not that this is always the case, but I think giving yourself some time to grow up helps you become more prepared to handle lives ups and downs. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Let Us All Speak Kind Words to Each Other

I want to start with a quote from Joseph F. Smith,
“Parents... should love and respect each other, and treat each other with respectful decorum and kindly regard, all the time. The husband should treat his wife with the utmost courtesy and respect. The husband should never insult her; he should never speak slightly of her, but should always hold her in the highest esteem in the home, in the presence of their children... The wife, also, should treat the husband with the greatest respect and courtesy. Her words to him should not be keen and cutting and sarcastic. She should not pass slurs or insinuations at him... Then it will be easy for the parents to instill into the hearts of their children not only love for their fathers and their mothers, not only respect and courtesy towards their parents, but love and courtesy and deference between the children at home” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 283–284).
This quote is packed with such amazing and useful insight. Through this quote I learn better how to have harmony in my marriage and in my home. When husbands and wives refuse to talk to and about each other in an unkind and degrading manner the they cost more love for one another. Teaching ourselves as spouses to speak kindly, respectfully, and upliftingky about our spouse will help us to develop greater love, respect and gratitude for our spouse. 
Along with this, if we speak only with kindness in our homes and in our relationships this sets an example and a pattern for our children to follow. They learn from a young age to speak with loving respect towards their parents as well as their siblings. This will be a pattern for their lives and hopefully for their future marriages. 
These habits bring peace and harmony into the home, and begin to make the home feel like a heaven on earth. A sanctuary from the storms of the world. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Virtue of Charity

It seems to me that unless you have true love and charity for you spouse, your hope of success is very small.
Conflicts are common in marriage. As we learned last week, perpetual conflicts are 67% of the problems we endure in marriage. In other words, conflicts that continue to resurface over and over. These are often the conflicts that cause gridlock. This gridlock can cause you to be drawn farther and farther from you spouse. You start to see them as selfish and the root of your misery and unhappiness.
As Gottman describes gridlock, "1. You've had the same argument again and again with no resolution. 2. Neither of you can address the issue with humor, empathy, or affection. 3. The issue is becoming increasingly polarizing as time goes on. 4. Compromising seems impossible because it would mean selling out-giving up something important and core to your beliefs, values, or sense of self." 
When we are locked in these problems, it becomes difficult to feel charity for our spouse. Charity is described in the Book of Mormon as 'the pure love of Christ". Elder Max Caldwell says, "The phrase 'love of Christ' might have meaning in three dimensions: Love for Christ, Love from Christ, and Love like Christ". (Goddard p.116). As we strive to feel this way, and develop these virtue, working our way out of gridlock because easier. This attribute is developed as we study the teachings of Jesus Christ and try to experience a mighty change of heart, as we pray and focus on acting charitable in our lives. When we do this we will have a greater power to overcome our perpetual problems and come out of our marital gridlocks. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Choosing our Battles

John Gottman says in his book, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" that there are two main types of problems in a marriage. First is perpetual problems. I like to think of these as chronic pains. The second is solvable problems. This can also be understand as problems that have a solution. He says that unfortunately most problems in marriage are perpetual. He says, "When choosing a long-term will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unsolvable problems that you'll be grappling with for the next ten, twenty, or fifty years". This can be a little disheartening to think about, especially when you are at the beginning of the long journey of marriage. However, he points out in the book that perpetual problems do not need to interfere with marital satisfaction. They are much like a chronic pain or ache, and when you learn how to forgive and cope and can communicate effectively about these problems, you marriage will still be full of happiness and satisfaction. This was really hopeful to me. It seems counter intuitive, that there can be happiness and perpetual problems, but if there is humor, love and consecration in your marriage, the problems do not have to define or distract from your ultimate happiness. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Choosing to be Humble

I have read the talk "Beware of Pride" by Elder Benson many times, but for some reason, most likely because I wasn't yet married, I never put it in the context of marriage. I really loved his quote, "The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109–10.)"
This is so applicable to a marriage. When we are not focused on God in our own lives, when we are getting puffed up, and prideful against him, we can't help but act this way towards others as well, especially those closest to us. 
If we see this start to happen in our marriages, first and foremost, we need to repent and strive to develop humility, greater obedience, and faith. As we do this, we can begin to discuss marriage issues, and resolve them. If we do not first repent and seek humility, then when we strive to discuss marital problems, we will not be able to truly and sufficiently resolve them. Our pride will eventually sneak back in. 
We must be vigilant in our quest to be humble, faithful and teachable. If not for the sake of our souls, for the sake of our marriages, and eternal happiness.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Turn Towards One Another

Recently I have been considering how incredibly important it is to have a marriage where you are both committed to the things that matter most. A marriage where you both place value in the same things, or at least truly understand the value of something to the other partner. This involves a lot of communication. I think it also involves being humble and seeking to be understanding and compassionate towards your partner. Once again, I think that this is easier done if you are focusing your life on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When you and your spouse, as individuals and as a couple are trying to be more Christlike, and trying to build faith, then you can increase your humility and lovingness in your relationship. With these feelings there is a greater ability to communicate and understand one another. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

True Love

Today is Valentine's Day and that seems like an appropriate day to make a post about marriage and true love. 
Marriage is situation which requires the companions to be selfless and giving in order for there to be harmony and peace. Marriage is work. It requires the very best of us. In order to have harmony and peace in our marriage, we must put the needs and desires of our spouse before our own. If they are doing the same thing for us, then we will be in harmony. 
Sometimes in marriage, we feel that our spouse is not doing their part or putting our needs first. This does occasionally happen on both sides as we grow as humans. That is why we must have a marriage which is also centered in Christ. As we center our lives and our marriages on Christ, we grow together, and repent and change for the better. As we draw nearer unto Christ, we draw nearer to one another, and become more selfless in our marriage. 
These aspects, create true love. True charity. This leads us to harmony and peace in our marriage.